The problem with Hady Amr

Biden’s new Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel-Palestine isn’t just another policy expert with a history of hostility to Israel.

Hady Amr speaks during the presentation of a report titled "Ending Gaza’s Perpetual Crisis: A New U.S. Approach,” at the Brookings Institution, Dec. 3, 2018. Source: Screenshot.
Hady Amr speaks during the presentation of a report titled "Ending Gaza’s Perpetual Crisis: A New U.S. Approach,” at the Brookings Institution, Dec. 3, 2018. Source: Screenshot.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

“I was inspired by the Palestinian intifada,” Hady Amr wrote a year after Sept. 11, 2001, discussing his work as the national coordinator of the anti-Israel Middle East Justice Network.

U.S. President Joe Biden has now chosen Amr as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel-Palestine.

“I have news for every Israeli,” Amr ranted in a column written after Sheikh Salah Shahada, the head of Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was taken out by an Israeli airstrike in 2002.

Amr warned that Arabs “now have televisions, and they will never, never forget what the Israeli people, the Israeli military and Israeli democracy have done to Palestinian children. And there will be thousands who will seek to avenge these brutal murders of innocents.”

He also threatened Americans that “we, too, shouldn’t be shocked when our military assistance to Israel and our security council vetoes that keep on protecting Israel come back to haunt us.”

The future State Department official was making these threats less than a year after 9/11.

Amr accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and coordinated an organization that had accused Israel of apartheid, making his appointment, like that of Maher Bitar, an anti-Israel activist appointed as the senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, a statement about the Biden administration’s stance towards the Jewish state.

Amr’s job offer from Biden isn’t surprising. The Beirut-born Amr, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, had dived into politics as the director of ethnic outreach for Al Gore’s failed presidential campaign. And the Biden campaign listed Amr as one of its bundlers, who fueled it with cash.

Biden’s move puts Amr, who has repeatedly advocated for a deal with Hamas and worked closely with a terror state that serves as a major backer of Hamas, in a key policy position.

But Amr isn’t just another foreign-policy expert with a history of hostility to Israel.

“What’s exciting about this project is that it’s a joint project of Brookings and the Qatari Government,” Hady Amr gushed about his old role as the director of the Brookings Doha Center, whose aim he said was to “inform the American public and American policymakers.”

In an article titled “Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks,” The New York Times reported that Qatar, an ally of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, was the single biggest foreign donor to the Brookings Institute.

“There was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government,” a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar in 2009 told the Times.

Amr was the founding director of the Brookings Doha Center and led it between 2006 and 2010. A Times report noted that the institution had forbidden criticism of Qatar. Lawyers interviewed by the paper suggested that some of Brookings’ work with foreign governments merited “registration as foreign agents.” Brookings has not only not done so, its key personnel, like Amr, have gone on to work in important United States government positions.

Amr moved back and forth between Brookings and the U.S. government, working for Brookings Doha and then the State Department, returning to Brookings under the Trump administration before coming back to the State Department under Biden.

Qatar not only provided $14.8 million in funding for the Brookings Doha Center, but its advisory board was co-chaired by Qatar’s former foreign minister and a member of its royal dynasty while its director had formerly worked for the second of the Qatari Emir’s three wives (and the only wife who wasn’t also a cousin), making it obvious that the organization was under Qatari control.

“The center will assume its role in reflecting the bright image of Qatar,” boasted the Qatari Foreign Ministry.

Qatar is a major state sponsor of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. It has been accused by U.S. government officials of being utilized by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban for fundraising purposes. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, operated out of Qatar. He fled after being warned by a member of the Qatari royal family that the Americans were on to him.

“The Qataris had a history of terrorist sympathies,” the NSC’s former chief counter-terrorism adviser wrote. “It has been true that Qatar has served as a sanctuary for leaders of groups that the U.S. or other countries deem to be terrorist organizations.”

Amr’s backing for Islamists mirrored that of the Qatari regime.

At Brookings Doha, Amr had urged that the “Muslim Brotherhood organizations across the Muslim World should be engaged.” Then he wondered, “in Lebanese and Palestinian society, the faith-based organizations are seen as the least corrupt … Hamas and Hezbollah are often cited by their populations as being non-corrupt. This needs more analysis. Is this the case?”

Over the past few years, Amr has repeatedly urged negotiations with Hamas. When the Trump administration unveiled its proposed peace deal, Amr co-wrote an article declaring that it should be scrapped in favor of focusing on a deal with Hamas. The article provides some insight into the policies that Amr may advance as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel-Palestine.

“By laying out the terms of a three-way Hamas-Israel-PA/PLO deal now, and building an international consensus around it, the United States could create a pathway toward resolution,” the article argued. That would potentially not only restart Obama’s attempt to impose a plan on Israel, but would do so not only on behalf of the PLO but also of Hamas.

The troubling connections between Qatar, an Islamic terrorist state allied with Iran, that is a major sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist arm, Hamas, and the influential Brookings Institute think-tank makes Amr’s appointment all the more problematic.

“Our business is to influence policy,” admitted former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk. “To be policy-relevant, we need to engage policymakers.”

Indyk, a key anti-Israel figure in the Democrat foreign policy establishment, who worked for Clinton and Obama, partnered with the Qatari government to set up Brookings in Doha.

Amr’s career was fueled by his work with Indyk. After Brookings, he went to work for the State Department and eventually became the Deputy to the Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations for Economics and Gaza under Obama. Now, after acting as a big-money bundler for Biden, the anti-Israel figure has been rewarded with a major foreign-policy role.

Hady Amr is not the only Brookings Doha alumnus to end up in a top policy position. His appointment may be an opportunity to scrutinize whether employees of an organization that effectively functioned as an arm of a foreign government should be allowed to hold such roles.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.

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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