IslamismSeptember 16 2022, 14:33 pm

Maryland County Postpones Adopting Definition of Anti-Semitism Encompassing Delegitimization of Israel After Pressure from US Muslim Brotherhood Group

On 27 July 2022, the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR) urged coun­cil mem­bers of Mont­gomery Coun­ty (Mary­land) to oppose adopt­ing a def­i­n­i­tion of anti­semitism that would encom­pass dele­git­imiza­tion efforts against Israel, cit­ing the poten­tial dan­gers of restric­tions on free expres­sion. Accord­ing to a state­ment on the CAIR website:

The Mary­land office of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR) is call­ing on mem­bers of the Mont­gomery Coun­ty Coun­cil to oppose a coun­ty res­o­lu­tion to for­mal­ly adopt the Inter­na­tion­al Holo­caust Remem­brance Association’s (IHRA) def­i­n­i­tion and exam­ples of anti­semitism, express­ing con­cerns about the poten­tial impli­ca­tions of this fram­ing on free speech and crit­i­cism of Israel.

Read the rest here.

In the state­ment, CAIR-Mary­land Direc­tor Zainab Chaudry alleged that “activists are often labeled, smeared and doxed for right­ful­ly protest­ing Israel’s ille­gal occu­pa­tion of Pales­tin­ian land and crimes against human­i­ty.” In an addi­tion­al state­ment dat­ing 1 August 2022, CAIR urged coun­cil mem­bers to instead adopt an alter­na­tive def­i­n­i­tion of anti-Semi­tism allow­ing for broad­er crit­i­cism of Israel and exon­er­at­ing the Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions or BDS move­ment, which seeks to eco­nom­i­cal­ly and social­ly pres­sure Israel over its treat­ment of Palestinians.

The Mont­gomery Coun­cil sub­se­quent­ly removed the con­tro­ver­sial vote from its meet­ing agen­da, post­pon­ing it until the next ses­sion on 13 Sep­tem­ber 2022. CAIR wel­comed this decision.

The Inter­na­tion­al Holo­caust Remem­brance Alliance’s (IHRA) work­ing def­i­n­i­tion of anti­semitism includes tar­get­ing the state of Israel, con­ceived as a Jew­ish col­lec­tiv­i­ty, but explains that “crit­i­cism of Israel sim­i­lar to that lev­eled against any oth­er coun­try can­not be regard­ed as anti­se­mit­ic.” In June 2017, the def­i­n­i­tion was adopt­ed for use in Euro­pean Union mem­ber states through a res­o­lu­tion by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment seek­ing to sup­port judi­cial and law enforce­ment author­i­ties to iden­ti­fy and pros­e­cute anti-Semit­ic attacks.

In May 2021, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed that the Geor­gia chap­ter of CAIR had wel­comed what it called a “major vic­to­ry” in a law­suit against an Israel boy­cott law in Geor­gia after a fed­er­al dis­trict court ruled for­bid­ding boy­cotts of Israel was a vio­la­tion of the First Amend­ment. In March 2022, the GIOR report­ed that CAIR had issued a state­ment con­demn­ing the imple­men­ta­tion of two Iowa state laws cod­i­fy­ing a def­i­n­i­tion of anti­semitism and restrict­ing state busi­ness with com­pa­nies that boy­cott Israel.

 CAIR describes itself as “a grass­roots civ­il rights and advo­ca­cy group and as “America’s largest Islam­ic civ­il lib­er­ties group.” It was found­ed in 1994 by three offi­cers of the Islam­ic Asso­ci­a­tion of Pales­tine, part of the US Hamas infra­struc­ture at that time. Doc­u­ments dis­cov­ered dur­ing the ter­ror­ism tri­al of the Holy Land Foun­da­tion con­firmed that the founders and cur­rent lead­ers of CAIR were part of the Pales­tine Com­mit­tee of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and that CAIR itself is part of the US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The orga­ni­za­tion is led by Nihad Awad, its long­stand­ing Exec­u­tive Direc­tor and one of the three founders. Recent­ly, CAIR has been gen­er­al­ly por­trayed in the media as a Mus­lim civ­il rights group. In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood acknowl­edged a rela­tion­ship between the Egypt­ian Broth­er­hood and CAIR. In 2009, a US fed­er­al judge ruled, “the Gov­ern­ment has pro­duced ample evi­dence to estab­lish the asso­ci­a­tions of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islam­ic Asso­ci­a­tion for Pales­tine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” CAIR and its lead­ers have had a long his­to­ry of defend­ing indi­vid­u­als accused of ter­ror­ism by the US gov­ern­ment, often label­ing such pros­e­cu­tions a “war on Islam,” and have also been asso­ci­at­ed with Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ism and antisemitism.

For more on CAIR, go here.


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