ZOA Shocked By Decision To Give LA Human Relations Award To Pro-Hizballah, U.S. & Israel-Basher Maher Hathout
September 6, 2006

Hathout: U.S. commits terrorism

New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is both shocked and strongly critical of the decision by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) that it to give its ‘John Allen Buggs Award’ to Maher Hathout, the President of the Islamic Council of Southern California and senior advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). The Commission is to confer the award on Hathout October 5 for “outstanding human relations work” despite the fact that Hathout has blasted the United States as being guilty of terrorism. He has also described the Islamist terrorist group Hizballah as “very American” and “fighting only for freedom,” despite its calls for the destruction of Israel and the fact that its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said “If [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide” (Daily Star [Beirut], October 23, 2002).

Far from “promoting positive race and human relations” and combating purveyors of “divisive attitudes that can lead to inter-cultural tension, hate crimes and related violence” as the LACCHR’s mission statement proclaims, Hathout has promoted hatred of America and Israel, while praising and supporting terrorist groups like Hizballah. Public statements made by Maher Hathout include:

  • After President Clinton’s 1998 missile strikes against Sudan and Afghanistan following the bombings of American embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam which killed over 200 people: “Our country is committing an act of terrorism. What we did is illegal, immoral, unhuman, unacceptable, stupid and un-American … If our country commits hate crimes, why should we not expect the uneducated to do the same?” (Los Angeles Times, August 22, 1998).
  • “It is obvious that, at least from our perspective, the United States is also under Israeli occupation … we have an administration that believes in this superiority/inferiority of the Jews. And exploitation. And we have a country, our country, the United States, that still needs to repent for what they did to their native people in their own land so that they appreciate the suffering of a parallel and similar situation. So it is very painful and agonizing, but not surprising, unfortunately” (Speech, California State University, May 2001).
  • Threatens Arab governments with a “general intifada” for holding diplomatic meetings with Israelis, warning that their leaders would be “flushed down in the cesspools of history of treason” (Speech, Lafayette Park, opposite the White House, October 28, 2000).
  • “We did not come here to condemn the condemned atrocities committed by the apartheid brutal state of Israel because butchers do what butchers do and because what is expected from a racist apartheid is what is happening now … They say Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. This is a lie. [It] is an apartheid state against every fiber of the modern world” (Speech in Lafayette Park, opposite the White House, October 2000).
  • Hizballah “is fighting only for freedom, an organized army, limiting its operations against military people — this is a legitimate target against occupation” (Speech at the National Press Club, 1998).
  • Hizballah activity in Lebanon “is very American, is what America did in the beginning against the colonizing of the British, is what all honorable people in the world are doing” (Debate, Los Angeles radio, 1999).
  • Following the August 2001 bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in which 15 people were killed and over 100 were injured: “It is the bitter result of the reckless policy of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon. And it is about time that the Israeli public should exert some pressure on their government” (NBC4-TV, Los Angeles. August 9, 2001).
  • “The only thing [Arab terrorists in Israel] can do is throw a bomb in a market or send somebody to suicide, we don’t have enough ability to target real targets in Israel” (Panel Discussion on Capitol Hill, June 18, 1998).
  • “[Americans] are financing an apartheid state [Israel ] that is contrary to everything you ever dreamed for or approved of. You [are being] taken … down a path of evil … You are making the face of America ugly all over the world (Speech, Lafayette Park, opposite the White House, October 28, 2000).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Michael Goldblatt, Chairman of National Executive Committee Dr. Alan Mazurek and Treasurer Henry Schwartz have written to the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and to five Los Angeles City Commissioners, urging the Commission to withdraw its nomination of the award to Hathout, saying, “The ZOA finds it simply unbelievable that a man with such a well-documented record of extremist attacks upon the United States and Israel, someone who does not shrink from using violent language to stir up hostility and hate against countries under terrorist attack, who speaks of Jewish conspiratorial control of the United States and who apologizes for terrorist groups like Hizballah, which is on the US list of terrorist organizations, should be legitimized with an award by the Commission. At a time when we should support genuine Muslim moderates and others seeking to defeat the forces of radicalism within the Muslim world, the Commission, by conferring an award on Maher Hathout, will not only confuse the public but will grant respectability to Hathout’s odious views. This award only sends a message to Hathout and his ilk and to others that their radical views are acceptable and that they do not need to change. This choice is also completely at odds with your noble mission statement of ‘promoting positive race and human relations in an increasingly complex and multicultural county.’ Giving an award to Hathout is like giving David Duke an award for promoting harmony between the races.

“In addition to Hathout’s promoting violence, hatred and divisiveness, Steven Emerson, the renowned authority on terrorism, has written, ‘Hathout frequently defends terrorist financiers by claiming that there is no proof they are linked to terrorism — and that the government is targeting American Muslims. In 2000, he assailed the government’s prosecution of defendants charged in a Hezbollah financing case in North Carolina; the defendants were convicted in 2002 of laundering money to Hezbollah and providing material support for the terrorist group (some of them were actually pictured in Lebanon training with Hezbollah). In 2003, he defended former University of South Florida professor Sami Al Arian — who pled guilty to “conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist” — and hinted that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft brought charges against Arian to suppress political dissent.’”


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