Arab Americans Urge U.S. Participation In The UN Conference Against Racism

Washington D.C.– The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest national grassroots Arab-American organization, urged the Bush Administration to send a high-level delegation to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance to be held in Durban, South Africa, from August 31 to September 7, 2001.
In a letter to President George W. Bush, ADC Chief Operating Officer Ziad Asali and Vice President Khalil E. Jahshan expressed the widespread concern among Arab Americans nationwide that the Administration has not yet decided whether to attend the UN conference or may skip the event altogether. Some in the pro-Israel community have lobbied the Administration and Congress to boycott the conference or have a limited role in its proceedings if the issues of Zionism and anti-Arab discrimination in Israel are included in the agenda of the international conference.
The ADC officials emphasized to President Bush that the Administration “cannot shrink from its moral and political responsibility in showing assertive and positive leadership in addressing this important issue” of racial discrimination. The letter further stated that “We simply cannot afford to marginalize ourselves on such crucial issues pertaining to fundamental principles of equality and human rights.” The letter also urged the President “to extend full moral and financial support for the conference to ensure its success.”

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