Former Green Party and independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader told the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) to start using the word “anti-Semitism,” arguing that Jews “do not own” the phrase.
“You never avoid using the word anti-Semitism when Arabs and Arab-Americans are discriminated against, are arrested without charges, are exposed to all kinds of swears and bars against employment and all kinds of discrimination that goes on, and that is anti-Semitism. The Semitic race is Arabs and Jews and the Jews do not own the phrase anti-Semitism,” he said at a citizen empowerment session at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s national convention.
Nader, a consumer advocate, referred to a debate he was involved in that explored whether anti-Semitism is worse against Arabs or Jews in America.
“I gathered from the debate that the answer was that anti-Semitism against Arab-Americans is a serious problem, and of course it’s much more serious around the world,” said Nader, a Lebanese-American.
He encouraged ADC members to control the language they use and follow the actions of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to effectively promote the group’s message.
“It’s anti-Semitism against Arab-Americans. How many times does that have to be repeated? It’s accurate. Once you use that word, you have equivalence with the other use of that word. It’s anti-Semitism against Arabs, anti-Semitism against Jews – why ignore one to the other?” Nader said.
“As one young man in New York once told me, unprovoked; he was walking to a rally. He was an Irish American. He said, ‘look, I don’t think the Irish should monopolize the word famine and I don’t think African-Americans should have a monopoly over the word slavery and I don’t think Jews should have a monopoly over the word anti-Semitism, right out of the blue. You never know where it comes from,” he added.
Nader said AIPAC knows how to work the media and ADC should demand equal time.
“They know how to accuse people of anti-Semitism if any issue on Israel is criticized, even though the worst anti-Semitism in the world today is against Arabs and Arab-Americans and they know how to use the language — it’s ‘settlements,’ not colonies, it’s ‘incursions,’ not invasion,” Nader said.
“If Diane Rehm has AIPAC people on, you demand equal time. C-SPAN covers AIPAC every year wall-to-wall, doesn’t cover the Israel lobby full-day seminar at the National Press Club a few weeks ago, where’s the demand for equal time?” he added.
Nader argued that ADC has a lot of truth on its side.
“It’s [AIPAC] a lobby that’s using it’s constitutional right. Where’s the other side? The other side has a lot of truth on its side. It has a lot of human rights on its side. ADC, with its excessively modest budget because it’s not adequately supported by Arab Americans and non-Arab Americans who believe in justice and civil liberties regardless of ethnic background, look what they have done in terms of litigation and trying to educate the public,” he said.
“I suspect AIPAC spends more money on hotels for their national meeting in five hours than ADC’s entire budget, so it’s important to ask the question: ‘What does it take in terms of human hours and resources to get things turned around?’”