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CAIR, one month later: Has the leopard changed its spots?

In sum, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued no less than nine anti-Israel press releases since it was embraced by the Biden administration.

Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sign at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Credit: DC Stock Photograph/Shutterstock.
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sign at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Credit: DC Stock Photograph/Shutterstock.
Stephen M. Flatow. Credit: Courtesy.
Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow is president of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995, and author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror. (The RZA is not affiliated with any American or Israeli political party.)

It’s been a month since the Biden administration included the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the May 25 rollout of its U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. U.S. officials said CAIR should be judged by its statements and actions in the future, not what it said or did in the past. But CAIR’s record this past month has not been encouraging, to put it mildly.

The choice of CAIR as one of the groups that will participate in implementing the White House plan surprised and disappointed many in the Jewish community because of the organization’s disturbing record on antisemitism and terrorists.

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s website, CAIR leaders have used “antisemitic tropes related to Jewish influence over the media or political affairs.” In addition, a number of CAIR leaders have had connections to groups that “are or were affiliated with Hamas.” CAIR’s longtime executive director was also a leader of a Hamas support group that (among other things) distributed the anti-Jewish propaganda piece, ThProtocols of the Elders of Zion.

It’s also deeply troubling that CAIR has been a cheerleader for admitted members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the terrorist group that murdered my daughter Alisa in 1995.

Sami al-Arian and Hatem Naji Fariz pleaded guilty to providing services to PIJ, and were sentenced to prison terms. In 2007, CAIR launched a public campaign for al-Arian’s release, calling him a “political prisoner.” In July 2014, Fariz was a featured speaker at a CAIR event in Florida. In August 2020, after al-Arian was released from jail, he starred in a CAIR propaganda video. And when five PIJ terrorists escaped from an Israeli prison two years ago, the communications director for CAIR’s Florida division posted a graphic honoring the escapees.

So, what has CAIR been saying this past month? Has it truly reformed itself, shed its anti-Israel hatred and earned a place in the Biden administration’s efforts?

Let’s start on May 25, the day the administration released its strategy and embraced CAIR. That very day, CAIR issued a press release that denounced “apartheid Israel.”

On May 26, a CAIR press release slandered the ADL, claiming it has “a long history of promoting hate against Palestinians.”

A press release issued by CAIR on May 31 featured a dermatologist invoking the Holocaust in a rant against the supposed “mistreatment of Palestinian families” by Israel. According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which the United States has been using since 2010, comparing Israel to the Nazis is antisemitic.

On June 6, June 14, June 16 and June 20, CAIR again issued press releases slandering Israel as an “apartheid” state.

And a June 13 CAIR statement accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing.”

During the past month, CAIR also repeatedly called for slashing U.S. aid to Israel; denounced all U.S. laws that impede the anti-Israel BDS movement; and praised a proposal to penalize Israel if it arrests teenage terrorists.

One press release on May 26 urged Los Angeles schools to teach about “Palestinians living under brutal Israeli occupation for over seven decades.” Notice that phrase—“seven decades.” In other words, CAIR wasn’t talking about the “settlers” or “occupied territories” of 1967, which was five-and-a-half decades ago. Seven decades means they are talking about Israel’s very creation in 1948.

In sum, CAIR issued no less than nine anti-Israel press releases in the first 30 days since it was embraced by the Biden administration. That’s an average of one anti-Israel blast every three-and-a-half days. It’s fair to say that CAIR is virtually obsessed with hating the Jewish state—just as obsessed as it was before it was praised by the White House.

It’s been a month now. That was plenty of time for CAIR to prove that it has changed, as U.S. officials were hopefully predicting. Instead, CAIR’s record demonstrates that it is still the same old anti-Israel hate group that it has always been. It’s time for the Biden administration to formally remove CAIR from the list of organizations associated with the White House plan on antisemitism.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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