Joe Kaufman is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative. He was the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
For years, this author has been working to shut down the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and other Islamist organizations. Following 9/11, it was my way of helping to protect my nation, even when it became politically incorrect and unsafe to do so. I am very proud of all I have accomplished. Once in a while, these groups recognize my efforts by attacking me, as they did recently, when both CAIR and ICNA resurrected a lie that CAIR fabricated about me to discredit my work, nearly two decades ago. It is time to set the record straight, about this lie and about the organizations spreading it.
CAIR has foundational and financial ties to terror. CAIR was established, in June 1994, as a part of a terrorist umbrella group, the now-defunct US chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s international Palestine Committee, headed by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In 2007 and 2008, CAIR was named by the US government a co-conspirator to the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas via the now-defunct Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a fellow alum of the Palestine Committee. HLF’s Chairman, Ghassan Elashi, founded CAIR’s Texas chapter, and CAIR had used the homepage of its national website to raise funds for HLF.
Last month, the Florida chapter of CAIR put out a press release claiming that its Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz had received a “death threat” in the comments section of a scathing article I had written about him for FrontPage Magazine. Indeed, someone had called for his decapitation. This should not be condoned by anyone, and thankfully FrontPage removed the comment. Before doing so, though, CAIR ran to the media with the story. And not only did CAIR report on the threat, but the group as well took the opportunity to defame this author with a big lie, a lie that the group fabricated, over 17 years ago.
After crudely referring to David Horowitz, the well-respected head of the organization that publishes FrontPage Magazine, as an “Islamophobe,” the CAIR press release stated the following: “Kaufman… has promoted the views of the terrorist organizations ‘Kach’ and ‘Kahane Chai’ and praised the ‘Kahane’ terror group and its founder, Mier Kahane, on a forum of the Jewish Defense League in Florida.”
In October 2003, CAIR held a press conference, at its then-Florida headquarters, calling for an investigation into the ties between this author and the controversial movement affiliated with Rabbi Meir Kahane. The big evidence that CAIR presented at the event, which my colleague Beila Rabinowitz had attended, was a printout of a page from an internet forum run by the JDL, the group founded by Kahane. On the page was an article I had written about my thoughts concerning Kahane’s murder, which took place days before his planned speaking engagement at my university and which some consider to be the first al-Qaeda-related attack on US soil.
While the article was written by me, it was neither written for the JDL nor was it posted by me on any JDL forum. The article was written for the Jewish Israeli Magazine (later called Israpost), where I was English Editor. The article, most probably copied off the web, even asked readers to “send comments to the Jewish Israeli Magazine.” Furthermore, appended to the end of the forum copy was the computer IP address of the individual who had posted the article, the same exact IP address appended to a post attributed to a local JDL leader, who had posted another piece to the forum on the same day, directly prior to the post that I had supposedly made.
This was not the only fabrication CAIR has pushed regarding myself and Kahane. On numerous occasions, CAIR and its representatives have promoted a doctored photo of me speaking at a conference for the Jewish women’s group Hadassah affixed to a much earlier photo of Kahane speaking, both of us exhibiting similar body postures. Written across the images, in quotes, is “Kahane was right!” with my name under it, falsely ascribing the quote to me. Again, this was done to demean my good work and to diminish any discussion about CAIR’s ties to overseas terror. And unfortunately, CAIR has company, when it comes to spreading the Kahane lie.
ICNA is the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the largest Islamist group in South Asia. As such, ICNA has a number of South Asian terrorist relations. For decades until today, ICNA has affiliated with Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, a former JI death squad commander allegedly responsible for at least 18 murders. ICNA has placed Khan in positions amongst its top leadership. As well, ICNA, for years until today, has partnered with the JI charity, Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF). In August 2006, when AKF took a delegation to the Damascus, Syria home of then-head of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, to hand deliver $100,000 to Mashal, ICNA was a top donor to AKF.
ICNA discusses this matter concerning AKF, on the FAQ page of ICNA’s national website, titled ‘The Facts.’ Though ICNA partially admits to having a relationship with AKF, the organization questions the validity of this author’s reporting regarding AKF’s financing of Hamas, saying that no legitimate entity has brought awareness to ICNA of any terrorist funding made to Hamas by AKF, at the same time belligerently labelling me “a radical American blogger.” Yet, Jamaat-e-Islami, itself, acknowledged, on its official website, AKF’s delivery of funds to Hamas.
Recently, ICNA added to its FAQ ‘Facts’ page CAIR’s Kahane lie, while recklessly claiming – with no evidence whatsoever – that I may actually be a JDL member. ICNA states about me, on its site, in a section titled, ‘Who is Joe Kaufman?’ the following: “A strong supporter if not a member of the JDL… In the past Mr. Kaufman was accused of contributing to this organization designated as terrorist by the FBI.”
In truth, which is the opposite of what CAIR and ICNA spread, the two groups consider what I write about them to be a danger to their existence as organizations. They fabricate stories about me, in a desperate attempt to deflect from their documented extremism and sinister agendas. The fact that they feel compelled to attack and discredit this author for continuing to expose them as terrorist proxies, by resurrecting an almost two decades old lie, is proof that my investigations have damaged them and gives me hope that, one day, they will both be shut down.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.