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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, August 06, 2003

 

Muslim for Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Glenn Reynolds points to this entry by Israeli Guy and asks jokingly, "is Howard Dean a Zionist agent?" (I'm sure that Muslim Wake Up will be receptive to the idea)

I take full responsibility for the IDF icon on the Dean 2004 blog to represent the Dean Defense Forces (DDF) advocacy group. I came up with the "Dean Defense Forces" name a while back and Matt Singer (of NotGeniuses fame) took that ball and ran with it to create the deandefense.org website.

I think the IDF has a noble purpose - to defend it's countrymen against threats. I may disagree with the implementation of that purpose from time to time (ok, often) but the fundamental ethos of the IDF is one of honor and pride. I chose their animated icon as a kind of homage when trying to find a way to represent our Dean Defense Forces group.

Israeli Guy asks "I wonder if they’ll keep it up now that it has been reveled [sic]" - the answer is yes, the icon stays, unless someone convinces me that it is wrong to do so. The floor is yours in the comments section.

But this is a lead-in to a larger issue - Dean's position on the Middle East conflict. I linked to Muslim Wake Up's indictment of Dean, and it is undeniable that Dean has said that his views on the IsPa conflict views are "in line with AIPAC's". And it is true that Dean considers resolution of the conflict to start with the cessation of terrorism, which in my view is mistaken because it puts cart before horse[1]. Others have noted with alarm that Dean has named Steven Grossman (former head of AIPAC) as his chief fundraiser.

However, this does not mean that Dean is "Sharon's man." In fact the naming of Grossman is a clear indicator of Dean's inherent balance and affinity for moderation. In 1993, Grossman persuaded AIPAC to issue a unanimous declaration of support for the Oslo accords. Grossman supported Bill Clinton in 1991 after Tsongas dropped out, and left AIPAC in 1997 as a more bipartisan and balanced organization than ever before (or since). There's a post on the Dean blog about Grossman that goes into more detail.

Look, if resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle with a Palestinian bias is your single issue, then you may as well vote for Bush again. Bush's ties to Saudi Arabia, and his need for regional stability in Iraq and the Arab world, make him far more Abu Mazen's man than Sharon's.

But frankly speaking I care more about America than either Israel or Palestine. Dean is not a genocidal maniac. And his defining characteristic is that he goiverns from principle and facts, not ideology - which is why he infuriates liberals and conservatives alike. I don't think he can do worse than Bush in the Middle East.

The bottom line is that I think American muslims need to stop obsessing on the Middle East conflict as the barometer of political affinity. Our interests as American muslims are NOT the same as muslims in Europe or the middle east. We are electing a President for our country, not theirs. I respect that my fellow muslims feel passionate about the issue of the IsPa conflict (including Al-Muhajabah, who has started the Muslims for Kucinich blog) but I also firmly feel that such efforts are as misguided as the Arab support of George Bush back in the 2000 election.

Dean is the sole candidate who can beat Bush - and thus is the real candidate that Muslims should support.


[1] in a nutshell, I believe that the occupation is the cause of the intifada, and that the terrorists who want Israel destroyed recruit for theiur barbaric and immoral political aims from eth pool of disaffected who result from the larger just struggle. Ending the occupation in a just and mutually beneficial way will deprive the terrorists of their lifeblood. Trying to stamp then out first, however, only exacerbates the conflict.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.