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White House condemns CAIR director’s recent comments about Oct. 7 attack

The White House condemned recent comments made by the director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) about the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, saying leaders have to call out antisemitism. 

Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director, said the people of Gaza have the right to self-defense, while Israel does not, in a speech that surfaced Thursday. Awad also said he was “happy to see” the people of Gaza “breaking the siege” on Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Israel and killed 1,200 people.

“We condemn these shocking, antisemitic statements in the strongest terms,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement, first reported by The New York Times

“The horrific, brutal terrorist attacks committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 were, as President Biden said, ‘abhorrent’ and represent ‘unadulterated evil,’” Bates said. “The atrocities of that day shock the conscience, which is why we can never forget the pain Hamas has caused for so many innocent people.”

Awad released a statement Thursday saying his speech was taken out of context, and that he has condemned the violence demonstrated against Israeli civilians on Oct. 7.

Bates, in his statement, also noted families are mourning loved ones in the wake of Oct. 7, and many families are still “in agony” because their loved ones are being held as hostages by Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

“Every leader has a responsibility to call out Antisemitism wherever it rears its ugly head,” Bates said.

The White House has been quick to call out antisemitism and the uptick of it in the United States since the Oct. 7 attacks. President Biden and top U.S. officials have also increasingly stressed their concern about the civilian causalities in Gaza and concerns over Islamophobia in the U.S. over the last two months.

The White House held a listening session on Islamophobia in May, before the conflict, hosted by second gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish and has been a leader in the White House’s effort against antisemitism, as well. Robert McCaw, CAIR’s government affairs director, is listed as a participant in the session.

Source: The Hill

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