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Justin Amash, Israel and AIPAC

November 29, 2010

Yesterday, the Grand Rapids Press ran a short blurb mentioning that the Arab American Institute (AAI) considers Justin Amash’s election to Congress as a victory, since Amash himself is an Arab American.

The Press coverage of the 3rd Congressional race did not make the ethnicity of Amash an issue during the election campaign and did not mention that some of his largest donors were Arab American business owners such as the owner of Martha’s Vineyard in Grand Rapids.

The AAI considers the election of Amash as a victory since it increases the number of Arab Americans in Congress. One can certainly argue that increasing the racial diversity of Congress is an improvement, but racial diversity alone does not mean that there will be an improvement with major policy decisions.

For instance, the AAI also supports a more progressive or liberal position when it comes to US foreign policy with countries such as Iraq, Lebanon and with Palestine. Amash himself did not have a well-developed position on Israel/Palestine on his website during the campaign, but what content he did have, was not terribly consistent with what the AAI advocates. More important was a position paper that Amash wrote concerning US/Israeli relations.

The position paper is written with language that emphasizes the need for Israel to have security and it condemns the use of violence and terrorism to achieve political gains for Palestinians. The position paper goes on to criticize Iran’s desire to develop any nuclear capability, but fails to mention that Israel already possesses nuclear weapons.

In many ways the position paper by Amash reads like it was written by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In fact, AIPAC may have played a role in writing the position paper by Justin Amash, since it is mentioned as part of an announcement about an AIPAC event in Grand Rapids that will include comments from Rep. Amash.

The announcement appears on Facebook and states “Representative-elect Amash worked closely with AIPAC throughout his campaign.” The announcement also states, “In addition to regularly speaking with AIPAC’s leaders in West Michigan and meeting with AIPAC’s professional staff, Representative-elect Amash traveled to Detroit to attend both the annual AIPAC Michigan Community Event in May and the AIPAC Michigan Annual Brunch in October. We value Representative-elect Amash’s friendship and look forward to continuing to work closely with him.”

The AIPAC meeting with Rep. Justin Amash will be held at Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids and is open to the public at 7pm on December 13. GRIID plans on being there to report on what happens during the AIPAC-sponsored public forum, but it already seems clear that despite his Arab heritage, Amash is clearly in the pro-Israeli camp.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate Wheeler permalink
    November 29, 2010 6:15 pm

    Amash certainly is full of surprises, isn’t he? The fact that he holds that position on Israel and yet clearly gave his local Arab-American donors in Grand Rapids a different impression certainly says something about him. So does the fact that on his campaign website, he never once revealed his heritage.

    Although someone’s ancestry should obviously never be a factor in voting, one could theorize that Amash was deliberately secretive: as a darling of the Tea Party, he must have realized that far fewer of that particular group would have voted for him if they’d known about his Arab ancestry.

    When the article in the Press was posted online, there were some stunned responses, including one poster who said, “I wish I had known Amash was Muslim before I voted.” (He’s not Muslim, but the comment shows the sort of racist, one-dimensional thinking of his core group of voters.)

    His handlers are attempting to do spin this morning on Twitter. I imagine they’ll be busy doing quite a bit of spin when all the half-truths and cover-up lies he told during the campaign start coming to light. It will be fascinating to hear what he has to say on the 13th.

  2. Thomas permalink
    March 12, 2011 7:48 pm

    Kate Wheeler is just another Liberal Fascist. She comes here to lie about the Tea Party and give no link to support her lies. Isn’t that convenient?

    Where’s the evidence? She doesn’t need any. She just shows up like Saul Alinsky said, dressed as a Nazi, to make it look like those she hates (which is anyone that disagrees) is “racist.”

    Amash is young and part of the Tea Party – Kate Wheeler hates him for it.

    That’s the only message I received from her web of lies and propaganda.

  3. Kate Wheeler permalink
    March 12, 2011 11:35 pm

    I’m not sure what you think I lied about, Thomas, but you want links? OK:

    First of all, empty-of-content speech by Justin Amash to a Tea Party rally:

    He just strings together a bunch of Tea Party sound bites; it’s total crap. Like all of his speeches, he does not allude to or talk about his ethnic background.He does not mention his Arab background, and he really concealed it during his campaign. What’s interesting to me is that even though Justin gives his name the correct Arab pronounciation in this film, the person introducing him calls him “Justin Amish,” which sounds so, so…well, AMERICAN, doesn’t it?

    Justin publicly “revealed” his Arab roots in a public article only after he was elected; here’s the MLive report:

    And the reaction from West Michigan?

    FIRST COMMENT after the article is by someone called WestMichiganTeaParty, who says about Amash being Arab-American: “Well that’s one fine “How do you do?” The connections flew completely under the radar.”

    Other comments about the announcement: “No wonder Amash wouldn’t debate the other candidates…”

    “I’d be curious to know how many Amash voters knew he was an Arab-American. His campaign went to great lengths to avoid talking about it.”

    “I wish I had known Amash was Muslim before I voted.”

    “Amash, what kind of a name is that? Is he going to wear a turban aound in congress? Was he born in America or Yemen? Is he going to be sworn in on the Koran?”

    Why was Amash completely silent about his heritage? Because he’s not an idiot, and because he can read. He KNEW that voters would react as they did above in those comments. The Tea Party is full of racists, and Arabs are one of their favorite targets.

    Here’s a link:

    This article shows how the Tea Party’s racism regarding Arabs and Arab-Americans is alienating a huge part of the Arab world and making diplomacy nearly impossible. One journalist from Meedan makes this comment on the difference between the original Tea Party and this one: “The big difference between the 18th Century tea revolution and the contemporary Tea Party is that the Boston Tea Party was not racist, whereas ‘you can easily smell the stench of racism in the signs [Tea Party] supporters raise against minorities and other religions.’ ” There’s a link you can follow to read his entire analysis.

    And here’s a little more reading. It’s a link to a You Tube film that shows photos of some of those highly offensive, racist signs carried by members at various Tea Party rallies that the Arab journalist above was talking about. Note the emphasis on anti-Arab vitriole:

    This video made me physically sick. If you’re saying that the Tea Party is NOT racist, explain these signs, Thomas. These look like rallies of skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. And I’m sure that the Amash family noted all of those signs and knew exactly what they meant for their son’s chances at being elected.

    So here’s a link to Amash’s campaign site:

    Please show me where he mentions a single word about his family’s roots.

    Now, as for your personal attack on me: I am not a “liberal.” I am not a “fascist.” You clearly don’t know what those two terms mean, because fascists are conservative, not liberal…there’s no such thing as a “liberal facist.” Here’s the dictionary definition:

    “Fascism: a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government, as opposed to democracy or liberalism.”

    Here’s another definition, from the Oxford English Dictionary: “fascist – an adherent of fascism or other right-wing authoritarian views.”

    As for being a Nazi, I am not one. In fact, I had relatives who were executed for working to bring down Hitler and his regime.

    If you call me a fascist or a Nazi again, now that I’ve informed you that I’m neither one, I will consider it slander, and I will take the appropriate legal steps to respond. Got that?

    Now, where are YOUR links? Where are YOUR facts?

  4. Bob Winters permalink
    January 26, 2013 1:07 am

    Liberalism used to mean the government leaving you alone…until Democrats co-opted it. See “classical liberalism.” Also, free speech is protected under the First Amendment, giving you and your critics the right to whatever they want to say.

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