California Congressman Decries "Malevolent" Anti-Islam Tactics

By Twair, Pat; Twair, Samir | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 31, 1994 | Go to article overview

California Congressman Decries "Malevolent" Anti-Islam Tactics


Twair, Pat, Twair, Samir, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


California Congressman Decries "Malevolent" Anti-Islam Tactics

"Now that Communism has been defeated, some say the next great menace to the world is Islam. This is a heinous and malevolent tactic," stated Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. The Southern California Republican was addressing more than 40 members of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Arab Americans at a brunch in the Huntington Beach home of Dr. Paul and Susan Qaqunda.

"I think the greatest threat to Arab Americans is the notion that the Western world is inherently at war with Islam," he said. "There are two groups whom it's okay to portray as evil: the Arabs and the Germans. To cast Arabs only as terrorists in motion pictures is unfair, and this negative stereotyping should be addressed."

"The greatest threat to Arab Americans is the notion that the Western world is inherently at war with Islam."

The former speech writer for President Ronald Reagan said the specter of Islam versus the West has been used to withhold American intervention in Bosnia. "If the Serbs won't remove their tanks, then we should give the ultimatum that we will eliminate the arms embargo on the Muslim Bosnians and bomb Serbian military bases as well as electricity plants and bridges," he stated.

Representative Rohrabacher theorized that a deal has been cut and the centuries-old Serbian paranoia that the Muslims are seeking a toehold in Europe may have achieved its goal in that there might no longer be a Bosnia.

The congressman expressed surprise when he heard during his introduction by Adeeb Sadd that the book Stealth PACs states he has accepted "no more than $250" from pro-Israel political action committees.

"I wasn't aware I'd received any money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee," he said. "The important thing is any funds received from a lobby won't influence my vote." (Technically, the congressman is correct, since AIPAC, as an organization registered to lobby Congress on behalf of Israel, is prohibited by law from making direct campaign contributions. To circumvent this, AIPAC officers have set up a network of deceptively named political action committees. AIPAC illegally coordinates the donations of these PACs, according to the book. The book's assertion subsequently has been confirmed by a finding of the Federal Election Commission in Washington, DC.)

Representative Rohrabacher, who is serving his third term representing California's 45th district, pointed out that Irish, Greek, Vietnamese and Armenian Americans all have agendas and he's willing to hear from them.

Concerning the Middle East, Rep. Rohrabacher was much more optimistic than his audience. Commenting that all of his decisions on the Middle East are based on what is right for the United States, the solon said he foresees adjustments on borders that could result in a confederation between the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan. "Eventually, this could become the state of Palestine," he said.

In response to a query as to why the U.S. should send an annual $3 billion military and economic aid package to Israel now that the Middle East seems to be on the threshold of peace, Rep. Rohrabacher said: "I don't believe in sending foreign aid anywhere. I've voted against the foreign aid bill for the past four years."

On the question of lifting the U.S. ban on travel to Lebanon for American citizens, Rep. Rohrabacher said the government does not want another hostage situation and it should be made clear that any Americans who go there are doing so at their own risk.

NAAA member Florence Richards stated that, as a non-Arab, she is appalled that Zionists use the Bible and the Holocaust to justify driving Palestinians off their own land. Peace hopes are growing dim because Palestinians still are being killed, she said.

"There are people on both sides who don't want peace, and there are people on both sides who do," Representative Rohrabacher replied.

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