newsAntisemitism

Antisemitism strategy partner CAIR blames Israel for Hamas attacks

The Biden administration's decision to invite the Council on American-Islamic Relations to be part of the strategy was like inviting "some butchers to National Vegetarian Day,” Gil Troy told JNS in May.

Sign at the building entrance to CAIR headquarters. Credit: DCStockPhotography/Shutterstock.
Sign at the building entrance to CAIR headquarters. Credit: DCStockPhotography/Shutterstock.

When the Biden administration released its national strategy on countering antisemitism in May, a fact sheet noted that the Council on American-Islamic Relations was one of the entities advising the White House.

CAIR has a long documented history of antisemitism, and the White House’s decision to include it in the national strategy on Jew-hatred was like recruiting “male chauvinists for the next women’s rights initiative,” or inviting “some butchers to National Vegetarian Day,” McGill University history professor Gil Troy told JNS at the time.

Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, told The Jerusalem Post in June that CAIR was rightfully included in the strategy on antisemitism despite its “problematic” past.

“One can also step back and say, OK, we’re going to judge you by what to say going forward,” she said at the time. “We’re going to evaluate what you do henceforth.”

Several months later, CAIR and other members of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations, which bills itself as the “largest American Muslim civil-society umbrella organization,” released a statement blaming Israel for Hamas’s barbaric attacks.

“The recent unprovoked and continuous attacks by Israel on Palestinian towns, cities and refugee camps have resulted in tragic loss of Palestinian lives,” the umbrella group stated, with no mention of Israelis murdered, raped, wounded and taken hostage.

“To my mind, not since the Holocaust have so many Jews been killed in one day,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog has said. “And not since the Holocaust have we witnessed scenes of Jewish women and children, grandparents—even Holocaust survivors—being herded into trucks and taken into captivity.”

CAIR and the other groups condemned not the antisemitic attacks and torture, but “Israel’s targeted and indiscriminate killing of civilians, including innocent children, women and the elderly.”

“We denounce the inhumane siege imposed on the nearly 2 million inhabitants of Gaza, a clear violation of international law and an implied declaration of open war on the Palestinians which oblige them to be in constant self-defense,” the group added.

The group 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 sought comment from Lipstadt and from the U.S. State Department about whether signing onto the United States Council of Muslim Organizations statement jibed with the ambassador’s statement about judging CAIR’s actions after it was part of the antisemitism strategy.

Someone in the department’s press office (a woman named Jennifer, who did not use a last name) noted that Monday is the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, or Indigenous People’s Day.

“We are fielding an incredibly high volume of inquiries. We will work as quickly as possible to get back to you,” she said. (JNS waited more than 10 hours for a response.)

After JNS sent its query, CAIR issued a 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.”

It stated: “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.”

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