(March 20, 2019 / JNS) Pro-Israel philanthropist Adam Milstein has said that he remains committed to speaking out against the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), as well as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), following his announcement that he has withdrawn from moderating a panel at the upcoming AIPAC Policy Conference after a series of tweets criticizing the politicians.
“It’s specifically because I believe in the importance of religious tolerance, freedom of speech and pluralism that I will continue to speak out against CAIR, and Representatives Omar and Tlaib,” he told JNS.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Milstein, who has been a prolific donor to AIPAC over the last decade, giving $200,000 annually to the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) that makes annual grants to AIPAC, withdrew from moderating the panel following a series of tweets where he criticized Omar, Tlaib and CAIR.
In a statement released by Milstein, he said “my tweet today, which shared news articles and social media postings that others wrote about CAIR and Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, has been used to mischaracterize me and my views.”
Furthermore, Milstein said his social-media postings “represent my views—and my views alone,” and that he has “no interest in allowing this mischaracterization of me to distract from the important work of AIPAC.”
As such, Milstein said that it is this reason that he will “not be moderating a panel at this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference.”
AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman did not respond to a JNS inquiry regarding the details of whether or not Milstein was prohibited or requested not to moderate the panel, as well as to which specific message communicated by Milstein that AIPAC objected to. Instead, Wittman pointed JNS to his existing comments to JTA.
However, the JTA report noted that the claims provided by Milstein on Twitter provided “little or no evidence” of ties between Omar, Tlaib and the Muslim Brotherhood.
A broader controversy over anti-Semitism
The situation over Milstein is connected to the broader controversy over anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party tied to Omar that led to a House resolution on the issue. Ironically, it was Rep. Omar’s recent attacks on AIPAC that generated tremendous backlash from the Jewish community and concerns over anti-Semitism.
Indeed, Milstein’s tweets pointed to a petition launched by the group Stop Antisemitism, calling on Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Special Envoy for Anti-Semitism Elan Carr to “to investigate Hamas affiliated CAIR’s ties in U.S. Congress.”
According to the petition, which has been signed by more than 6,800 people as of Wednesday morning, CAIR is a “front group for the Hamas terror organization.”
The petition highlights the troubled history of CAIR, noting that it was founded in 1993 following a meeting of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which has ties with Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group. It is also listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case that found Holy Land Foundation responsible for siphoning more than $12 million to Hamas.
Milstein said that the ties between CAIR, and Reps. Omar and Tlaib, are major concern.
“CAIR has provided a vehicle for the Middle East’s most extreme groups, including terrorist organizations like Hamas, to raise money and spread their ideas in America. Representatives Omar and Tlaib are closely linked to CAIR,” he said.
Moreover, he said, “Representative Omar has given voice to anti-Semitic tropes that are not only dangerous for the Jewish people, but also contrary to our values as Americans.”