Arab lobby in the United States

Arab lobby in the United States

The Arab lobby in the United States is a collection of formal and informal groups that lobby the public and government of the United States on behalf of Arab interestsMark N. Katz, [http://www.metimes.com/Opinion/2006/07/03/viewpoint_where_is_the_arab_lobby/1650/ Viewpoint: Where is the Arab lobby?] Middle East Times.] and/or on behalf of Arab-American rights in the United States. [http://www.aaiusa.org/foundation/358/arab-americans Arab Americans by Helen Samhan] , originally published in the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.] Joseph Puder, [http://www.thebulletin.us/site/news.cfm?newsid=18823821&BRD=2737&PAG=461&dept_id=576361&rfi=6 The Arab Lobby Can't Buy Support] , The Bulletin, Philadelphia, September 17, 2007.]

Origins

Isaiah L. Kenen, the founder of American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs or "AZCPA" (which became American Israel Public Affairs Committee or "AIPAC"), wrote of the Arab lobby's roots in the 1950s "petro-diplomatic complex" that comprised the "oil industry, missionaries, and diplomats." In 1951 King Saud of Saudi Arabia asked U.S. diplomats to finance a pro-Arab lobby to counter AZCPA." [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/lobby.html The Israeli and Arab Lobbies] ", Mitchell Bard, Jewish Virtual Library, published 2006, accessed August 26 2006.]

The National Association of Arab-Americans ("NAAA"), founded in 1972, was a political advocacy group whose goals were "to strengthen U.S. relations with Arab countries and to promote an evenhanded American policy based on justice and peace for all parties in the Middle East." [ [http://www.cafearabica.com/organizations/org12/orgnaaa.html CafeArabica.com page on NAAA.] ] In the early 1970s there was growing anti-Arab sentiment related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the 1973 oil embargo, leading to government investigations, executive orders, and legislative provisions to combat terrorism. These especially impacted on Arab American rights and activism. The response was the creation of groups like the [http://www.aaug-asq.org/ Association of Arab-American University Graduates] , the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Arab American Institute.

For many years these groups worked together on the Palestinian issue, including through newspaper, direct mail and advertising campaigns against U.S. loan guarantees to Israel and states' purchase of Israel bonds, condemnation of Israeli human rights and calls for the U.S. government to pressure Israel, as well anti-Israel protests and letter-writing campaigns. They also offered testimony to congress and criticized Israel's congressional and organizational supporters, sought to pass anti-Israel resolutions in state and national party platforms; offering anti-Israel testimony before Congress and attempted to sue Israel in U.S. courts. After the Palestine Liberation Organization had reached an agreement with Israel, there was some division among the groups, however they continue to lobby for Palestinians. [Michael Lewis, [http://www.meforum.org/article/372 Israel's American Detractors - Back Again] , Middle East Quarterly, December 1997.]

Formal Arab lobby

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) was started in 1980 by United States Senator James Abourezk. It is the largest Arab-American grassroots civil rights organization in the United States. Former US Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar is the current president. ADC is at the forefront in addressing anti-Arabism - discrimination and bias against Arab Americans. It also advocates a more balanced US policy towards the Middle East. [ [http://www.adc.org American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee web page] ]

The Arab American Institute ("AAI"), founded in 1985 by James Zogby, is a non-profit, membership organization and advocacy group based in Washington D.C. that focuses on the issues and interests of Arab-Americans nationwide. The organization seeks to increase the visibility of Arab-American involvement as voters and candidates in the American political system. It issues "Action Alerts" and encourages individual lobbying and participation in an annual national lobby day. It has promoted actively professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. [ [http://www.aaiusa.org/press-room/3431/walt-and-mearsheimer-to-appear-on-viewpoint-this-thursday You can still watch Walt and Mearsheimer on 'Viewpoint'] on the AAI website.]

Power of lobby

James Zogby in a 2007 State Department Foreign Press Center Briefing denied Arab Americans lobby for Arab governments. He told an audience: "There are many Arab lobbies. Each Arab government hires lobbyists to do their work for them. And we Arab Americans are not an Arab lobby. I think that the thing in the Jewish community that's interesting is that the Jewish community is supportive of Israel and the Israeli Government works very closely with elements in the American Jewish community around a convergence of ideas and issues and interests, and that has created the sense of an Israel lobby." [ [http://fpc.state.gov/fpc/95931.htm Arab Americans and the Middle East Policy in the 2008 U.S. Elections] , Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, Foreign Press Center Briefing, November 29, 2007.]

Mitchell Bard of the Jewish Virtual Library writes that "from the beginning, the Arab lobby has faced not only a disadvantage in electoral politics but also in organization." Academics Ali A. Mazrui and Nabeel A. Khoury have also written about the virtual non-existence of an Arab lobby in America. [See Ali A. Mazrui, “Between the Crescent and the Star Spangled Banner: American Muslims and U.S. Foreign Policy,” International Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 3 (July 1996), 493-506; Nabeel A. Khoury, “The Arab Lobby: Problems and Prospects,” Middle East Journal, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Summer 1987), 379-396; Andrea Barron, “Jewish and Arab Diasporas in the United States and Their Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy,” in Yehuda Lukacs and Abdalla M. Battah, eds., The Arab Israeli Conflict: Two Decades of Change (London: Westview, 1988), 238-259.]

ee also

*Lobbying in the United States
*Diaspora politics in the United States
*Ethnic interest groups in the United States
*Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries
*United States oil politics
*"" (book)
*Israel lobby in the United States
*The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

References


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