Antisemitism controversy surrounds the claims made by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a reaction to the Israeli military’s raid in Jenin on June 19.
As a reaction to the Israeli military’s raid in Jenin, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad strongly condemned the „war crimes that Benjamin Netanyahu’s racist government is committing against Palestinian civilians in…Jenin,” reports The Jerusalem Post.
The Israeli counter-terrorism operation was carried out in Jenin to arrest two wanted terrorists. The raid left six Palestinians dead. However, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed three of those fatalities since, during the operation, the Israeli troops were attacked with gunfire.
The American self-declared Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation also called on the United States to take „concrete action to stop the Israeli government’s escalating human rights abuses.”
CAIR is the organisation appointed by the Biden administration to carry out the recently published government strategy to combat antisemitism, a choice criticised by many after the announcement of the strategy. Antisemitism controversy already surrounded the organisation, which recently said that the Israeli government is „racist” and that Israel is an „apartheid state.” Based on this rhetoric, CAIRs statements could be seen as antisemitism, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition.
Regarding the Israeli operation in Jenin, CAIR said in a statement that „Israeli occupation forces carried out drone strikes and troops in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, injuring numerous civilians, killing at least nine Palestinians, including children, cutting off water and electricity across the camp, and reportedly bombing near a mosque.”
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad also claimed that „Between these ongoing attacks on refugees, violent settler rampages, illegal settlement expansion, the murder of dozens of Palestinian children this year alone, and the refusal to hold anyone accountable for the brazen assassination of American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israeli government is completely out of control because it does not expect to face any consequences from the Biden administration. This must change.”
However, CAIR has been receiving strong criticism for employing antisemitic rhetoric; according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), some members of CAIR’s leadership have used inflammatory anti-Zionist rhetoric that on a number of occasions has veered into antisemitic tropes related to Jewish influence over the media or political affairs. The organisation also has close ties with groups that employ extreme rhetoric and questionable tactics to condemn and demonise Zionism.
Moreover, according to an official document of the US Department of Justice in 2013, the FBI cut off ties with CAIR. „The guidance specifically stated that, until the FBI could determine whether there continued to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, ‘the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner’ for non-investigative activities,” the document stated.
United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt, said in a statement in June that while she is aware of the problematic background of CAIR, „Jewish people certainly can use all the allies possible, but in the name of gaining allies, I’m not willing to say ‘what to say doesn’t matter.'”