Washington Watch: Elevating Palestinians

Posted on March 25, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby It was 40 years ago that I co-founded the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) and wrote "Palestinians, the Invisible Victims". I was concerned that in the American mind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been reduced to a simple equation: Israeli humanity versus the Palestinian problem. When most Americans thought of the conflict they were able imagine Israelis as people just like us. They were parents who loved their families. They wanted what we wanted—peace, prosperity, and a chance to watch their children grow and realize their dreams. They had names and faces. They experienced...

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Washington Watch: No "Great Deal" on the Horizon

Posted on March 18, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby It looks like the Trump Administration has come to agree with the conclusion reached by every US President and Central Command Chief since the Gulf War of 1991—that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is necessary to promote regional security and US strategic interests in the Middle East.  When viewed this way, the struggle for justice for Palestinians becomes not an end in itself, rather it is the price to be paid so that the US can successfully consolidate its regional allies in order to confront threats to stability, whether from Saddam's Iraq, revolutionary Iran,...

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Washington Watch: Trump's Executive Order Is an Existential Threat to America

Posted on March 11, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby This week President Donald Trump issued a revised Executive Order (EO or Order) restricting immigration from six majority Muslim countries and more than halving the US refugee program. This version includes some significant changes: it is more carefully written; it removes Iraq from the list of countries falling under the ban; and it exempts those with green cards and valid visas. Nevertheless, it remains a false, dangerous, cruel, arbitrary, and bigoted assault on Muslims and the very idea of America as an open, welcoming society. The EO is based on the false premise...

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Washington Watch: Disappointed, But Not Distraught

Posted on March 04, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby Like many other progressives, I was disappointed that Congressman Keith Ellison lost the election to be the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez. I was disappointed, but not distraught. Here's why. It was clear from the outset that Keith wouldn't have an easy go of it. The party insiders, operatives, and major corporate donors were never going to surrender the reins of control without a fight. During the course of the campaign, the Congressman was subjected to deeply disturbing and even vicious attacks. Some disgustingly...

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Washington Watch: Saudi Arabia is Changing

Posted on February 25, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby Something is happening in Saudi Arabia. The country is undergoing real change. Many commentators have written about it, but in some instances their observations have been based on a one-off visit comparing what they've just seen with the biases they've learned—without context or history. I am by no means an expert on Saudi Arabia, but as someone who has visited the country over four dozen times in the past four decades and who has been able to conduct polling across the Kingdom for the past decade and a half, I want to share...

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Washington Watch: Trump/Netanyahu Meet: an Exercise in Fawning, Fantasy, and Anti-Palestinian Incitement

Posted on February 18, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with US President Donald Trump was overshadowed by dramatic and unsettling events that preceded and followed their perfectly bizarre press conference.   The week began with the forced resignation of White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and revelations of extensive communications between Trump campaign aides and Russian intelligence—revealing a White House in disarray, operating under a dark cloud of suspicion. The day after the Trump/Netanyahu joint press event was dominated by reactions to Trump's solo press conference—an unprecedented incoherent and, at times, paranoid affair that left...

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Washington Watch: The US-Arab Relationship in the "Age of Trump"

Posted on February 11, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby As U.S. President Donald Trump and Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei trade barbs, a nervous Arab World is caught in the middle.   Earlier this week Iran's Supreme Leader made headlines thanking President Trump for "revealing the true face of America." While much of Ayatollah Khamenei's criticism was directed at the Administration's hardline policy and threat to "put Iran on notice," he zeroed in on the disastrous White House Executive Order and its impact on refugees and immigrants and visitors from seven majority Muslim countries. At one point, in his remarks Khamenei, speaking...

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Washington Watch: Trump Justifies Executive Orders with Exaggerations Grounded in Bias

Posted on January 28, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby By now, Donald Trump's penchant for exaggeration and self-promotion has become well-established. Whether born of a form of pathological narcissism or just plain hucksterism, his need to claim that everything he does is the biggest and best is unsettling and, at times, embarrassing. Most troubling is the concern that Mr. Trump may actually believe his non-factual boasts –that because his ego is so needy he cannot accept reality. This is clearly not a comforting quality for a Commander-in- Chief. During his first week in office, this weakness has been on full public...

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Washington Watch: What Will Donald Trump Do?

Posted on January 21, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby When Donald Trump shows up for work next week, it's anyone's guess as to what he will do. Over the past month, many reporters have asked me "what do you think Trump will do and what are you most concerned about?". My simple answer has been "I know what worries me most, but I have no idea what he'll do because I don't think he knows either".   During the campaign, Trump promised a boatload of dramatic initiatives and actions. After winning, many have been substantially changed or just disappeared. Hillary Clinton isn't...

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Washington Watch: Don’t Mess with Jerusalem

Posted on January 14, 2017 in Washington Watch

by James J. Zogby In just a matter of days, President-elect Donald Trump will have to decide on whether or not to make good on his promise to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As we approach Inauguration Day, liberal and conservative commentators, alike, have offered a number of ideas as to how he can proceed. Ranging from "too cute by half" to just plain dumb, they should all be rejected. More to the point, all of the proposals I have seen focus exclusively on Israeli concerns, ignoring or giving short shrift to...

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