Rashida Tlaib takes a selfie with open antisemites, BDS advocates

"So much joy when my Muslim sisters & brothers come to visit me in DC. They remind me to always speak truth to power. Together, we will fight back and become stronger for it."

April 5, 2019 10:37
3 minute read.
Democratic U.S. congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib reacts after appearing after midterm elections

Democratic U.S. congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib reacts after appearing at her midterm election night . (photo credit: REUTERS/REBECCA COOK)


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“Not all heroes wear capes,” wrote Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA). “Some like Rep. @RashidaTlaib wear Congressional pins.”

Billoo was tweeting on Monday about Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The freshman lawmaker responded with her own tweet: “So good to see you sis! I will always speak truth to power because I got you to protect.”

But this friendship, as pointed out by Steven Emerson, executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, in an article published by The Algemeiner could be a red flag for people concerned about antisemitism and anti-Israel bias in Congress. 

Billoo, said Emerson, has attacked Muslims who engage in interfaith dialogue and has supported Palestinian terrorists attacking Israelis, openly calling for the destruction of the Jewish state: “From the river to the sea, #Palestine will be free.”

Tlaib’s Twitter conversation with Billoo came just one day before Muslim Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, organized by the US Council of Muslim Organizations. Tlaib met on Tuesday with visitors and snapped a selfie featuring CAIR leaders from across the United States. These includes Los Angeles chapter executive director Hussam Ayloush and Florida director Hassan Shibly.

She wrote, "So much joy when my Muslim sisters & brothers come to visit me in DC. They remind me to always speak truth to power. Together, we will fight back and become stronger for it."

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar recently came under fire for her connection with Shibly, when she agreed to speak at a March 23 benefit for CAIR in Los Angeles alongside him. Hundreds of concerned Americans protested outside that event.

Shibly is known to be vehemently anti-Israel, to hold that Hezbollah and Hamas are not terrorist organizations, and to be openly discriminatory against LGBTs.

In 2014, Shibly claimed that the Hamas terror tunnels uncovered in Operation Protective Edge in the northern Gaza Strip were “being used in the defense of Palestine.”

At the time, he wrote that “to Israel, every tunnel – be it one that brings food into an impoverished Gaza Strip where over half of the population depends on food aid, or one that delivers sheep to a Khan Yunis farmer who lost his other farm animals to a prior Israeli incursion – is a 'terror tunnel.'”

Similarly, Ayloush suggested that the US was “partly responsible” for a 2015 ISIS-led attack on innocents in California.

“Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy – as Americans, as the West – has fueled that extremism,” he noted.

Ayloush has in the past described US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a campaign to instill “fear of the Muslims.”

CAIR, in general, has a long history of affiliation with the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. 

FBI investigators uncovered evidence establishing CAIR's place in the "Palestine Committee," which was a Muslim Brotherhood-created network aimed at helping Hamas in the United States, according to a report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. In 2009, US District Court Judge Jorge Solis ruled that there is "at least a prima facie case as to CAIR's involvement in a conspiracy to support Hamas."

Moreover, the organization was officially designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates in 2014, placing it in the company of Al Qaeda, Islamic State and others.

“Tlaib’s comments thus far have not risen to the level of explicit antisemitism,” Emerson wrote. “But her intimate relationship to figures who do express antisemitic sentiments deserves scrutiny.” 

Ilanit Chernick contributed to this report.

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