x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Giuliani defends US attitudes

Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and one-time presidential candidate, strongly denies that the US is prejudiced against Arabs and Muslims.

Rudolph Giuliani speaks at the Leaders of Dubai Business Forum.
Rudolph Giuliani speaks at the Leaders of Dubai Business Forum.

DUBAI // Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and one-time presidential candidate, strongly denied yesterday that the US is prejudiced against Arabs and Muslims. During a tough question and answer session at the end of his speech at the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum, Mr Giuliani said while it was possible to find racists among his countrymen, they did not represent the majority of Americans.

"It's not pervasive, it is not the attitude of most Americans," he said. Mr Giuliani was responding to a member of the audience who brought up the now-infamous clip of a woman telling Senator John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, that she did not trust his rival Barack Obama because he was "an Arab". Senator McCain responded: "No he's not, he's a decent family man". Mr Giuliani argued that most Americans can make the distinction between the few that wish to do them harm and the many who are good people.

"I'm an Italian-American and the reality is that there was a period of time when people thought all Italian-Americans were part of the Mafia. They don't feel that way any more." Responding to a businesswoman who said she was frequently held up for hours by security at US airports, he said overzealous security measures were not a result of prejudice but of airport guards being afraid of letting someone through who would later commit a terrorist act.

Arab nations had expressed a great deal of support for the US after September 11, said Mr Giuliani. He argued that his well-publicised rejection of a US$10 million (Dh36.7 million) donation by Alwalid bin Talal al Saud, a Saudi Arabian prince, was prompted not by prejudice against money from the Gulf, but because the prince had coupled the donation with criticism of US foreign policy. He also said the US rejection of Hamas as the elected government in the Palestinian Territories was because of ongoing attacks, rather than a demonstration that democracy did not work in this region.

Speaking about the financial crisis, he said investors were prone to a form of manic-depression, when they thought the economy would continue to grow indefinitely in good times and shrink continuously in bad. "It is never as good or as bad as you think it is. The current crisis presents an opportunity to buy devalued assets and for companies to downsize," he said. He also said he will consider running for governor of New York and is not ruling out a second attempt at the White House. However, he did not think an offer to serve Barack Obama was realistic.

Speaking about the recent US election, he defended the choice of Sarah Palin as Senator McCain's running mate, saying she had more experience as an executive than president-elect Barack Obama. Mr Giuliani said he should have run his own failed campaign for the Republican nomination on a tighter budget and not ignored early states in the Republican primary. Earlier in the day Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a British explorer, described finding the lost city of Ubar in Oman "by accident", talked about his life in the British army fighting on behalf of the Sultan of Oman and described his expeditions across both the north and south poles.

The conference ends today. gmclenaghan@thenational.ae