(JNS.org) The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) criticized the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) recent formation of a partnership with what ZOA described as a “radical Islamist” organization.
In November, the AJC and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) launched the new Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC), which states that it “brings together recognized business, political and religious leaders in the Jewish and Muslim American communities to jointly advocate on issues of common concern.” The council’s priority list including highlighting the contributions of Muslims and Jews to American society, developing a coordinated strategy to address anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Semitism in the U.S., and protecting and expanding the rights of religious minorities in America.
ZOA, however, issued a Dec. 14 press release raising concern about the interfaith partnership over ISNA’s alleged links to the Palestinian terror group Hamas and its parent group, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
“ISNA is infamous for its links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas: ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, involved in funneling money to Hamas. ISNA convention speakers delegitimize Israel, justified the Holocaust as punishment for the Jews’ ‘disobedience to Allah,’ and ‘featured Mavi Marmara flotilla participants, representing them as innocent peace activists who merely responded to Israeli brutality,’” ZOA said, citing a January 2011 article from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank.
ZOA also quoted Muslim reformer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser’s statement that the AJC-ISNA alliance “is very concerning. The AJC, long we thought an ally of anti-Islamist reformists, appears to have now joined the mainstreaming of established American Islamists and their organizations and ilk.”
In last month’s announcement of the new Muslim-Jewish initiative, Stanley Bergman—MJAC’s co-chair and AJC’s former president—said, “Our two communities share much in common and should find ways, where possible, to work together for the benefit of the entire country.”
"The council aims to provide a model for civic engagement by two communities, vital to American society, that agree to work together on issues of common concern and overlapping interest," said Farooq Kathwari, another MJAC co-chair.
ISNA’s stated mission is “to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and a better understanding of Islam.”