January 5, 2024
The Israeli-American Civic Action Network (ICAN) today announces its strong support for the Florida House of Representatives’ resolution HR 1209. This resolution calls for the suspension of engagement with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) by state executive agencies, law enforcement, and local governments.
HR 1209 is a bold step towards shielding our society from insidious extremist influences. ICAN firmly stands with Florida in this prudent and necessary course of action.
In a recent speech, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad praised the October 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel, describing the incident as a form of “self-defense” by the people of Gaza. Awad’s specific remarks included, “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 “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.” These comments have been widely criticized as incendiary and have drawn substantial attention.
ICAN’s support for HR 1209 is driven by a clear-eyed evaluation of CAIR’s track record. It is our duty to take a stand against any entity that perpetuates antisemitic ideologies and supports terrorist activities. This resolution is a critical move in securing peace and ensuring the security of our communities.
The White House strongly condemned Awad’s statements, labeling them as “shocking” and “antisemitic.” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates asserted, “We condemn these shocking, antisemitic statements in the strongest terms.” Bates also noted the gravity of the October 7 attacks, calling them the deadliest day for Jewish people since the Holocaust.
Following these comments, the White House distanced itself from CAIR, removing the organization’s name from a list of groups fighting antisemitism and clarifying that CAIR is not involved in drafting a national strategy against Islamophobia.
Moreover, CAIR has been embroiled in allegations of antisemitism and links to extremist ideologies. This includes accusations of supporting terrorism against Israel and a refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. Notably, their connection to the Holy Land Foundation, convicted of channeling funds to Hamas, underscores these concerns. CAIR’s leadership has also been criticized for espousing support for violence against Israel and negating Israel’s legitimacy.
The Israeli-American Civic Action Network is dedicated to empowering Israeli immigrants and American allies to create change for a better America, a more secure Israel, and a stronger U.S. – Israel alliance through advocacy education and civic action. Learn more at IsraelUSA.org.