We Owe a Debt of Gratitude
to Pete McCloskey
By Hazem Kira
McCloskey is] the best thing that could happen for the district,
the state, the nation and possibly the Republican Party"
– Los Angeles Times (1/25/06)
It is important for American Muslims, especially the youth,
to know the history of their community including the substantial
contributions of their friends like Paul Findley, Paul “Pete”
McCloskey, Ramsey Clark, Richard Curtiss, Tom Campbell, and
David Bonior. This article details two main points: Who is
McCloskey and why we need to support him. And how each of
us can pitch in and help Mr. McCloskey.
Who is Paul (“Pete”) McCloskey and why we need
to support him?
Mr. McCloskey was elected to the House of Representatives
in a special election in 1967 and was re-elected seven times
representing the San Francisco Peninsula area. He initiated
the effort to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1969,
and made the first House speech suggesting the impeachment
of Richard Nixon for obstruction of justice in June 1973.
Thirty-five years ago, the then-congressmen Paul Findley and
Paul McCloskey were the only two nationally known figures
expending time and energy to inspire, empower, educate, organize
and mobilize the American Arabs and American Muslims. Their
exceedingly helpful role in the creation and development of
almost all major Arab and Muslim political organizations remains
buried in the unwritten history of our community.
Mr. McCloskey provided civic education and leadership training
to a whole generation of immigrant activists. At one stage,
he debated the militant Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane in San Francisco
rebuking him for his racist views of Arabs.
It was Mr. McCloskey, who along with his wife, had set up
a distribution company to break the implicit censorship of
Mr. Findley’s book They Dare to Speak Out by major mainstream
bookstores who has refused to carry that book. That implicit
censorship was ultimately defeated and, as we all know, the
book became a national bestseller.
Mr. McCloskey has not only consistently spoken in favor of
a fair and evenhanded US Middle East policy; he has empowered
many other elected officials to do the same.
Today, when Howard Dean, the so-called “liberal”
Chair of the Democratic Party, is celebrating the denial of
port management rights to an Arab country as a major victory
in the war against terror, Pete McCloskey, refusing to be
swept away by the wave of popular prejudice, has publicly
disapproved of Howard Dean’s intolerant views and Islamophobic
Once again, he is running for Congress again from California
11 District. Why? To raise a voice of reason against the war
and the USA PATRIOT ACT.
A McCloskey Support Committee chaired by Dr. Ali Zaki and
co-chaired by Mr. Tashie Zaheer has been set up in the Bay
Area. The committee members can be contacted at (510) 750