A controversial watchdog group monitoring what it considers antisemitic and/or anti-Israel activity has reported on an October 2020 campaign fund-raiser held on behalf of Congresswoman Cori Bush (Dem Missouri), a vocal critic of Israeli policy towards Palestinians. According to the report, the event was hosted by Neveen Ayesh, a pro-Palestinian activist with a history of antisemitism:
Congresswoman Cori Bush (Dem MO) has professed her commitment to “dismantling antisemitism,” yet her close association and friendship with one of St. Louis’ well-known and virulent antisemites, Neveen Ayesh, tells a different story. Ayesh held a fundraiser for Bush in October 2020. Bush not only sanctioned the fundraiser, she attended it, along with her special guests Linda Sarsour and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, both of whom are virulently anti-Israel and have faced serious charges of antisemitism themselves.
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Bush is a member of the Democratic party’s left wing and part of the “Squad” of progressive freshman lawmakers known for their anti-Israel organizing. The group includes Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, both of whom have a history of participating in events held by the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) and Hamas support infrastructure in the US. Bush, who has publicly condemned attacks on the Jewish community, is known to be a vocal critic of Israeli policy toward Palestinians. In September 2021, she was one of only eight Democratic Members of Congress to vote against a bill to provide funding to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. After the violence between Israel and militant Palestinians in May 2021, Bush labeled Israel an “apartheid state” and described Israeli actions as “attacking a largely defenseless, captive civilian population.” Cori Bush is also a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions or BDS movement, which seeks to economically and socially pressure Israel over its treatment of Palestinians and whose National Committee includes members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Bush has been associated with pro-Palestinian activist Neveen Ayesh since at least 2017, when they attended a Palestinian advocacy event together. Ayesh has since repeatedly supported Bush, in particular praising her policies regarding Palestine. Archived tweets from Ayesh, posted online by pro-Israel critics, show she has used Twitter to spread antisemitic conspiracy theories and to express support for members of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In 2014, she tweeted:
I want to set Israel on fire with my own hands & watch it burn to ashes along with every Israeli in it. Call it what you want to call it idc.
In 2013, she tweeted:
“I tried befriending a Jew once. Worst idea ever.“
Several of her controversial posts have since been deleted.
From 2017–2018, Neveen Ayesh, who grew up moving between the West Bank and the US, currently serves in the Missouri National Guard. She has also worked as a Political Assistant for the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), among the most influential US Muslim organizations and closely tied to the GMB. Since 2018, Ayesh has served as Government Relations Coordinator for the Missouri chapter of American Muslims for Palestine, a Palestinian advocacy group with strong ties to the GMB and Hamas.
Prior reporting by the GIOR about members of the “Squad” and their relationship to the US Muslim Brotherhood and wider Hamas support network has included:
- An October 2020 report that the 2020 annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) had featured Rashida Tlaib and multiple GMB leaders as speakers.
- A July 2021 report that Ilhan Omar had joined a virtual gathering in connection with a Muslim congressional advocacy event hosted by a prominent US Muslim Brotherhood group.
- A February 2022 report that CAIR had awarded Ilhan Omar its “American Muslim Public Servant of 2021 Award” at its annual gala. Cori Bush also participated in this event.