Groups Ahead of Mideast Trip
On Monday, President Obama prepared for his trip to the Middle East by meeting with around 10 Muslim and Arab officials that provided him with "recommendations." The attendees included representatives from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, two anti-Israel groups with a record of pro-Hezbollah advocacy. The meeting came four days after his meeting with Jewish leaders.
A joint press release by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Task Force for Palestine, American Federation of Ramallah Palestine and the Arab-American Institute boasted of the meeting. Separately, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) alerted its supporters that the director of its Washington, DC office, Haris Tarin, also attended. He was previously thanked by President Obama in a personal phone call for his activism on July 13, 2011. The ADC earlier tried to get President Obama's attention by helping to organize an interfaith "No Blank Check for Israel" rally in the capital near Inauguration Day.
The meeting took place in the Roosevelt Room near the Oval Office and also involved unidentified national security officials and Valerie Jarrett, the senior adviser who was a keynote speaker at the 2009 annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, a group with Muslim Brotherhood origins. The meeting apparently wasn't all good news for the invitees. The president of ADC, Warren David, complained that President Obama has let down many Arab-Americans with his Middle East policy and said he left with a "bittersweet feeling."
The ADC was founded by the first Arab-American Senator, who praised Hezbollah during its war with Israel in 2006. He also has stated that Zionists were secretly behind the 9/11 attacks. The ADC leadership opposed its designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In 2000, an ADC spokesperson called Hezbollah a "responsible liberation force." The ADC also honored Helen Thomas after she said the Jews in Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go to Poland.
Similarly, MPAC stood against the designations of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups in a 2003 policy paper. On the other hand, it called Israel a state sponsor of terrorism in 2001. It said that the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Lebanon did not qualify as terrorism. In 2006, MPAC explained it was only stating a "highly relevant fact" and did not support the attack. In 1998, MPAC co-founder and senior adviser Maher Hathout said Hezbollah's attacks on armed forces are "legitimate" and the following year, MPAC president Salam al-Marayati said that its attacks on Israeli soldiers are "legitimate resistance."
On 9/11, al-Marayati said that Israel should be considered a suspect. Hathout similarly entertained suggestions of a 9/11 conspiracy. In 2000, Hathout referred to Israel as "butchers" and "an apartheid state" and predicted that the Arab governments would be "flushed down in the cesspools of history of treason" by a "general intifada."
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 03/12/2013
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