By Jackson Richman
On Friday and Sunday, two separate Jewish groups will be hosting an event in Washington, DC, each containing connections to radical groups.
The Friday event features a Jewish Sabbath dinner with Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, hosted by Washington Hebrew Congregation, a network for young Jewish professionals. He is not without controversy, however.
The sheikh was the vice president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Sheik Yusuf Qardawi, who is a vocal supporter of terrorism and suicide bombings, and who has issued fatwas calling for jihad and martyrdom operations. The organization is tied to Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.
In 2004, Bayyah issued a fatwa and justified the killing of Americans in Iraq, and issued another fatwa in 2012 calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. In 2010, he urged Palestinian terrorists to “use all kinds of resistance, including the use of weapons.”
Despite resigning from the IUMS in 2013, Bayyah has not denounced those moves and statements.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s event is “a day of education exploring Palestinian citizens in Israel 1948 to today,” hosted and by sponsored by American University’s Center for Israel Studies. In addition to its Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, the other sponsors include the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the University of Maryland’s Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (JFGW), and the New Israel Fund (NIF).
Out of those groups, the NIF and AJC are problematic sponsors.
The NIF is a known radical organization that, although it claims that it will not support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS), has funded organizations, like Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Breaking the Silence, Adalah, and +972 Magazine , which do support BDS.
The AJC, which is one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations, has partnered with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which “emerged out of the early U.S. Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure and documents discovered in the course of the the terrorism trial” of the Holy Land Foundation, according to the intelligence digest Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch. In 2001, the U.S. government closed the HLF for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
The Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues declined to answer questions about the questionable affiliations and noted the event’s other sponsors. According to its coordinator, Alison McWilliams, the organization is the “local affiliate of the national Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues, a coalition of over 100 Jewish organizations that works to educate the American Jewish community about the educational, economic and social challenges faced by Arab citizens of Israel.”
The NIF, AJC, Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, and JFGW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
AU’s Center for Israel Studies director, Michael Brenner, refused to comment immediately and accused The National Discourse of “not really [wanting] to hear my opinion then.”
This post will be updated if the other aforementioned organizations respond.