In response to the deadly attack at the Chabad synagogue outside San Diego, CAIR-Philadelphia rushed to issue a press release in which it shamelessly disparaged the mainstream Jewish establishment's support for Israel, castigated Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu for the lack of peace with the Palestinian Authority, blamed President Trump for white supremacy, denied the existence of anti-Semitism on college campuses, and whitewashed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel as "non-violent," as if its followers are disciples of Gandhi.
And though it is true that white supremacy is a real danger to both Jews and Muslims, after the world witnessed the video that went viral of Islamic leaders in Philadelphia teaching their children to chop off the heads of Jews, is it also abundantly clear that Islamists are a danger to Jews and other people Islamists call "infidels." Yet such activities in Philadelphia, while far more relevant to CAIR-Pennsylvania's purview, do not garner the same level of condemnation by the staff of CAIR Philadelphia.
While this may have been the first such video to be produced and seen in Philadelphia, videos such as this have been produced and shown on Hamas and Palestinian Authority TV for over twenty years. It wasn't an "oversight," as the Muslim American Society's Philadelphia chapter claims, it was deliberate.
For CAIR-Philadelphia to believe that years of brainwashing Muslim children to hate and encourage head-chopping can be reversed through a CAIR-conducted diversity training program, which they are offering, is a smarmy insult to the Philadelphia community and the world. But then again, what can one expect from the executive director of CAIR Philadelphia, Mr. Jacob Bender, who told the Associated Press that this video, in which children are singing about chopping off heads, "was not an example of radicalization."
And of course, CAIR's kind offer to help clean up the Muslim American Society's sudden public image problem seems more self-serving than noble, when one recalls the shared relationship between the Muslim American Society and CAIR, as federal prosecutors have noted in court filings:
CAIR and MAS omit reference to a shared background that limits their membership to those of a particular political bent, and undercuts their credibility. The Muslim Brotherhood is a generally covert international organization whose credo is "Allah is our goal: the Qur'an is our constitution: the Prophet is our leader: Struggle is our way: and death in the path of Allah is our highest aspiration..." MAS was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America... Moreover, from its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.
In his press release, "The Tragic and Troubled Road to a Jewish-Muslim Rapprochement," Bender asserts that improving the relationship between Muslims and Jews hinges on "bravely and openly addressing the "800-pound gorilla in the living room" — the Israel-Palestine conflict. But chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat made clear in a recent interview on PA TV, that 800-pound gorilla has long since swung away. Erekat admitted: " I heard Olmert say he offered 100% of the West Bank territory. This is true. I'll testify to this. I encouraged Abbas to accept the offer. Abbas replied 'I reject it out of hand.'"
Also in this press release, Bender accuses the Jewish community of the "knee-jerk charge of anti-Semitism directed at college students." For Bender to ignore the wide body of evidence of anti-Semitism on college campuses is beyond belief. Just a few weeks before Bender's press release, a major conference, Conflict Over Gaza, sponsored by the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies and UNC Global, featured a Palestinian rapper who sang an overtly anti-Semitic song and asked for the audience to help him sing it, because "I cannot be anti-Semitic alone." Just to make sure his intentions were clear, he told the audience not to think of the singer Rihanna, but to "think of Mel Gibson," known for his outburst that "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." The audience sang along and laughed.
The performance was captured on video by Ami Horowitz, a documentary filmmaker, and reported by the local ABC News affiliate. As a documentary filmmaker himself, one would think Bender would have appreciated and acknowledged the work that went into exposing this Palestinian anti-Semitic event on a major college campus. But perhaps he feared being accused of a "knee-jerk charge of anti-Semitism."
Bender uses the occasion of his press release to express support for BDS, echoing an article on CAIR Philadelphia's website that "calls on all Americans who value the Constitution to contact their elected representatives in Congress to urge them to oppose an 'anti-BDS' bill," Why is BDS, an anti-Semitic campaign of economic warfare against the state of Israel, a primary focus of a group which purports to be focused on the civil rights of Philadelphia's Muslim community? On this issue, Bender is clearly at variance with at least two Philadelphia imams who oppose BDS, one from a religious/historic perspective, one from a practical perspective. Iman Hanif Fouse of the United Muslim Masjid in south Philadelphia told me, "BDS does not conform with Islam. Mohammed bought armor from Jews and used it for collateral to buy food. So if Mohammed did business with Jews that means we can do business with Jews. "
Dr. Eyas Amr the imam of Makkah Masjid in North Philadelphia and a Palestinian Arab from Hebron, had this to say: "BDS is a tricky question for Palestinians because our lives are so intertwined with Israel. We work in Israel. We work in the settlements; our trade is with Israel; for Arabs who live there, it is not feasible." Case in point, when Soda Stream was forced to leave Ma'ale Adumim just outside of Jerusalem under BDS pressure, hundreds of Arabs lost their jobs.
With young Muslim children in Philadelphia being taught to behead Jews, one would think that CAIR Philadelphia would have more important things to do than interject itself into the Israel/Palestinian conflict.
In its press release, "Muslim Community Condemns Anti-Semitism" in response to the video of Muslim children in Philadelphia singing about chopping off heads, CAIR- Pennsylvania Chair Iftekhar Hussain tries to give the people of Philadelphia a positive picture of Islam, stating, misleadingly, that "Islamic tradition categorically rejects either speech or actions that harm in any way our Jewish brothers and sisters. He says, "Muslim history is full of examples of Muslims offering sanctuary and help to Jews such as the events of 1492 when the Jews were expelled from from Catholic Spain and were invited to resettle in Ottoman lands by the Ottoman Caliph Bayazid II."
But he ignores the facts that not only were Jews often treated as second-class citizens with discriminatory laws and additional taxes imposed on them, many were killed or injured in pogroms dating back from 1033 in Fez, when 6000 Jews were murdered by a Muslim mob, through 1947 in Aleppo where 75 Jews were murdered (see "Uprooted: How 3,000 Years of Jewish civilization in the Arab world vanished overnight" by Lyn Julius).
Whether its Jews being attacked by white supremacists, or being disparaged and threatened by Islamists, CAIR Philadelphia's reaction remains the same: blame the Jews, blame Israel, blame Trump and polish Islamists so they shine like a golden pillar.
Len Getz, CPA is Philadelphia's Counter-Islamist Grid associate.