Today my office issued the following statement, which includes my comments:
Dr. James Zogby says, "Enough is enough!"
Washington D.C. - October 11, 2008 -We are disturbed by the degree to which 'Arab' has become the metaphorical mud to sling against your opponent. Last week, for example, the Republican Jewish Coalition released a document in which they use the term Pro-Arab as a pejorative accusation. For his part, Rush Limbaugh has joined in by declaring that Obama is in fact an Arab American. Then, last Friday, after a supporter called Senator Barak Obama "an Arab", Senator John McCain came to the defense of of his political opponent by saying, "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man and citizen..." From this we are left to infer that an Arab man is less then a "decent family man."
Dr. James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, says, "Enough is enough! From the beginning of this campaign there have been those who have used 'Muslim' and 'Arab' in an effort to smear Barack Obama. This exploitation of bigotry and the stoking of racist fires to forward an agenda is reprehensible. This is not only offensive to Arab Americans, but to all Americans. As any ethnic group who has ever been used to scare the electorate knows, this is a dangerous game that, tragically, can get innocent people hurt.
"And while we are pleased to see that the senator is trying to dispel rumors about Senator Obama, we feel the need to point out that Arab Americans are also decent men and women with full rights of citizenship as enumerated under the Constitution. Arab Americans are part of the great melting pot that is this country's strength. We work towards peace in the Middle East along side our Jewish partners. We raise our sons and daughters to be model citizens of this nation. We serve this country with honor. The suggestion that any ethnic group is treacherous and Anti-American is unacceptable, dangerous, and unbecoming of such a great nation."