Joe Kaufman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative and the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
United States Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota) has become one of Israel’s biggest critics in Congress. This is apparent, given the one-sided legislation she has been introducing to Congress targeting the Jewish state. To draft this legislation, she has sought help from American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a group with ties to Hamas and a group she has become very close with. While the Congresswoman has a right to her opinions, her involvement with such an entity undermines US interests abroad and is a threat to national security. It also calls into question the integrity of the legislation she is attempting to pass and its insidious aims.
Established in 2006, AMP was the byproduct of former groups that made up the US Palestine Committee, a terror umbrella organization led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. AMP celebrates violence against Israelis, as witnessed at its January 2018 ‘JERUSALEM IS A RED LINE’ rally, where AMP led repeated chants of “Long live Intifada.” AMP’s Chairman, Hatem Bazian, who also founded Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), notoriously called for a US intifada, at an April 2004 rally held in San Francisco. Citing uprisings in “Palestine” and Iraq, he asked, “How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?”
On September 15th, Representative McCollum gave the keynote address for AMP’s annual ‘Palestine Advocacy Day’ and accepted the group’s ‘Champion of Palestinian Rights Award.’ Also speaking were: PLO Executive Committee Member and known “apologist for terror” Hanan Ashrawi, who was recently denied entry into the US, after her visa was revoked; National Democratic Committeewoman Rasha Mubarak, who has stated on numerous occasions that Israel – a sovereign nation – has no right to defend herself; as well as five other Democrat members of US Congress, including Rashida Tlaib, who Mubarak does consulting work for.
Introducing McCollum was AMP Executive Director Osama Abu-Irshaid, who, last month, called Muslim leaders, who support UAE peace with Israel, “dirt bags” and “traitors.” Prior to AMP, he served as editor of Al Zaytounah, the official newsletter of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), the now-defunct US propaganda wing of Hamas. This past January, 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!”
During her speech, McCollum stated, “I’m very touched and very honored by the award. Thank you so much, but I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without your work, your advocacy, and the opportunity to work together. And it’s been an honor to be a part of ‘Palestinian Advocacy Day.’ I participated in the past, but this is my first virtual one, as it is for all of us today… I want to give a very special thanks to the American Muslims for Palestine for being such a fantastic partner and ally in the work that we do together. Your support for my work in Congress gives me the strength to push forward, and I want to thank you.”
McCollum mentioned the “need to transform US foreign policy to promote” what she called “our values.” She said that Israel practices “oppression” and “apartheid.” She said she has “used” her “position to introduce two pieces of legislation that you are lobbying on today.” The legislation she claims to have worked with AMP on would: 1. prohibit US tax dollars to be used by Israel to “detain, interrogate, abuse or torture Palestinian children” – She labeled Israel “a state sponsor of child abuse” – and 2. prohibit US funds from being used to “support Israel’s effort’s to annex Palestinian lands.”
Without getting into the merits of Representative McCollum’s bills to which there can be much debate, including how Palestinians strongly encourage their youth to commit acts of brutality against Israeli civilians or bearing in mind the legitimacy of Jews having rights to the land of their ancestors, none of the legislation can be considered, because it was forged with the help of a group that supports violence – even in the US – and has documented ties to terrorism. The moment the Congresswoman considered partnering with AMP is the moment that her legislation should have been thrown out and her own self thrown in jail for committing an act of treason.
AMP corroborated McCollum working with them, when they tweeted, last month, “Breaking: Betty McCollum just introduced a bill prohibiting the US government from recognizing or funding any Israeli annexation of Palestinian land. We’re proud to have worked closely with the Congresswoman’s office on this bill.”
Representative McCollum has deliberately exploited her position to further the cause of a group associated with terror, a group that celebrates attacks against what many believe to be our greatest ally, Israel. And she allowed herself to be used as well, degrading the office that she holds, while our enemies parade images of her on their social media and take selfies with her at their events.
When Betty McCollum speaks of “our values,” when accepting awards from and heaping praise upon AMP, what she really means are the morbid values of Hamas. She is complicit in aiding and abetting the terrorist group’s violent agenda.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.