It’s Time for Mainstream Jewish Organizations to Stop Legitimizing CAIR

Dec. 28 2021

At a recent conference of American Muslims for Palestine, Zahra Billoo—the director of the San Francisco branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)—warned her audience of the dangers of “polite Zionists,” who, despite friendly appearances, are their “enemies.” Muslims, according to Billoo, should shun and “oppose” groups that fall into this category, which include campus Hillel houses, the Antidefamation League (ADL), local Jewish federations, and “the Zionist synagogues.” To anyone familiar with CAIR, writes Jonathan Tobin, this message shouldn’t come as a surprise:

Though it was first created as a political front group supporting fundraising for Hamas terrorists in the U.S. and has remained a bastion of anti-Israel hate, CAIR has largely succeeded in persuading many Jews as well as the media and government institutions that it is a civil-rights group; . . . many in the Jewish establishment were not only willing to give CAIR a pass, but actively helped it go mainstream.

Now . . . the question is whether American Jewry and its leading organizations are capable of drawing the proper conclusions about CAIR. More to the point: will Jewish community relations councils and others who are dedicated to promoting interfaith dialogue with Muslims finally understand that as valuable as that effort might be, it can’t be achieved by partnering with groups like CAIR?

American Jews and Muslims need to understand each other better, and that can be facilitated by outreach and dialogue. But as is often the case with efforts to seek commonalities with other minorities or faith groups, those involved often regard the process itself as more important than actually safeguarding the interests of the Jewish community. That failing was key to CAIR’s efforts to rebrand itself as the Muslim version of the ADL.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at JNS

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, CAIR, Muslim-Jewish relations

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela