Joel Mowbray’s Washington Times column today addresses Senator Barbara Boxer’s condemnation of CAIR last week. Mowbray asks what’s gong on and wonders whether it may mark a turning point in the acceptance of CAIR as a civil rights organization:
CAIR claims that Mrs. Boxer succumbed to the “pro-Israel lobby,” who are “anti-Muslim extremists.” The reality is that Mrs. Boxer, as politically safe as any member of Congress’ upper chamber, received little flack for issuing a relatively minor certificate to Mr. Elkarra. She had little to gain, and much to lose. A savvy pol, Mrs. Boxer likely realized that she would be subjected to CAIR’s well-oiled attack machine.
Sure enough, CAIR unsheathed the long knives. Calls to Mrs. Boxer’s office were overwhelming against her decision, and only one group, California-based Stand With Us, actually encouraged its members to support her. But ironically, in the course of disparaging Mrs. Boxer, CAIR demonstrated precisely why the senator did the right thing.
Interviewed this week by Paula Zahn on CNN, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper let loose a grandiose fabrication:
“We practically have a rubber stamp saying, ‘CAIR condemns blank act of terrorism.’ We’ve repeatedly, consistently condemned terrorism in all its forms, including attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas, Hezbollah. We’ve condemned it repeatedly.”
While CAIR did condemn one specific attack committed by Hamas — the particularly gruesome Netanya Passover massacre in March 2002 — it pointedly omitted any reference to the terrorist organization. (Interestingly, CAIR’s press release also avoided acknowledging that the bombing occurred in “Israel,” writing instead that the attack happened in “the Middle East.”) As for Hezbollah, CAIR has never condemned any of that organization’s many terrorist attacks. During the month-long war last summer, CAIR issued at least eight condemnations of Israel and America — but not one of Hezbollah.
CAIR has, in fact, never condemned Hamas or Hezbollah. Given repeated opportunities to do so by outlets such as The Washington Post and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, CAIR has flatly refused to denounce either. Asked point-blank by Newsweek just last month to condemn Hamas, CAIR Executive Director and cofounder Nihad Awad demurred, dismissing the question as “the game of the pro-Israel lobby.”
Recall that Awad and friends were key supporters of Minnesota’s newly elected Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison (also reported by Mowbray on Power Line and elsewhere). Recall that Elllison was a featured speaker at CAIR’s annual dinner last month. Recall the inability of the Minneapolis Star Tribune to understand the signficance of any of this, and you begin to get a sense of the possible importance of Boxer’s stand.