Americans Arabs have been leaning heavily towards endorsing Christopher Kennedy in the March 2018 Democratic primary election race for Governor against rival J.B. Pritzker.
Leading the way is the Arab American Democratic Club (AADC) which has hosted candidate forums and fundraisers in the past. Kennedy had accepted an invite to speak to the Arab American Democratic Club.
Chris Kennedy is leading as the candidate of choice for American Arabs and Muslims in Illinois. Kennedy has shown a sensitivity to issues facing American Arabs among which is access and engagement in state government.
Under incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, American Arabs have been marginalized and targeted with punitive hate-driven legislation punishing them for their expression of free speech on issues involving foreign countries.
Rauner has also supported legal action that has been directed at several Arab Americans in activism and in journalism.
Most recently, Rauner enthusiastically endorsed a bill introduced to the Illinois General Assembly that punishes Arabs and Muslims who criticize Israel. The bill was originally sponsored by State Sen. Ira Silverstein and State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz.
Many American Arabs have criticized Israel’s settlements and the theft of land from Muslims and Christians living in the Occupied West Bank and in Occupied Jerusalem. Under the SIlverstein-Feigenholtz bill supported by Rauner, Christians and Muslims who criticize those settlements and support a boycott would be punished.
The legislation is racist and violates the rights of American Arabs like myself who unlike Silverstein, Feigenholtz and Rauner, served this country honorably and with distinction in the U.S. Military, during the Vietnam War. As a veteran, I am insulted by the legislation that Rauner, who claims to support veterans, endorsed out of political expediency.
Pritzker declined to attend several forums and events hosted by American Arabs. The prominent Arab American Democratic Club (AADC) is hosting a fundraiser for Kennedy to help him in the race.