Washington Watch: Two Weakened Leaders

Posted on August 26, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a lot in common. Both are in trouble, confronting problems that are more legal than political. And as commentators, here and in Israel have noted, both have responded to their situation in quite similar ways.   Trump is panicking over Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into his campaign's alleged collusion with Russia. It was Trump's concern with then-FBI Director James Comey's pursuit of this matter that prompted him to fire Comey, creating the outrage that forced the Department of Justice to appoint Mueller...

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Washington Watch: Charlottesville and Beyond: The Never-ending Struggle

Posted on August 19, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby The tragic and deeply disturbing events in Charlottesville last week provoked a debate as old as America, itself. Our nation watched as a motley collection of bigots descended on that town, ostensibly to "save" the statues of their Confederate heroes. Some were armed, and many chanted Nazi-era slogans about racial purity and their definition of "true Americanism". They were confronted by opponents who responded with affirmations of what they called "American values" of diversity and tolerance. As the confrontation devolved into horrifying violence, we asked, "what did all this say about who we...

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Washington Watch: Senate Bill 720: Making It a Crime to Support Palestinian Human Rights

Posted on August 12, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby It is fascinating to watch some US senators tripping over themselves as they attempt to defend their support for or opposition to proposed legislation that would make it a federal crime to support the international campaign to Boycott, Divest, or Sanction (BDS) Israel for its continued occupation of Palestinian lands. What ties these officials up in knots are their efforts to square the circle of their "love of Israel", their opposition to BDS, their support for a "two-state solution", and their commitment to free speech.    The bill in question, S720, was introduced on...

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Washington Watch: Trump's Immigration Policy vs. the Soul of America

Posted on August 05, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby Immigration is a personal matter for me, as it is for many Americans. Unless you are a Native American descendant of the indigenous peoples who were displaced by the settlers who first came to this country, or an African American descendant of those who were brought here in bondage as slaves, we are all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants.    Because of the central role immigration has played in shaping the American experience, many families are defined by why and how their ancestors came and started their lives in this New World,...

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Washington Watch: Overcoming Divisions to Form an Arab American Community

Posted on July 22, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby During the past century, Arab Americans have faced significant obstacles on the way to securing our place in the political mainstream—from pervasive media-projected negative stereotypes to the political pressures used by some groups to deny us a seat at the table.  In addition to these external factors, Arab Americans have also faced internal obstacles that we had to overcome as we worked to build and empower our community. In many instances, these problems were carry-overs—the impact of competing identities and loyalties that Arab immigrants brought with them as they made their way to...

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Washington Watch: The History Is Too Deep, the Pain Is Too Real

Posted on July 15, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby A week ago, a pro-Israel media monitoring group accused me of making "an unsubstantiated charge that Israel supporters are responsible" for discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans. Because this issue is so important to Arab Americans and because some hardline pro-Israel groups refuse to acknowledge their role in harming my community, I am obliged to respond with a few examples representing just the tip of the iceberg of painful acts of defamation, discrimination, exclusion, threats, and violence.  From the moment Arab Americans began to organize and to advocate for causes...

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Washington Watch: Poll - Negative Campaign Against Arabs and Muslims Has Consequences

Posted on July 10, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby While, as president, Donald Trump has worked to cultivate a relationship with Arab leaders, the antipathy towards Arabs and Muslims that he and his party have cultivated in recent years continues to have a worrisome impact on American public opinion and policy.   Recent polling conducted three weeks after Trump's summits in Saudi Arabia, establishes the persistence of a deep and disturbing partisan divide in American attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims. On many questions, the views of Democrats and Republicans are exactly the opposite of one another, with Republican attitudes toward the...

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Washington Watch: What an Italian American Leader Did for Arab Americans and for Me

Posted on July 01, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby Fred Rotondaro, an Italian American leader, died on June 26th. He was, by every measure, a remarkable man. On hearing of his passing, my brother John commented, "Fred was a creation God would be proud of. He was a smart, elegant man who never forgot where he came from".  To this I would add that I feel fortunate, because for nearly four decades Fred was my friend and my mentor.  When, in the 1970's and 1980's many in Washington refused to work with Arab Americans, Fred took me under his wing and taught me, often...

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Washington Watch: Protecting Egypt and Its Coptic Christians

Posted on June 24, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby In many ways, the future of Egypt will be shaped by how the government and the majority of Egyptians treat the country's minority Christian community. Will Egypt be an open, tolerant, and creative society? Or will it be closed and intolerant, looking backward? This is choice that Egyptians must make. A few months back I accepted an invitation to speak at a mid-June conference organized by Coptic Solidarity, a US organization. I did so because I was eager to address the challenges facing Egypt, in general, and its Coptic community, in particular. A...

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Washington Watch: What We Didn't Know or Chose to Ignore About the '67 War

Posted on June 17, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby In June of 1967, I was in the midst of my final weeks in college when the war broke out. At the time, I knew little about the Middle East, since I was more engaged in the anti-war and civil rights movements. And so as I watched the UN Security Council debates that preceded and followed the war, I saw what was unfolding through the prism of those struggles with which I was more familiar—the one in opposition to the war in Vietnam and the other for civil rights and justice in America. As...

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