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by Richard Coduri
Saturday, Jan. 10, 2004 at 7:16 PM
email@example.com Arab American Institute, 1600 K Street, NW Suite 601, Washington, DC 20006
"I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be like a blowout election in 2004." -- Pat Robertson
"Some of these Arab Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us." -- Congressman Howard Coble (R)
297 Days until Election Day 2004!
Thus Spoke Pat...
Well folks, it looks like we can cancel the election. The Associated Press reports that "Pat Robertson said Friday that God told him President Bush will be re-elected in a landslide." Speaking on his television program, the "700 Club" Robertson stated "I think George Bush is going to win in a walk." But this was no attempt at personal political prediction. Robertson cited no less of an authority than God as a basis for his augury: "I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be like a blowout election in 2004. It's shaping up that way."
He went on to say that "the Lord has just blessed him [President George W. Bush], I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it. It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad, God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him." According to the report, earlier in the broadcast, "Robertson had explained that he wanted to share 'some of the things that I believe the Lord was showing me as I spent several days in prayer.'"
Politically Correct or Correct Politically?
This story just won't die. Last year we told you about how North Carolina Congressman Howard Coble (R) responded to a caller on a radio program who suggested that Arab Americans, like Japanese Americans during World War II, should be put in internment camps by stating "We were at war. [Japanese Americans] were an endangered species. For many of these Japanese-Americans, it wasn't safe for them to be on the street. Some [Japanese Americans] probably were intent on doing harm to us, just as some of these Arab Americans are probably intent on doing harm to us."
His comments, of course, created an uproar, with many calling for Coble's resignation as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. It seems that the passage of time has done nothing to diminish the congressman's insensitivity. The Greensboro, North Carolina-based News & Record reported Coble stating in a recent interview: "In retrospect, I probably should have kept my trap shut in this era of political correctness."
Perles of Wisdom? Not Where I'm Frum!
The Forward reports that "two of Washington's most famed neoconservatives - David Frum and Richard Perle - have issued a stinging critique of America's fight against terrorism and are urging more aggressive action." The two have produced a book, "An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror," which calls "for universal biometric fingerprinting, immediate steps to bring about regime change in Iran and Syria, a military blockade of North Korea, a diplomatic approach that treats Saudi Arabia and France as rivals if not 'enemies' and a decreasing American involvement in the United Nations."
At home, Perle and Frum advocated "more intense policing of immigrants and citizens alike," and approved of the actions of a group of Portland, Oregon residents "who reported a neighbor to the authorities after he grew a beard, donned traditional Arab garb, and started attending a mosque. To help keep track of suspicious behavior, they call for all Americans to carry a 'national identification card' with information including 'retinal scans or DNA.'" The two also "argue that 'we must destroy regimes implicated in anti-American terrorism,' and provide a list of potential targets, including North Korea, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iran. 'We must move boldly against them...And we don't have much time.'" The End of Evil? Or one of its sources?
What's That You Say?
The Forward also reports that Senator John Kerry, "after jumping down Howard Dean's throat last fall when Dean suggested that America should pursue an 'evenhanded' policy in Middle East negotiations, used a similar phrase himself on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, according to a tape supplied by a rival campaign."
The tape catches Kerry responding to a statement from a woman claiming she was "speaking now for the Palestinian people." She stated that "the whole problem with the Mideast," is that "we have to get the Israelis out of the West Bank, and get two states and have some evenhandedness."
Kerry responded by saying 'Well, there has been evenhandedness. It may not be now, but I thought Bill Clinton did a brilliant job trying to move down the road." Kerry "went on to praise Israel as 'our friend' and 'our ally,' saying that the special relationship between the nations could be 'leveraged' to provide a 'fair-handed' deal."
Spokesperson for the Kerry campaign David Wade "argued in an e-mail response that Kerry wasn't really using the language in the same way that Dean had and then took aim at, you guessed it, Dean. 'John Kerry repeated a questioner's word back to her, he didn't agree with her,' Wade wrote. 'Here's how you can tell: Answering a hostile question from an activist who opposed John Kerry's pro-Israel stance, John Kerry defended the tradition of Democrats from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton who proudly took sides in the Middle East...In contrast, Howard Dean's own statements put him on the wrong side of those fundamental questions. To compare John Kerry's lifelong clear, vigorous support for Israel to Howard Dean's recklessness and indefensible judgment is laughable."
IDF Soldiers Jailed for Refusing to Serve in Occupied Territories
Reuters reports that five Israelis "who refused to do compulsory military service in protest against the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip were jailed for a year on Sunday, the first such sentences since the Palestinian revolt began three years ago." Haggai Matar, one of the jailed men, stated: "Every day troops commit crimes in the occupied territories. While we go to the stockade, they remain free." Furthermore, "the defendants, all men aged 20, promised more of the same, citing the growing number of military personnel refusing to serve.
Last month, 13 reservists from Israel's top commando unit said they would not take part in operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- their petition echoing a similar one submitted in September by 27 reserve and retired air force combat pilots. The protests by Israel's best and brightest sent ripples through the conscript force, which many would-be draftees already avoid serving in by pleading medical incapacity or religious objections." Another of the five jailed men, Shimri Tzameret, stated that "Ethical people will follow in our footsteps. The coming months will see other conscientious objectors like us undergoing this process."
Please go to http://www.awsummit.org/ to check out information about the upcoming Arab Western Summit of Skills (AWS), a first of its kind meeting of professional Arab and European/American individuals and institutions dedicated to promoting civic and economic infrastructure development in the Arab world. The Summit will be held in Berlin on January 17-18, 2004.
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