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October 21, 2021 12:18 pm

LA Times, Washington Post Cite American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee as ‘Civil Rights Group’ While Omitting Its Support for Racist BDS Movement Against Israel

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi


A BDS demonstration outside the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 2017. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A recent piece in The Los Angeles Times refers to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) as a “civil rights organization formed in 1980 to combat anti-Arab stereotypes in US media while promoting balanced reporting on Middle Eastern affairs.”

What the Times and other media outlets have failed to report is that the ADC consistently demonizes Israel, and is a proponent of and active participant in the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement — whose explicit goal is to eliminate to the world’s one and only Jewish state.

As noted by news organizations such as CNN, for example, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has been a vocal advocate for worthy causes such as women’s empowerment, dispelling stereotypes, promoting racial equality, and encouraging Arab-Americans to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

However, these same outlets have omitted the fact that “the largest Arab American grassroots civil rights organization in the United States” spreads baseless accusations that Israel is maintaining a system of “apartheid,” and carrying out “ethnic cleansing.”

The ADC has also tried to revive the thoroughly debunked claim that “Zionism is racism.”

In May, as the Israeli military shielded its citizens from rockets launched by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist groups, the United States urged a “de-escalation on all sides.”

However, Washington singled out Hamas for condemnation, and supported Israel’s right to defend itself.

But on May 11, Jinan Deena, a national organizer for the ADC, was quoted in The Washington Post as saying: “There is no both sides here. … Palestinians are under occupation, and the United States has systematically supported this — whether through funding Israel’s military with our tax dollars or narratives such as this where blame is placed on both sides.”

Essentially, one of the organization’s leaders justified the indiscriminate launching of some 4,500 projectiles towards Israel by a US-designated terrorist group.

Yet, The Washington Post has still referred to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee rather innocuously as a “civil rights group.”

A month later, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the Biden administration’s ambassador to the United Nations, called the UN Human Rights Council’s frequent criticism of Israel “appalling,” adding that “antisemitic” countries from the Middle East sit on the body.

In response, Abed Ayoub, the legal director of the ADC, said:

That’s a failure of leadership coming from the Biden Administration. … It ignores the bigger problem in the region, and that’s the Israeli war crimes, the apartheid and the lack of accountability towards Israel.

In 2004, the ADC signed on to a letter supporting the Palestinian “Right of Return.” According to Hussein Ibish, ADC’s former communications director, “the issue of the Palestinian right of return has become a central feature of Arab-American activism.”

Let’s be clear: the Palestinian leadership’s demand for some 5.7 million so-called refugees to be allowed into Israel would, if implemented, result in the end of Jewish self-determination.

Moreover, while a growing number of US states — including New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island — have sought to divest from Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever following the Vermont-based ice cream company’s July decision to end sales in the disputed territories, the ADC has been a vocal supporter of the move:

When many US states passed anti-BDS legislation, they did so because it was clear that such actions were part of an overall movement that opposes the existence of a Jewish state.

In 2016, the Virginia Houses of Delegates decided such a law was necessary because the BDS movement is “inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.”

In 2018, ADC President Samer Khalaf came out against the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which was aimed at keeping American companies from imposing sanctions on nations, primarily Israel.

The ADC even called for a boycott of the Walt Disney Company over a proposed portrayal of Jerusalem in a special exhibit at Disney World.

Accordingly, when citing the ADC, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other news outlets might consider noting the group’s public support for a racist movement whose leaders openly call for the destruction of Israel.

Gidon Ben-Zvi is a contributor to HonestReporting, where a version of this article first appeared.

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