DETROIT (Jul. 21)
President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon is expected to conclude his visit to the United States on Sunday in Detroit with an address to Lebanese Americans in the Masonic Temple Auditorium. Nine Arab groups in the area have announced plans to picket his speech because of their opposition to the agreement Lebanon signed with Israel last May.
Detroit attorney Abdeen Jabara, a spokesman for the Arab groups, told the Detroit Free Press that the organizations would boycott Gemayel because the Israel-Lebanon accord “is odious,” because of Gemayel’s cooperation with the Christian Phalangists, and because of “continued arrests” in Lebanon of Lebanese and Palestinians.
Marcel Hage, a Detroiter who is president of the American Lebanese League, said his organization is promoting a strong turnout for Gemayel’s visit here. “If we can at least show a strong sense of unity,” Hage said, “he can take it back and say, ‘See, they are supporting my mandate’.” The only other public address scheduled for Gemayel is on Saturday, in Houston.
Detroit’s Lebanese and Arab communities are said to be the largest in the United States. Spokesmen claim there are 100,000 Lebanese Americans in the Detorit area. Arab spokesmen claim the total number of Arab Americans in Detroit including the Lebanese, is 200,000.