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News :: Environment
Dirty political games in the 2004 campaign
19 Dec 2003
An anonymous email campaign is circulating. With the subject line of "Jews Beware" it characterizes Howard Dean as anti-Israel: "I urge you that if you have any love for America and Israel you should not and cannot vote for Howard Dean."
COUNTDOWN to ELECTIONS 2004
A regular update on Arab American issues
December 19, 2003

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?
Well, faithful readers, yet another year of Countdown comes to a close with the publication of this issue. And what a year it's been! In just 12 short months we've seen the emergence of Howard Dean, the fall of Saddam Hussein, the resurrection of Al Gore, and the rise, fall, and rise again of George W. Bush. And 2004 promises to be equally newsworthy. The Democratic primary season kicks off in January, followed quickly by both party conventions in the summer and then Election Day in November! We'll sure be busy here at Countdown! So thanks for another year of faithful readership. We'll see you in 2004!

What Exactly IS the Definition of "Evenhanded"
Once again, the much-maligned meaning of "evenhanded" has come under scrutiny. An anonymous email with the subject line "Jews Beware" has been circulating recently, which characterizes Howard Dean as anti-Israel, stating that if he's elected, the U.S. "will no longer support Israel the way it has in the past... In his own words he will insist that the United States be 'even handed.' This is a term regularly employed by Arafat and his coterie of adherents that means to be anti-Israel!!" The email goes on to say, "I urge you that if you have any love for America and Israel you should not and cannot vote for Howard Dean." According to Webster's Dictionary, "evenhanded" means fair or impartial. Yet somehow, in regards to the Palestinians, it has come to mean both fair and unfair.

O Little Town of... Jerusalem
Recently President Bush waived the implementation of the "Jerusalem Embassy Act," a provocative piece of 1995 legislation that calls for the U.S. embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As part of the Act, the president has the option to waive the move if he deems it contrary to U.S. national security interests. In waiving the Act, President Bush kept in line with previous presidential policy, as former President Clinton also used the waiver option. But presidential candidate Congressman Dick Gephardt (D-MO), apparently intent on pouring fuel on the smoldering fire that is the Middle East, has called on President Bush to move the embassy. Anybody got a match?

Pat Robertson and Bob Dornan: A Sarcastic Writer's Dream
Truly, what would we at Countdown do without folks like Pat Robertson and Bob Dornan to make our work so easy? Check out what Robertson had to say recently: "Make no mistake about it - the entire world is being convulsed by a religious struggle. The fight is not about money or territory; it is not about poverty versus wealth; it is not about ancient customs versus modernity... No - the struggle is whether... Allah, is Supreme, or whether the Judeo-Christian Jehovah God of the Bible is Supreme." And how about former Congressman Bob Dornan's recent comments when asked "How could you actually as an elected official in a country that embraces separation of church and state make pro-Jesus Christ and anti-Islam statements?" Dornan responded "Why? All you've heard is pro-Islamic statements for the last three months. It's not wrong... you ought to study the two men. Study Jesus Christ, a man of peace, and study Mohammed, a man of war."Dornan is running to replace Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in 2004... I wonder if they saved his padded office for him. Robertson and Dornan would do well to listen to President Bush, who recently noted that we all pray to the same God, or to the words of Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) at AAI's National Leadership Conference: "We meet here today, not as Muslims, or Christians, or Jews, not as people of Arab or European decent, or African or Asian decent. Of course, we are proud to be all of those things, but we are much more than that. We are Americans. We are children of the same God, and of the same father, Abraham. We are quite literally brothers and sisters." Amen, brother.

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Breaux
There's a possibility that Arab American Congressman Chris John (D-LA) may be running against Louisiana Attorney General and fellow Arab American Richard Ieyoub (D) for the Democratic nomination to run for the seat of retiring Louisiana Senator John Breaux (D). Could it be that it will be bro versus bro to replace Breaux?

What Child Is This?
This week we received a response to a piece in our last edition entitled "Oh, C'mon! People Just don't DO This" from one of our readers who related a very disturbing story. Apparently, some students have been scheduled for an upcoming trip to visit the White House. A few weeks ago, however, the school received word from the White House that those 12-year-olds who are not American citizens, regardless of their status, were not allowed to come to the White House with their classmates. After serious complaints from the school, the White House relented, and allowed the non-citizen students to come, but with conditions.

Groups Challenge Use of Local Law Enforcement to Enforce Immigration Regulations
According to the New York Times, the "Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are unlawfully using a national crime database to get local police departments to enforce civil immigration laws, lawyers who have assembled a federal class-action lawsuit against the practice said yesterday. The lawsuit... is the first to challenge the addition of civil information about thousands of noncitizens to the National Criminal Information Center database, which the FBI uses to notify law enforcement agencies about people wanted for crimes. Immigration violations, like staying in the country after a visa has expired, can lead to deportation but are not criminal matters and have traditionally been the responsibility of federal agents. Congress has neither authorized nor required local police agencies to routinely arrest people for such violations, and a bill that would do so has drawn unexpectedly strong opposition from many police departments... Advocates for immigrants argue that it would undermine local crime-fighting by making immigrants even more fearful of reporting crimes or helping with police investigations. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit... contend that Attorney General John Ashcroft, Homeland Security and the FBI are misusing the database." Surely you jest!

Heard Around Town...
Last Friday, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 1828, the "Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003." Upon its signing, President Bush issued a statement, which in part states: "The Act is intended to strengthen the ability of the United States to conduct an effective foreign policy.

Section 5 of the Act purports to impose upon the President requirements to take certain actions against Syria unless the President either determines and certifies to the Congress that the Government of Syria has taken specific actions, or determines that it is in the national security interest of the United States to waive such requirements and reports the reasons for that determination to the Congress. A law cannot burden or infringe the President's exercise of a core constitutional power by attaching conditions precedent to the use of that power. The executive branch shall construe and implement section 5 in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs and as Commander in Chief, in particular with respect to the conduct of foreign diplomats in the United States, the conduct of United States diplomats abroad, and the exportation of items and provision of services necessary to the performance of official functions by United States Government personnel abroad... My approval of the Act does not constitute my adoption of the various statements of policy in the Act as U.S. foreign policy. Given the Constitution's commitment to the Presidency of the authority to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs, the executive branch shall construe such policy statements as advisory, giving them the due weight that comity between the legislative and executive branches should require, to the extent consistent with U.S. foreign policy."

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See also:
http://www.aaiusa.org

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Comments

AAI works for extremist Arabs only
30 Dec 2003
It is weird from the AAI to claim talking about the Arab countries while ignoring the Syrian Occupation of Lebanon...
Is it allowed for Arab countries to occupy other Arab countries?

In the Past 25 years:
Under Syrian occupation the population of Lebanese in Lebanon decreased by 5%..

On the other hand the Palestinian population increased by 20% (in both Palestinian and Israeli territories)

So why did not we hear the AAI denouncing the Syrian Baath regime?

The so-called Arab American institute does not care for Arabic causes... They only care for what the extremist and racist Arabs want, and they ignore what the pro-democracy nations in Arab countries want.

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Syrian regime practices ethnic cleansing in occupied Lebanon

Yes. In one of the most terrifying scenes of the modern history: the Syrian regime has been working on changing the ethnic and religious demography of Lebanon by replacing its people. Since 1990, Syrian occupation of Lebanon has forced more than 35% of the Lebanese to leave their country. Meanwhile the Syrian-appointed government in Lebanon naturalized around half a million Syrians and Palestinians that is equal to 20% of the Lebanon population. The Syrian regime hence started inserting ‘new’ Lebanese. Syrian troops in Lebanon protect around 1.5 million Syrian illegal workers (that is about half the population of Lebanon), which forces Lebanese to abandon their country. This mass displacement project is accompanied with regular persecution, arresting, kidnapping, torturing and assassinating of the Lebanese.
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We Lebanese from all ethnic groups; Arabs, Phoenicians and Armenians, and from all religions Christians , Muslims and Jews reject the Syrian occupation for Lebanon.
We Support the American Sanctions against Syria to force its fascist regime to stop its barbaric acts against the Lebanese people. We rejected before the Israeli occupation for our land as well.
Syrian ethnic cleansing in occupied Lebanon The Syrian regime has been working on changing the ethnic and religious demography of Lebanon by replacing its people. Since 1990, Syrian occupation of Lebanon has forced more than 35% of the Lebanese to leave their country. The Syrian-appointed government in Lebanon naturalized around half a million Syrians and Palestinians that is equal to 20% of the Lebanon population

This mass displacement project is accompanied with regular persecution, arresting, kidnapping, torturing and assassinating of the Lebanese.

For more about what the pro-democracy Syrians want:
http://www.reformsyria.com

for more about the regimes supported by the Arab American Institute:
http://www.2la.org/syria/