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US Muslim Brotherhood Group Leader Urges Muslims Not to Trust US Jewish Organizations, Calls Supporters of Two-State Solution “Enemies”

January 26th, 2022 14:52

Accord­ing to its web­site, the Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP) held its 14th Annu­al Con­ven­tion for Pales­tine in the US from Novem­ber 25–27, 2021, in Chica­go, Illi­nois. The AMP con­fer­ence fea­tured a num­ber of prob­lem­at­ic speak­ers, but it is Zahra Bil­loo, the San Fran­cis­co Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR), who has received the most atten­tion fol­low­ing her address to the con­fer­ence. In that address, which fol­lowed that of CAIR Direc­tor Nihad Awad, Bil­loo made a series of incen­di­ary alle­ga­tions, essen­tial­ly des­ig­nat­ing large por­tions of the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty in the US, as well as uniden­ti­fied Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions as “ene­mies” who are plot­ting and schem­ing to harm Mus­lims. The alle­ga­tions included:

  • (34:50) Say­ing Islam­o­pho­bia was a well-fund­ed “con­spir­a­cy,” a term which she imme­di­ate­ly cor­rect­ed to “project.”
  • (35:10) Say­ing “they,” appear­ing to refer to Islam­o­pho­bic fig­ures, opposed Mus­lims not only because “Mus­lims fight for Pales­tine” but because Mus­lims fight for a vari­ety of social issues, includ­ing Black Lives Mat­ter, home­less­ness and pover­ty, and the environment.
  • (37:05) Con­flat­ing “our oppo­si­tion” with “our Jew­ish friends” and claim­ing that Mus­lims mis­tak­en­ly tried woo­ing Jews by fight­ing Islam­o­pho­bia in the US while “ignor­ing the for­eign issue.” She fur­ther said that “to ‘them,’” Mus­lims, Pales­tini­ans, Arabs, peo­ple of con­science, here and abroad were “a threat.”
  • (37:35) Claim­ing that Zion­ist orga­ni­za­tions pro­mot­ing the “Zion­ist agen­das” were the same ones who “want to ban Muslims.”
  • (37:45) Say­ing, “the police offi­cers in the Unit­ed States who kill unarmed black men, women, and chil­dren are trained by the Israeli mil­i­tary,” a claim dis­put­ed by the orga­niz­ers of US/Israel police exchanges.
  • (38:32) Label­ing a large part of the orga­nized Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty in the US, includ­ing the Anti-Defama­tion League (ADL), Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion, Zion­ist syn­a­gogues, and uni­ver­si­ty Hil­lel chap­ters as “polite Zion­ists” who will “… take your friend­ship and throw your Pales­tin­ian broth­ers and sis­ters under the bus.”
  • (40:31) Label­ing unspec­i­fied “Zion­ist” and “for­eign pol­i­cy orga­ni­za­tions who say they are not Zion­ists but want a two-state solu­tion” as “ene­mies” who are “work­ing to harm you” and would “sell you down the line if they could, and they very often do behind your back.”
  • (41:10) Urg­ing lis­ten­ers to “know the Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions that are out to harm you” and say­ing that, in some ways, they were worse than the Zion­ists because “at least the Zion­ists will tell you what they’re out for. But when Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions sell you out, they are doing it in your name.”

In her speech, Bil­loo fur­ther urged audi­ence mem­bers to donate month­ly to the AMP, say­ing that if they paid tax­es in the Unit­ed States, this meant they con­tin­u­ous­ly finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed “apartheid” in Pales­tine as part of the US for­eign budget.

Israeli media is report­ing that fol­low­ing the con­ven­tion, Bil­loo is tak­ing a sab­bat­i­cal which she says is relat­ed to the stress of demand­ing work, but also said she is “still in the mid­dle of a pro­longed Zion­ist onslaught”:

They have twist­ed my words, lied about me, attacked me on social media, email, and by tar­get­ing our part­ners. They are writ­ing let­ters to CAIR even today, as though they have not paid atten­tion to our incred­i­bly prin­ci­pled track record.

In Decem­ber, CAIR Nation­al issued a ring­ing defense of Bil­loo, issu­ing a state­ment that read in part:

Dur­ing a speech deliv­ered at a con­fer­ence in Chica­go last month, Zahra spoke of the clear con­nec­tions between Islam­o­pho­bic hate groups and anti-Pales­tin­ian activism. She fur­ther crit­i­cized the Israeli government’s human rights abus­es against the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple. She also encour­aged Amer­i­can Mus­lims to avoid col­lab­o­rat­ing with any orga­ni­za­tions that sup­port the polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy that the Israeli apartheid gov­ern­ment uses to jus­ti­fy dis­pos­sess­ing, occu­py­ing, and killing Pales­tini­ans. In the wake of her speech, anti-Mus­lim web­sites mis­quot­ed Zahra’s remarks and false­ly claimed that she had dis­cour­aged Mus­lims from work­ing with Jew­ish groups at-large. This is a bla­tant lie. In fact, Zahra praised the many Jew­ish activists and groups that sup­port human rights for all peo­ple, includ­ing Pales­tini­ans, and specif­i­cal­ly encour­aged Mus­lims to engage in inter­faith col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions such as IfNot­Now and Jew­ish Voice for Peace.

In a review of her speech, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) could find no such praise or call for inter­faith cooperation.

The AMP is a Pales­tin­ian advo­ca­cy group with strong ties to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB) in the US and the US Hamas sup­port infra­struc­ture. The 2021 AMP con­ven­tion, which took place in Chica­go and was titled “On the Road to Free Pales­tine,” also fea­tured appear­ances by sev­er­al oth­er indi­vid­u­als tied to the GMB and Hamas sup­port groups in the US, includ­ing the following:

  • Nihad Awad, CAIR Nation­al co-founder, and long-time Exec­u­tive Director
  • Lin­da Sar­sour, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the US Mus­lim civ­il rights NGO MPow­er Change, which has coop­er­at­ed with impor­tant orga­ni­za­tions in the US MB. Sar­sour has become known for her harsh crit­i­cism of Israel, and in 2012, our pre­de­ces­sor pub­li­ca­tion was the first to report Sarsour’s fam­i­ly ties to Hamas.
  • Taher Herza­l­lah, AMP Asso­ciate Direc­tor of Out­reach and for­mer AMP Cam­pus Coor­di­na­tor
  • Ous­sama Jamal, Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al of the USCMO and long-time leader of New Jersey’s Bridge­wa­ter mosque, tied to the US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and whose mem­bers were known to have raised funds for Hamas-linked char­i­ties.
  • Lamis Deek, for­mer board mem­ber of the CAIR New York chapter

CAIR is part of the GMB in the US. It describes itself as “a grass­roots civ­il rights and advo­ca­cy group” and as “America’s largest Islam­ic civ­il lib­er­ties group” and was found­ed in 1994 by three offi­cers of the Islam­ic Asso­ci­a­tion of Pales­tine, part of the US Hamas infra­struc­ture at that time. The orga­ni­za­tion has repeat­ed­ly joined oth­er groups with ties to the US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in engag­ing Mus­lim cit­i­zens to par­tic­i­pate in con­sul­ta­tive meet­ings with leg­isla­tive offices and state sen­a­tors, high­light­ing the need to com­bat Islam­o­pho­bia and anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment in the US.