Senior Biden Adviser's Legal Group Pledges To Defend Hamas Sympathizers in New York City

CUNY's Ramzi Kassem has accused Israel of 'ethnic cleansing,' 'systematic genocide'

White House adviser Ramzi Kassem (YouTube)
October 10, 2023

A legal group founded by a Biden administration official is pledging to defend Hamas sympathizers in New York City, where demonstrators on Sunday expressed support for the slaughtering of innocent Israelis.

Ramzi Kassem, a member of the president’s Domestic Policy Council, in 2009 founded CLEAR, a City University of New York project that offers free legal support to New York City Muslims. CLEAR said on Sunday it would ensure pro-Hamas demonstrators are "protected" as they "continue on until Palestine is liberated."

The guarantee of legal protection is likely to embolden those demonstrators, who flocked to Times Square on Sunday brandishing flags and signs with the slogan, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," which calls for the Jewish state's eradication. The protesters were expressing solidarity with the Iran-backed terrorist group's slaughtering of Israelis. One demonstrator argued that the killings were conducted in "self defense," while another displayed a swastika on his phone. Police arrested three people for disorderly conduct, though it is not clear if Kassem's group is defending them.

CLEAR's vow to protect terrorist sympathizers reflects the Biden administration's embrace of anti-Israel activists. Biden tapped Kassem, a City University of New York professor, to serve as a policy adviser on immigration last year. Before that, Kassem defended al-Qaeda terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay and has expressed his contempt for the Jewish state, arguing in a series of 1998 articles that Israel engages in "systematic genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" and that a Jewish majority in Israel is neither "viable" nor "desirable."

Neither the White House nor CLEAR returned requests for comment. An online bio for Kassem identifies the professor as a senior policy adviser for immigration at the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Sunday's Times Square demonstration, which took place one day after Hamas terrorists launched an unprecedented attack against Israel that left hundreds dead and hundreds more kidnapped and taken hostage, was hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America.

The party's New York City chapter on Saturday announced the "All Out for Palestine" demonstration, calling on its supporters to take to the streets "in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid."

While some New York Democrats condemned the rally—Governor Kathy Hochul labeled it "abhorrent and morally repugnant," and New York City mayor Eric Adams called it "disgusting that this group of extremists would show support for terrorism"—others have direct ties to its organizers. Left-wing Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, for example, are members of the Democratic Socialists of America's New York City chapter. Bowman has not commented on the rally. After more than a day of silence, meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez told Politico that the "bigotry and callousness expressed in Times Square on Sunday were unacceptable and harmful" in comments published Tuesday morning.

The Workers World Party, another socialist organization, also held an "Emergency Rally For Gaza" outside of the Israeli consulate—which the party called the "Zionist embassy"—on Monday afternoon. In a social media post announcing the event, the party declared its support for Hamas terrorism against Israel.

"We remain in unshakable solidarity with Palestinians who are resisting colonial occupation, and we defend their right to liberate themselves by any means necessary," the group said. On Saturday, meanwhile, Workers World Party published a statement from terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which urged "our heroic people across Palestine to actively participate in" the ongoing terrorism against Israelis.

Kassem is no stranger to representing controversial clients. The Biden adviser represented Ahmed al-Darbi, an Islamic terrorist who helped plan a 2002 attack on a French-flagged oil tanker and whose brother-in-law participated in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Kassem himself has downplayed the 9/11 attacks, writing in a 2001 article that the attackers were not inherently evil.

"The perpetrators were probably not driven to their actions by some intrinsic evil or inherent hatred of the good United States," Kassem wrote. "The resentment these terrorists felt towards the United States was rooted in political realities shaped by our country's policies."