American Muslims for Palestine then took down the full video, and Mr. Awad now claims a “hate website selected remarks from my speech out of context and spliced them together to create a completely false meaning.” But we got the video before Mr. Awad’s ally hid it, and here’s what CAIR’s leader had to say:
“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege, the walls of the concentration camp, on Oct. 7. And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land, and walk free into their land, that they were not allowed to walk in. And yes, the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense, have the right to defend themselves. And yes, Israel, as an occupying power, does not have that right to self-defense.”
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The crowd applauded, and not a word in Mr. Awad’s speech qualified his pleasure with Oct. 7, justified as “self-defense.”
Democrats and media have long treated CAIR as a primary political spokesman for Muslim Americans. In late October the White House invited Mr. Awad to convey Muslim concerns about the war to the President. In May the Biden Administration included CAIR as a partner in its Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. The White House has now removed CAIR from that document and condemned Mr. Awad’s remarks.
On stage Mr. Awad accused Israel of buying “corrupt members of Congress,” concluding, “We have to free so many people from the shackles of AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and its affiliates who have sold the soul of America.” Complaining of Mr. Biden’s betrayal, Mr. Awad asked, “For how much? It is for how much AIPAC and its affiliates have been controlling the U.S. government and the U.S. Congress. . . . Unless we free Congress, we will not be able to free Palestine.”
There it is, the hoary conspiracy that justice—however defined—could be achieved if only the Jews weren’t secretly shackling and manipulating the powers that be. Maybe that’s easier for Mr. Awad to accept than the truth: The American people support Israel and oppose Palestinian terrorism.
But CAIR and its allies have influence, and Mr. Awad said the White House had begun to listen. “When we say ‘if there is no cease-fire, there will be no votes for you in 2024 elections,’” he said, “we started to see the tone changing—and the position changing.”
Mr. Awad’s co-panelist was Osama Abuirshaid, director of American Muslims for Palestine, the leading sponsor of SJP on campus and an organizer of anti-Israel protests across the country. Mr. Abuirshaid told a rally Dec. 1: “What they alleged that happened on Oct. 7 turned out to be a lie. Most of the [Israeli] civilians were killed by their own army.” Will Democrats bend on Israel to people like this?
Near the end of Mr. Awad’s speech, he said, “I ask young people: Be wise. You are not in Palestine. You are not in Gaza. The language there doesn’t work here.” You know, less on the Jews and violence, and more on human rights. He should have taken his own advice.