Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Reinvigorated ADC Massachusetts Chapter Hears Pleas for Arab Unity at Home and Abroad

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Reinvigorated ADC Massachusetts Chapter Hears Pleas for Arab Unity at Home and Abroad

Article excerpt

Reinvigorated ADC Massachusetts Chapter Hears Pleas for Arab Unity at Home and Abroad

"I have always delined the ADC [American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee] as the ABC of the Arab Americans," Ambassador Clovis Maksoud of American University told an audience outside Boston on April 18. "Although other groups [of immigrants] faced discrimination...Arab Americans have a double jeopardy. Every new group was suspect and Arab Americans were targeted for a foreign policy issue."

A former ambassador of the Arab League to the United Nations and currently director of the Center for the Global South at American University, Maksoud made his comments before the Massachusetts Chapter of ADC. Held at St. John of Damascus Church in Dedham, Mass., the program was designed to raise political awareness among the estimated 260,000 Arab Americans living in Massachusetts.

Maksoud, who is also a lawyer and a former editor of the An-Nahar newspaper in Beirut, told the audience of more than 50 people that, although he deplored the persistent discrimination against Arabs, "there is an improvement, Arab accomplishments am being recognized."

He called "divisions among Arabs a myth" in order to distract them from exerting organized pressure to change U.S. Mideast policy.

In reference to highly publicized divisions between Christian and Muslim Arabs in Nazareth, which is inside Israel, Maksoud said, "Up to now, they got along, Christians and Muslims. They always considered themselves Arabs in Israel. The people of Nazareth sustained their unity and their cohesion."

Allowing deep divisions to emerge among the Palestinians could lead to disaster, he asserted. "If Nazareth goes the way Lebanon went for a little while," he said, "then there goes Jerusalem."

He appealed to Arab unity, both in America and overseas, "We are Arabs and we are discriminated against as Arabs," he said. "Whether in Algeria, whether in Lebanon, whether in Syria, our commitment is to human rights everywhere."

While he urged ADC to avoid any sectarian splits, Maksoud condemned the NATO attacks on Yugoslavia, which have been unpopular in the Orthodox Christian world but are supported by most Muslims.

"NATO is not equipped to take military action and not anticipate the consequences," he said. "We cannot afford to have these attacks on Yugoslavia."

He compared the bombing of Serbia to the attacks on Iraq and urged a diplomatic solution.

On the Middle East, Maksoud referred to the relationship between Zionism and the Holocaust. "Israel absolved the liberal West from the guilt of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, if the liberal West absolved Israel For its actions in Palestine," he said. …

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