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Arab-American Group Bans Pro-Democracy Musician from its Conference

Politico reported this morning that the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a supposed Washington “civil rights group” that spends much of its energy opposing Israel, has barred a well-known Syrian singer from its upcoming conference. According to the musician, the ADC opposed a pro-Syrian democracy song that he planned to sing at the event:

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a longtime Washington civil rights group, repeatedly asked the German-born Syrian composer and pianist Malek Jandali to reconsider his piece choice, Jandali told POLITICO. When he refused, Jandali was told today that he couldn’t perform at this weekend’s event. … [O]ther observers speculated that the song’s implications might have troubled the Syrian government, which is in the midst of a bloody crackdown on its citizens, or its allies.

And in case you’re thinking it’s a bit far-fetched that the Syrian government would have significant influence with the ADC, Politico further notes that, “the chairman of the ADC board, gynecologist Safa Rifka, is aligned with Syria’s ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha. In a blog post, Moustapha called Rifka one of his three ‘best friends’ in Washington D.C.”

But even though the ADC has a troubling history of radical anti-Israel behavior (including honoring Helen Thomas after her notorious anti-Semitic remarks), it still has a respectable amount of clout in Washington.

For example, the group works with the State Department, Homeland Security and other government agencies. And according to the ADC’s website, Reps. Darrell Issa and John Conyers still sit on its advisory board. So far, both congressmen have neglected to respond to requests for comment on the issue. Which raises an interesting question: what exactly would the already highly-controversial ADC have to do that would make it too toxic for these politicians to associate with?


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