The Middle East and the Arab world are often confused as one and the same thing. They’re not. … By other definitions, the Middle East takes in all of North Africa and stretches to the western mountains of Pakistan. The Arab world is somewhere in there.
The first waves of Arab immigrants came to America to seek economic opportunities, freedom, and equality, and to escape oppressive Ottoman rule, conscription, and taxes. A second wave of immigrants (1950s-1960s) fled the 1948 Palestine/Israel war and revolutions in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria.
The Middle East is a loose term, not always used to describe the same territory. It usually includes the Arab countries from Egypt east to the Persian Gulf, plus Israel and Iran. Turkey is sometimes considered part of the Middle East, sometimes part of Europe. Sometimes the Middle East includes North Africa as well.
Arab immigration has, historically, come in waves. Many came for entrepreneurial reasons, and during the latter waves some came as a result of struggles and hardships stemming from specific periods of war or discrimination in their respective mother countries.