Orthodox rabbis condemn CAIR, say charges of ‘Islamophobia’ against Jewish groups ‘antisemitic'

“In every case, CAIR is deliberately claiming that to reject terrorism is anti-Muslim,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), told Fox News Digital. “It is hard to imagine something that incites animus towards Islam and all who practice it more than the idea that tolerance for Islam requires acceptance of atrocities committed by purported believers.”

The CAIR report faulted charitable foundations for passing money along to “26 Islamophobia Network groups between 2017-2019 to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about Muslims and Islam.” 


Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) national executive director Nihad Awad speaks during a news conference Jan. 30, 2017, in Washington.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) national executive director Nihad Awad speaks during a news conference Jan. 30, 2017, in Washington. (The Associated Press)

“As it is employed today, ‘Islamophobia’ is fake news,” CJV Midwestern Regional VP Rabbi Ze’ev Smason said in a statement provided first to Fox News. Smason said CAIR deserved “robust condemnation for spreading hate under the guise of religion.”

“CAIR was founded by individuals associated with Hamas, a genocidal terror organization, to provide a PR front and support the Hamas agenda in the U.S.,” CJV President Rabbi Pesach Lerner said. “It was an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal Holy Land Foundation anti-terror case, and now employs the charge of ‘Islamophobia’ as a cudgel to attack foundations, organizations and outspoken individuals who call it out correctly and truthfully as an apologist for terrorism.” 

The U.S. government had shut down The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the largest Muslim organization in the U.S. at the time, in 2001. In 2008, its leaders received life sentences for “funneling $ 12 million to Hamas,” which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization. CAIR opened its first office with a $ 5,000 grant from the Holy Land Foundation, and its founders participated in an October 1993 meeting in Philadelphia with Hamas sympathizers and HLF officials, according to prosecutors in the HLF case.

CAIR has long contested claims regarding ties to Hamas. In a 2017 blog post aiming to “dispel rumors,” the organization noted that “there is no legal implication to being labeled an unindicted co-conspirator, since it does not require the Justice Department to prove anything in a court of law.” CAIR also noted an October 2010 ruling in which Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled that the Department of Justice violated the Fifth Amendment rights of groups like CAIR when it included them on the unindicted coconspirator list in 2007. 


“The targeted groups include several of the foremost supporters of Jewish life and indigenous rights in the Land of Israel,” Lerner added. “It could only be regarded as a significant badge of honor for them to be labeled hateful by such a virulent hate group.”

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values (Coalition for Jewish Values)

The Coalition for Jewish Values release noted that “the absolute majority of hate crimes motivated by religious bias in the United States are committed against Jews, exceeding crimes against Muslims by over five to one.” It also noted the harassment that Jewish students have faced on college campuses, often at the hands of Muslim groups and Students for Justice in Palestine, which CJV claimed “glorifies terrorism and antisemitism.”


The CJV release noted that CAIR released a statement condemning the hostage-taking last Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, but noted that the organization “did so after previous statements that contributed to the hostile environment in which it took place.”

“CAIR has loudly agitated for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, the same demand expressed by the synagogue terrorist,” CJV notes. Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist known in counterterrorism circles as “Lady Al-Qaeda,” has been serving an 86-year-prison sentence in Texas after she was convicted in 2010 on charges that she shot at U.S. military officers while being detained in Afghanistan in 2008.

“Siddiqui’s own bigotry was on full display at her federal trial, in which she tried to exclude any juror with a ‘Zionist or Israeli background,’ meaning Jews, and then declared that her verdict was ‘from Israel and not from America,'” CJV noted.

This undated FBI handout photo shows Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who at one time studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

This undated FBI handout photo shows Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who at one time studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  (FBI via Getty Images)

“Yet just last month, CAIR held the latest in a series of recent events in Texas to call attention to Siddiqui’s ‘plight’ and to demand her freedom,” CJV added. “Just prior to that, CAIR official Zahra Billoo urged followers at a Muslim conference to ‘pay attention to the Zionist synagogues,’ and to ‘know your enemies,’ saying that ‘Islamophobia is a well-funded conspiracy’ backed by Jewish organizations.”

CAIR responded to CJV’s statement in comments to Fox News.

“It should deeply concern everyone to see extremist voices claim that Islamophobia is ‘fake news’ and that anti-Muslim hate groups are legitimate organizations worthy of praise,” a spokesperson told Fox News in a statement. “Every year, mosques are vandalized, students are bullied, and women in hijab are attacked, among many other acts of hate. No one should dismiss the suffering of any community. Islamophobia, antisemitism, xenophobia, and other forms of bigotry are very real, very dangerous, and must be taken seriously.”


“By making such bizarre and unfounded claims, it appears this group did not even read our latest Islamophobia report, which accurately documents the undisputed fact that major charitable foundations funneled more than $ 105 million into anti-Muslim hate groups in recent years,” the spokesperson added. “The worst of these hate groups have spread misinformation about Islam and Muslims, defamed the American Muslim community as disloyal and dangerous, and even engaged in illegal spying on Muslim leaders, including a member of Congress.”

“The report does not single out any foundations based on their political, religious or cultural affiliations; it simply [tracks] the money that hate groups receive,” the spokesperson insisted. “Instead of getting upset over the fact that American Muslims know how to count numbers and read tax records, this group should join us in calling on foundations to stop funding and fomenting the bigotry that threatens both of our communities.”

Menken noted that the report targeted Jewish organizations including the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

“It is deeply disturbing the way that CAIR is seeking to sow religious divisions in our country with false accusations of prejudice,” Sean Durns, a senior analyst for CAMERA, responded to Fox News.

The CAIR report also called out the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), a Muslim organization that addresses Islamist radicalization, as part of the “Islamophobia Network.” M. Zuhdi Jasser, AIFD’s president, told Fox News it’s “slander and defamatory to call us anti-Muslim or anti-Islam. We love our faith of Islam, but we reject political Islam.”

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