WASHINGTON (Feb. 2)
Two members of El Fatah, the Palestinian commando organization, are touring the United States and Canada in an effort to raise money from Arab-Americans and sympathy for their cause among the general population, Washington Post correspondent George Lardner Jr. reported from Los Angeles today. They are having scant success obtaining funds from sympathetic but generally tight-fisted Arab-Americans, most of whom are of Lebanese or Syrian descent, Mr. Lardner wrote. Arab-Americans are intensely anti-Israel but they are fragmented, some attracted to the far right and white racist organizations, others to the extreme left wing.
Mr. Lardner described a recent fund-raising meeting at the headquarters of the Lebanese-Syrian-American Society in Los Angeles. It was addressed by two El Fatah emissaries, Akram Abdul Majeed and Yousef Hanafi, both Palestinians and both 28. Their audience consisted of doctors, students, priests and assorted businessmen. Their theme was that guerrilla warfare was the only way to wrest Palestine from the Israelis. Donations were solicited by George E. Shibley, general counsel for the United American Arab Congress. “At length, between $400 and $500 is raised from an audience of some 75 of the Arabic community’s biggest spenders.” Mr. Lardner reported. He said a “Night of Artists” sponsored by the United Arab American Congress last August to raise funds for Sirhan B. Sirhan, the Jordanian immigrant on trial for the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, raised only $1,500 toward its goal of $5,000.
Mr. Lardner estimated the Arab-American population at about one million, the Syrians and Lebanese being the old-timers with a sprinkling of Palestinians and Jordanians who arrived since 1948. He noted that the Jewish population of New York City alone is more than twice the Arabs’ numbers. He said the Lebanese and Syrians, most of whom started out as peddlers and eventually built small businesses, are conservative by nature and tend to vote Republican.