‘Squad’ Member Summer Lee To Fundraise for Anti-Israel Group Whose Leader Celebrated Hamas Attack

Summer Lee (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
February 15, 2024

Pennsylvania Rep. Summer Lee (D.), whose congressional district was the site of the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history, will raise money next month for a Muslim advocacy group whose leader said he was "happy" that Hamas invaded Israel.

The Pennsylvania Democrat, a member of the progressive "Squad," will speak on March 2 at the annual fundraising banquet of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Philadelphia chapter, the group announced. CAIR praised Lee as a "leading advocate" for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. Tickets for the event range from $75 for individuals to $5,000 for corporate sponsors.

Lee’s appearance at the event could lend fuel to her Democratic primary opponents, who have criticized her stance on Israel. Forty Jewish leaders in Lee’s suburban Pittsburgh district—the site of the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting—called on Lee to "exercise better leadership" by supporting Israel’s right "to protect its citizens against Hamas."

CAIR is known for its anti-Israel views and was labeled an "unindicted co-conspirator" of Hamas front groups during the Holy Land Foundation terrorism investigation in 2007. CAIR executive director Nihad Awad said in November that he was "happy" that Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. He also said that Israel "does not have that right to self-defense." The White House condemned Awad’s remarks as anti-Semitic. Awad, whose real name is Nehad Hammad, contributed $1,000 to Lee’s primary campaign on Dec. 29, according to campaign finance records.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is targeting Lee’s seat as part of a $100 million campaign spending spree to unseat anti-Israel lawmakers. That spending threat prompted House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) to endorse Lee and other progressives who have criticized Israel.

Lee has landed endorsements from fellow Squad members, as well as some moderate Democrats. Her website touts an endorsement from Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), who faces his own tough reelection bid in November. Osama Al-Qasem, the chairman of CAIR’s Philadelphia chapter, contributed $1,000 to Casey’s campaign on June 22, campaign records show.

Several other Democrats have embraced CAIR despite its leader’s anti-Semitic remarks. Rep. André Carson (D., Ind.) spoke at a Washington, D.C., rally last month alongside Awad, the Washington Free Beacon reported. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D.) met in late December with representatives from the state’s CAIR chapter.

Bhavini Patel, who is running against Lee in the primary, blasted the incumbent for speaking at the CAIR event.

"As President Biden has rightly condemned this hateful, dangerous group, Summer Lee has embraced them. Shame on her," Patel told the Free Beacon.

Spokesmen from Lee’s office and campaign did not respond to requests for comment.