What’s That You Say About the West Coast?

It seems Arabs and Jews in can agree on one thing at least — a touch of resentment toward East Coast “national” organization headquarters.

Following its national convention in June, the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) announced the dismissal of West Coast Regional Director Michel Shehadeh. Shehadeh had been with the ADC for 15 years. ADC President Ziad Asali has made no public statement as to why Shehadeh was let go; Western regional officers have called for his reinstatement.

Shehadeh’s dismissal is eerily similar to the case of David Lehrer, the former Pacific Southwest regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Lehrer, who held the position for 15 years, was dismissed in December 2001 by ADL national director Abraham Foxman. The ADL is headquartered in New York.

“I talked to people after I left ADL, people in community nonprofits, in law, in banking,” said Lehrer who noted that tension between East Coast headquarters and regional offices is “quite common” in many areas. Lehrer is aware of the ADC controversy, though not privy to any insider details. He did, however, acknowledge, “It has a familiar ring to it.”