The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee:
What the Record Reveals
I. Defending Hezbollah:
1. Asked by Geraldo Rivera, "How do you stand about Hezbollah and Hamas? Do you condemn them?," ADC spokesman Hussein Ibish said: "No. I think that Hezbollah fought a very good war against the Israelis, a guerrilla war..." (Rivera Live, CNBC, June 5, 2000)
2. "Everywhere Hezbollah fighters, derided by the Israeli and U.S. governments as 'terrorists,' conducted themselves in an exemplary manner...[They are] a disciplined and responsible liberation force."
--ADC spokesman Hussein Ibish, Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2000
3. "I find it shocking...that [one] would include Hezbollah in...[an] inventory of Middle East 'terrorist' groups...Hezbollah is a Lebanese resistance organization engaged in the legitimate defense of Lebanese land...[t]his hardly qualifies as terrorism."
--ADC president Hala Maksoud, Washington Times, Aug. 25, 1996
4. "We are all proud of the heroic resistance of its people and their steadfastness."
--ADC president Maksoud, referring to Hezbollah, ADC Times, June-July 1996
5. ADC president Hala Maksoud says she supports "the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance against occupation," and that Hezbollah is "a resistance organization engaged in the legitimate defense of Lebanese land."
6. The ADC has "campaigned against two 1997 amendments forbidding most financial transactions with state sponsors of terrorism."
--Commentary, Jan. 1999
II Defending Hamas
1. "I will not call it a terrorist organization. I mean, I know many people in Hamas. They are very respectable. They don't accept violence. And I don't believe Hamas, as an organization, is a violent organization."
--then-ADC president Hamzi Moghrabi, Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 27, 1994
2. "Most outrageous of all the allegations 'reported' by Symmes was his opinion that 'Hamas is a band of murderers'."
--then-ADC president Albert Mokhiber, Washington City Paper, June 11, 1993
3. "We strongly urge the United States not to extradite [senior Hamas leader] Dr. [Mousa] Abu Marzook to Israel..."
--ADC president Hala Maksoud, in an ADC press release, January 31, 1997
III. Accusing the U.S. of "Genocide"
1. "Embargoes and blockades are genocide." [From a "Children's March to the UN" leaflet, signed by ADC and other groups, advertising a July 1, 1998 rally]
2. Referred to "the genocidal effects of these sanctions on innocent Iraqi children, women and men"
--Letter, ADC president Hala Maksoud, Washington Post, February 15, 1997
3. "While there have been levels of non-compliance by Iraq, the regime has conformed with most of the requirements to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction."
--ADC press release, Nov. 9, 1997
4. "Ignoring this massive human suffering [in Iraq] is ultimately based on the racist premise that the lives of Iraqis are less than human."
--ADC Action Alert, October 22, 1997
5. "It is shocking that the US would again target the long-suffering Iraqi people with lawless missile attacks."
--ADC press release, January 25, 1999
IV. Anti-Semitic Statements
1. "You and I both know that Marlon Brando was quite right when he pointed out that Jews run Hollywood. The decision-makers, the play-callers, are Jews, completely out of proportion to their numbers.
--ADC Los Angeles president Donald Bustany, Jerusalem Report, Oct.17, 1996
2. "Some Jews ... seem to believe that God has chosen them. And, imbued with a strong resolve by that belief, [they have] appropriated the property of others under circumstances that the rest of the world recognizes as outright theft. Three thousand years ago the Jewish people--led by Moses, Joshua, King Saul and King David--took by force the land of the people of Canaan. In this century--still led by Moses in a sense--they took by force and some unsavory diplomacy the land of the Arabs of Palestine."
--ADC Los Angeles president Donald Bustany, Washington
Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1995
The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee Reveals Its True Colors. On Oct. 31, Imad Hamad, Michigan regional director of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (and the near-recipient of an FBI award), wrote a letter to the president of the Crestwood Board of Education in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, urging him to consider making the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha a school holiday in his district. After urging the president, Ron Panetta, to "thoroughly review this matter," Hamad went on:
Rushing into decisions that involve such sensitive issues might bring serious ramifications and unexpected unhealthy consequences. This is why, we further urge the school board not to individualize the issue, and jeopardize the position of any of the fine staff of the Dearborn Heights Public Schools.
Panetta understood this passage as an ultimatum ("There is no doubt in my mind that I was threatened and then he retracted the threat. How else do you interpret 'unhealthy consequences?' What does that mean to you?") but Hamad dismissed the matter as nothing more than a "bad choice of words" and unrepentantly explained to Panetta what happened in a second letter, dated Nov. 3:
ADC's sole intention was to further inquire into the matter and make sure that your board is aware of the highly sensitive nature of the situation. The reference in the letter to "serious ramifications and unexpected unhealthy consequences" was not meant as a threat, but simply was an effort to alert the district of the wrong message that might come across to the community if this matter were to become more political, rather than educational in nature.
Hamad then attempted to turn the tables on Panetta, reports today's Detroit News, by "asking municipal and school officials in Dearborn Heights to formally investigate Panetta's role in the entire affair. Both Hamad and [ADC] Deputy Director Rana Abbas say that at a school board meeting Tuesday night, attended by 150-200 people, officials distributed a copy of the first letter, but not the second."
This incident is most instructive, for in combination the threat, the lack of apology, and the attempt to punish Panetta all point to the barely contained thuggishness of the ADC. As I have argued about another member of the ADC staff, "the media, think tanks and politicians should consider [his] record and close their doors to someone so far removed from the mainstream of the American debate." The same advice also applies to Imad Hamad. (November 6, 2003)
Dec. 22, 2003 update: On a different topic entirely, Hamad today again showed his colors, and those of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee. Here he is, explaining to the Detroit Free Press why Arabs feel shame at the capture of Saddam Hussein: "You have to keep in mind that Saddam has been part of the region's history and political makeup for a long time. It's not easy for people to see someone who was so high up being treated this way."
Dec. 28, 2003 update: Another "interesting" statement by Imad Hamad. Asked by the Detroit News for a reaction to a new policy at the Detroit airport, starting in just over a week, to photograph and fingerprint most foreigners as part of an effort to improve border security, Hamad called the step "a waste of resources. It inconveniences visitors and will result in fewer visitors coming to the United States." Here's a challenge to Hamad and the ADC: name for me a counterterrorist step that you don't consider a "waste of resources" and an "inconvenience."
Feb. 3, 2004 update: The ADC's Michigan chapter continues to maintain its record of saying what the other, more subdued, ADC offices are presumably thinking. Today's e-mailed edition of "ADC Michigan News and Views," announces a community celebration on Feb. 5 "to celebrate the recent historical prisoner exchange between Hizbollah and the Israeli Government." (For my own views on this swap, decidedly less celebratory, see "Hezbollah's Victory, Israel's Decline.") This announcement is noteworthy because it refers to the traded Hezbollah terrorists and other assorted criminals as "heroes." Right: they are members of a group deemed a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" by the U.S. government and proscribed by U.S. law – but ADC calls them "heroes." I guess it's clear on which side ADC stands in the war on terror.
April 11, 2004 update: Back to Imad Hamad and his demand that public institutions close in commemoration of the Islamic holidays (i.e., where this entry began back in November 2003): today's Detroit News reports that Hamad believes closing government offices on Eid al-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha would "send a good message showing the unity that we like to sustain, and preserve, and advance in the city of Dearborn, the state of Michigan and in the country." To which City Councilman Thomas Tafelski replied: "The city of Dearborn will follow the state and federal holiday calendar, and until that changes, that's where I stand."