Do you know that in 2014, the United Arab Emirates listed CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) as one of 80 terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, ISIS, al-Shabab and Boko Haram? The UAE isn’t fooled by CAIR’s posture as an Islamic civil liberties advocacy group. It cited CAIR for its promotion of extremism, financing of terrorism and links to the Muslim Brotherhood. So why has Jewish Voice for Peace, a supposed “Jewish human rights organization,” just accepted the first-ever CAIR “Defender of Liberty” award?
Both CAIR and JVP offer similar benign-sounding mission statements characterizing themselves as human rights organizations in an era where human rights is the buzzword du jour. CAIR purports to speak for the majority of American Muslims to “promote justice and mutual understanding.” JVP claims to act in the name of the Jewish values of human rights and social justice.
But this is all obfuscation to shield their hidden agendas.
Omar Ahmad, shortly after meeting secretly with Hamas leaders, founded CAIR in 1994. CAIR’s executive director Nihad Awad then declared his support for Hamas. CAIR received funding from the Holy Land Foundation, the American arm of Hamas. CAIR returned the favor by fundraising for HLF. In the trial where HLF was found guilty of raising millions for Hamas in the U.S., CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator. At least seven CAIR officials have had ties with terrorism.
CAIR tries to whitewash Islamic terrorism and works to disrupt counterterrorism efforts. After San Bernardino, CAIR peddled the myth of “workplace violence,” attempting to debunk the linkage to Islam. CAIR portrays anti-terrorism personnel as villains who frame innocent Muslims and dissuades Muslims from talking to them, saying, “snitches get stitches.” Former FBI counterterrorism chief Steve Pomerantz said, “CAIR has taken the lead in trying to mislead the public about the terrorist underpinnings of militant Islamic movements, in particular, Hamas.”
CAIR buried its terrorist connections and “rebranded” itself into a media darling with ties to the Obama White House, Congress and universities. The image makeover was a skillful PR coup and is an insurance policy against investigation, but sometimes the truth resurfaces. Hussam Ayloush, head of CAIR’s Los Angeles office, a 2012 Democratic convention delegate and White House visitor, recently called for the overthrow of the U.S. government and denigrated Jews as “Zionazis.” Board member Lamis Deek labeled the October Jerusalem slaying of two Israelis by a Hamas terrorist “self-defense,” calling the murderer a “martyr.”
CAIR accuses Israel supporters of promoting “a culture of hostility towards Islam.” When criticized for not denouncing Hamas and Hezbollah, CAIR board member Awad said, “They should condemn Israel at all times, and we will not condemn any organization.”
CAIR works with anti-Zionist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace to immunize themselves against charges of bigotry against Jews. JVP uses its relationship with CAIR to boost its credibility in the anti-Israel movement. It’s a symbiosis of mutual tactics and goals.
Like CAIR, JVP is an extremist organization masquerading as human rights activists. The Anti-Defamation League calls it one of the 10 worst American anti-Israel organizations. It demonizes, defames and delegitimizes Israel, labeling it an “occupier,” “apartheid” and “racist,” while embracing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) which would result in the destruction of the only Jewish homeland in the world.
In its “Nakba Fact Sheet,” JVP characterizes Israel’s founding as a “catastrophe,” just as the Palestinians do. JVP posted a Facebook statement referring to the deadly 2015 Palestinian knifings of innocent Israeli civilians as “Palestinian popular resistance,” praising “a new generation of Palestinians rising up en-masse against Israel’s brutal, decades-old regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.”
CAIR attempts to shut down the speech of anyone it labels anti-Muslim. It branded Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim women’s rights advocate, an “Islamophobe,” resulting in Brandeis University canceling her 2014 speaking invitation. JVP disrupted a New York City Council meeting discussing a Holocaust commemoration and participated in campaigns to “shut down AIPAC.”
Responding to the Charlie Hebdo/kosher butcher store massacre, CAIR executive Ayloush, resentful about the focus on Muslims, remarked, “You know, you don’t hear about the thousands of Jewish-American kids who join the Israeli army killing the people of Gaza.” JVP’s comment was that “Muslims are at greatly heightened risk in the context of pervasive, systemic and long-standing anti-Islam bigotry.”
CAIR has refused to divulge its own funding sources, concealing donations from overseas through a series of shell organizations in what could be called a money laundering operation. JVP is equally secretive, but, thanks to NGO-Monitor, a number of their funders have been identified, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. RBF apparently buys into JVP’s subterfuge of human rights advocacy, but in reality, JVPs activities contradict RBF’s mission to promote a “peaceful world.” One would think that alliance of JVP with CAIR would cause RBF concern.
The relationship of CAIR and JVP is a witches’ brew, a diabolical concoction of anti-Israel hatred and Islamic terrorist connections. Rather than “defenders of liberty,” they are defenders of the Islamic agenda. CAIR and JVP are a match made in hell.
• Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.