Democratic representatives Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Betty McCollum (Minn.) headlined a conference this weekend run by one of the nation's most prolific anti-Israel advocacy groups, lending their support to an organization that champions boycotts of Israel and has partnered with individuals tied to terrorism.
The lawmakers, known for their anti-Israel rhetoric and promotion of anti-Semitic materials, appeared at the American Muslims for Palestine's (AMP) annual conference, which was held virtually over Thanksgiving weekend. The conference featured outspoken critics of Israel, including those with reported ties to the Hamas terror group. AMP, which itself has been tied to terror financiers, is a leading promoter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel by boycotting Jewish-made goods.
The lawmakers gave remarks alongside speakers such as Tarek Hamoud, executive director of the Palestinian Return Center, which has reportedly been linked to Hamas. Other speakers included Huwaida Arraf, a BDS promoter and lawyer who represented a Palestinian terrorist. AMP has also employed individuals who worked for the Holy Land Foundation, which was probed by the FBI in 2001 for illicitly funneling upward of $12 million to Hamas. AMP's founder, Hatem Bazian, is the creator of Students for Justice in Palestine, a notoriously anti-Semitic campus group that has harassed and assaulted Jewish students.
During the three-day conference, speakers from across the pro-Palestinian advocacy scene discussed their efforts to push the incoming Biden administration into adopting a more hardline stance against Israel that includes rolling back critical U.S. security aid. Organizations like AMP are fighting for a seat at the table in Joe Biden's White House, as lawmakers such as Omar and Tlaib work to mainstream anti-Israel voices.
Tlaib, in her remarks, lashed out at American "supporters of the occupation," a reference to pro-Israel organizations in America that support Israel's right to exist. She claimed these groups are "working to criminalize our right to boycott and organize—literally our freedom of speech and First Amendment."
Americans, Tlaib added, "are questioning how we can claim to stand for liberty and justice while bankrolling Israeli military crimes to the tune of $3 billion a year." She also celebrated the rise of a new class of Democratic lawmakers "who aren't afraid to speak out for Palestinian human rights and freedom."
Omar slammed the Trump administration's pro-Israel policies, which include moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognizing the Jewish state's control of territory in the Golan Heights region. She criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for visiting contested territories during his most recent trip to Israel and cementing these policies.
"When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank and orders imports from these settlements [to be] labeled ‘products of Israel,' we should call this de facto annexation a violation of international law," Omar said.
McCollum claimed Palestinians are "living under brutal conditions" and "forced to survive under Israeli occupation" that includes "constant threat of abuse, violence, and annexation."
Judicial Watch, a conservative legal advocacy group, said "Congress should reprimand three of its members for participating with financiers of Islamic terrorism in a conference sponsored by an anti-Semitic group with deep ties to Hamas, the Palestinian extremist group that calls for eradicating the state of Israel."
In addition to the lawmakers, speakers at the event included AMP's Kifah Mustapha, another activist tied to the FBI's 2001 terror financing case. Mustapha is a hardline Muslim cleric who promoted polygamy and strict restrictions on the way Muslim women behave, according to the Middle East Forum.
Also appearing was AMP's national policy director Osama Abu Irshaid, who has described Hamas as "an army for liberation," according to reports.