The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a statement condemning the recent implementation of two Iowa state laws codifying a definition of antisemitism and restricting state business with companies that boycott Israel. According to the statement
March 25, 2022 The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned two anti-free speech bills signed into law by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday as “doomed and unconstitutional.”
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The first of the two laws, which will take effect on 1 July 2022, builds on an existing section of the state code that prohibited it from investing in companies that boycott Israel by expanding the definition of a “company” to include subsidiaries and parent companies. Iowa is one of 26 U.S. states that have enacted laws to hinder the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to economically and socially pressure Israel.
The second law calls for the state to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism in discrimination and anti-bias training. The IHRA definition includes targeting the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity, but explains “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 members 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.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” CAIR was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the U.S. 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 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged a relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and CAIR. In 2009, a U.S. 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 U.S. government, often labeling such prosecutions a “war on Islam,” and have also been associated with Islamic fundamentalism and antisemitism. The organization is led by Nihad Awad, its longstanding Executive Director and one of the three original founders. In recent times, CAIR has been generally portrayed in the media as a Muslim civil rights group.