During the 16th Annual Convention for Palestine in Chicago on Nov. 24, CAIR’s co-founder and national executive director Nihad Awad said, “The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege — the walls of the concentration camp — on Oct. 7. And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land and walk free into their land that they were not allowed to walk in.”
He continued, “And yes, the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense — have the right to defend themselves. And yes, Israel as an occupying power does not have that right to self-defense.”
Awad also said during the speech that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group, held power over Congress. “AIPAC and its affiliates have been controlling the United States government and the United States Congress. And if someone says, ‘Oh, Nihad Awad said this about the Congress,’ I tell you, ‘Yes, I say it today, and I will say it tomorrow — unless we free Congress, we will not be able to free Palestine.’”
In May, CAIR, which has ties to Hamas and other terrorist groups, was recruited by the Biden administration to “launch a tour to educate religious communities about steps they can take to protect their houses of worship from hate incidents, such as instituting appropriate security measures, developing strong relationships with other faith communities, and maintaining open lines of communication with local law enforcement.”
A spokesperson for the White House told The New York Post that the relationship was terminated when Awad’s comments became public. White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told the outlet, “We condemn these shocking, antisemitic statements in the strongest terms.”
He continued, “The horrific, brutal terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on October 7th were, as President Biden said, ‘abhorrent’ and represent ‘unadulterated evil,’” stating it “was the deadliest day for Jewish people since the Holocaust.”
“The atrocities of that day shocked the conscience, which is why we can never forget the pain Hamas has caused for so many innocent people. There are families who are in agony, mourning loved ones, and there are also families in agony doing everything in their power to free loved ones being held hostage. Everyone has a responsibility to call out antisemitism and violence wherever it rears its ugly head.”
The White House had previously included the radical non-profit group as one of its partners that had “announced commitments to counter antisemitism,” as part of the administration’s national strategy for countering antisemitism, a move that was slammed by Jewish groups at the time.
However, on Thursday, CAIR was no longer listed as one of the administration’s partner organizations.
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