Zogby named to Democratic Unity Commission

Zogby named to Democratic Unity Commission
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Zogby named to Democratic Unity Commission

The turmoil between Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders that undermined the credibility of the Democratic National Committee will be the focus of a Unity Commission set up by both candidates and the DNC, and will include at least one American Arab, Jim Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute

By Ray Hanania

Hillary Clinton’s abuse of Democratic party rules to undermine a challenge from Democratic rival Bernie Sanders was in a large part the momentum that undermine her candidacy and opened the way for Donald Trump to win the presidency.

Many Democrats who backed Sanders, the Vermont Senator, were angry when they learned that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which had been set up to promote Democratic Party principles and values, had been corrupted by Clinton’s campaign.

Instead of being neutral in the Clinton-Sanders battle, the DNC worked to boost Clinton while undermining Sanders, who was the preferred choice of a majority of Democrats. The DNC not only helped Clinton by providing her with questions that were to be asked during the many televised debates, but they also released data asserting that many of the “Super Delegates” (picked by the party and not voters) were supporting Clinton over Sanders. Although Sanders and Clinton were running nearly neck-and-neck in terms of elected Democratic delegates, the extra politically weighted “Super Delegates” helped create a false impression that Clinton was winning.

Confirmation of the bias came when Wikileaks obtained and released more than 20,000 emails between Clinton, Schultz and their staffs which exposed the collusion between them to undermine Sanders and corrupt the Democratic process.

In the wake of the growing scandal and Democratic Party divisions caused by the DNC, DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign in July 2016 and the post was handed off to Donna Brazile, who proceeded to continue the biased pro-Clinton insider lobbying that plagued Schultz.

Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby addresses the Arab American Democratic Club brunch March 19, 2017. Photo courtesy of Steve Neuhaus

Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby addresses the Arab American Democratic Club brunch March 19, 2017. Photo courtesy of Steve Neuhaus

Although Sanders praised Schultz for her years of support for the Democratic agenda, he welcomed her resignation saying the DNC must remain neutral in the future when it comes to the party nominating process.

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This week, the DNC, now under the new leadership of Tom Perez, an appointment backed by former President Barack Obama over Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, announced the new members of the Unity Commission that was ordered following the Convention to help bring the divided Democratic Party back together.

The Unity Reform Commission was created by a resolution proposed at the Convention Rules Committee, which was subsequently approved by the delegates of the 2016 Democratic National Committee. The DNC announced that the Unity Commission would be made up of members appointed by Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders, and the new National Chair of the DNC.

“They will begin to meet formally in the early spring of 2017 and will look at key elements our party’s processes that include but are not limited to increasing participation in the presidential nominating process, ways to engage new and unaffiliated voters, the role of unpledged delegates, and how to rebuild our Party so that we are competitive all across this country,” the DNC had announced.

Sanders released a statement today announcing his choices on the Unity Commission, including Zogby, a long time Democratic political activist who has fought hard to bring fairness to the Democratic Party platform on issues of concern to American Arabs and American Muslims.

Sanders Statement on the DNC Unity Reform Commission

April 19, 2017

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders issued the following statement Wednesday after the Democratic National Committee announced the members of the Unity Reform Commission, which was established to help determine the best way forward for the Democratic Party in terms of rule changes:

“I look forward to working with the new Unity Reform Commission of the Democratic National Committee.

“It is my full intent, and the intent of the eight men and women I named to the commission, to fight vigorously for fundamental reforms in the Democratic Party. We must build a 50-state, grassroots party that opens its doors to the working class and to young people all across the nation – and that is prepared to take on the big money interests that have so much influence over the political and economic life of our country. We must build a strong grassroots, progressive movement at the local, state and national level that encourages bold, new leadership.

“Our political revolution is well underway, and it is my hope that this commission will actively move the Democratic Party, its rules and its practices, forward to ensure that we create a government that works for all Americans and not just the billionaire class.

“I chose the eight men and women listed below to sit on the commission because I know that they support meaningful reform. They have my full confidence, and I look forward to seeing the results of their hard work.”

The members of the Unity Commission appointed by Sanders are:

  • Larry Cohen, Vice Chair of the Unity Reform Commission, District of Columbia
  • Hon. Gus Newport, California
  • Jane Kleeb, Nebraska
  • Jim Zogby, District of Columbia
  • Hon. Nina Turner, Ohio
  • Hon. Lucy Flores, California
  • Jeff Weaver, Virginia
  • Nomiki Konst, New York

Clinton nominated nine members to the Commission and Perez nominated three, giving Clinton loyalists control over the DNC moving forward.

The Clinton and Perez nominees, according to media reports, include: Former Clinton chief administrative officer Charlie Baker, former Clinton senior adviser Maya Harris, former Clinton delegate director David Huynh, former Clinton Nevada state director Jorge Neri, former Clinton Colorado state director Emmy Ruiz, and former Clinton ally Elaine Kamarck, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who worked in Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, at the White House. Also named were Iowa Democratic activist Jan Bauer, Democratic strategist Jeff Berman, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, former Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Yvette Lewis and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. A 12th member has not been identified yet.

The Unity Commission will begin meeting in May and is expected to release a report before the end of the year.

Despite the changes at the DNC, many American Arabs and American Muslims were angered when the DNC voted to name Perez the chairman, rejecting Ellison who was one of the first to announce his candidacy. When Ellison was introduced among the many contenders during a CCN-hosted debate of the DNC candidates last year, Ellison was the only one who did not receive any applause. The lack of applause was viewed at disrespectful and a reflection of the hypocrisy in the Democratic Party against Muslims, and Arabs. Click here for more information on the CNN debate and battle to stop Ellison.

Zogby has long demanded fairness from the Democratic Party on the issue of Israel and Palestine but pro-Israel fanatics in the Democratic Party have fought hard to suppress balance and to push through one-sided, pro-Israel resolutions and platforms.

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rayhanania

rayhanania

Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com www.arabnews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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