Former President Bill Clinton said Saturday that Americans should be mindful of the nation's changing demographics, which led to the election of Barack Obama as president.
He told an Arab-American audience of 1,000 people that the U.S. is no longer just a black-white country, nor a country that is dominated by Christians and a powerful Jewish minority, given the growing numbers of Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups here.
Clinton said by 2050 the U.S. will no longer have a majority of people with European heritage and that in an interdependent world "this is a very positive thing."
Speaking in a hotel ballroom to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee during its annual convention, Clinton also praised Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt, that was focused on the Arab world.
Clinton told the audience that it's important that they push government leaders for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He cited an experience in 1993 when he failed to persuade many Jewish-American and Arab-American business people to invest in the Palestinian areas because violence and bombings had deterred them.
"It just took one more bus bomb or one more rocket or one more incident and then people got scared of losing their money," he said.
As the U.S. continues to push for peace in the area, "I think it's really important to give the Palestinian people something to look forward to," Clinton said to loud applause.
Clinton, who wasn't paid for his speech, spoke in a wide-ranging 35-minute address that focused on people's identity in an interdependent world. He said the U.S. can't rely on its military might in global relations. "It has to begin by people accepting the fact that they can be proud of who they are without despising who someone else is," he said.