News Release

Prominent Lebanese-Americans Respond to Crisis

RALPH NADER
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader recently published a letter urging President Bush to take action on the Israel-Lebanon conflict. An excerpt from this letter follows:

“With systematic efficiency, the Israeli government has already destroyed innocent homes and basic public facilities — ports, airports, highways, bridges, power stations — which are critical to the delivery of food, medicines, health care, ambulances, water, and other essentials for a civilian population. This bombardment, by U.S.-made bombers, military vehicles, ships, and missiles with American taxpayer subsidies, places an inescapable responsibility upon your shoulders which does not mix with your usual vacuous messianic rigidity. As the leading player in official Washington’s puppet show, it is time for you to assert the interests of the American people and those of the broad Israeli and Palestinian peace movements, by standing up to the puppeteers. For without this conflict, Hezbollah would not be in today’s news.”
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JAMES ABOUREZK
A former U.S. Senator from South Dakota and a Lebanese-American, Abourezk said today: “I can understand the concern about soldiers being captured, but why is there no concern about the Lebanese civilians who have been kidnapped by the Israeli army in southern Lebanon and held in Israeli prisons? If Israel is so bent on retaliating, why do they not confront Hezbollah directly, instead of destroying grain silos in Tripoli [Lebanon], ambulances coming from the United Arab Emirates, fuel supplies and power plants that provide electricity and water to the citizens of Lebanon?

“When Israel bombed the power plant in Gaza, I believe they did so in order to once again attempt to sell power to the Palestinians, which they did until Palestine built its own power plant. This is an effort to hold both Lebanon and the Palestinians hostage. And if you’re an American taxpayer, you’re paying for the destruction of Lebanon.

“Where are the members of Congress? Why aren’t they showing their displeasure at the wanton destruction of Lebanon by the Israeli Army? Why aren’t they demanding that Bush insist on a cease fire? All President Bush has to do is to pick up the phone and call Israel’s government, and they will stop this cruel destruction of a small, helpless country.”

JOHN ZOGBY
President and CEO of the independent polling firm Zogby International and a Lebanese-American, Zogby said today of the U.S. response to the Middle East conflict: “It’s pitiful and embarrassing. The U.S. has considerable leverage with Israel and needs to use that leverage to stop this barbarism. Meanwhile, Hezbollah was looking for trouble in retaliation, but Israel’s level of retaliation is way beyond the pale and is counterproductive. I’d like to see the United States become involved at its highest levels. Secretary Rice or someone respected in the region with the president’s ear should have been there already conducting shuttle diplomacy, not unlike what the United Nations and the European Union are doing.”

For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy,
(202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167