Joe Kaufman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative (www.kaufmansecurity.org) and the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
Following the founding of Hamas in 1987, the Muslim Brotherhood set up worldwide committees to assist the newly formed terrorist group. In the US, it was called the Palestine Committee, and by the end of 1994, it would consist of four organizations, all falling under the leadership of then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. Of the four, only one remains, CAIR. However, remnants of the others came together in the form of a more recent group, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Given AMP’s connection to a terrorist organization, why would Democrat officials, including US Representative Rashida Tlaib, go out of their way to aid and abet the group, and why isn’t the Democratic Party doing anything to stop this?
AMP was established, in 2006, with the goal of vilifying and delegitimizing Israel. True to its Hamas roots, AMP’s message is laced with support for violence. The Executive Director of AMP is Osama Abu-Irshaid. Prior to AMP, he served as editor of Al Zaytounah, the official newsletter of the Palestine Committee’s Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). This month, Abu-Irshaid stated at an AMP event, “Palestinians, if they don’t take what they want willingly, they will take it forcefully. We promise you this, we’re going to liberate our land and we’re going to liberate our people, whether they like it or they don’t like it. Well, they have picked the wrong enemy!”
Last month, AMP celebrated, on its Facebook page, the 32nd anniversary of the First Intifada, the violent uprising against Israel from which Hamas was created. During its January 2018 ‘JERUSALEM IS A RED LINE’ rally, AMP repeatedly led chants of “Long live Intifada.” AMP’s Chairman, Hatem Bazian, who is also the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), at an April 2004 rally held in San Francisco, called for an intifada in America. He stated, “Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq. And the question is what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?”
One AMP board member, Salah Sarsour, allegedly has had involvement with Hamas, itself. According to a December 1998 Israeli Police memo, Salah’s brother Jamil Sarsour, in the course of an interview, claimed that Salah had involvement with Hamas and did fundraising for Hamas via the Palestine Committee’s Holy Land Foundation (HLF). Jamil also claimed that Salah had plotted an attack on Israel, as revenge for the September 1998 killing of Salah’s friends, Hamas military wing Qassam Brigades leaders and brothers, Imad and Adel Awadallah, by Israeli soldiers. Previously, Salah had spent eight months in a Ramallah prison.
AMP is a part of the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO). Representing AMP on USCMO’s Board of Directors is Osama Abu-Irshaid. Another board member is Mazen Mokhtar, a US-based admin for qoqaz.net, a now-defunct al-Qaeda recruitment/financing site. Mokhtar, who has spoken at AMP events, has called Hamas acts “heroic” and suicide bombings “an effective method of attacking the enemy.” One more board member, Siraj Wahhaj, was cited by the US government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj has been linked to the bomb maker of the attack, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, and has praised the spiritual leader of the attack, Omar Abdel Rahman.
The Facebook Manager for AMP is Leena al-Arian. Besides AMP, al-Arian is the Associate Director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF), a group founded by her father, former Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian, that provides legal advocacy for and which seeks to whitewash the cases of high profile convicted terrorists. Last October, Leena was accompanied by two of her father’s past PIJ co-conspirators, Hatem Fariz, who was convicted of PIJ support, and Ghassan Ballut, to lobby the government. In November 2018, Leena referred to all of the convicted HLF Hamas financiers as “pillars of their communities.”
Taher Herzallah is AMP Director of Outreach & Grassroots Organizing. Originally from Gaza, Herzallah uses Twitter to post material from and correspond with the Palestinian Information Center, the media arm of Hamas, which publishes Hamas communiques, anti-Semitic cartoons, and praise for murders of Israelis. In May 2012, when Israel handed over the remains of 91 deceased terrorists, including several suicide bombers, to Palestinian authorities, Herzallah tweeted a photo of a procession of cars with Palestinian flags and armed men, calling the dead terrorists “martyrs.” In November 2012, Herzallah tweeted, “[O]ur martyrs are in paradise…”
With AMP’s leadership involved in such sinister activity and with the group’s links to extremists and violence, how could anyone look to promote this group, especially a member of US Congress? Well, one US Representative has, and that is Rashida Tlaib.
Last month, while visiting the US-Mexico border with fellow Democrat, Rasha Mubarak, the two held up signs produced by AMP and containing the AMP logo. The signs read, “FROM PALESTINE TO MEXICO, ALL THE WALLS HAVE TO GO.” Consider, both women have lengthy histories of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activism and incitement, and Tlaib has a history of participating at AMP events. In fact, this coming February, she will be the Guest of Honor at AMP-Missouri’s 1st Annual Banquet Dinner.
Tlaib has called for a ‘one-state solution’ regarding Israel and the Palestinians, which would spell an end to Israel. She happily allowed herself to be photographed with a map featuring a Post-it note renaming Israel “Palestine.” She brought up the anti-Semitic canard of ‘dual loyalty,’ questioning the loyalty of US Senators after they came out against the BDS movement. As a result, Tlaib was condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and barred from entry into Israel. Tlaib has also cavorted with Abbas Hamideh, who told Jews, in October 2015, “Rest assured, Zionism will be eradicated and if you’re lucky you’ll be sent back to Europe where you belong…”
Mubarak, who serves as National Committeewoman for the Florida Young Democrats (FYD), is offended at the very notion that Israel has a right to self-defense. In November 2012, Mubarak tweeted, “Lies I’m tired of hearing, Israel has the right to defend herself.” Just this past May, when Hamas launched more than 600 rockets into Israel, leading to the deaths of four civilians, Mubarak tweeted against anyone who would dare defend Israeli retaliation, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the producer of The Ellen Show, Andy Lassner. She has posted pictures of Hamas celebrations, and she has been involved in Hamas-related groups, herself.
Israel bashing, anti-Semitism and incitement all seem to be condoned by the Democratic Party, whose abject failure to combat it within Democratic ranks has led to its acceptance as part of legitimate political discourse. It has been suggested that the huge spike in violence against Jews can be attributed to this phenomenon.
Unless Democrats take decisive action to purge their party of its Islamist fifth column – to which Rashida Tlaib and Rasha Mubarak are a part of – the Democratic Party will continue to be seen as promoting this dangerous trend and providing aid and comfort, as well as a safe haven, for the enemies of America and America’s friends and allies overseas.
Though it may already be a reality, Democrats must fight to stop their party from becoming/remaining the party of radical Islam.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.