ADC Condemns Attack on Arab-American State Department Staffer
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is appalled and outraged at demands by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) that the State Department purge one of its staff members because of his ethnicity and political views. ZOA President Morton Klein has demanded that Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs, Martin Indyk, remove one of his staff assistants, Joseph Zogby. Zogby, an Arab-American, has expressed sympathy for Palestinian human rights and criticism of Israeli policies which deny these rights. The ZOA claims that these views should “disqualify him from serving on the staff of U.S. government officials involved in shaping America’s Mideast policies.”
The ZOA and its apologists are engaged in an undisguised attack on a government employee based on his political views, which they have shamelessly distorted with out-of-context quotations, and his ethnicity. It is an open effort to silence all voices that might deviate from the “Israel-can-do-no-wrong” dogma, and to exclude any Arab-American input into U.S. policy making on the Middle East, which is heavily dominated by pro-Israel figures.
The ZOA has a long history of using McCarthyite tactics to advance its extremist pro-Israel agenda. ZOA led the 1998 campaign to block the hiring of the distinguished Holocaust scholar John Roth as director of research at the Holocaust Memorial Museum because he had expressed sympathy for Palestinian human rights. ZOA’s successful attempt to bully the Smithsonian Institution into excluding any hint of criticism of Israeli policies from its “Israel at 50” program, was aptly described by Anthony Lewis in the New York Times as “Jewish McCarthyism.” ZOA President Klein has condemned Mike Wallace, Thomas Friedman, Strobe Talbot, Martin Indyk and Pete Seeger, to mention but a few, as “anti-Israel.”
It is now clearly up to the State Department to launch a clear, unequivocal and public endorsement of Joseph Zogby’s right to his political opinions. Arab-Americans have been systematically excluded from input into U.S. Middle East policy. As a result, this policy has for too long been one-sided and ineffective.
ADC demands that Arab-Americans be included in the U.S. policy making process on Mideast affairs, both for the sake of fairness and in the interest of developing a more constructive, even-handed and effective policy. We also insist that the government take steps to ensure that its staff will not be subjected to witch-hunts on the basis of their political beliefs.