U.S. Arabs must denounce fundamentalists excesses

In recent years, a new group has been added to the pantheon of victims in modern culture. Arab-Americans have organized and, in the best tradition of American democracy, have cried out against what they claim is systematic discrimination.

Like many other minority groups, Arab-Americans have a legitimate beef. People who look, sound and talk differently from the majority have always faced an uphill fight in America.

Understandably, Arab-Americans are outraged when depictions of Arabs in the movies and on television are limited to bloodthirsty terrorists or quaint exotics. The millions of ordinary peace-loving and hard-working American citizens who are Muslim or of Arab descent deserve and have a right to expect — like everyone else — to be treated with respect.

But the story isn't quite that simple.

The claim of discrimination falls apart when it demands that depictions of terrorism never be associated with Arabs or Muslims. Arab and Islamic terrorism isn't a stereotype or a racist fabrication. While it ought not to tar every Arab or Muslim, it is still real.

Unfortunately, in their efforts to fight discrimination, several prominent Arab and Muslim groups have chosen not to disassociate themselves from the excesses of Islamic fundamentalism and Arab nationalism in the Middle East.

In fact, some of these anti-defamation groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (AAADC), have become the most important defenders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the United States.

Even worse, they have taken on the task of smearing anyone who speaks out against these groups or investigates their activities.

Currently, the main target of their ire is investigative journalist Steven Emerson.

Emerson has earned this enmity with ground-breaking work on the network of supporters of Arab terror groups operating in the United States. His documentary film "Jihad in America" has been shown on public television and has won many awards. His writing regularly appears in leading newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, and he has testified before Congress as an expert on the topic of terror support groups.

All this has made him a marked man, with CAIR and others going on the offensive to smear Emerson as a racist.

Emerson's reporting has revealed the hate and support for terror that routinely goes on inside CAIR and similar organizations. But, as far as CAIR is concerned, the mere fact that Emerson has told the truth about them and other Hamas supporters makes him dangerous.

Given the fact that Emerson's work has been confirmed by law enforcement agencies that have started to crack down on Hamas fund-raising, one would think that radicals like CAIR would have no more influence than the nuts who make up the far-right militias. But that is to underestimate them.

Leading Arab-Americans such as Washington Democratic Party insider James Zogby, a man who has entry to the White House and the highest levels of political leadership in the country, have taken up their drumbeat, repeatedly blasting Emerson.

The latest and most egregious instance of these "anti-discrimination" activities is their apparently successful effort to persuade National Public Radio to ban Emerson from its airwaves.

After a campaign by the Arab-American Action Network (AAAN), NPR's national news editor Michael Fields apparently promised that Emerson would not appear on the radio network again.

After Emerson was interviewed this summer on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" program, AAAN leader Ali Abunimah demanded again that Emerson be banned. Astonishingly, the program's producer Ellen Silva apologized and promised in an e-mail that Emerson "won't be used again. It is NPR policy."

When Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby inquired about this statement, Silva backed off and claimed there was no NPR policy on Emerson. Jacoby also rightly questioned why NPR, which is funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars approved by Congress, had banned a man whom Congress has used as an expert on the topic.

That's where the anti-Arab discrimination crowd came in again. Following Jacoby's Aug. 31 Globe column about Emerson, the Council of American-Islamic Relations fired off a press release accusing Jacoby of being an anti-Arab racist.

Citing Jacoby's defense of the Jewish claim to Jerusalem as well as his writing about Yasser Arafat's references to the Prophet Muhammad's broken treaty with the Jewish tribes of Arabia (a troubling precedent for those who place their faith in Oslo), CAIR falsely branded Jacoby as someone who had defamed Islam.

And they didn't stop with that. They had the audacity to claim that Jacoby's column was "fabricated" and called for his firing.

After the recent demise of columnists Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle for fabrications, that's a fighting word at the Boston Globe. Will the Globe's editors try to assuage the claims of anti-Arab bigotry by "investigating" Jacoby? Anything is possible.

The unpleasant fact in this sordid story is that the people crying discrimination and bigotry are themselves the haters. They are the front men for groups like Hamas whose main purpose is to kill and maim as many Jews and Americans as possible and to destroy the state of Israel.

Their enemy isn't discrimination against Arabs, but the truth that men like Emerson and Jacoby are risking their careers to uncover.

American Jews have an obligation to rise to their defense with at least as much fervor as Arab and Muslim groups have displayed in trying to blacklist them. NPR and the Boston Globe need to be told that we will not tolerate their giving in to front groups for Hamas. If Emerson and Jacoby are effectively silenced, then no one is safe.