Election Offers No Great Choices for Arab-Americans

Article excerpt

Byline: Ray Hanania

You would think the presidential election is an easy choice for Arab- and Muslim-American voters. It's not.

President Bush is responsible for undermining Middle East peace, diluting the war on terrorism to achieve anti-Arab and anti-Muslim goals, and undermining civil rights in America.

So what else is new in American politics?

Some Arabs and Muslims may waste a vote on Ralph Nader, the self-promoting spoiler who helped weaken Al Gore's candidacy four years ago. But while Bush is anti-Arab, so is the Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry.

Once again, America's presidential election will not be about which candidate supports Israel, but rather which supports Israel more.

When he addressed Arab-Americans last year, Kerry expressed concerns about the wall, which Israel calls a "fence" and the timid American media refer to as "the barrier." Weeks later, battered by pro-Israel lobbies, Kerry did an about-face and declared support for the "fence."

Kerry also said Palestinian President Yasser Arafat should be isolated. He declared Palestinians have no right of return to lands taken from them by Israel in 1948. And he believes Israel should keep many settlements. So, what's the point of negotiating?

Running mate John Edwards also has taken a hard-right turn on the Middle East. I participated in a conference call with him last year, and he expressed "moderate" views. But that changed, too, and he agrees with Kerry.

But this could all just be campaign rhetoric to win votes. Kerry and Edwards must choose sides between Jewish-American voters, and Arab and Muslim voters. Look at their choices.

Florida is a key state with significant Jewish-American votes. Though Jewish-Americans have diverse views, they are better able to come together when Israel is at stake. …