The White House has denounced the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after revelations Thursday that its executive director, Nihad Awad, praised Hamas and the October 7 terror attacks on Israel in a recent speech to a Muslim group.
Breitbart News reported earlier Thursday, citing the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):
Video emerged Thursday of Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), celebrating the October 7 terror attack by Hamas in which 1200 people were murdered in Israel and more than 240 were abducted as hostages.
The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege, the walls of the concentration camp, on October 7. And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land, and walk free into their land, which they were not allowed to walk in. And yes, the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense, have the right to defend themselves, and yes, Israel, as an occupying power, does not have that right to self-defense.
As Breitbart news has noted:
In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization. The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).
The Biden administration also worked with CAIR, despite its radical and antisemitic history, in shaping the so-called “strategy” on antisemitism earlier this year. As Breitbart News reported, CAIR boasted that it helped protect extreme criticism of Israel within the White House’s strategy, which was a reversal of existing policy under previous administrations of both parties.
According to the Jewish Insider:
The White House on Thursday distanced itself from the Council on American-Islamic Relations after the leader of the Muslim advocacy organization gave a speech celebrating the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack in Israel.
“We condemn these shocking, antisemitic statements in the strongest terms,” White House’s deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told Jewish Insider. “Every leader has a responsibility to call out antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head.”
The White House faced criticism in May when its release of the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism included a fact sheet that said CAIR would educate religious communities about protecting houses of worship from hate, given the organization’s history of antisemitic remarks. Today, CAIR’s name was deleted from that fact sheet, which the White House attributed to Awad’s comments.
Awad has a long history of supporting Hamas and helped found CAIR.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.