‘Happy To Attend’

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The New York Sun

Here are some things New Yorkers need to know about the Arab American Institute and its foundation: It is funded in part by the government of Saudi Arabia. When Sami Al-Arian, who was sentenced this week after pleading guilty to helping the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, was originally indicted, the president of the Arab American Institute, James Zogby, issued a press release referring to the charges as “specious.” At an Arab American Institute conference in Dearborn, Michigan in 2003, a speaker described the attorney general of the United States as a “lunatic.” And at the Arab American Institute’s annual gala dinner tonight in Washington, the ambassador of Syria, a country the U.S. designates as terror-sponsoring, is expected to attend as a “VIP guest.”

Also in attendance will be the Republican Party’s candidate for attorney general of New York this year, Jeanine Pirro. She said through a spokeswoman that she was “happy to attend.” When we asked about the Arab American Institute’s history of bashing the Bush administration and acting as an apologist for terrorists, the Pirro campaign’s response was to point out that Senator Sununu will be in attendance, as will President Bush’s undersecretary of state, Karen Hughes, and Poland’s nobel laureate and former president, Lech Walesa. Ms. Hughes and Mr. Walesa are both making mistakes. But Ms. Pirro is the one who is running to be elected in New York to a statewide law enforcement position. What is she doing at this dinner?

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