From an interview with James Abourezk, the first Arab American Senator and founder of the AADC.
What would be your recommendations for changes in U.S. policy toward that region of the world?
The central problem is the illegal occupation of the Palestinians by the Israel’s army. The occupation is the driving force behind all of the violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The Palestinians are resisting, as most people under occupation would do.
To stop the occupation, one must put an end to the incentives provided to Israel that keep them occupying. Those incentives are the financial and political support provided to that occupation by the United States Congress and president, and the radical Zionists throughout the country. When American taxpayers’ money stops flowing to Israel, Israel will stop the occupation and pull back inside the 1967 borders, which will put an end to the conflict there.
As the founder of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee you must be concerned with the rising anti-Arab views in the United States.
The rhetoric of George W. Bush has fanned the flames of Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim hatred by lumping all Arabs together as terrorists. But he hoisted himself on his own petard which resulted in aborting the Dubai Ports deal. When he finally said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…“these Arabs are OKÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â no one believed him because he had been so anti-Arab up to the point.
Concerns over Arab and Muslim-based terrorism is at high levels. How do you see that threat? What would you recommend to combat it?
Terrorism does not exist in a vacuum. It does not come from thin air. It is a result of people who believe that their lives cannot be improved by occupation and that there is nothing left for them to do except to commit acts of terrorism. Professor Robert Pape has written a book, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…“Dying to Win,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â in which he displays the results of his study of suicide bombing. It is driven, not by religion, but by the presence of occupation troops in their lands.
The original terrorist groups in the Middle East were the Jewish terrorist groups, principally the Irgun and the Stern Gang.
To put an end to terrorism, one must put an end to illegal occupations.
How do you view your old place of employment, the U.S. Senate, is it responding to the needs of the American people? If not, why not?
It is not. There are only three or so U.S. Senators who are really performing the job as Senators ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Ted Kennedy, Russell Feingold and Bob Byrd. Occasionally we hear good things coming from Richard Durbin, but beyond those, there is nothing but ditto to whatever the Bush Administration wants. It is shameful watching so called leading Democrats supporting Bush in the Iraq War, or moving themselves so far to the center that they tilt rightward. There is a complete sell out to the corporations and to the Bush Administration, which is why the Democrats can get no traction nationally. The public can smell a sell out. As comedian Jackie Mason once said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…“If I want to vote Republican, I don’t need a middle man. I can it directly by myself.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â