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JERUSALEM – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano swore in to her official advisory council the head of an Arab American organization whose officials have labeled deadly anti-U.S. jihadists as “heroes” and opposed referring to Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC, also has close ties to anti-Israel professor Rashid Khalidi, whose association with President Obama – first exposed by WND – stirred controversy during last year’s presidential campaign.
The ADC also leads the opposition to domestic anti-terrorism measures taken after the 9-11 attacks, such as watch lists, background check delays for visas and an initiative meant to more comprehensively screen visitors from select Mideast countries or specific individuals labeled as possible national security threats.
Last week, Napolitano swore in Damascus-born Kareem Shora, the ADC’s national executive director, to a position on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, an outside-the-department group of national security experts that advises the secretary. Shora is the first Arab rights advocate on the panel.
At the ceremony in Albequrque, Shora reportedly recounted how he watched with his immigrant father Obama’s address last week to the Muslim world. Shora said his father cried when he heard Obama’s message of reconciliation.
ADC glorifies terrorism
The ADC takes an openly anti-Israel line. Its official material has accused the Jewish state of “apartheid” and “atrocities” against the Palestinians. In 2006, a local ADC group drew up a petition calling on the U.S. to stop providing Israel with weapons.
Scores of senior ADC officials have expressed positive views toward terrorist organizations.
In 1994, during one of the main peaks of Hamas suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, then-ADC President Hamzi Moghrabi said, “I will not call [Hamas] a terrorist organization. I mean, I know many people in Hamas. They are very respectable. … I don’t believe Hamas, as an organization, is a violent organization.”
Discover the Networks notes that two years later, Moghrabi’s successor, Hala Maksoud, defended the Hezbollah terrorist group.
“I find it shocking,” Maksoud said, “that [one] would include Hezbollah in … [an] inventory of Middle East ‘terrorist’ groups.”
In 2000, new ADC President Hussein Ibish characterized Hezbollah as “a disciplined and responsible liberation force.”
When Israel released Hezbollah prisoners in early 2004, Imad Hamad, ADC’s Midwest Regional Director, openly celebrated the freedom of “the heroes,” as noted by Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes.
Besides its deadly terrorism against Israel, Hezbollah distinguishes itself as second only to al-Qaida among terror groups responsible for killing the most Americans. It’s responsible for such deadly attacks as the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which killed 299 servicemen, including 220 U.S. Marines.
ADC linked to Khalidi
The ADC is linked to Columbia University’s Khalidi, who spoke at several of the organization’s events. At one speech, in June 2002, the New York Sun documented how Khalidi appeared to condone the killing of armed Israelis.
“Killing civilians is a war crime. It’s a violation of international law. They are not soldiers. They’re civilians, they’re unarmed,” Khalidi said in a recorded address. “The ones who are armed, the ones who are soldiers, the ones who are in occupation, that’s different. That’s resistance.”
The ADC also has collaborated on numerous projects with the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, an organization founded by Khalidi’s wife Mona, and which WND first reported received start-up funds from a nonprofit, the Woods Fund, on which Obama served as a paid director.
The AAAN, headquartered in the heart of Chicago’s Palestinian immigrant community, worked on projects supporting open boarders and education for illegal aliens. Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line. The organization co-sponsored anti-Israel projects and exhibits.
Khalidi, an apologist for PLO terrorism, holds the position of Columbia’s Edward Said professorship of Arab Studies. Said, a well-known far-leftist intellectual and apologist for Palestinian terrorism, served on an advisory counsel to the ADC.
ADC opposes anti-terrorism screening
According to the ADC charter, the organization seeks to “empower Arab Americans; defend the civil rights of all people of Arab heritage in the U.S.; promote civic participation; and encourage a balanced U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.”
The organization has actively lobbied against the Patriot Act and was reportedly instrumental in scaling back some of the restrictions of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System program, or NSEERS. Shora was personally involved in those efforts.
The NSEERS required persons whose nationality identifies them as a possible security risk to submit to control processes governed by the Department of Justice. NSEERS also targeted specific individuals labeled as possible national security threats, at times making them undergo fingerprinting, photographing and registration.