Meet the Jihadi Inside the White House

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

What do Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and Presidentish Joe Biden's National Security Council all have in common?


One man: Maher Bitar. 

Bitar has an impressive CV, including Georgetown Law, a degree from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, and a Master's from Oxford. He's just the kind of person you'd expect to do well in Washington — and he has. Before I get to that, you need a little background on SJP and UNRWA.

SJP is an explicitly anti-Israeli organization founded in 1993 and "committed to ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands," from the river to the sea, as they say. Noor Dahri — executive director of the UK's Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism (ITCT) think tank — describes SJP as "the most violent student organisation in the United States against Jews today."

Its behavior has gotten the group kicked off of various college campuses across the nation, including Columbia University. At Brandeis, spokeswoman Julie Jette said of that school's decision to remove and defund SJP, "National SJP has called on its chapters to engage in conduct that supports Hamas in its call for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the world and its people. Such expression is not protected by Brandeis' principles of free speech."

SJP receives funding from American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which is under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Virginia due to "allegations that the organization may have used funds raised for impermissible purposes under state law, including benefitting or providing support to terrorist organizations.”


While a student at Georgetown, Bitar was on the executive board of the school's SJP chapter.

UNRWA has long been accused of aiding Hamas, dating back at least to this 2007 report claiming "UNRWA workers are permitted to openly affiliate with terrorist groups," and that "as long as UNRWA employees are members of Fatah, Hamas, or PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine], they are going to pursue the interests of their party within the framework of their job." 

Israel also claims that four UNRWA staffers were involved in the Oct. 7 kidnappings, six UNRWA staffers infiltrated Israel, and that UNRWA acts under the authorization and supervision of Hamas. A Hamas tunnel was found under UNRWA's Gaza headquarters. The evidence of Hamas/UNRWA is strong enough that more than a dozen countries and some of UNRWA's largest donors all suspended funding after the Oct. 7 terror invasion.

The ties between UNRWA and Hamas seem to run deep.

Before joining Barack Obama's National Security Council, Bitar worked for UNRWA in Jerusalem. You can imagine my shocked face when I learned that a former SJP exec and UNRWA worker was appointed to the NSC by Obama.

Just a reminder that religious tests for office are explicitly forbidden by the Constitution — thank goodness. But there is a common sense test, and thanks to his associations, Bitar doesn't pass it. Nevertheless, Biden brought Bitar back into the White House, serving as Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the NSC. In January, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan named Bitar his coordinator for intelligence and defense policy.


So when you hear Sullivan or Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin repeat Hamas propaganda about the number of civilian casualties in Gaza (they both have), it's fair to ask who whispered those numbers in their ears. When we learn that the White House has been keeping vital intel from Israel and is using it as a cudgel to protect Hamas in Rafah, we need to know whose idea that was.

Maybe "jihadi" is too strong a word for someone who wears Brooks Brothers instead of a suicide vest, but we've been told repeatedly since 9/11/2001 that jihad takes many forms. 

Recommended: Did Biden's Love for Hamas Just Lose Him the Jewish Vote?

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