The letter below to the Anti-Defamation League describes Ralph Nader’s
position on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by highlighting the voice for
peace that he would emphasize when working toward a peaceful resolution of
the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
August 5, 2004
Abraham H. Foxman
823 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Foxman:
How nice to hear your views. Years ago, fresh out of law school, I was
reading your clear writings against bigotry and discrimination. Your
charter has always been to advance civil liberties and free speech in our
country by and for all ethnic and religious groups. These days all
freedom-loving people have much work to do.
As you know there is far more freedom in the media, in town squares and
among citizens, soldiers, elected representatives and academicians in
Israel to debate and discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than there is
in the United States. Israelis of all backgrounds have made this point.
Do you agree and if so, what is your explanation for such a difference?
About half of the Israeli people over the years have disagreed with the
present Israeli government’s policies toward the Palestinian people.
Included in this number is the broad and deep Israeli peace movement which
mobilized about 120,000 people in a Tel Aviv square recently.
Do you agree with their policies and strategy for a peaceful settlement
between Israelis and Palestinians? Or do you agree with the House
Resolution 460 in Congress signed by 407 members of the House to support
the Prime Minister’s proposal? See attachment re the omission of any
reference to a viable Palestinian state – generally considered by both
Israelis and Palestinians, including those who have worked out accords
together, to be a sine qua non for a settlement of this resolvable conflict
– a point supported by over two-thirds of Americans of the Jewish faith.
Would such a reasonable resolution ever pass the Congress? For more
information on the growing pro-peace movements among the American Jewish
Community see: Ester Kaplan, “The Jewish Divide on Israel,” The Nation,
June 24, 2004.
Enclosed is the "Courage to Refuse – Combatant's Letter" signed by hundreds
of reserve combat officials and soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces. It is posted on their web at:
of their statement needs careful consideration: "We shall not continue to
fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and
humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue
serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s
defense. The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this
purpose – and we shall take no part in them" (Emphasis in original). Do you
agree with these patriotic, front line soldiers' observation that Israel is
dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire people – the
Palestinian people – and that in their words "the Territories are not
What is your view of Rabbi Lerner's Tikkun's call for peace, along with the
proposals of Jewish Voice for Peace, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and
Americans for Peace Now? As between the present Israeli government's
position on this conflict and the position of these groups, which do you
favor and why?
Do you share the views in the open letter signed by 400 rabbis, including
leaders of some of the largest congregations in our country, sent this
March by Rabbis for Human Rights of North America to Ariel Sharon
protesting Israel's house-demolition policy?
Have you ever disagreed with the Israeli government’s treatment of the
Palestinian people in any way, shape or manner in the occupied territories?
Do you think that these Semitic peoples have ever suffered from bigotry and
devastation by their occupiers in the occupied West Bank, Gaza or inside
Israel? If you want a reference here, check the website of the great
Israeli human rights group B'T selem.
Since you are a man of many opinions, with a specialty focused on the
Semitic peoples, explain the United States' support over the decades of
authoritarian or dictatorial regimes, in the greater Middle East, over
their own people which is fomenting resistance by fundamentalists.
These questions have all occurred to you years ago, no doubt. So it would
be helpful to receive your views…
The Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) today called on the FBI to investigate an intentionally-set fire at
a Muslim store in McAllen, Texas, as a possible hate crime and sought
felony charges in a bias attack on a New York Muslim taxi driver.
According to the Texas grocery store owner, a U.S. resident of Jordanian
origin, the fire occurred late last week and followed two separate
incidents in which unknown parties painted the phrase "Go Home" on the door
of the store that sells halal meat and other items. ("Halal" for Muslims is
similar to the term "kosher" in Jewish beliefs.) Jewelry kept in the store
was reportedly stolen.
The hate-graffiti appeared just after the store began running
advertisements on local television that featured a Muslim woman wearing an
Islamic head scarf.
Fire officials tell CAIR that the blaze "appears intentionally set" and was
"incendiary" in nature. CAIR has contacted local law enforcement
authorities to ask that a possible bias motive be investigated.
"If whoever set this fire was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, that person
needs to be brought to justice before he or she can strike again," said
CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "The FBI should use its
resources and expertise to help local law enforcement authorities find the
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group also asked
that felony charges be brought against a person who allegedly attacked a
Muslim taxi driver in New York.
In that incident, a Bangladeshi Muslim cabbie was punched in the face by a
pedestrian near the World Trade Center site Wednesday after being told "You
are Muslim." The alleged assailant was charged with third-degree assault
and harassment, both misdemeanors.
SEE: "CABBIE ASSAULTED IN BIAS CRIME"
Other incidents targeting Muslim individuals and Islamic institutions have
occurred recently across America. Late last month, two Muslim teenagers in
Buffalo, N.Y., say they were targeted by white teenagers who shouted ethnic
slurs and then tried to hit the girls with their car. A Muslim woman driver
in Illinois and a Muslim shopper in California were assaulted at the end of
June by attackers shouting anti-Muslim and racist slurs.
In Florida, vandals wrote "Kill all Muslims" inside the Islamic Community
Center in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. The FBI is also investigating vandalism
and threatening messages targeting the Islamic Community of Southwest
Florida in Charlotte Harbor. In Missouri, vandals painted a Nazi swastika
and the word "die" on an addition under construction at the Islamic
Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Three Miami Islamic centers were vandalized.
Earlier this year in Texas, a man was arrested for threatening an El Paso
Islamic center, an arson suspect was arrested at the scene of a fire at a
Muslim business in San Antonio and vandals scrawled racist graffiti on the
interior of a Lubbock mosque. A home-made bomb exploded in the mailbox of a
Houston, Texas, Islamic center.
In response to anti-Muslim incidents, CAIR published a "Muslim Community
Safety Kit." The safety kit may be obtained free of charge by e-mailing
the safety kit.)
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
- END -
Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:
Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:
In a letter to the Canadian Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), the Prime Minister's office has
assured Canadian Muslims that their religious right to wear a hijab, or
Islamic headscarf, will be respected and protected when photographs are
taken for the Permanent Resident (PR) Card.
The letter came after a formal complaint was filed with CAIR-CAN by
numerous Muslim women who were told to remove their hijab for their PR Card
photograph by Canadian immigration officials at the Pierre Trudeau port of
entry. During the recent federal election, CAIR-CAN also called on other
party leaders to make their positions clear regarding this issue.
(CAIR-CAN's original statement on the issue may be viewed at: http://www.caircan.ca/itn_more.php?id=A1023_0_2_0_M).
In his July 23, 2004 letter, the Prime Minister wrote: "Please be assured
that your concerns regarding Permanent Resident (PR) Card photographs have
been given careful and appropriate considerations...CIC policy is that
allowances be made for practitioners of religious faiths that prohibit the
removal of head coverings. CIC does not require the head covering to be
completely removed, but for security purposes, all facial features must be
visible for the photographs."
NDP Leader Jack Layton responded by stating that "New Democrats strongly
support the protection of the fundamental rights to freedom of religion and
expression in Canada, and we view the behaviour of the immigration officers
in these cases as infringing on those rights. It is particularly
unfortunate that these were among the first Canadians the new immigrants
met on arrival, as it reflects poorly on our nation."
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper, has yet to
"We welcome the statement by the Prime Minister's office clarifying this
important issue that has affected many recent immigrants to
Canada," stated CAIR-CAN spokesperson Abdurahman Salman.
"We hope that the CIC officials in question, who clearly acted outside of
Canada's guidelines regarding religious accommodation, will now conduct
themselves in accordance with the stated principles articulated by the
Prime Minister," he added.
CONTACT: Abdurahman Salman at 613-254-9704; Cell: 613-795-2012
We, the undersigned civil liberties, faith-based, civic and human rights
organizations, express grave concern regarding the issuance of tabulations
on the Arab-American population, prepared by the Census Bureau to the
United States Customs Service in 2002 and, later, the Bureau of Customs and
Border Protection at the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
The information, provided by the Census Bureau to Customs includes specific
data on the Arab American population in the United States, broken down by
population size (1000 or more Arab Americans) as well as by
zip-code. Troublingly, the data are further delineated by the specific
ancestry or national-origin of the Arab Americans.
These actions are a violation of the public's trust in the census bureau,
and a troubling reminder of one of our nation's darkest days when the
sharing of similar information resulted in the internment of Japanese
Americans during World War II.
The explanation so far provided by the Department of Homeland Security,
stating that the information was used only to create language-specific
signage for outbound airport operations, does not justify the need for any
data on where Arab Americans live, nor does it justify where they live by
zip code. Furthermore, there is no rational relationship between of the
national origin of Arab Americans (i.e. Egyptian, Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian,
Palestinian, Jordanian, etc.) and Arabic signage at airports. Moreover,
most (98%) of Arab Americans speak and read English fluently. Hence the
rational for the data requirements is inconsistent with reality.
Additionally, while stating otherwise, the Department of Homeland Security
and the Census Bureau have failed to provide proof that similar information
related to other ethnicities was requested and/or obtained for similar
language-specific signage in languages other than Arabic during the same
In conclusion, this troubling issue calls for an immediate and clear
explanation from the Department of Homeland Security, a proper documented
investigation, and, if necessary, hearings by the United States Congress.
List of organizations:
1) American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
2) American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
3) Arab American Institute (AAI)
4) Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
5) Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
6) Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
7) Coalition De Derechos Humanos - Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras
8) Congress of Arab American Organizations-Michigan (CAAO-MI)
9) Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
10) Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
11) Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
12) Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)
13) Lebanese American Heritage Club (LAHC)
14) LaRaza Centro Legal (LRCL)
15) Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
16) Migration Policy and Resource Center - Urban and Environmental Policy
Institute (Occidental College)
17) National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
18) National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
19) National Immigration Forum
20) National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
21) National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR).
22) South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT)
23) United American Lebanese Federation (UALF)
ADC Chapters (expressly endorsing statement):
1) ADC-Austin Chapter
2) ADC-Greater Detroit Chapter
3) ADC-Greater Kalamazoo Chapter
4) ADC-Houston Chapter
5) ADC-Kentucky Chapter
6) ADC-Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter
7) ADC-New Jersey Chapter
8) ADC-New Orleans Chapter
9) ADC-New York Chapter
10) ADC-Philadelphia Chapter
11) ADC-Sacramento Chapter
12) ADC-San Diego Chapter
13) ADC-San Francisco Chapter
14) ADC-Seattle Chapter
15) ADC-Tucson Chapter
16) ADC-Washington, DC Area Chapter
17) ADC-Wisconsin Chapter