James Zogby

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James Zogby

James J Zogby is founder and president[1]of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization that serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community.

Since 1985, Dr. Zogby and AAI have led Arab American efforts to secure political empowerment in the United States. Through voter registration, education and mobilization, AAI has moved Arab Americans into the U.S. political mainstream.


In 1975, Dr Zogby received his doctorate from Temple University's Department of Religion, where he studied under the Islamic scholar, Dr. Ismail al-Faruqi. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow at Princeton University in 1976, and on several occasions was awarded grants for research and writing by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Defense Education Act and the Mellon Foundation.

Dr Zogby received a Bachelor of Arts from Le Moyne College. In 1995, Le Moyne awarded Zogby an honorary doctoral of laws degree and in 1997, named him the college’s outstanding alumnus. In 2007, the Temple University College of Liberal Arts also singled out Zogby as an outstanding alumnus.

Palestine Human Rights Campaign

The pro-PLO propaganda organization in the US known as the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. This was an organization formed in late 1977/early 1978 by the Zogby brothers James Zogby and John Zogby, according to sources who followed this organization's creation. The PHRC was an amalgamation of veteran Communist Party USA members and supporters, Hanoi supporters (i.e. the "Hanoi Lobby"), black Marxists and extremist clergy, traditional PLO/Palestinian operatives and supporters, and white radical pro-PLO clergy. A few Hispanic Marxists/leftists and at least one member of the marxist American Indian Movement (AIM) were also "signers".


In 1984 and 1988 James Zogby served as Deputy Campaign manager[2] and Senior Advisor to the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign.

Madeleine Albright told me at the ’84 convention, ‘If you even raise this issue [Palestine], you’ll destroy this party,'” says James Zogby, a deputy campaign manager in 1983, senior adviser and vice chair in 1988, who went on to start the Arab American Institute. “The debate then was, Could you even talk to Palestinians? In the middle of all that, for Jackson to say ‘our time, your time, has come’ was empowering. There was a raw excitement about being included. But those were difficult years. After the convention, Mondale sent back the money Arab-American businessmen contributed to his campaign. After the election the political director of the DNC told me, ‘We can’t deal with you because if we do, another group will be angry with us.’ I said that’s not only insulting to us, it’s anti-Semitic. Jackson urged us, Don’t give up; the threat you pose is to stick around and fight. In 1988, I led the platform fight for a plank on mutual recognition and territorial compromise. We had a debate but no vote. We made a dent, but what it took to get there was huge.” [3]

Rainbow Convention

At conferences in Houston and Washington DC, Jesse Jackson announce d the National Rainbow Coalition's Midterm Conference. He was flanked by Rep. Mickey Leland, chair Congressional Black Caucus, David Cortright of SANE, James Zogby of the Arab American institute, Clarence Mitchell, chair National Association of Black State Legislators, C. Delores Tucker, DNC Black Caucus, Arthur Kinoy Center for Constitutional Rights, and Marion Barry, chair, Conference of Black Mayors. [4]

Guardian ad, May 25, 1988, p. 9, National Day of Protest to End Israeli Occupation

A full-page ad appeared in the weekly Marxist-Maoist U.S. publication, the Guardian on May 25, 1988, page. 9 under the there of "National Day of Protest to End Israeli Occupation", calling on people to "Demonstrate" Saturday, June 4, 1988". Its themes were:

  • Stop the Killing, Beating, Imprisonment, and Expulsion of Palestinians
  • End the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza
  • Stop U.S. Funding of the Occupation

Demonstrations were scheduled for New York City, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.

Endorsers included James Zogby .


In 1995 Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler appointed Zogby as co-convener of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee, an umbrella organization of Democratic Party leaders of European and Mediterranean descent. In 1999 and 2001 he was reelected to that post.

Also in 2001, James Zogby was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, and in 2006 was also named Co-Chair of the DNC’s Resolutions Committee.

"Where to in'92"

The the February 1992 issue of the Unity Organizing Committee's Unity, carried commentary from several activists on their thoughts on politics in the 1990s.

Those interviewed were Rose Sanders, civil rights attorney, Selma, Oscar Rios, mayor of Watsonville California, Roger Green, state assemblyman Brooklyn, Wilma Chan school board president Oakland, Dr. James Zogby, president Arab American Institute, Pedro Noguera, president Berkeley School Board, Richard Moore, SouthWest Organizing Project, Tajel Shah, United States Student Association president, Merle Hansen, North American Farm Alliance, Wilma Mankiller, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Walter Johnson, secretary treasurer San Francisco Labor Council, Ginny Montes general secretary NOW.

DC rights march

The Aug. 23 2003 march on Washington that marked the 40th anniversary of the giant 1963 Civil Rights March led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was noted for its strong anti-war mood. Thousands of people from across the country streamed onto the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the historic march, which featured Dr. King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech.

The night before this year's march, Yolanda King hosted a "spit in" geared toward younger activists. Many people took the stage for five minutes each to "spit" poetry against war, about growing up poor and oppressed, about police brutality and other injustices to illustrate that the "dream" has not been realized by most working people in this country.

Throughout the weekend the speakers who received the loudest ovations were those who demanded an end to the occupation of Iraq.

Among the speakers were three presidential candidates--the Rev. Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun and Howard Dean; historic civil-rights leaders such as James Forman, Coretta Scott King and Jesse Jackson; representatives of the civil-rights/peace-and-justice movement like NOW Executive Director Kim Gandy, National Lesbian and Gay Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman, Damu Smith of Black Voices for Peace, Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, Raul Yzaguirre of La Raza, and Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Association, who invited everyone to come back for the Oct. 25 march against the U.S. occupation of Iraq. National youth and student leaders and church representatives also spoke.[5]


Zogby is on record as an opponent of what some call Islamophobia. He has described ordinary Americans as racist xenophobes who pose a threat to Muslims. In a 2012 panel discussion at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Zogby said "This hatred toward Muslims is largely concentrated with middle class, middle age, white people, and then it overlaps almost identically with the Tea Party. It is not a Republican thing. It’s a generational thing. And it is a phenomenon born of a simple set of conditions, collapse of home mortgages, foreclosures increasing, pensions in collapse when the stock market went down, unemployment doubling, the decline of the American dream. In our polling we always used, when we’d say, are your children going to be better off than you, that’s the American dream question, we’d get two thirds saying yes. We now get two thirds saying no."[6]

2016 Democrat Party Platform

Arab American Institute founder and president Dr. James Zogby was one of five individuals selected by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in May 2016 to serve on the Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee.[7]

OpEd Criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

In May 2016, James Zogby penned an OpEd criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Arab American Institute. Zogby wrote in part that Benjamin Netanyahu "has no interest in ending the occupation or providing justice for the Palestinians...Equally important to note is that far from being a strong leader, Netanyahu is weak and constantly fearful of others, both inside and outside of his government, who may challenge his authority. Alongside his core belief in maintaining Jewish control over Eretz Israel stands his concern with maintaining his personal power. These two goals define the man and explain his bullying and his maneuvers. His behavior has been shameful, but so too is the extent to which Israelis, Americans and others continue to enable his malevolent rule."[8]

Unity Reform Commission

In 2017 the Democratic National Committee's 21-member Unity Reform Commission included nine members selected by Hillary Clinton, seven members picked by Bernie Sanders, three picked by Thomas Perez, and the chair and vice chair ― selected by Clinton and Sanders, respectively.

Aside from Chair Jen O’Malley Dillon, a Clinton pick, the breakdown of the members selected by Perez and Clinton is not public.

Sanders named his selections to the commission. They were Larry Cohen, the vice chair; former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner; former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver; former Sanders New York delegate Nomiki Konst; James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute; former Berkeley, California Mayor Gus Newport; former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores; and Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb.

The DNC declined to name the three members Perez picked and a spokesman for Clinton did not respond to a request for information on her appointments.[9]

Capitol vigil


March 10, 2017, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national South Asian civil rights organization, along with partner organizations, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Arab American Institute (AAI), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Desis Rising Upand Moving (DRUM), Indiaspora, MPowerChange, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), National Network For Arab American Communities (NNAAC), Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), and Sikh Coalition joining with and Members of Congress, held a vigil on the steps of the Capitol to honor the victims of hate violence in South Asian, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, and Arab communities nationwide.

“At a time when South Asian, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, and Arab community members are facing hate violence and harassment on nearly a daily basis, we need real leadership from Washington to stem the tide of injustice,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “Waiting nearly a week before commenting on a deadly shooting in Kansas won’t do it. Issuing a second toxic Muslim Ban won’t do it. We need direct action from this administration to forge inclusion, justice, and hope in this quintessential nation of immigrants. SAALT will continue fighting for laws and policies that light a path toward a just and inclusive future for us all.”

Other speakers included Yolanda Rondon, Esq., Staff Attorney, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Amrita Bamrah, SALDEF, James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute, Robert S. McCaw, Director of Government Affairs Department, CAIR. [10]

Members of Congress who joined the vigil included Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA), Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA).

Arab American Institute

As of January 2018 James Zogby served on the Board of the Arab American Institute.