Rep. John Dingell removed from his official Web site links to Arab-American sites after a Jewish newspaper questioned the sites' claims about Israel's action in its recent fighting with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
The links had been posted in 2000 to help Arab-Americans looking for information about immigration. The Detroit area has one of the nation's largest Arab-American communities.
But the links were removed because the sentiments expressed on the Web sites about the Mideast fighting were offensive to Dingell and constituents in his district, spokesman Adam Benson told The Detroit News for a story published Friday.
In an Aug. 14 article, the Jewish News of Detroit questioned links between Dingell's Web site and those of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Arab American News that "contained unsubstantiated and disputed claims of Israeli massacres and targeting of civilians" and "opinions harshly critical of Israel, Zionism and U.S. support for Israel."
Osama Siblani, publisher of the Dearborn-based Arab American News, defended his coverage of the conflict.
"The Jewish community has their own positions, and we disagree with them, but we do respect them, and we do not want to stifle debate as long as we are polite," Siblani said.
Dingell, who turned 80 last month, has been in Congress since 1955, making him the longest-serving member of the current House and the second-longest-serving congressman in U.S. history. He does not face a Republican challenger in the November election.