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State Department Denies Condoning Israeli Harrassment of Arab Americans

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of State assured the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) that it “does not condone the practices of the Government of Israel toward Arab Americans.”
The January 23rd letter from the State Department, addressed to ADC President Ziad Asali and Executive Vice President Khalil Jahshan, states that the Department has “protested the Israeli government’s treatment of Arab Americans on a number of occasions and will continue to do so.”
Elizabeth A. Kirincich, Director of the Office of American Citizen Services and Crisis Management at the State Department, was responding to a letter sent on January 15, 2003, to Secretary of State Colin Powell objecting to the language of a travel advisory issued by State on January 10, 2003, regarding travel to Israel and Palestine.
ADC found the language of the advisory objectionable because it appeared to condone arbitrary and unjustified restrictions placed on Arab Americans visiting or temporarily residing in the region.
For more information, please see NAAA-ADC’s Action Alert dated January 15, 2003 at: http://capwiz.com/adc/issues/alert/?alertid=1232956&type=AN
In her response to ADC’s concerns, Ms. Kirincich emphasized, “The safety and security of American citizens traveling or residing abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.”
She further stated that “The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem remain open and ready to assist American citizens with difficulties that they may encounter while in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza.”
ADC urges all Arab Americans who encounter serious difficulties due to acts of discrimination, harassment or other forms of mistreatment to report such incidents immediately to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and forward a copy of their report to the ADC National Office in Washington, for follow-up purposes.