Oh boy, was Hussam Ayloush ever mad!
Asked to condemn Hamas in 2013, Ayloush called the question "unacceptable" and lashed out at the questioner, saying it was "very shameful" and "proves that you have nothing but bigotry in you."
Ayloush, who runs the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Los Angeles office, said "as a civil rights organization, we're not here in the business of being dragged into the Middle East affairs and the conflicts of the Middle East. We are an American organization."
The question was rooted in CAIR's ties to a Hamas-support network in America, ties that prompted the FBI to cut off outreach work with CAIR more than a decade ago.
Ayloush knew that, but it was easier to browbeat the questioner than to try explaining away those connections. So don't ask him or his bosses at CAIR about the Middle East. Ayloush was very clear. That's not their business.
Unless there's a chance to take a shot at Israel. That's very different, as Ayloush showed Sunday.
Rather than feeling "dragged into the Middle East affairs and the conflicts of the Middle East," Ayloush blasted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti because Garcetti, during a visit to Israel, endorsed the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"Israel shouldn't be the only country in the world that can't determine where its capital will be," Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times, "but there is usually a process to these things rather than what seems like an overnight, one-sided, partisan move."
Ayloush fired back, writing to Garcetti on CAIR letterhead, demanding that he "retract your support for this dangerous and offensive action." The letter also was signed by five other anti-Israel groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace and Friends of Sabeel.
CAIR – which, again, Ayloush says shouldn't be dragged into Middle East affairs – also issued a news release to be sure people knew about the letter. In it, Ayloush called Garcetti's comments "highly disturbing" and said the embassy move was an offense "not only to the 12 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims, but also to the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide."
That's funny, because in the same 2013 rant captured on video, Ayloush said it was "inappropriate for you to even assume that American Muslims have to speak for 1.6 billion [Muslims] in the world."
Ayloush displays consistency only when it comes to bashing Israel. In the past, he has called for the Jewish state to be "terminated" and referred to Israelis as "zionazis." He has repeatedly equated Americans who move to Israel, where military service is compulsory, to ISIS terrorists who seek global dominance.
Despite such radical views, Ayloush is quite comfortable lecturing Garcetti, who leads one of the truly international cities in America, saying the mayor "must represent all Angelenos, not just those who support Israel's illegal occupation."
For Alyoush, a U.S. politician cannot support any pro-Israel foreign policy decision while simultaneously maintaining good relations with local Muslim communities.
"The mayor spent the last week in Israel cozying up to a right-wing apartheid government and whitewashing its brutal and illegal occupation and gross human rights violations against Palestinians to explore business opportunities and then wants to entertain members of the Islamic community, as if nothing happened," Ayloush said.
It's interesting to see someone claim the Muslim community is a monolith when it comes to political opinions. But it's also dead wrong.
Muslim Americans hold a variety of opinions toward Israel and the Palestinian conflict. Some, like Zuhdi Jasser, Asra Nomani and Anila Ali are supportive. Others, like Wajahat Ali and Rabia Chaudry, criticize Israel but are open to peaceful solutions and to dialogue with pro-Israel voices. For that, they are blacklisted by Islamist groups including CAIR.
Ayloush's display of hypocrisy is not the first time a CAIR official has let the mask drop. CAIR does engage in civil rights work. But many top officials, such as Detroit chapter Executive Director Dawud Walid admit they see themselves as "defenders of the Palestinian struggle."
Ayloush, like other U.S. Islamist figures, consistently opposes any type of engagement or interfaith dialogue with organizations that maintain ties to Israel.
For example, in May 2018, CAIR San Francisco leader Zahra Billoo attacked Muslims who engage in interfaith relations with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). She offered to provide her followers with a "list" of "organizations who work with them [ADL], and half a dozen or so Muslim individuals who take their stages."
When Hamas or other terrorists attack Israelis, Ayloush and other Islamists either issue arguments rooted in moral equivalence or claim American Muslim groups refrain from discussing foreign affairs. But the moment a U.S. politician stands in support with the Jewish state – a steadfast American ally – then all bets are off.
And the American Islamist attack machine comes out in full force.