Dr. Mehdi

Dr. Mehdi (1977)
Duration: 00:26:17

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Themes: Africa and African-Americans |

Guests: Dr. Mehdi
Host : Ron Scott
Producer : Tony Mottley
Associate Producer : Deborah Ray

Summary: Because the available tape of this broadcast does not include opening or closing credits, dating of the program is imprecise. Internal references place it sometime in 1977 (after Menachem Begin became prime minister of Israel) or 1978, before the Camp David peace conference in which President Jimmy Carter brought together Begin and Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat.

Mehdi tells Scott his organization is trying to get the United States to change its policy toward the Arab world because existing policies favor Israel to the detriment of American interests. Mehdi says the Zionist philosophy that led to the creation of Israel is a form of colonialism and he compares it with white supremacist rule in South Africa.

America's support for Israel and its Zionist policies, Mehdi says, is alienating Arab nations and other countries who are seeking freedom and self-determination, not more colonialism.

"America has no stake in Israel," Mehdi says. "America has a stake in the Middle East, in the Arab world. The future of America is linked to the Arab world, is linked to Africa, is linked to Asia, but not to the bankrupt Jewish state of Israel."

He argues that America's military support for Israel also has made it easier for the Soviet Union to have influence in the Middle East - contrary to American desires and interests - because it has forced Arab nations to turn to the Soviets for weapons to counterbalance the weaponry of Israel.

Mehdi underscores the common interests of nations in the Middle East and in Sub-Saharan Africa, and describes the efforts of Arabs to control their oil resources (a reference to the 1973 oil embargo) as a model for the efforts of African nations to assert their autonomy by controlling their natural resources. And he rejects the idea that religious differences are at the heart of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"It is a political, colonial question," he says. "It is really not a religious problem, it is a political issue."

The program is particularly interesting for Mehdi's efforts to connect the issues in the Middle East with the struggles of emerging nations in Africa - a context of great interest for many African Americans.

Related Production Materials held at MSU Libraries, Special Collections:
Box 3, File 12, Minorities in Saudi Arabia – Janurary 14, 1991 – Show # 2212
Box 14, File 4, Africa – 1983-1985
Box 14, File 5, Africa & U.S. Policy