by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Biden administration earlier this year tapped the Council on American-Islamic Relations for an initiative to curb anti-Semitism. This week, the anti-Semitic group and its leaders defended Hamas attacks that have killed more than 1,000 Jews.
The White House announced in May that the Council on American-Islamic Relations would take part in its “National Strategy to Combat Anti-Semitism.” As part of the initiative, CAIR launched a nationwide tour “to educate religious minority communities” on how to “protect their houses of worship from hate incidents.” At the time, critics slammed the White House for partnering with CAIR, which has a history of anti-Semitism and was linked to Hamas in a federal terrorism case in 2007.
Now, CAIR is condoning the largest attack in Israel’s history, raising further questions about the administration’s affiliation with the controversial group. Hamas fighters invaded the Jewish state in a surprise attack over the weekend, killing hundreds of civilians and taking dozens of women and children hostage. The terrorist group said it will televise executions of hostages if certain demands are not met.
CAIR cast blame for the attack squarely on Israel. On Monday, the group urged lawmakers to “address the root causes of Mideast violence,” which it attributed to the “Israeli government’s apartheid policies.”
Nihad Awad, the executive director of CAIR, referred to Israel as a “settler colonial Apartheid state” in the wake of the attacks, and decried the placement of the Israeli flag on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Awad wrote on social media that “Israel=Russia,” and called on President Joe Biden to condemn Israel, but not the Hamas attackers. “You must condemn the occupier not the occupied,” Awad wrote.
It’s the latest example of the Biden administration courting anti-Israel groups. President Biden recently designated Qatar a non-NATO ally, boosting diplomatic ties with the oil-rich Gulf nation. But Qatari leaders condemned Israel after the Hamas attack, and claimed Israel was “solely responsible” for the violence.