In a letter sent this week to Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism in the U.S. State Department, Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) called upon the Biden Administration to remove the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) from the new U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, released just weeks ago. In a fact sheet that accompanied the release of the National Strategy, the Administration touted “commitments” from CAIR and other groups to “counter antisemitism and build cross-community solidarity.” CJV. representing over 2,500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy, called it a “serious error” to have named CAIR as an ally “without a public statement of regret and commitment to change” from that organization.
“CAIR has incited antisemitism since its inception,” commented CJV President Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld. “It was created as a PR front for the Hamas terror organization, and that is why it is identified by the United Arab Emirates as a terror organization itself. And CAIR has already shown America, within weeks of the strategy’s publication, that it has no plans to change its stripes.”
The rabbis pointed to CAIR New York’s recent statement, issued after the National Strategy identified CAIR as a partner, accusing defenders of the Jewish community of “anti-Palestinian” and “anti-Muslim” bias, and “dishonest, cowardly, and dangerous attacks.” That statement came after a CUNY Law School Commencement address presented a litany of antisemitic tropes, drawing condemnations from NYC Mayor Eric Adams, a range of other politicians and public figures, and the CUNY Chancellor and Board of Trustees.
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The CJV letter argued both that CAIR had a pattern of “inverting hatred” in order to defend antisemitism, and that this is notable now because, per the National Strategy fact sheet, CAIR “was supposed to have abandoned its past bad behavior.”
In a recent interview, Ambassador Lipstadt asked for proof that organizations listed on the plan to counter antisemitism were, in fact, promoting it. “By the time you demanded ‘the beef,'” the rabbis wrote in response, “top sirloin, filet mignon, and entire sides of ribs were already stacked on the table. And needless to say, not a morsel of it is kosher.”
CJV concluded: “No organization should be able to use national recognition for fighting antisemitism as a facade behind which to hide its incitement of hatred against Jews.”