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CAIR-LA Official: Antisemitism Is Persecution Over Falsely Claiming To Descend From Palestine

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that Nassar made these remarks during a lecture at the Islamic Society of Orange County.

Jewish Journal

Aaron Bandler | June 20, 2021

Shaheen Nassar, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Los Angeles chapter, said during a June 11 event that antisemitism “was a way of persecuting a group of people for… this false historical allegation that they had descended from historic Palestine.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that Nassar made these remarks during a lecture at the Islamic Society of Orange County. “The reality of course, as most historians recognize, is much of European Jews and much of the European Jewish colonizers of Palestine are all descendants of medieval converts to Judaism, and that realistically the blood of the ancient Israelites most likely flows in the blood of Palestinians,” he added.

Nassar did acknowledge that “antisemitism is a real thing. I may not necessarily agree with its relevance to the issue of Palestine, but antisemitism is a very real thing, and there are white supremacists out there who hold Jewish lives and Muslim lives and Palestinian lives with equal contempt.” He also referred to the Irgun and the Haganah, which were Zionist militia groups during the 1948 War for Independence, as “death squads” that eventually morphed into the Israel Defense Force, called Zionism a “supremacist ideology,” and claimed that “Palestinians and Arabs are semites themselves.”

Jewish groups condemned Nassar’s remarks.

“We are outraged over comments from CAIR-LA denying the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel and adopting a racial and racist definition of Jewishness,” Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles tweeted. “This type of incitement perpetuates antisemitism and is especially shameful coming from a self-described civil rights [organization].”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center similarly tweeted that Nassar’s remarks were a “dangerously delusional” and a “denial of historic facts, denial of neighbor’s legitimacy. Legitimizes and embeds Jew -hatred and kills hopes for peace and reconciliation!”

StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein also said in a statement to the Journal, “These racist anti-Jewish comments are a shameful attempt to erase an entire people’s history and identity. Unfortunately, CAIR leaders have a long record of promoting antisemitism. CAIR cannot be a ‘leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding,’ while spreading hatred and lies about the Jewish people.”

American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Director Richard S. Hirschhaut called Nassar’s comments “an outrageous assault upon the historical record and truth” in a statement to the Journal. “But he is correct on one point, asserting that antisemitism is a real thing. Sadly, his attempt to undermine and delegitimize the Jewish people’s historic connection to the land of Israel may only fuel those who would resort to antisemitism to propagate their anti-Israel animus.”

CAIR-LA did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.

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