Washington Watch: Our Political Dysfunction Has Turned Us Inward

Posted on February 10, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

Domestic American politics have become so cripplingly partisan that Congress can't pass a long-term spending bill or deal the critical issues like immigration reform, comprehensive health care reform, or provide the massive funding needed to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Due to this deep and bitter divide—fueled, in part, by: the president's inflammatory tweets; the harsh and inflammatory rhetoric from pundits; and the media's penchant to create feeding frenzies over "gotcha" scandalous news stories—Washington has turned decidedly inward and disturbingly dysfunctional. 

Focused more on fighting for the sake of fighting and scoring points against political opponents, too...

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Washington Watch: Black History Month: Recognizing Black Contributions and Atoning for Our Past

Posted on February 03, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

This is Black history month, an important time to reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the history of the United States of America. It is important because, as we have discovered, in too many instances these contributions have been either deliberately ignored or are just not known or recognized. More than that, however, this month should provide also us with an opportunity to learn more about the shameful legacy of white America's treatment black Americans. By this, I mean, not just the major crimes - slavery, mass lynchings, Jim Crow, and segregation -...

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Washington Watch: Pence’s Middle East

Posted on January 27, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

US Vice President Michael Pence's recent foray into Middle East politics has been nothing short of a disaster. Because he sees the world through the lens of right-wing Evangelical Christianity, he trampled on regional realities, leaving a mess in his wake.  

One might have hoped that American political leaders had learned the dangers of an ideologically-driven foreign policy from the failed presidency of George W. Bush. Bush, whose world view was a mish-mash of Evangelical and neo-conservative doctrines, led the US into a disastrous invasion of Iraq. Guided by ideology, Bush saw that war as a necessary...

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Washington Watch: Democracy is Under Attack

Posted on January 20, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

This past week, I participated in a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court sponsored by the National Commission for Voter Justice (NCVJ). We were sounding the alarm that America is in the midst of a slow-moving "soft coup" engineered by Republican operatives, bankrolled by billionaires, that is threatening to erode our democratic institutions. 

Unlike a quick military takeover by disgruntled officers, this power-grab is cleverly and stealthily using political tools to undercut the very foundations of our democracy. 

Among the tactics being used are: legislation to make it more difficult to vote, the use...

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Washington Watch: The Immigration Debate We Must Not Lose

Posted on January 13, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

The debate over US immigration policy is a very personal one for me. It's about my family's history and the hardships they faced coming to America. It is also about who we are and who we aspire to be as an American people. 

In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, my father's family, like many others in the mountains of Lebanon, facing economic hardship, sent their oldest son, Habib, then only 14 years old, to America to start a new life, plant roots, and pave the way for the rest of the family to join...

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Washington Watch: Why I Accused Israel of Cultural Genocide

Posted on January 06, 2018 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I became embroiled in what The Jerusalem Post termed a "Twitter war" which they claimed "raised eyebrows on both sides of the Atlantic". 

What started the heated exchange was my response to a tweet by celebrity chef Rachael Ray in which she called "Israeli"—"meze, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, beet dip, eggplant and sun-dried tomato dip, walnut and red pepper dip, and tabouli".  

I hadn't intended a war, but my blood boiled when I saw Ray's tweet and so I tweeted a response—"Damn it! This is cultural genocide. It's not Israeli...

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Washington Watch: Defining What It Means to Be Religious

Posted on December 30, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

Ever since we learned that eighty percent of self-described "born-again" Christians supported Donald Trump's candidacy for president, there has been a discussion about how these Christians define their faith. This debate recently intensified when an even greater percentage of Alabama's "born-again" Christians voted for Roy Moore in that state's senate contest. At stake in this discussion are critical issues about how believers understand and practice being Christian. 

It is important to note that this matter of understanding how people define and practice their faith is not unique to Christianity. It is a question being addressed by...

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Washington Watch: A Christmas Message to Vice-President Mike Pence

Posted on December 23, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

Mr. Vice President: 

As you celebrate Christmas with your family and listen to the gospel story of the birth of Jesus, I hope you will read and reflect on the following piece I wrote a few years back. 

I want you to open your eyes to the situation facing Palestinian Christians and Muslims living in the Holy Land. And I want you to understand why the Arab Christian leadership in Palestine was so troubled by your blindness to their plight that they refused to meet with you.  

Christmas: Then and Now

Two thousand years ago, Palestine...

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Washington Watch: The "Trump Effect": Positive Attitudes Toward Arabs and Muslims Are Up; So Is Hate

Posted on December 16, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

Are anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments on the rise in the US? And what are the best ways to combat them? These were some of the questions we discussed at the 2017 "Global Peace and the Fear of Islam" Forum held this past week in Abu Dhabi, UAE.    

Based on our most recent Arab American Institute (AAI) survey of American public opinion, conducted in conjunction with Zogby Analytics (ZA), I was happily able to report to the Forum that negative attitudes toward both communities appear to be in decline. I also noted that in...

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Washington Watch: Trump's Jerusalem Decision: A Fatal and Fateful Blow

Posted on December 09, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby

President Donald Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was irresponsible and dangerous for more reasons than I can count. Let me outline just a few of the principle concerns: While we have all grown weary of hearing the over-used mantra "this is the end of the peace process", Trump's decision may, in fact, be the nail in the coffin for any negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the first place, there is no peace process. It has been replaced, instead, by a breath-holding exercise with Israelis and Palestinians waiting for Trump...

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