The Emerging Arab-American Political Constituency

The Emerging Arab-American Political Constituency

  • 8 June 1999

US policy toward the Middle East is a function of both national interests and politics. By politics here we mean: the ability 1) to shape ideas and, therefore, to win the public debate over the formulation of policy; 2) to wield electoral political power (through the organization of money and votes the central ingredients in US elections); and 3) to attain positions of influence within the decision-making process.

This role of politics has been fully understood by the pro-Israeli factions of the Jewish-American community, who have, for 70 years, worked to shape US foreign policy in support of Israel’s needs.

Arab-Americans, having only recently jelled as an organized US ethnic constituency, have taken up the task of creating a counterweight to this pro Israel pressure. In order to secure their role, Arab-Americans have had to organize as a self-identified “Arab-American” community, develop a community consensus on issues, combat efforts to exclude them from full involvement in US politics and engage themselves fully on all levels of the political process.

After 20 years of work, Arab-Americans can point to several important achievements: Arab-Americans have taken decisive steps toward ending political exclusion; After just 20 years of organization, they have built a community that self-identifies as Arab-American; They have succeeded in building a recognizable electoral base; and They have built national and local organizations and institutions that not only work to meet community needs, but can address community concerns, both foreign and domestic.

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Tuesday 8 June 1999

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Tuesday 8 June 1999

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