AN OPEN LETTER TO ADC MEMBERS AND FRIENDS

 by Safa Rifka

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Chair

I am writing to correct some of the misinformation and misunderstandings that have been circulated by some individuals recently who might be seeking to harm ADC and what it stands for.

It is not surprising that some of ADC's critics are members of other organizations who do not agree with our stand on Palestine or the issues of Civil Rights. These individuals and others have spread false and malicious rumors about ADC, our Convention, and have focused their criticism on me personally.

ADC is an American Organization; we are proud of our main mission and our accomplishments over the past 31 years: to protect the civil rights of people of Arab ancestry.

As a grassroots organization, ADC’s strength stems from its members and chapters across the land. We believe the democratic process at ADC ensures the vibrancy of the organization and provides an ever changing stream of experts and volunteers that lead and serve the community. The diversity of the organization stems both from its secular and non-partisan setup. Since its founding, by U.S. Senator James Abourezk, I have volunteered my time, energy and finances to ADC, and it has been a privilege to serve as Chair. At that time we were organized to challenge those who seek to deprive people of their civil and human rights. Today, we remain the largest Arab American group, with members nationwide working day in and day out for the same objectives. We have also strongly challenged policymakers, the media, cartoonists, filmmakers, etc. who might seek to demonize our people and others.

We believe when one group is discriminated against, so potentially are all groups! We knew all along, our mission would be controversial.

Our Annual Convention continues to welcome and host hundreds of notable speakers and prominent artists from all walks of life

With regard to our recent gathering and Mr. Jandali, here are the facts:

Neither ADC nor I condone the killing of innocent people whether in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, Palestine, or Syria, as some have claimed. Violence is humanity at its lowest and is never the answer nor can it be tolerated. To claim otherwise, as some have, is unconscionable.

The ADC invited Mr. Jandali to the 2011 Convention, just as we did at last year’s Helen Thomas Gala event. Sadly, a regrettable miscommunication between us led to his absence. Yet we immediately sought to resolve this misunderstanding by calling Mr. Jandali several times urging him to attend and to sing his song. He refused. Yet his rejection of our appeals did not stop us from playing his lovely song at the Convention. The ADC welcomed his song’s lyrics. All we had asked is that as a paid pianist, not to use ADC as a platform to air his political views.

While our detractors were busy attacking the ADC for that unfortunate incident, ADC was hard at work seeking to secure Temporary Protective Status [TPS] for hundreds of stranded Libyan students in the USA. Concurrently we were busy confronting the new wave of Islam-bashing at the recent Republican candidates debate and Peter King`s presumed future hearings.

I am confident that with your support our continued commitment to human and civil rights ADC will foil all attempts of those critics with a counter-agenda.

I call on all people of goodwill not only to ignore and refute the irresponsible, unsubstantiated falsehoods and allegations that have arisen, but to stand with ADC and its mission.

Incidents like this are bound to make us stronger and more resolute. The ADC will continue working diligently to protect the rights of people of Arab descent, indeed all people, whenever and wherever injustices take place.