In June, Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, told The Jerusalem Post that the Council on American-Islamic Relations should be judged going forward, and not on its “problematic” past after the White House included it as an adviser to the national strategy to combat antisemitism.
JNS sought comment from Lipstadt after CAIR was a signatory to a statement that blamed Israel for Hamas attacks against it, which Israeli President Isaac Herzog has called the bloodiest day for Jews since the Holocaust.
CAIR is part of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations, which issued a statement condemning Israel, but not Hamas, and called on Washington to “exert pressure on the occupation regime” and encouraged Arab countries that had normalized relations with Israel under the 2020 Abraham Accords to reconsider their ties.
JNS asked Lipstadt’s office and the U.S. State Department press office how this jibed with the envoy’s decision to judge CAIR going forward in June, rather than on its troubling past. Or did she have in mind that CAIR ought to be judged on the future, starting now?
On Tuesday evening, Lipstadt told JNS exclusively that “it is irresponsible and abhorrent to try in any way to justify Hamas’s murder of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians including through indiscriminate attacks.”
“The United States stands resolutely in solidarity with the government and people of Israel, as they consider steps to mitigate this vicious, lethal terrorist threat,” she said.
She did not say anything further about CAIR. After JNS sought comment from Lipstadt, CAIR issued its own press release, calling on the United States to address “the root causes of violence” and to terminate “Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories” and end “the Israeli government’s apartheid policies.”
“The key to achieving enduring peace remains addressing Israel’s unlawful occupation of Palestinian lands, apartheid state policies and the ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights,” it stated.
Ismail Allison, national communications manager of CAIR, told JNS that “our civil rights organization and the broader American Muslim community have repeatedly and consistently condemned attacks on any civilians anywhere, including the attacks on Israeli civilians last weekend and attacks on Israeli civilians in years past.”
“Targeting civilians is wrong. Period,” Allison said.
CAIR provided links to several statements, including one where it stated, “Targeting civilians is wrong, whether they are Palestinian, Israeli, American or any other nationality. Yet our nation has given a green light for Netanyahu’s far-right, openly racist government to continue its medieval siege and mass bombing of civilians in Gaza.”
“Far too many supporters of the Israeli government have spent years either completely ignoring or actively supporting the Israeli military’s nearly constant attacks on Palestinians, including the ongoing mass bombing and medieval siege of civilians in Gaza,” Allison told JNS. “American Muslims oppose violence against all civilians, whether Israeli or Palestinian. All supporters of the Israeli government should do the same.”