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DEFINING AND IDENTIFYING THE ARAB LOBBY

The Arab lobby consists of those groups and individuals that directly and indirectly seek to persuade American policymakers to support Arab interests both in the U.S. and abroad. While focusing on Arab concerns, by no means is this lobby composed exclusively of Arabs. The lobby is defined by its ideology, not by the ethnicity of its active constituents. That ideology tends to be pro-Arab on the one hand, and anti-Israel on the other. The Arab lobby in America generally seeks to promote its agendas by characterizing them as beneficial to U.S. national interests; conversely, it depicts pro-Israel policies as harmful to those interests.

A lobby, strictly defined, is a group of persons -- be they volunteers or paid professionals -- engaged in an effort to persuade public officials to pass laws or implement programs that promote the lobbyists’ goals. Lobbyists pursue their objectives in different ways: some (direct lobbyists) privately cajole legislators via telephone calls or face-to-face visits; others (grassroots lobbyists) urge the general public to contact their legislators; still others organize or participate in public actions such as mass demonstrations; and some employ a combination of all these approaches. In cases where a particular issue is to be decided through a ballot initiative or referendum, appeals to the public are technically classified as direct lobbying, because in those instances the public acts as the legislature.

Lobbyists are not necessarily members of groups or organized campaigns; they can also be independent individuals who feel strongly about the passage or the defeat of certain pieces of proposed legislation. Some are on the payroll of foreign governments.

There is technically a distinction between advocacy and lobbying. The former term is broader -- connoting efforts to influence some aspect of society, be it public opinion, individual behavior (e.g., campaigns to discourage smoking or to encourage vegetarianism), employment policy (e.g., affirmative action in hirings and promotions), or legislation passed by elected government officials. Lobbying is a narrower term, referring  specifically to those advocacy efforts that attempt to convince legislators and public policy-makers to vote in a certain way.

 

RESOURCES:

The Arab Lobby: The American Component
By Mitchell Bard
Fall 2010
 
The Arab Lobby in America
By Mitchell Bard
December 8, 2010

The Israeli and Arab Lobbies
By Mitchell Bard
July 2012

The Arab Lobby: The European Component
By Steven J. Rosen
Fall 2010
 
The Arab Lobby — The Real Powerbrokers in Washington
By Mitchell Bard
October 10, 2010
 
The Arab Lobby
Jamie Glazov interviews Mitchell Bard
September 10, 2010

The Arab Lobby Rules America
By Alan Dershowitz
August 24, 2010

Discover the Arab Lobby "Network"
By John Perazzo
January 17, 2007

Israel Lobby's Pull Pales Next to Evil Saudi Input
By Youssef M. Ibrahim
October 1, 2007

 

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