America's Capitol Building in Washington DC..
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ MARTIN FALBISONER)
In an unprecedented move, the most widely circulated newspaper in the Palestinian territories endorsed a candidate in an US election.
Last week Al-Quds, which often positively covers the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership, threw its weight behind Jerome Segal, a Jewish professor and activist, in his bid to represent Maryland in the US Senate.
Segal is campaigning against Sen. Ben Cardin, who is also Jewish, and others in Maryland’s Democratic primary election, which is slated to take place on June 26. If Segal wins the primary election he will become the Democratic Party’s candidate in the general election in November.
In a lengthy editorial explaining its endorsement, Al-Quds recalled Segal’s support for the Palestinians and his efforts to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“Al-Quds supports the candidacy of Dr. Jerome Segal in the upcoming Senate elections,” the editorial said.
“Dr. Segal is an ardent and dedicated supporter of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. He opposes occupation and illegal settlements. He supports legitimate international resolutions on the Palestinian issue. He is also committed to finding a just, stable and lasting peace in the region based on international resolutions and legitimacy.”
Segal was one of the first American Jews to reach out to meet with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat in Tunisia in the 1980s. He also carried out considerable research in the 1990s with Palestinian pollster Nader Said on finding a solution to the final status of Jerusalem.
Segal also is a critic of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most influential pro-Israel lobby group in the United States. In a recent interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he criticized AIPAC for allegedly ignoring the Palestinians and settlements at its annual policy conference.
The Al-Quds editorial also said the Palestinian newspaper will be closely covering the Democratic primary election in Maryland. It said it would do so not only because its results are important to Palestinians, but because “they provide a window for American democracy” and “may hold vital lessons for us, in our quest to establish our democracy in an independent Palestine.”