The Los Angeles Times reports today that "U.S.-Israel relations have taken an unexpectedly central role" in the California Senate race's Republican primary. Specifically, U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell's support for Israel is being questioned.
That's due in large part to the support Campbell gave, and received back, from Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor and admitted Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporter.
Campbell wrote a letter of protest when the university moved to fire Al-Arian. As a congressman, Campbell worked closely with Al-Arian fighting the use of classified evidence in immigration court, which happened to Al-Arian's brother-in-law. Al-Arian later reciprocated, sending $1,300 in campaign contributions to Campbell's 2000 Senate bid.
According to the Times story:
Campbell said he did not know about Al-Arian's illegal activities at the time and said that if he had he would not have written the letter.
"None of that had come out," he said.
Actually, significant documents had. During deportation proceedings on Al-Arian's brother-in-law in August 2000, the issue which first attracted Campbell's attention, immigration officials released this 1991 video and this 1995 letter. The video is from a Cleveland fundraiser which clearly was intended to serve Al-Arian's charity, the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Watch the video closely and at 1:40 into it you'll see Al-Arian taking his seat as Imam Fawaz Damra describes the charity as "the active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine," adding that "We preferred to call it the 'Islamic Committee for Palestine' for security reasons. The video shows Al-Arian had no reaction to Damra's description.
Later in that same program, Damra raises money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad saying checks can be written to Al-Arian's ICP.
In the 1995 letter, Al-Arian writes that the Islamic movement in Palestine is represented by "Hamas and the Jihad" and notes "serious attempts" at merging the two terrorist groups. He invokes a recent double suicide bombing in Israel and urges his acquaintance "to try to extend true support of the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue."
Again, all of this information was publicly released and reported in 2000. Yet, a Campbell spokesman told Tucker Carlson's new web paper that the candidate wouldn't have supported Al-Arian "if he knew then what he knows now."
If he didn't know it then, it wasn't because the information wasn't available. Campbell either never sought it out or simply ignored it.