- One of Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s key fundraisers repeatedly promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on social media, including in a Facebook group that included Tlaib.
- The ADL remained silent on the latest controversy, even after Tlaib ignored their call to denounce another anti-Israel radical after she took a picture with him.
- Jewish conservatives have previously accused ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama official, of downplaying anti-Semitism on the left.
The left-leaning Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the nation’s largest Jewish civil rights group, has declined to weigh in on Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s latest tie to anti-Semitism.
A key fundraiser for Tlaib, Maher Abdel-qader, repeatedly promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed Monday.
TheDCNF on Wednesday spoke on the phone with ADL communications director Todd Gutnick to request the ADL’s position on the controversy. Gutnick said he was unfamiliar with the matter and requested an email with a link to the story, which TheDCNF sent immediately after the phone call.
Then Gutnick went dark: he declined to return multiple emails and voicemails from TheDCNF on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning.
Tlaib is a member of a Facebook group that Abdel-qader founded, “Palestinian American Congress,” where he and others have repeatedly shared anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Tlaib posted multiple pictures of herself with Abdel-qader on Facebook during the campaign and emphasized how important his support was to her. Pictures that Abdel-qader posted show him speaking at campaign events.
The ADL’s silence on Tlaib comes after she ignored their call to denounce Abbas Hamideh, a Palestinian activist who has openly supported Hezbollah and compared Israelis to Nazis. Hamideh attended Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony and took a picture with her, which he then posted to social media.
I was honored to be at Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib swearing in ceremony in #Detroit and private dinner afterward with the entire family, friends and activists across the country. #Palestine #TweetYourThobe #RashidaTlaib pic.twitter.com/caJPN12ODX
— Abbas Hamideh (@Resistance48) January 12, 2019
“We ask her to clarify his attendance and denounce his anti-Semitism,” wrote ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt, a former member of the Obama administration.
Tlaib has yet to denounce the rhetoric of either Hamideh or Abdel-qader.
She told the Detroit Free Press that she didn’t know Hamideh. That conflicts with what Hamideh told The Daily Caller: Though the two aren’t close friends, “she knows me well, don’t get me wrong, and I know her well through her campaign and stuff like that— like we’ve met numerous times and numerous events.”
The closest Tlaib came to a condemnation of Hamideh was saying she does “not agree with the statements brought to my attention.”
Nine months before her swearing-in, Tlaib posted a selfie with Hamideh to her personal Facebook account.
Tlaib previously came under scrutiny for questioning the loyalties of pro-Israel lawmakers.
Tlaib posted 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. Greenblatt called her language “deeply problematic.”
Jewish conservatives have previously criticized the ADL for being slow to confront extremism on the left. (RELATED: James Clyburn Shared Stage With Farrakhan, Now Refuses To Denounce)
New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz in October slammed Greenblatt and other Jewish liberals for “turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism on the left.”
Markowicz’s column followed a thorough piece in Commentary Magazine from Washington Examiner Magazine editor Seth Mandel, who said that Greenblatt has turned the ADL into a partisan operation.
Mandel argued that “the larger problem is that Greenblatt sees right-wing bigotry as a crucial element of conservative ideology, while viewing any such transgressions on the left as isolated anomalies.”
“But the mainstream Democratic Party’s overt embrace of its left flank, which is the source of the nation’s most explicit anti-Israel rhetoric and ideas, has made such assumptions naive to the point of professional malpractice for someone like Greenblatt,” Mandel wrote.
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