Politics

Rashida Tlaib Stays Quiet On Top Ally Who Spread Anti-Semitic Conspiracies

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Peter Hasson Senior Reporter
  • One of Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s key fundraisers, Maher Abdel-qader, has repeatedly promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
  • Tlaib has remained silent on the controversy, even as it has put other Democrats in an awkward position.
  • Abdel-qader apologized on Wednesday and said he didn’t mean to share anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. 
  • Tlaib previously came under scrutiny for having ties to other anti-Israel figures and for questioning the loyalties of pro-Israel lawmakers.

Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib has declined to address the fact that one of her top campaign allies repeatedly promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

A key fundraiser for Tlaib, Maher Abdel-qader, repeatedly promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed Monday.

Two days after TheDCNF’s report, Tlaib has continued to remain silent on the matter, even as other Democrats have faced questions about her ties to anti-Semitism. Her office declined to return multiple requests for comment.

Tlaib is a member of the Facebook group “Palestinian American Congress,” where members have repeatedly demonized Jews. The group’s founder, Abdel-qader, was a key fundraiser for Tlaib in 2018 and organized campaign events for her around the country.

In January 2018, Abdel-qader shared an anti-Semitic video that claimed Jews aren’t actually Jewish and invented their historical claim to Israel and secretly control the media. (RELATED: Maxine Waters Attended Nation of Islam Convention Where Farrakhan Defended Suicide Bombers)

The video, which described Jews as “satanic,” also questioned whether 6 million Jews actually died in the Holocaust.

“Research the truth about the Holocaust, and you’ll definitely start to question what you thought you knew,” the video’s narrator says.

Abdel-qader shared the video both on his personal Facebook page and within the group that now includes Tlaib.

He posted an apology on Facebook Wednesday for sharing the video, and said he was unaware that it contained anti-Semitism before sharing it. He told TheDCNF in an email on Tuesday that he has “great respect for the religion and the Jewish people.”

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Tlaib has been a member of the Facebook group since February 2018 when Abdel-qader added her, according to Facebook. The group has a little over 11,000 members.

Other members of the Facebook group have promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jews secretly controlling the media.

Tlaib presented Abdel-qader in March 2018 with a medal showing her appreciation for his help with the campaign, according to Voices of New York, a project of the City University of New York (CUNY). She posted multiple pictures of herself with Abdel-qader on Facebook during the campaign and emphasized how important his support was to her.

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Abdel-qader took credit on Facebook for organizing fundraisers for Tlaib among Arab-Americans, pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars for her campaign. Photos he’s posted on social media show him speaking at Tlaib campaign events.

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Tlaib previously came under scrutiny for having ties to other anti-Israel figures and for questioning the loyalties of pro-Israel lawmakers.

She sparked controversy after posting a tweet that questioned whether Republicans who support anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) legislation “forgot what country they represent.” Tlaib supports the anti-Israel BDS movement, which has often overlapped with anti-Semitic causes.

She also came under fire after posing for a picture with Palestinian activist Abbas Hamideh, a supporter of Hezbollah who believes Israel shouldn’t exist, at her swearing-in ceremony in Washington, D.C., earlier this month

The left-leaning Anti-Defamation League demanded an explanation from Tlaib, who told the Detroit Free Press on Friday that she didn’t know who Hamideh is.

Nine months before that controversy, in April 2018, Tlaib posted a picture of herself and Hamideh on Facebook.

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Screenshot/Facebook

Palestinian-American professor Amer Zahr, a supporter of the BDS movement, also appeared at campaign events and attended Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony. Zahr posted a Facebook video he recorded from Tlaib’s office to show that he had re-labeled Israel as “Palestine” on a map hanging in the office.

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An article recounting the label change received positive reactions when shared within the “Palestinian American Congress” group that Tlaib belongs to on Facebook.

One group member commented: “They will be wiped off the map soon inshallah [God willing].”

Women’s March co-chair Linda Sarsour was also an early Tlaib supporter and attended her swearing-in ceremony as well.

Sarsour and other Women’s March leaders have come under scrutiny for their support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite who has praised former German dictator Adolf Hitler and described Jews as “satanic.”

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

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