Dearborn and the Middle East: Exploring the global connections …

Israel Palestine wall 2 Dearborn and the Middle East—What do you say about these intimate global connections?
    Our discussion this week—spurred by Obama’s historic Cairo speech—has centered around two controversial questions: Is Dearborn the Arab capital of America? Is a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian situation going to happen? The juxtaposition of these two questions shows our intimate global connections.
    I raised the first question to point out a common misconception about Arab Americans, one repeated by the Obama Administration’s video about Dearborn. This misconception is the conflation of Arab and Muslim. Most Arabs in America (and the Detroit region) are Christians.
    To focus on one ethnic community as “representative” is troubling, says David Crumm, because it makes “invisible the Arab and Muslim communities all over America.”
    Yet one may still think of Dearborn as a capital of Arab Americans. “Yes!” says Ms Aquino-Hughes. “Dearborn is the powerful capital of Arab America. Make no mistake about it.”
    “As to Dearborn being the Arab capital of America,” Greg writes, “I can’t think of any place else in the US where they are so integrated into the life and flow of an area.”
    Of course, what happens here matters over there and vice versa. By over there, I mean the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian situation. Obama made clear his position about Israeli settlements and the two-state solution. Both are contrary to Netanyahu’s position—yet we hear that he may be changing his mind.
    It’s a ruse, says Ron Amen. “Even though Netanyahu has made some changes in the rhetoric that helped to get him elected nothing will change in Israeli policy. Israeli leaders have been using the ruse of a two state solution for decades. It’s all a smoke screen.”
    Even more, according to Sandra Amen-Bryan, “The theme of a two-state ‘solution’ is no answer at all anymore. The Israelis have made this possibility evaporate with each additional settlement, the wall, the diversion of water, the destruction of crops.”
    Are we on the verge of a real solution?
    Or just another episode in the continuing drama of Palestinian-Israeli-American relations?

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