Susan Wild Spoke at CAIR Event Days Before Calling Herself 'Very Pro-Israel'

Susan Wild (Facebook)
March 19, 2024

Speaking to a reporter in March 2019, Rep. Susan Wild called herself "a very pro-Israel member of Congress" who recognizes the "importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship." But days earlier, the Pennsylvania Democrat spoke at the annual banquet for a prominent anti-Israel organization alongside a left-wing pundit whom CNN had just fired for advocating violence against the Jewish state.

Wild attended the annual fundraiser for the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on March 9, 2019, according to photos of the event. Wild spoke before Marc Lamont Hill, who received the "Malcolm X Justice and Freedom Award" after his high-profile firing from CNN months earlier. The liberal network canned Hill in November 2018 after he called for "a free Palestine from the river to the sea," a slogan for the destruction of Israel.

Wild is a convert to Judaism and has at times called for strong U.S.-Israel ties. But her appearance at a CAIR fundraiser could come back to haunt her amid a reelection battle for a seat she won in 2022 by just 2 points. Wild's Keystone State colleague, Rep. Summer Lee (D.), has faced intense scrutiny from her Democratic primary rival for a planned appearance earlier this month at a CAIR-Philadelphia fundraiser, the same annual event Wild attended five years ago. Lee canceled her planned appearance, which was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

Wild's appearance at the CAIR fundraiser highlights Democrats' hot-and-cold relationship with the Muslim group. Though the Justice Department in 2009 labeled CAIR a co-conspirator of a Hamas front group, many Democrats—including Wild, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), and Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.)—have appeared at CAIR events and offered support for the group's civil rights activities. The Biden White House, too, last year partnered with CAIR on its "National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism."

But CAIR is back on Democrats' naughty list in the wake of Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which CAIR blamed on the Jewish state. CAIR executive director Nihad Awad said he was "happy" that Hamas attacked Israel. Many Democrats denounced CAIR after those remarks, though Wild has yet to do so.

Wild, who is perhaps best known for conducting a campaign video call while driving, has portrayed herself as an ally of Israel. She has voted in favor of some measures to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. In an interview on March 21, 2019, days after her CAIR-Philadelphia appearance, she said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) had made anti-Semitic statements when the "Squad" member said that U.S. funding for Israel was "all about the Benjamins."

But Wild's detractors have criticized her for staying silent at other times about anti-Semitic rhetoric. Lisa Scheller, the Republican who ran against Wild in 2022, blasted the congresswoman for voting "present" on a measure to censure "Squad" member Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) for circulating the phrase "from the River to the Sea." That phrase is the first half of the same call for the destruction of Israel that got Marc Lamont Hill fired.

Hill was not the only anti-Israel pundit to speak at the CAIR-Philadelphia event.

Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King gave the keynote address at the conference. King had just weeks earlier falsely accused a white man of murdering a seven-year-old black girl in Houston, leading to death threats against the wrongfully accused man. The man later committed suicide.

King, who has long faced allegations of defrauding social justice organizations, has embraced the Palestinian cause in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and accused Israel of genocide against Palestinians. He converted to Islam earlier this month but came under fire for immediately organizing a pro-Palestinian speaking tour for which he planned to charge $60 a ticket.

Wild's office did not respond to requests for comment.