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).
Omar Barghouti, the co-founder and face of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is seeking to spread his message of hate throughout the US Muslim community. His vehicles to do so are two remnants of a Hamas network that existed in the 1980s and 1990s, CAIR and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). If makes sense that he would use these groups, as Barghouti’s own organization includes Hamas as part of its national committee. Yet, it also reveals the true mission of BDS, which is the destruction and dismantling of the one and only Jewish state and a main reason why BDS is deemed to be anti-Semitic.
CAIR was established, in June 1994, as a part of the 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 Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a fellow alum of the Palestine Committee. CAIR had used its national website to raise money for HLF, disguising it as a fundraiser for victims of 9/11. In July 2014, the Florida chapter of CAIR co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally in Downtown Miami, where rally goers repeatedly shouted, “We are Hamas.”
On April 21st, CAIR-Florida hosted a virtual ‘lunch hour,’ featuring Barghouti and the Director of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) at San Francisco State University (SFSU) Rabab Abdulhadi. While COVID-19 would certainly compel an event such as this to go virtual, it must also be noted that Barghouti, not long ago, was disallowed from entering the US. The title of the lunch was ‘First Amendment Except for Palestine.’
Those who support BDS argue that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, and of course, that is correct. However, the reason why the US government and others say BDS is “anti-Semitism” is not about criticism, but about denying Israel the very right of her existence. As Barghouti stated, in 2013, “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”
Abdulhadi, like Barghouti, wants Israel destroyed. On March 30th, she wrote on her Facebook page, “At the end of the day, Zionism is and will be a passing phenomenon.” This past September, Zoom canceled a webinar organized by Abdulhadi and her group AMED, as it featured plane hijacker Leila Khaled of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a US designated terrorist group. Abdulhadi callously praised Khaled for her hijacking skills, stating, “We really idolize somebody like Leila Khaled, somebody who actually stands up for herself, speaks for herself, actually goes to a plane and hijacks it.”
Abdulhadi participates in events run by various groups that promote agents and icons of Palestinian terrorist organizations. One group that she has been involved with, the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), is run by convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian. During a September 2020 CIGA event featuring both al-Arian and Abdulhabi, she stayed silent as al-Arian pondered ending Zionism. He said, “[O]ur vision should be to dismantle the Zionist nature of the state, period… [W]e’re not talking about one state, two state, bi-national state… [O]ur objective is to de-Zionize the state, that we’ll no longer have the Zionist state.”
Created in 2006, AMP is the byproduct of now-defunct groups that were formerly affiliated with the US Palestine Committee. AMP celebrates violent uprisings (intifadas) against Israeli civilians. AMP’s Chairman, Hatem Bazian, who also founded Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), has called for an intifada in the US. AMP’s Executive Director, Osama Abu-Irshaid, has branded Muslim leaders who support UAE peace with Israel “dirt bags” and “traitors” and threatened, in January 2020, “Palestinians, if they don’t take what they want willingly, they will take it forcefully… [W]e’re going to liberate our land… whether they like it or they don’t like it.”
On March 31st, AMP hosted ‘A Conversation with Omar Barghouti,’ conducted by Bazian. In it, Barghouti brought up the BDS National Committee. He stated, “BDS is not led by some ivory tower, group of academics or intellectuals. It is led by the Palestinian BDS National Committee…”
Indeed, these are not intellectuals or academics, they are terrorists. The first group listed on the BDS National Committee (BNC) is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine. The council includes such entities as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP, terrorist outfits responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent Israeli civilians and tens of Americans.
The reality of the BDS movement is that it is run by terrorist organizations that are considered illegal under US law, and it calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is precisely the goal of these terrorist organizations. This is not criticism or “free speech” or anything deserving of the protections afforded by the US Constitution. This movement and the groups and individuals that push it care little for our Constitution, except to exploit it for their sinister personal gain. In truth, BDS is naked aggression – violence and bigotry – masquerading in the guise of a boycott, and as such, it should be shut down and its leaders placed behind bars.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.