Marriott To Host Anti-Israel Group's Annual Conference

Council on American-Islamic Relations defended Hamas attacks that killed 1,500 civilians

(CAIR press release, via Eventbrite)
October 17, 2023

The Marriott hotel chain is scheduled to host one of the nation's foremost anti-Israel groups for its annual conference, a gathering that will galvanize supporters against the Jewish state's war on Hamas terrorists.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which blamed Israel for Hamas's unprecedented civilian slaughter earlier this month, will assemble on Saturday at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Va., for its annual banquet, according to an online invitation.

CAIR says that it will focus its festivities on the "Palestine crisis" and welcome notorious anti-Semite Linda Sarsour for keynote remarks. Sarsour, a longtime anti-Israel activist, has accused Israel of "genocide" and was booted from the Women's March activist organization in 2019 amid accusations of systemic anti-Semitism, including denigrating Jewish participants.

CAIR's event comes amid a rising tide of anti-Semitism from the political left in the wake of Israel's decision to conduct a defensive operation to dismantle Hamas in the Gaza Strip. After Hamas terrorists killed nearly 1,500 Israelis in a surprise raid last week, CAIR blamed the "Israeli government's apartheid policies" for the strike. In the week since the conflict grew into a full-fledged war, CAIR has been at the center of efforts in Washington, D.C., and across the country to mount opposition to the Israeli government.

Marriott's decision to host the group is generating concerns among pro-Israel advocates, who say the hotel chain has a responsibility to stop its venues from being used to foment anti-Israel fervor.

"StopAntisemitism is disappointed to see Marriott Arlington hosting an event featuring the passionately antisemitic Linda Sarsour," Liora Rez, the executive director of, told the Washington Free Beacon. "A fan of Louis Farrakhan, Sarsour has stood in solidarity with convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh, posed for photos with Hamas operatives, and believes 'nothing is creepier than Zionism.' Does she fit with your core value of 'embracing differences,' Marriott?"

Marriott did not respond to a phone and email request for comment on its decision to host CAIR and information about its policies toward groups that promote anti-Israel attitudes.

During the organization's upcoming banquet, CAIR will tout its recent work "mobilizing Americans of all faiths to send over 44,000 messages to members of Congress to demand a ceasefire and the pursuit of credible peace negotiations to end the occupation," according to a press release from the group.

Attendees will also be briefed on CAIR's communications "with U.S. government officials and calling on them to stop supporting the ongoing massacres of civilians in Gaza."

CAIR has been linked to Hamas funding and was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2010 federal investigation into U.S. funding streams to the Iranian-backed terror group.

The organization's members routinely espouse vitriolic rhetoric against the Jewish state, including justifying Hamas's terror operations.

Zahra Billoo, an executive director in CAIR's San Francisco branch, in 2021 comments described Jewish groups and synagogues as "enemies" that are "working to harm you."

"Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist," Billoo said in a 2014 missive on X, formerly Twitter.

The Anti-Defamation League, one of the nation's premier watchdog groups, notes that "CAIR leaders often traffic in antisemitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric."

Nihad Awad, CAIR's executive director, "has engaged in similar antisemitic rhetoric, claiming that 'Zionist organizations' are 'enemies of the Muslim community' and that 'Zionist organizations make up the core of the Islamophobia network in the United States,'" according to the Anti-Defamation League. "CAIR leaders have posited that pro-Israel organizations are responsible for U.S. police brutality and that 'Zionists' and Israel are analogous to the Ku Klux Klan and ISIS."

Though CAIR has a long history of espousing anti-Semitic views, the Biden administration earlier this year tapped the organization to serve as a partner in its national anti-Semitism strategy, a decision that drew fierce pushback from the pro-Israel community.