In One Week: From Highs to Lows in Washington

Posted on September 08, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby

During this past week in Washington, the political ideals to which we aspire ran head-on into the reality of the people we have become. It began with the memorial tribute to the late Senator John McCain, whose life was described as being motivated by bipartisan civility and commitment to the higher calling of service to country and fellow man. It ended with unsettling revelations of what an administration official described as a dysfunctional White House headed by a "petty", "vindictive", "off the rails" president. The rest of the week was filled with the partisan and profoundly...

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Mr. Trump, You Cannot Erase the Palestinian Right to Return

Posted on September 01, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby

First, the Trump Administration "took Jerusalem off the table." Now, in an especially dangerous display of recklessness, they have announced their intention to do the same for the Palestinian "right of return."  The first indication that this was in the works came  with the administration's announcement that they would be suspending all US assistance to UNWRA, the UN agency created to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians who were forced to flee from their homes in 1948 and again in 1967. More recently, the administration supported by some Republican members of Congress, launched an effort to...

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Washington Watch: Flashback 30 Years: Lessons to Learn, Work to Do

Posted on August 25, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby 

Thirty years ago, I mounted the podium of the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia to open the first ever political party debate on Palestinian rights. Looking out over the convention hall at our 1,500 delegate-supporters wearing "Palestine Lives" T-shirts and carrying "Statehood Now" placards,  I was overcome with emotion. I recalled earlier Democratic convention floor demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, in defense of farmworkers' rights, and in opposition to South African Apartheid and had always dreamed that one day there might be a similar manifestation of support for Palestinians. And there it was, right then,...

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Washington Watch: What About Israel's Airport Mistreatment of Arab Americans?

Posted on August 18, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby

This past week the New York Times ran an article, "Israeli Airport Detention of Prominent U.S. Jew Prompts Uproar," focusing on the airport harassment received by Peter Beinart, a prominent liberal writer and TV commentator. The article mentioned a number of other American Jews who were similarly detained and questioned about their political views regarding Israel's occupation policies.  While I was pleased that Israel's policy of airport interrogations was receiving critical attention, I was distressed that the article made no mention of how Israel has, for decades, meted out far harsher treatment to Arab Americans flying into...

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Washington Watch: Hype Versus Reality

Posted on August 11, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby 

Fifty years ago, when I was getting started in national politics, Ibrahim Abu Lughod, a friend and mentor, offered words of wisdom I never forgot. Although he read the New York Times every day (he called it his "daily drug"), he cautioned me not to be fooled or swayed by the ebb and flow of events as they are covered in the press. Instead, he insisted that it was important to keep focused on the long-view—the deep currents that pointed in the direction we were heading.

While Ibrahim was specifically referring to coverage of events...

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Washington Watch: The Struggle for Palestinian Rights: Then and Now

Posted on August 04, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby 

Forty years ago this month I left a tenured teaching position and moved to Washington, DC to run the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC). It wasn't easy doing Palestine work back then, and Washington was an especially inhospitable city in which to pursue my new vocation. Advocating for Palestinian rights can still be difficult, but so much has changed in the past four decades that I thought it might be useful to reflect on where we were in the 1970's and where we are today. Back then, major pro-Israel and establishment American Jewish organizations threw their full weight...

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Washington Watch: It Bears Repeating: Foolish Wars Have Consequences

Posted on July 28, 2018 in Washington Watch

By James J. Zogby 

Fifteen years ago, we were still in the early stages of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, "the war that would change everything." Looking at the Middle East today, I feel an overwhelming sadness as I consider the far-reaching and devastating impact that the Iraq war has had on my country and the region and its peoples.   Neo-conservatives had been aggressively pushing the Bush Administration to launch a war against Iraq beginning immediately after the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They argued that America needed to forcefully respond to the attacks in order to...

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Washington Watch: The "Jewish Nation-State" Bill

Posted on July 21, 2018 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby This past week by a vote of 62 to 55, Israel's Knesset passed legislation called "Israel as a Nation-State of the Jewish People." Heralding the passage of the bill, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as "a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the annals of the state of Israel...We have determined in law the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all its citizens."   In reaction, Israeli hardliners and their supporters in the US celebrated the...

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Arab American Institute v. Office of Mgmt. and Budget

Posted on June 15, 2018 in 2020 Census: Reaching An Accurate Count


On January 26, 2018, the Census Bureau announced that the 2020 Census would not include a new “Middle Eastern orNorthAfrican” category or use a combined question format. The decision is anegregious rejection of stakeholder interest that impedes the possibility of an accurate count.

The decision came after the Office of Management and Budget delayed a planned December release of recommendations regarding the standards for race and ethnicity data for federal agencies, which would affect the categories used in the decennial census. The failure to adopt an approach that we have worked on for more than three decades is irresponsible...

Rating the Response: Hate Crime Legislation, Reporting, and Data Collection in the United States

Posted by Arab American Institute on December 15, 2017 in Blog

Rating the Response: Hate Crime Legislation, Reporting, and Data Collection in the United States provides a clearinghouse for hate crime-related information pertaining to every state and the District of Columbia. You can use this resource to learn about the relevant legislative and regulatory commitments to address hate crime within your state. To get a better sense of where your state stands, we have developed a rating system to rank and compare states, while identifying weaknesses in their overall response to hate crime.

We have also provided information that...

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