For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Steven J. Rosen
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2010, pp. 17-32
In the early 1980s, there was a palpable concern among staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of the looming rise of an Arab-American lobby aimed at challenging the pro-Israel community. The National Association of Arab-Americans (NAAA), founded in 1972, was at a high point, and in 1980, former U.S. senator James Abourezk established the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). In 1985, James Zogby added the Arab American Institute. Some pundits predicted that AIPAC had finally met its match, and a few of AIPAC's own top supporters were alarmed. The Arab-American lobby looked as if it was on an upward trajectory.
An Arab-American Lobby?
However, attempts to mobilize Americans of Arab origin in a crusade against Israel have been limited by the fact that this agenda is not a critical interest for the majority. About two thirds of Arab Americans (63 percent) derive from Christian minorities in the Middle East, who have suffered at the hands of extremist Arab-nationalist and Muslim groups in their home countries. More than half of all Arab Americans are Lebanese and Syrian Christians, who know the damage done to Lebanon by Syrian Baathists, Palestinian terrorists, and the Shiite Hezbollah. A third of all Arab Americans are Maronite Christians and are more faithfully represented by organizations such as the American Lebanese League, devoted to saving Lebanon from Arab extremists, rather than organizations crusading against Israel or supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Only a minority of Arab Americans, then and now, seeks to support organizations whose sole or main purpose is conducting political action against Israel; and some of those who are attracted to the anti-Israel agenda are so radical that such organizations do not want them.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"