This article originally appeared in the American Thinker under the title, “Netroots Nation Rooted in Islamism”
If there ever was any doubt that the progressive movement in this country embraces Islamism and the Palestinian Arab campaign against Israel, this years’ Netroot Nation Conference that took place in Philadelphia should remove all doubt.
According to a WHYY article, Netroots Nation is the product of progressive activism during George W. Bush’s presidency. It was founded by the Daily Kos, a website that typified the liberal blogosphere in the 2000s. The 13th annual conference drew 3,000 enthusiasts, including Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who recently sponsored a pro-BDS congressional resolution, and Temple University Professor Marc Lamont Hill, whose call for “Palestine from river to the sea” at the United Nations last December got him fired from CNN.
While much of the three-day conference highlighted workers’ rights, an in-depth look at the conference’s agenda reveals eight panel discussions and training sessions pertaining to an Islamist agenda.
In the panel discussion “A Vision for Progressive Foreign Policy in the 2020 Elections and Beyond,” Ilhan Omar chastised Congress and the media as hypocrites for not celebrating the “nonviolent movement in the situation of Palestine” in the same manner that we celebrate the nonviolent civil rights movement. Omar’s remarks seemingly ignored the role of violence and incitement to violence that has dominated the history of the Palestinian Arab movement.
Omar recently filed a resolution in the House of Representatives intended to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement using similar language. The BDS movement’s documented ties to Palestinian terrorist groups is a growing dark cloud over the movement’s supposedly nonviolent image.
During the panel discussion “Racial Justice Has No Borders: Embedding Palestinian Rights in the 2020 Agenda” Marc Lamont Hill labeled Zionism “a white supremacist, ethno-nationalist project” and swiped at Fox, ABC and NBC, saying “You have to make choices about where you want to work. And if you work for a Zionist organization you’re going to get Zionist content; ” a stunningly anti-Semitic accusation coming from a Temple University professor of media. Taken to task about this, Hill denied saying it while admitting that accusing Jews of controlling the media is an anti-Semitic trope. Also on this panel with Hill was Sandra Tamari, a Director of Adalah, an NGO that does not support the “two state solution” and who was denied entry to Israel because she was a security risk.
The moderator of the racial justice panel, Yousef Munayyer, is the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), a national coalition of 329 groups, working to advocate for Palestinian rights and a shift in U.S. policy. USCPR was also an exhibitor at the conference. According to the Tablet, USCPR helps facilitate tax-exempt donations to a Palestinian coalition that includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups the U.S. State Department designates as terror organizations.
Among groups affiliated with USCPR are nine from Philadelphia, including Temple Students for Justice in Palestine and Swarthmore Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine. A few years ago congressional testimony revealed that Students for Justice in Palestine possessed strong ties to American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), whose leadership includes those with ties to the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) network which raised $12.4 million for Hamas.
The backgrounds of many speakers on several other panels also suggest strong Islamist ties.
Zahra Billoo, the San Francisco executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), moderated the panel “Hijabi Power and the Badass Women Fighting Hate” that highlighted Islamist Linda Sarsour as one of several leaders “fearless in their quest to create a more inclusive representative democracy.” Billoo’s employer CAIR was an unindicted-co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding case. Zahra Billoo regularly expresses support for the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, at times justifying Hamas’s attacks against Israeli civilians.
In one tweet, she writes, “Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at (Apartheid) Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist.” In 2018, Billoo stated, “The Israeli Defense Forces or the IDF, are no better than ISIS. They are both genocidal terrorist organizations.”
Billloo is also the sister of California Imam Ahmed Billoo who recently called for the mass extermination of Jews. And even though she has said nothing about her brother calling for the massacre of Jews, she is still regarded by some as a poster child for progressives.
Ishraq Ali, moderator for the panel discussion “How Muslim are Shaping Their Political Destiny” is a community organizer and served as a student leader of the Muslim American Society, an organization with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ali is also on the staff of MPowerChange, a Muslim grassroots movement founded by BDS supporter Linda Sarsour. So is Mohammad Khan, panelist on “Moving Forward: Repealing the Muslim Ban for Good.” Khan was one of the MPchange leaders who opposed Amazon’s move to New York, alleging that “Amazon Web Services and its online marketplace have provided a platform for white nationalists and Islamophobes to not only sell products but host their websites and provide them with online tools they need to spread their hate.”
Mohamed Gula, moderator for “How Muslims Are Shaping Their Political Destiny” panel is the Virginia Executive Director and National Organizing Director for Emgage whose co-chair, Khurrum Wahid is a Florida attorney and former CAIR Florida leader with a history of representing terrorism suspects.
To be sure, a discussion on how to fight anti-Semitism was on the agenda, but the panel did not feature the Anti-Defamation League or the Simon Wiesenthal Center, leading organizations focused on combating Antisemitism. Instead, it was run by Bend the Arc, a group funded by the son of anti-Israel billionaire George Soros. Bend the Arc supported Keith Ellison, former member of Congress, for election as Minnesota attorney general in 2016. Ellison has faced criticism for his ties to the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam. Rather than emphasize the growing threat of anti-Semitism, discussion quickly shifted to “anti-Black racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, as part of our collective project to build a truly inclusive multiracial democracy where we can all be safe.”
Progressives should be wary about allowing themselves to be infiltrated and co-opted by those who are ultimately regressive Islamist ideologues. Nor should they be so willing to acquiesce to the anti-American and anti-Israel foreign policy views that Islamists promote. Embracing Islamists and anti-Semites will only serve to further alienate progressives from the larger American public and lead them down the path to irrelevance.
Leonard Getz, CPA, is a Counter-Islamist Grid associate in Philadelphia and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The American Thinker, The Algemeiner, PJMedia, Lifestyles Magazine, Nostalgia Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Bulletin ,the Jewish Exponent, Lock Haven Express