ZOA Urges HIAS: End HIAS’s Partnership With Hamas-Linked, Designated Terror-Financier “Islamic Relief” Group
August 2, 2020

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein, ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq., and ZOA Director of Special Projects Elizabeth Berney, Esq. released the following statement:

The recent revelations about Islamic Relief Worldwide (“IRW”) trustee and director Heshmat Khalifa’s antisemitic Facebook posts should serve as a reminder that HIAS should end HIAS’s “partnerships” and “collaborations” (HIAS’s terms) with Islamic Relief Worldwide and IRW’s American branch, Islamic Relief-USA (“IR-USA”). IRW director Khalifa called Jews the “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs”; called Egypt’s president a “Zionist pimp”; and praised Hamas as “the purest resistance movement in modern history.” While Khalifa has now resigned, Khalifa’s antisemitism is merely the tip of the iceberg at Islamic Relief. Israel, other nations and banks designate Islamic Relief as a terror organization and terror-financing organization.

Approximately 99% or more of HIAS’s current refugee clients are non-Jewish, and many or a majority of HIAS’s refugee clients are Muslim (according to HIAS’s admissions coupled with calculations from the U.S. State Department’s refugee processing center database). However, HIAS’s resettlement of Muslim and other non-Jewish refugees can be done without partnering with the terror-tied Islamic Relief.  

IRW and IR-USA’s Terror Ties and Antisemitism are Well Documented: IRW’s terror finance; material support for Hamas’ activities; widespread hatred of Jews and Israel; horrendously antisemitic statements by IR leaders; the presence of Muslim Brotherhood operatives in IRW’s leadership; and IRW’s and IR-USA’s ties to terrorist groups Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, are extensively well documented. IRW also has ties to IHH (the Turkish terrorist organization and Muslim Brotherhood branch that perpetrated the Gaza flotilla attack on Israeli inspectors). See, e.g.,Clarion Project report on IRUSACenter for Security Policy report on IRUSANGO Monitor report on IRW; and MEForum Report: “Islamic Relief: Charity/Extremism/Terror.”

An additional International Project on Terrorism article includes photos and information tying IR-USA’s Chairman Khaled Lamada to the Muslim Brotherhood. Lamada has also praised the “jihad” of the “Mujahidin of Egypt” for “causing the Jews many defeats,” and republished claims on Facebook praising Hamas for inflicting a “huge defeat” against the “Zionist entity.” 

IRW is Banned and Designated as a Terror Organization in Israel, the UAE, Bangladesh, by Several Banks, etc.:

  • Israel: Israel banned IRW, and stated:The IRW is one of the sources of Hamas’s funding and a means for raising funds from various countries in the world. We do not intend to allow it to function and abet terrorist activity against Israel.”  

Israel also arrested an IRW project director, who had incriminating evidence on his computer and admitted that IRW transferred funds to and assisted various Hamas organizations, and that IRW worked with Hamas in Jordan. The Israeli Security Agency further explained that IRW works in Judea, Samaria and Gaza through “social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives” and educational and religious organizations, to incite against Israel, advocate terrorist actions against Israeli citizens, promote Hamas’ goal of Israel’s destruction, and support Hamas terrorists and their families. (See Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch Report on Islamic Relief.)

  • UAE: The UAE designatedIslamic Relief-UK and “Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) of the Muslim Brotherhood” to be terrorist organizations. 
  • Bangladesh: Bangladeshbarred IRW from working with Rohingya refugees due to concerns that IRW would radicalize them.
  • USBC &UBS Banks: The Swiss-based UBS bank and U.K.-based USBC bank both shut down IRW’s banking operations because funds were likely to fall into terrorist hands. 
  • U.S. DOJ Statement; Investigations: An anonymous U.S. Dep’t of Justice source told the mediathat money is now going to Hamas “through groups like Islamic Relief.” The FBI, IRS, and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reportedlyput together a criminal case relating to Islamic Relief in 2016. In January 2018, the OPM confirmed to MEForum the existence of a criminal investigation against Islamic Relief.
  • Egypt: An Egyptian list of 30 alleged Muslim Brotherhood operatives in the United States included five current or former senior IRUSA leaders. 
  • Germany: In November 2016, a Secretary of State in the Berlin Senate declared: “Islamic Relief Germany has connections to organizations surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood.” In January 2017, Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors announced it was investigating Islamic Relief Deutschland for a “potential misuse of the aid money.” A Swedishgovernment report also revealed IRW activities supporting militias linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

HIAS’s Collaborations/Partnerships With Terrorism-Affiliated Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief USA: HIAS has been “collaborating” and “partnering” (HIAS’s terms) with Islamic Relief USA and Islamic Relief Worldwide on various matters for several years, including: HIAS’s joint program with IR-USA, initiated in 2018, to provide legal assistance to Muslim migrants flooding (usually through Turkey) into Greece (and hence into the European Union); HIAS and IR-USA’s joint video in 2018 and joint press release in 2020 about the HIAS-IR-USA “partnership”; and HIAS’s and IRW’s diverse partnership to develop a joint response manual. In 2018, Islamic Relief also honored HIAS at an Iftar dinner, for suing President Trump on behalf of Muslim refugees from 6 (later changed to 5) majority-Muslim countries. (In those countries, bi-partisan experts, including Obama administration officials, stated that vetting refugees is impossible, because the U.S. embassies in those nations were taken over or forced to close.)

IRW and IR-USA are Intertwined: IRUSA is the American branch of, and has extensive financial and leadership ties to and interchanges with, Islamic Relief Worldwide. IR-USA contributed to IRW: £ 25.2 million (British pounds) in 2016 (U.S. $32.5 million); £ 28.7 million to IRW in 2017 (U.S. $ 37 million), and over £ 21 million in 2018 (U.S. $27 million). See IRW annual reports for 20162017 and 2018. Per IRW’s 2016 annual report, IRUSA provides 23% of IRW’s funding.

Israel’s Experience and Investigations Disprove the Unverified, So-Called “Independent” Audit of IRW, that HIAS and IRW Cited to Attempt to Whitewash IRW’s Material Support for Terror Groups.

Despite the mountain of evidence of Islamic Relief’s material support for and intertwinement with terror groups, HIAS recently claimed that this was “debunked” by a so-called 2014 “independent” audit of IRW, which allegedly found no links to terrorism.

However, was no disclosure to the public or to Israel of the audit’s findings, scope, or even who carried out the audit. Israel’s General Security Service (Shin Bet) noted this lack of information, and confirmed that Israel banned Islamic Relief “based on information that has been accumulated over years, that the fund is a central player in financing of Hamas … [and] on accumulated knowledge and experience in fighting terror and financing of terror organizations.

Similarly, NGO Monitor explained: “IRW’s audit claims are impossible to verify and demonstrate a severe lack of transparency. It has not published the full report or even named the group that conducted the audit. The public is unable to ascertain the extent of the investigation, or analyze the methodology or process by which the audit came to its conclusions and results.”

HIAS should not be touting IRW’s unverified audit claims, and disregarding the experience and years of investigation by the Israeli government and all the detailed reports confirming IRW’s terrorist ties and activities.

ZOA, accordingly, strongly urges that HIAS immediately end its collaborations and partnerships with the terrorist-affiliated Islamic Relief terrorist group.

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