The Earthquake of the Accords and Their Impact on Arab Americans and Jewish Americans

Posted on September 06, 1993 in Washington Watch

The news of a breakthrough agreement between Israel and the PLO hit Washington like an earthquake last week. Everyone was shaken: the Administration, the Congress, the news media and, in a most profound way, the Arab American and American Jewish communities.

Initial reactions among Arab American and American Jews have differed only slightly from those in the Middle East. For the most part there was widespread excitement and support. The opposition in both camps was caught by surprise and has yet to mobilize.

While many Arab Americans have followed the recent fissures in the PLO, and some have voiced their...

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Is AIPAC in Trouble? Part IV: The Problems Within the Lobby and the Jewish Community

Posted on August 30, 1993 in Washington Watch

(This is the final part of a four-part series on the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, examining the sources of its power and the roots of its current internal political problems.)

AIPAC’s recent problems (the forced resignations of three of its top officers and a series of embarrassing press exposes) are themselves symptoms of deeper problems plaguing the organization and the organized American Jewish community. These underlying sources of the lobby’s problems can be grouped into four categories.

1) Strains between AIPAC and the Jewish community. 2) Ideological strains within the Jewish community. 3) The arrogance of power and money. 4) Long-term...

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Is AIPAC in Trouble? Part III: Crises Hit the pro-Israel Lobby

Posted on August 23, 1993 in Washington Watch

(This is part three of a four-part series on the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, examining the sources of its power and the roots of its current internal and political problems.)

In the past two years, AIPAC has been buffeted by a number of exposes and negative press reports. All these came on the heels of the organization’s first legislative defeat since the AWACs vote in 1981. President George Bush’s initial victory in denying unconditional loan guarantees to Israel was a disturbing loss for the lobby. It had been humiliated. Its myth of invincibility was shattered by the incident, since the loss...

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Is AIPAC in Trouble? Part II: Two More Keys to AIPAC's Success: Power and Strategy

Posted on August 16, 1993 in Washington Watch

(This is part two of a four-part series on the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, examining the sources of its power and the roots of its current internal and political problems.)

Last week I detailed two of the four keys to AIPAC’s political success, its ability to create a network of influential American Jews and to mobilize them in support of Israel; and its ability to raise substantial amounts of money and to put it to use in a focused political plan.

This week I will focus on the final two keys to AIPAC’s success: its ability to create an aura of...

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Is AIPAC in Trouble? Part I: Keys to AIPAC's Success: Votes and Money

Posted on August 09, 1993 in Washington Watch

(Beginning this week, I will be writing a four-part series on the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, examining the sources of its power and the roots of its current internal and political problems.)

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobby, has been hit by a series of crises over the past two years.

AIPAC’s recent problems began in September 1991. Its losing fight against President George Bush over the issue of loan guarantees for Israel was the lobby’s first major legislative defeat in ten years. AIPAC then found itself at odds in mid-1992 with the newly-elected Labor government...

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Once Again Tragedy in Lebanon: An Arab American Reaction

Posted on August 02, 1993 in Washington Watch

As Israeli bombs rained down on Lebanon and the tragedy of the Lebanese people was repeated, those of us in Washington who have spent our lives working on Arab issues took a long, hard look at ourselves.

The questions we faced were difficult: after years of organizing, struggling, and fighting to win some concern for our issues and our human rights, why was this happening again and what could be done about it?

I’ve been working here in Washington full-time for 16 years now. Throughout that entire period, Lebanon and its continuing tragedy, like the continuing plight of the...

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Jesse Jackson

Posted on July 26, 1993 in Washington Watch

Jesse Jackson is a potent force in U.S. politics. Despite efforts by some conservative Democrats to reduce Jackson’s influence by courting and promoting other African American leaders, few doubt that Jackson remains the most popular African American leader and the leading voice on the left wing of Democratic politics.

These are roles that Jackson has earned through his tireless campaigning for a wide range of social, economic and political issues. Another obvious factor contributing to his leadership is his ability to articulate issues and give voice to the concerns of the groups he represents. Even those who disagree with Jackson...

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Perot: Danger from the Center

Posted on July 19, 1993 in Washington Watch

A specter is haunting both the Democratic and Republican parties—the specter of H. Ross Perot.

As the leadership of both parties met in recent weeks, the question about what to do with Ross Perot dominated their discussions. A poll commissioned by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and conducted by President Clinton’s own pollster, Stanley Greenberg, found that Perot continues to hold the loyalty of millions of American voters.

As a group, Greenberg found that “Perot voters” have become the “radical center” of American politics. They are anti-government—they believe it is corrupt and malfunctioning. In particular, Perot voters blame the Congress...

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The War Against Islam in the U.S. Press—And How To Fight It

Posted on July 12, 1993 in Washington Watch

A dangerous crusade against Islam is being waged by some in the U.S. press and it has created a serious problem for Arab Americans. This new crusade is a virtual campaign, reminiscent of one waged by pro-Israel forces and right-wing commentators in the late 1970s when they successfully established a link between “PLO” and “terrorism” in American popular culture.

The older campaign was a deliberate and organized affair. It was hatched at an international conference convened in Israel for the purpose of propagating the idea that a war against terrorism should replace the campaign for human rights as the centerpiece...

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The Bombing of Iraq and the Continuing Debate Over Clinton's Foreign Policy

Posted on July 05, 1993 in Washington Watch

Major U.S. editorial writers and political analysts gave President Bill Clinton near universal support for his decision to bomb Iraq’s intelligence headquarters on June 26th.

With only the New York Times taking an opposing view, the general consensus was that the President acted decisively and that his action would win him new public support.

In fact, lagging polls and a nagging debate over whether the U.S. under Clinton would provide leadership in world affairs may have been the two most pressing reasons why the President chose to bomb Iraq at this time.

Polls taken after the bombing show that Clinton’s...

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