Pitzer College and the Struggle for Real Academic Freedom

Posted on March 23, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

On March 14th, the College Council, the governing body of Pitzer College in California, overwhelmingly passed (67-28) a resolution suspending its relationship with the University of Haifa until Israel ended its policy of restricting entry on the basis of "legally protected political speech or race or ancestry." The resolution had earlier been approved by the both student body and the faculty.     Within a few hours of the College Council's vote, Pitzer's President took the unprecedented step of vetoing the resolution creating a crisis of confidence between the college's governing body and its chief administrator.

In...

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Challenging the Presidential Candidates to Discuss the Middle East in Iowa, 2020

Posted on March 16, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

IOWA CITY, IOWA – I'm writing from Iowa where I've been speaking to audiences of activists and helping to organize "Concerned Iowans for Middle East Peace (CIMEP)" – a coalition committed to Palestinian human rights and a just Middle East peace. If you care about politics and policy, Iowa's the place to be. It's not just that Iowa is the first state to vote in the presidential election cycle. It's because of the way politics are done in this state and the seriousness with which Iowans engage in this process.   When they vote, Iowans don't pull...

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The Shameful Attack that Backfired

Posted on March 09, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

What happened to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was troubling. On the one hand, because she dared to challenge the way supporters of Israel have worked to silence debate on US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she became a victim of incitement, and the target of legislation meant to shame her. At the same time, however, the heavy-handed tactics employed against her by some pro-Israel members of Congress backfired, exposing new fault lines in the US-Israel relationship. The weapon of choice utilized by Omar's opponents was to demonize her as an anti-Semite. Her "sin,” it appears, was her...

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"You Can Fool Some of the People"

Posted on March 02, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

Among Abraham Lincoln's many notable traits and extraordinary accomplishments are the pithy quotations he bequeathed to posterity that speak to his wisdom and understanding of human nature. One of my favorites is "You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." There have been many occasions when I have referred back to this piece of Lincoln wisdom since Donald Trump first began his race for the White House. Following his election as...

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A Challenge to the West

Posted on February 23, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

In 1971, my family and I spent some time in London on our way to and from Lebanon where I was going to visit family and to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation. It was my first time outside of the US and so, while in the UK, I read as many of the British dailies as I could get my hands on. I did so because I wanted to know about the events that shaped daily life and understand how people in that city viewed the world. 

As it turned out, 1971 was...

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Game Over!

Posted on February 16, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

Hardline supporters of Israel are in panic mode. It was in evidence earlier this week with the all-out assault on the first Somali, African-born immigrant, refugee, Muslim woman elected to serve in the US Congress. Her crime was that she dared to point out, as a leading New York Times columnist and so many others have in the past, the intimidating role that AIPAC plays in shaping US policy toward Israel. The response was nearly hysterical.

Republicans used her as a scapegoat, hoping to turn her into a wedge issue to show that Democrats could no longer...

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Why the Events Surrounding Pope Francis' UAE Visit Were So Important

Posted on February 09, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

This past week, I delivered one of the opening addresses at a conference in Abu Dhabi dedicated to creating understanding and building relationships and mutual respect among the world's religious leaders. The conference coincided with Pope Francis' historic visit to the United Arab Emirates and his signing with the Sheikh al Azhar, Ahmed al Tayyeb, of a document committing them both to working to build "Human Fraternity."  I was pleased to have been there and to have had the opportunity to participate in these events –because if I had to rely on the Washington Post's...

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As the 2020 Presidential Contest Begins, Democrats Need to Refocus

Posted on February 02, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

We’re off to the races - the 2020 presidential races, that is. Since the beginning of the year, at regular intervals, new candidates have been coming forward to announce their intention to compete for the presidency. Some are interesting and/or exciting, while others frankly leave me scratching my head and asking “What are they doing? How on earth do they think they’re going to be elected?”  

While reading reports on the proposed strategies and “visions” of these fledgling presidential aspirants, I have been struck by two quotes that are important because they define two fundamentally flawed...

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Michelle Alexander Has Opened a Door, We Must Work to Keep It Open

Posted on January 26, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

This past Sunday, the New York Times featured on the front page of its "Week in Review" section a major column by Michelle Alexander - "Time to Break the Silence on Palestine." It was, by any measure, an important article because of who wrote it, where it appeared, and its breathtaking indictment of both Israel's history of violations of Palestinian rights and the silence of US policymakers to address these outrageous behaviors.  As a renowned civil rights attorney and author of the best-selling "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," Alexander's voice...

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A Weakly Inflated Trial Balloon

Posted on January 19, 2019 in Washington Watch

By Dr. James J. Zogby

This week a well-known Israeli journalist revealed what he said were "new details about the Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan." His report, he said, came from notes he had obtained from an American Jewish leader who had been part of a small group of community leaders briefed by a "senior Administration official" just two weeks earlier. Since I had heard about the briefing and anticipated the "expected leak," I began reading, preparing to be outraged. Instead I found my reaction to be somewhere between bored and amused by the content. At the same time, I...

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