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memri
February 22, 2000 No.
74

An Egyptian Assesses the Arab and Jewish Communities in America: The Anatomy of Success and Failure

In a report in the Egyptian weekly, Roz Al-Yussef[1], the writer Wail Abrashi compares the Arab and Jewish communities in America, using two communities as models. The article accuses the Arab community of incompetence and an inability to adapt to modern society and organize itself in order to win political influence and power as the Jewish community has done:

The Jewish Community in Skokie

"The Jews in Skokie have succeeded... and their success has spread to all of America. The Arabs in Detroit have failed, and their failure has covered all of America. Indeed, the Arabs have failed, where the Jews have succeeded... They have not managed to become a [significant] force within American society, which can serve Arab interests by influencing American public opinion... The Arabs in America have not reached a level that allows us to even aspire to be called a lobby... We only want to be in the picture, like the Mexicans, the Spanish, and the Chinese. It is strange because the Arabs in the US enjoy all the elements of influence."

"The most famous doctors and specialists in Chicago are Arabs. It is so well known to the point that the Americans in this lovely city say: '...If you want to win a lawsuit, go to a Jewish lawyer, and if you want a cure from a disease, go to an Arab doctor...' [They say this,] knowing very well that the skill of Jewish lawyers in Chicago results from their ability to establish connections using legal and illegal tricks such as bribery, threats, extortion, and document theft, while, the skill of the Arab doctors is the result of pure talent."

"The Arab Diaspora understands very well that it cannot have a unified community unless it has one center that represents it. But it has not managed so far to agree [even] on the location of this center, maybe because the Arabs are not interested in the idea of a unified community and they think this would take too much of their time, energy, and money..."

"The Jewish families in Chicago are tightly connected to Israel and every year they send $100 million dollars in donations to Israel. In addition, they compete with themselves in putting up big buildings in Israel. One can find a Chicago Jewish family that established a sports stadium in Israel; another Jewish family established the Opera House there... The Jews in Chicago force on America Jewish holidays, their vacations, and other special events..."

"On the other hand, the Arab families severed themselves from their home countries, from their heritage, and from their identity; their sons do not speak Arabic.

"In Skokie, which is a center for Israeli economic activity in the US, I found another reason for the Arabs' inability to organize themselves into one influential community: I found out that Arabs who deal with commerce avoid politics because they fear that they will be punished by the Jews, who may boycott and isolate them commercially and even bring them to bankruptcy."

"What is appalling is the fact that the US, which described the Arab boycott on Israel as inhumane, and managed to cancel it and remove one of the most efficient weapons against Israel - knows very well that the Jews place an economic and commercial boycott on the Arabs for political reasons and on American soil."

The Arab Community in Detroit

"I found out that Detroit is the only American city where an Arab does not feel like a foreigner. The Arabs who immigrated to Detroit did not only bring their suitcases, clothes, and gear; they also brought their reality, their customs, their traditions, and their day to day behavior. Furthermore, they brought their feuds and divisions... 'Any political or factional conflict taking place in an Arab state is reflected in the Diaspora community here, in Detroit. ...The Shiites too are divided. Some belong to Hizbullah and are supported by Iran. Others belong to Amal... and are accused of being supported by the West and the Americans.'"

"The Arabs not only shifted their problems, conflicts, and political and communal struggles to Detroit. They also brought some religious rulings [fatwa] that reflect ignorance, backwardness, and the boycott mentality based on the religious rulings of fanatic extremists. In American Detroit there are Arabs who boycott art and music and blame the singers and the artist of heresy."

"Indeed, the distance between Skokie ('Little Israel') and Detroit ('the state of the Arabs in the US') is only seven hours by car, but the gap between the capabilities of the Jews in Skokie and that of the Arabs in Detroit is seven centuries."


[1] Roz Al-Yussouf (Egypt), January 28, 2000.