Washington, DC | www.adc.org | July 14, 2014 - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) will not be attending this year’s government iftars and calls upon members of the Arab and Muslim communities to join us in the boycott, including tonight’s White House Iftar hosted by President Barack Obama, given the government’s condoning of the current slaughter of Palestinians in Palestine and the spying of American Arabs and Muslims domestically.
In the government’s silence, Israel is committing a massacre in Palestine with the possibility of an all-out ground assault. Our American tax dollars have contributed to over 100 civilian casualties as of Monday morning, of which 70% are estimated by the United Nations to be women and children. This deplorable situation, brought on by Israel’s U.S.-sanctioned illegal occupation of Palestine, has received no direct action from President Obama. Yet, as this humanitarian crisis continues abroad, we do not believe it is appropriate to attend iftar dinners sponsored by government agencies while lives are being lost.
Further, Glenn Greenwald recently revealed the names of some of the Arab and Muslim community leaders and organizations on which the National Security Agency unlawfully spied. The government’s indiscriminate and ongoing criminalization of the community should not be condoned by a single member of it. We ask that all government iftar invitees stand together on behalf the community and reject the normalization of the continuous breach of our fundamental rights.
Political engagement is important and having a seat at the table is crucial — but only when that seat is intended to amplify our voice as a community, not tokenize or subdue it.
Since its founding in 1980, ADC has continuously engaged with the government on substantive policy issues. This engagement is intended to provide the community an opportunity to shape both domestic and foreign policy initiatives. Although not always successful, this engagement is important to ensure the voice of the community is heard.
In lieu of this year’s government iftars, ADC asks that senior officials take immediate steps to end Israel’s current military operation in Palestine and abolish the problematic practices of the NSA regarding the illegal surveillance of our community.
If President Obama and the U.S. government truly seek to empower and connect with the Arab and Muslim communities, they must provide a forum for such dialogue to take place. While our request for a meeting with Secretary of State John F. Kerry continues to be ignored, we ask that senior officials meet with the community to discuss these important issues. Government iftars, such as the White House Iftar, are highly politicized events that will be taking place in the shadow of the government’s lack of representation of the community, and will provide no room for this productive dialogue.