November 21, 2008.
James Zogby isn’t just an Arab American with an opinion. He is the president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a well known writer, and an esteemed leader within the Arab American community. Many non-Arab Americans highly regard his analysis and look to his articles as a resource to understand the Middle East.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
This is precisely why his latest article, “Rahm Emanuel and Arab Perceptions” is so disturbing. In the piece, Zogby tries to calm the fears of Arab Americans about Barack Obama’s first appointment, Rahm Emanuel, to White House Chief of Staff. Zogby expressed shock and dismay that his constituency, once euphoric over the election of Obama, was now sending him angry and cynical letters. Zogby described the emails and calls to his office as “troubled and troubling — because much of the reaction was based on misinformation and because of what the entire episode reveals about the larger political dynamic.”
Zogby immediately followed up with what he calls “the facts” (i.e. a long list of Rahm Emanuel’s accomplishments), while conveniently leaving out any of his troubling positions related to the Middle East, namely that he was a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq and he has expressed hawkish pro-Israel views. The forcefulness of Zogby’s tone is elucidated in phrases such as “he knows how to get the job done” and “it’s as simple as that.” Right off the bat, Zogby informs his readers that if they don’t understand what a gem Emanuel is, they either cannot properly discern the facts, or their judgments are based on wild misinformation.