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James Zogby

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An Iraqi protester holds flag as he takes part in an anti-government demonstration in Iraq's southern city of Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar province on March 1, 2020. (Photo: Wadaa al-Aumry/APA Images)

James Zogby writes, “The second decade of the 21st century began with two traumatic events that would transform the Middle East. In fact, although the seeds had been planted years earlier, 2011 proved to be a watershed year for the people of the region.”

What if the Palestinians were to exploit the opportunity provided by Kushner’s plan to build Palestinian society as an important step on the way to developing the strength to secure political rights and freedom in one secular state? James Zogby writes. History shows that when people live in economic despair, they are less inclined to demand political rights.

After protests from a American Jewish organizations, the California Democratic Party leadership undertook to water down resolutions that were critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinian refugees, put forward by progressive activists. But as Jack O’Dell, the civil rights activist, advised James Zogby long ago: Never be devastated by setbacks and never become overly confident due to progress.

Twenty-five years ago James Zogby led the Clinton White House effort to build economic growth for the Palestinians as part of Oslo accords. He says the project failed –as the Bahrain economic conference organized by the Trump administration will — because Palestinians never gained the political freedom, including an end to occupation, that is a prerequisite to business growth.

Palestinian leadership has been told that the U.S. government is on the verge of decertifying their right to maintain an office in Washington because they had the audacity to complain to the International Criminal Court about Israel’s land theft and settlement activity in the occupied territories. James Zogby writes, “Imagine that you are a victim of a violent crime or theft but are forbidden from reporting it because Congress has passed a law that not only prohibits you from reporting the crime, but threatens punishment if you dare to do it. This is the situation in which the Palestinians find themselves today.”

A religious freedom watchdog mandated by Congress rebuffed repeated appeals from Christian Palestinians to investigate Israel and “bullied” sympathetic officials into dropping their cause, said outgoing member to the committee for religious liberties James Zogby on Wednesday.

Zogby is the director of the Arab American Institute and was appointed eight years ago to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) by President Obama. With less than three weeks left in his term, Zogby went public with his dissenting opinion to the religious committee’s decision to excuse Israel from an investigation.