‘Chance To Change’: Biden’s Antisemitism Envoy Defends Working With Anti-Israel Group

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Kate Anderson Contributor
Font Size:

Biden’s antisemitism envoy said Sunday that she was giving the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that supports anti-Israel initiatives, a “chance to change” after it aided the White House’s strategy to combat antisemitism, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The White House rolled out its much-anticipated plan in May, touting it as the first and most comprehensive strategy to fight rising antisemitism in the U.S., but received backlash when it was revealed that CAIR, which has been embroiled in multiple anti-Israel controversies over the years, had been listed as one of the organizations committed to implement the plan. Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism, said in an interview with the Post Sunday that while she was aware of the group’s past, she believed that the plan created a “chance to change their past behavior.” (RELATED: California University Hosts Screening Of Trans Director’s ‘Anti-Israel’ Film)

“I know CAIR is problematic … [but] there are other groups and individuals that have problematic histories that are now talking about antisemitism,” Lipstadt said. “One can also step back and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to judge you by what to say going forward. We’re going to evaluate what you do henceforth.’ I’m not talking about apologies … [but] do you acknowledge that you might have, or might not have, engaged in statements or declarations that were easily and rightfully considered to be antisemitic?”

Protestors rally against a White House visit by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett near the White House on August 26, 2021, in Washington, DC. The protest was organized by The Council on American-Islamic Relations and Americans for Justice In Palestine Action. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Some of CAIR’s leadership had ties to groups linked to the terrorist organization Hamas, which regularly fires missiles and organizes terror attacks against Israel, according to a 2013 report from the FBI.

Though CAIR does not officially support the official Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, it has called for boycotts against Israel, according to its website. In April 2020, the organization supported the American Muslims for Palestine’s boycott of Israeli dates that were grown in the Jewish state’s settlements in the West Bank, which CAIR argued were “illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.”

Lipstadt explained that CAIR was not involved in the “formation” of the White House’s policy, but that it was one of the groups the White House reached out to before the plan was released, according to the Post. She said the group offered support for the plan, resulting in CAIR’s inclusion in the White House’s fact sheet.

Lipstadt said that while she is “not naïve” to CAIR’s past, she believed in encouraging forgiveness, according to the Post.

“If I put on my Jewish hat, you and I both come from a tradition that believes in forgiveness, ” Lipstadt said. “Our holiest days of the year are about change. So if they’re really willing to change, if they’re really willing to say, ‘hey, we now see this is a serious problem,’ then they are welcome.”

Lipstadt, CAIR and the State Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.