The fight for the Republican nomination for Senate in California is getting heated. A recent poll listed at RealClearPolitics has Tom Campbell with an 11-point lead over Carly Fiorina, but that’s all about to change as he is attacked for his associations with radical Muslims and anti-Israel activists.
Campbell is currently on the defensive after it was found out that Sami Al-Arian, a convicted leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, donated $1,300 to his 2000 Senate campaign. In 2002, Campbell wrote a letter in defense of Al-Arian after he was fired from his job as a professor at the University of South Florida because of the investigation into his ties to terrorism. The two had become friendly because of their common cause in trying to forbid the use of classified intelligence to detain and deport non-citizens without providing the suspects with the evidence against them.
Campbell has defended himself by saying that he did not know of Al-Arian’s illegal activities at the time. He claimed he was expressing his concern that Al-Arian was just being fired for having unpopular views that he always said did not represent the school. The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has responded by documenting what was known about Al-Arian’s activity at the time. This included calling Jews “monkeys and pigs,” supporting jihad, and saying: “Let us damn America. Let us damn Israel.” The IPT concluded, “If he [Campbell] didn’t know it then, it wasn’t because the information wasn’t available. Campbell either never sought it out or simply ignored it.”
Former federal prosecutor John Loftus has located an article in the St. Petersburg Times that shows Campbell also wrote a letter defending Mazen Al-Najjar, Al-Arian’s brother-in-law. We now know that Al-Najjar acted as a fundraiser for terrorists. According to Loftus, he also likely taught Khalid Sheikh Mohammed when he was at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Another donor for Campbell’s 2000 Senate bid was Abdulrahman Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council. On October 28, 2000, he declared his support for Hamas and Hezbollah. Only a week later, Campbell defended him as a moderate opposed to violence. Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush returned Alamoudi’s donations once his remarks were reported. Campbell did not, perhaps giving higher priority to winning Muslim votes than to principle. Alamoudi was later convicted for his involvement in terrorism.
Leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also supported Campbell. Muthanna Al-Hanooti, the first executive director of CAIR’s Michigan branch, donated $2,000. Two years later, he was on the payroll of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service to try to get sanctions on Iraq lifted.
Nihad Awad, CAIR’s current executive director and a supporter of Hamas, donated $2,000 as well. Awad used to be part of the Islamic Association of Palestine before it was shut down for financing Hamas. He soon after participated in a secret meeting of Hamas members to discuss creating a new organization, and CAIR was born a year later. He is also listed as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee.” CAIR is currently designated by the government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, whose officials were found guilty of fundraising for Hamas.
To be fair, many politicians met with Alamoudi and Al-Arian. In fact, following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration increased relations with many groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood portraying themselves as moderates. This is a widespread, bipartisan problem, but that doesn’t mean such associations shouldn’t be brought up.
Campbell has also endorsed If Americans Knew, a non-profit group intensely opposed to Israel that calls for an end to American support of the Jewish state. The organization’s website includes an endorsement of its executive director, Alison Weir, by Campbell. It reads: “Ms. Weir presents a powerful, well documented view of the Middle East today. She is intelligent, careful, and critical. American policy makers would benefit greatly from hearing her first-hand observations and attempting to answer the questions she poses.”
As David Frum points out, Campbell has a history of pro-Israel statements, even going so far as saying he’d support the country if it took military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program. He is accused of voting to cut off aid to Israel, which is technically untrue. He voted against authorizing an additional $30 million in aid because it would be taken away from Africa, but he always supported increased military assistance. Campbell can defend himself against some of the accusations that he is against Israel, but he must be forced to answer for his endorsement of Weir.
Carly Fiorina, Campbell’s strongest opponent in the primary race, is now being accused by Assemblyman Chuck DeVore of allowing illegal technology to be transferred to Iran when she was the head of Hewlett-Packard. She denies this. National security is now the focus of the debate.
Campbell’s endorsement of Weir and his past associations with Islamic extremists must be addressed. He can point to the fact that many other politicians and officials have had ties to the same people and groups, but he must explain why he was unaware of their well-documented involvement in extremist causes. It must be asked why he did not return Alamoudi’s donations after others did when Alamoudi’s pro-terrorist comments were reported, and it must be asked why such characters supported him in the first place.