LIC and the Cleveland Lebanese American Community Honor US Officials at the RNC Convention

July 18, 2016


The Lebanese American community in Cleveland, in coordination with the Lebanese Information Center, organized a reception during the Republican National Convention to honor US elected officials, friends of Lebanon, Members of Congress and State dignitaries at 'Taza', the Lebanese restaurant in downtown Cleveland. The reception was hosted by LIC President Dr. Joseph Gebeily, along with Cleveland LIC chapter head Samir Haikal, and Lebanese Community leaders Fady Chamoun and Adam Kaufman.

 U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA), Mike Turner (R-OH), Keith Rothfus (R-PA), participated as well as Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine and Dr. Walid Phares, foreign policy advisor to Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.

 After an introduction by Mr. Adam Kaufman, Dr. Gebeily stressed in his welcoming remarks, the importance of a sovereign, democratic and pluralistic Lebanon in an increasingly unstable Middle East. "It is imperative that the current Administration and Congress, as well as the future elected President and Members of Congress, continue to support Lebanon," he said. 

Dr. Gebeily added that Lebanon should remain an essential component of broader US policy in region, particularly in the face of destabilizing policies by Iran and the Islamic State group (Daesh) across the Middle East and beyond. He called for a more robust American policy in the region to preserve democracy, end tyranny, and prevent radicalized ideologies -- whether Sunni, Shiite, or otherwise -- from taking over the region. 

As the presidential election draws closer, Dr. Gebeily called on Americans of Lebanese descent to take an active role in political work and other forms of public life in the US. Presidential and national elections, as well as openings in seats of power across American cities, are opportunities to reinforce and promote the role of the Lebanese diaspora in serving both America and the Lebanese homeland. 

 Representative Rothfus, a member of the Congressional Task Force to investigate terrorist financing, hailed Lebanon as an important example of peace, freedom, democracy, and coexistence in the Middle East.

 Representative Turner, who sits on the House Armed Forces and the Intelligence Committees, discussed his own meeting last June with Maronite Patriarch Bashara Boutros al-Rai. Representative Turner said he remained personally committed to supporting Lebanon through Congress. 

 Representative Issa, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee and himself of Lebanese descent, spoke about the role of the Lebanese diaspora across the US and especially in Ohio. He stressed that aid to Lebanon should be continued, particularly in the wake of a growing refugee crisis in the Middle East that has put a tremendous burden on countries like Lebanon. 

 Dr. Phares, who was selected by Mr. Trump to advise him on Middle Eastern affairs, discussed the importance of supporting movements in the Middle East that stand for freedom, democracy, and liberty while fighting the extremist and terrorist ideologies espoused by Iran and Daesh. He said Mr. Trump would have a leading policy in this regard. 

 Finally, Attorney General DeWine said he has built over the years strong relationships with the Lebanese diaspora and highlighted the contributions that this successful community has made to various fields in Ohio and across the country.

 The LIC recognizes and deeply appreciates the strong, steady support it continues to receive from US lawmakers and administration officials. This solidarity with the people of Lebanon will help preserve the small Mediterranean country as a beacon of independence, moderation, and democracy. 




2016 Lebanese Information Center




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