The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a self declared Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned “war crimes” being committed against Palestinian civilians in Jenin refugee camp on Monday and called on the United States to take "concrete action to stop the Israeli government’s escalating human rights abuses."
CAIR, an organization which was mentioned as one that would implement the Joe Biden administration's combatting antisemitism strategy, also said that the Israeli government is "racist," and that Israel is an "apartheid state." According to this rethotic, CAIRs statements could be seen as antisemitism according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition.
According to CAIR's statement, "Israeli occupation forces carried out drone strikes and troops in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, injuring numerous civilians, killing at least nine Palestinians, including children, cutting off water and electricity across the camp, and reportedly bombing near a mosque."
CAIR's condemnations of the Israeli government
In a statement, CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said that he "strongly condemn the war crimes that Benjamin Netanyahu’s racist government is committing against Palestinian civilians in the Jenin refugee camp using American taxpayer dollars, and we call on the State Department to do the same.
“Between these ongoing attacks on refugees, violent settler rampages, illegal settlement expansion, the murder of dozens of Palestinian children this year alone, and the refusal to hold anyone accountable for the brazen assassination of American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israeli government is completely out of control because it does not expect to face any consequences from the Biden administration. This must change.”
In addition,they stated that last year, "CAIR welcomed an investigation by a UN commission of inquiry into the Israeli government’s system of apartheid against Palestinians." They also claimed, by quoting a group of Israeli law professors, that the "changes introduced by the current far-right Israeli government 'validate the claim that Israel practices apartheid.'"
According to an official document of the US Department of Justice in 2013, the FBI cut off ties with CAIR. “The guidance specifically stated that, until the FBI could determine whether there continued to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, ‘the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner’ for non-investigative activities,” the document stated.
Categorizing CAIR as antisemitic
In addition, according to a background document of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), some members of CAIR’s leadership have used inflammatory anti-Zionist rhetoric that on a number of occasions has veered into antisemitic tropes related to Jewish influence over the media or political affairs. According to the ADL, CAIR frequently partnered with vehemently anti-Zionist and anti-Israel groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and American Muslims for Palestine, many of whose members employ extreme rhetoric and questionable tactics to demonize Zionism and Zionists and disrupt pro-Israel activity.
Deborah Lipstadt, United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism told The Jerusalem Post in June that She knows "CAIR is problematic,” but that “there are other groups and individuals that have problematic histories that are now talking about antisemitism."
Lipstadt added that the Jewish people “certainly can use all the allies possible, but “in the name of gaining allies, I'm not willing to say ‘what to say doesn't matter.’”
Many Jewish and Israeli organizations have criticized the Biden administration for suggesting that CAIR be part of the implementation of the antisemitism strategy.