One of Arizona’s most pro-Israel candidates Is Arab-American

Abe Hamadeh, an Arab American Republican Party candidate running for Congress for Arizona’s 8th District, is one of the most pro-Israel candidates to come out of the state of Arizona.

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Arizona is not known to be racially progressive. It was the last US state to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday and gained international infamy in 2010 for SB 1070, a state anti-illegal immigration law dubbed by opponents as the “show me your papers” bill.

It would seem to be an uphill battle for a candidate from Hamadeh’s background to win votes in Arizona. However, he ran for the post of state attorney general last year, winning the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, and came very close to winning the election, persuading nearly 1.3 million Arizonans to vote for him and losing to Democratic rival Kris Mayes by fewer than 300 votes. Hamadeh is now contesting the election results.

Hamadeh is a divisive character who has been called many things since he entered the political arena two years ago. But he has also garnered a large national fan base from his appearances on conservative shows and social media sparring with political adversaries on X/Twitter. Whatever people think of him, his first-hand knowledge of the Middle East, gained from both personal and professional experiences, is proving to be a major asset for him in this congressional race, when war is again roiling the region.

Hamadeh told The Media Line that his political views are not extreme. He said they are common sense.

Republican candidate for Arizona Attorney General Abe Hamadeh attends the Republican Party of Arizona’s 2022 U.S. midterm elections night rally in Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S., November 8, 2022. (credit: BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)

Abe Hamadeh’s background

Born in Chicago in 1991, Hamadeh is the youngest son of Syrian immigrants, and he grew up in a mixed-faith Muslim-Druze household. In his youth, he periodically traveled to the Middle East and later returned as a US Army intelligence officer.

The vetting was the result of a policy introduced after a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force, who had been trained in the US with the US military, opened fire on Americans at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Dec. 6, 2019.

Hamadeh’s job was to prevent another attack on Americans.

Describing working in Saudi Arabia as the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen lobbed Iranian-funded missiles at American troops, Hamadeh said, “The threat was real, but when we were there, it was fascinating.”

While Hamadeh was in Saudi Arabia, US President Joe Biden removed the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation from the Houthis, who were still actively engaging US targets.

“It ties into the current situation in the Middle East, which is, everybody is at war right now,” Hamadeh told The Media Line. “And it’s kind of motivated and rallied these terror groups, Shia, Sunni, doesn’t matter, and they are all kind of united right now. And I think a lot has to do with Iran. … They don’t shoulder any of the consequences of their own actions.”

Iranian proxies have launched attacks almost daily on US troops since Oct. 7.

While he was a law school student at the University of Arizona, Hamadeh went on a trip to Israel, which had a profound impact on his worldview. That visit also got him deported from Lebanon a few years later. The welcome he received in Israel as a Druze compared to the way he was treated in Lebanon stuck with him and acted as a strong reminder of why his parents fled neighboring Syria before he was born. Hamadeh fears that what his parents escaped has infiltrated American media and universities.

Speaking about pro-Palestinian rallies in the US, Hamadeh told The Media Line: “You see these protests where they have a rainbow flag, they have a Palestinian flag, some of them had a Taliban flag. It’s scary, but this is kind of the march of Marxism. What’s going on domestically is really a cause for concern. [Marxists] have taken over the universities. They have set up these victim pipelines. And the Marxists, I think, they have the media, no offense. They captured the media and I think the media is surprised too.”

In a Gallup poll in October, 39% of Americans said they had zero confidence in the media, an all-time high. At the same time, the poll found that Congress had a 13% approval rating.

Hamadeh said there was a direct connection between Marxism and the rise of antisemitism in the US since Oct. 7. He said a recent incident involved one of his friends, a Yemeni Jew living in Nevada, who as she drove her child to school saw antisemitic graffiti saying, “Death to Jews” and “Free Gaza.”

“It’s a huge wake-up call for the Jewish community, it’s a wake-up call for all Americans, about the real risks that radicalized ideology poses here,” Hamadeh said. “Jews are under attack here in America, by homegrown extremists.”

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo called the incident “despicable” and said that Nevadans would never tolerate antisemitism and “violent rhetoric.” The community was outraged and a pro-Israel rally formed in response. The walls were cleaned up and posters of hostages being held by Hamas terrorists were put up.

The incident evoked memories of how Hamadeh’s own family was impacted by antisemitism, in a different way.

In 1994, Hamadeh’s father was accused of being involved with the fire-bombing of the Mikro Kodesh Anshe Tiktin Synagogue in Skokie, Illinois. Ultimately, two members of a Chicago street gang known as the Assyrian Kings, Edmond Hanna and Jami Derywosh, pleaded guilty to the attack and received prison sentences.

Hamadeh’s father was cleared, but the association of his name to the crime still lingers. It’s an uncomfortable topic for a person who espouses so much support for Israel, but Hamadeh said it was an experience that impressed a sense of justice and community in him.

“At the time when this whole ordeal was going on, the Jewish community actually took us in. My mom was struggling because the breadwinner was just taken to jail over false accusations and the community kind of rallied around us in some ways,” Hamadeh said.

“The Jewish community came together to support my family during that dark period, and I am forever grateful. The Jewish people have no bigger ally than me because of what my family went through,” he said.

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