update deskAntisemitism

White House removes CAIR from national strategy on antisemitism

A White House spokesman also condemns "shocking, antisemitic statements" from the Council on American-Islamic Relations executive director.

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

When the White House announced its new national strategy to counter antisemitism on May 25, it stated that 24 organizations were supporting “the whole-of-society call to action.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations was among the two dozen, per an archived version of the page.

As of 1:51 p.m. on Dec. 7, the archived page continued to reference CAIR, but at some time thereafter, the White House removed that reference.

Screenshots on Dec. 7, 2023, of a page on the White House website before (left) and after it scrubbed a reference to CAIR from its national strategy on antisemitism. Source: JNS highlighted CAIR on the left and where CAIR had appeared on the right. Source: Archive.org, White House website.

Also on Thursday, Andrew Bates, White House deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser, told reporters that the White House condemns “shocking, antisemitic statements” of CAIR’s executive director “in the strongest terms.”

Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director, spoke at the American Muslims for Palestine convention in Chicago on Nov. 24. “The people of Gaza have the right to self-defense,” he said at the time. “Israel, as an occupying power, does not have that right to self-defense.”

He added that he was “happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land.”

Thousands of Hamas terrorists invaded the northwestern Negev from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and wounding thousands. They took at least 240 Israelis and foreign nationals back to Gaza as hostages.

“The horrific, brutal terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 were, as [U.S.] President [Joe] Biden said, ‘abhorrent’ and represent ‘unadulterated evil,’” the White House spokesman said. “Oct. 7 was the deadliest day for Jewish people since the Holocaust. The atrocities of that day shock the conscience, which is why we can never forget the pain Hamas has caused for so many innocent people.”

“There are families who are in agony mourning loved ones, and there are also families in agony as they do everything in their power to free loved ones being held hostage,” he added. “Every leader has a responsibility to call out antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head.”

In June, Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, told The Jerusalem Post that the CAIR should be judged going forward, and not on its “problematic” past.

JNS sought comment from Lipstadt after CAIR was part of a group statement and released its own statement blaming Israel for being attacked on Oct. 7.

In response to a question from JNS about whether CAIR still deserved that second chance after its comments on Oct. 7, Lipstadt said: “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 added.

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