The NY Times notes today that U.S. Senators Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Robert Mendendez are polishing their anti-Arab credentials in a rather arcane local issue that has broad international ramifications:
[The senators] added their voices to objections about the Bush administration’s approval of a deal that will give a Dubai company a central role in operating ports in New York and around the country.
…Clinton and…Menendez said yesterday that they planned to introduce legislation to prevent companies controlled by foreign governments from buying American port operations.
The purpose of the bill would be to block the $6.8 billion sale of a British shipping company to Dubai Ports World, a port operator controlled by the government of Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates. The British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation, operates the cruise ship terminal on the West Side of Manhattan and has a half-interest in the Port Newark Container Terminal, the third-largest cargo terminal in New York harbor.
“I just don’t believe that our ports should be handed over to foreign governments,” Mr. Menendez said in an interview. Especially not to Dubai, he added, because it has a “serious and dubious history” as a transit point for terrorism.
Echoing other lawmakers in Washington who criticized the federal approval of the deal this week, Mr. Menendez cited reports that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers were from the United Arab Emirates and that some of the money that financed the attacks flowed through banks there.
Does this mean that because the CIA and Henry Kissinger colluded with Pinochet to overthrow Salvador Allende and murder tens of thousands of Chileans that Chile would be justified in forbidding any U.S. company affiliated with the government (if there was such a thing) from doing business there? How about Cuban-American terror against Cuban civilians? Should Castro forbid U.S. companies closely allied with the government from doing business? Because the Japanese Red Brigades once committed a terror attack at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel should allow no Japanese companies affiliated with the government from doing business there?
Besides, how do you blame an entire country for the acts of two of its citizens on 9/11?
I’m sorry, but I’m with the Bush Administration on this one. Our country has excellent relations with the United Arab Emirates; that country’s leadership has been among the most supportive toward U.S. Mideast policies; it has been most open to considering dialogue with Israel. So what is gained by sticking a finger in the eye of one of the Mideast’s friendliest governments?
…Senior administration officials reiterated their support for the transaction and their favorable relations with the United Arab Emirates.
The Dubai purchase passed a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a panel composed of the leaders of 12 federal agencies and headed by the treasury secretary, John W. Snow.
Mr. Snow and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, said yesterday that the committee had determined that the transfer would not compromise security. Ms. Rice, who is scheduled to visit the United Arab Emirates next week, described one of them, Abu Dhabi, as “a very good friend” of the United States, according to Bloomberg News.
The anti-Arab bloc in the Senate seems not able to distinguish between different Arab nations. I guess you’ve seen one you’ve seen ’em all. No good Arab governments and only bad ones as far as they’re concerned. All those A-rabs are bad news, plain and simple.
And let’s call this one for what it is. They don’t want to prevent any company owned by a foreign government from operating a U.S. port. They want to prevent any company owned by an ARAB government from doing so. Why don’t we call it the “Anti-Arab Commerce Clause?” It has a nice catchy ring to it and accurately states the real goal of this xenophobic legislation.
Of course, we must note that each of these Senators is pandering in the basest way to the perceived interests of their Jewish constituents (but hey they don’t speak for me). I think it stinks and makes the Democratic party look like a bunch of raving Arab haters. In addition, Menendez is known for being what Jews call a hondeler (“wheeler dealer”) and I wouldn’t be surprised since the Port of Newark is within his jurisdiction that he may have some ulterior motive for opposing the new company. Perhaps he has his own ideas about who should be running Newark? And might that involve a political ally or friend? Just guessin’. Hope I’m wrong.
And if you’d like to see how paranoid and conspiratorial the right-wing blog world can get over this story, take a look at what Michelle Malkin has brewed.