Huma Abedin, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, urged former President Bill Clinton in 2009 to reject a speaking invitation before the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC), asking his assistant in an email, do “u really want to consider sending him into that crowd?”
Abedin’s comment about “that crowd” has sparked anger and consternation among Jewish and non-Jewish leaders who consider it hostile to Jews and to the State of Israel. Her comments are raising uncomfortable questions about Abedin’s past and her family’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Appalling” is how Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, described the email, adding that it, “shows hostility toward Jews and Israel in light of the fact that ‘that crowd’ gives huge ovations to White House speakers.”
Klein pointed to the Abedin family’s ties to a radical Islamic group, saying, “it makes me think about the allegations about her parents and other family members who were associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes called Abedin’s comment “disdainful” of AIPAC. He also noted her past association with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Abedin’s disdainful comment about AIPAC as ‘that crowd’ could derive from her Muslim or her leftist identity – or both,” Pipes told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Andrew McCarthy, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who led the prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and others for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, told TheDCNF Abedin’s background raised security concerns.
“During Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, some of us pointed out that Abedin’s background raised concerns about Islamist sympathies and unfitness for a security clearance that gave her access to top-secret intelligence,” McCarthy said.
Abedin was raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by fundamentalist Muslim parents who ran the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. The journal was published by Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, which was founded by her father Syed Abedin. Abedin remained on the masthead as an editor of the journal for 12 years until she entered the Department of State with Clinton in 2009.
Critics noted her father’s main benefactor was Abdullah Omar Naseef, secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL). The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Rabita Trust, a subsidiary of the MWL, as a terrorist entity. Osama bin Laden credited MWL as a funding source after the 9/11 attacks.
Abedin has kept her personal political views to herself. Accusations of anti-Semitism were blunted by her marriage to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish. That marriage is ending after Weiner was caught multiple times sexting online, most recently while sitting next to his son.
The issue of AIPAC’s interest in Bill Clinton’s attendance was raised in two sets of emails, all dated Sept. 10, 2009.
The State Department released them Sept. 21, 2016, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the conservative advocacy group Citizens United.
The AIPAC issue was raised by Doug Band, who was Bill Clinton’s White House “body man.” Band now boasts on his corporate web site that he was “the key architect of Clinton’s post-Presidency” and created and built the Clinton Global Initiative that critics link to corrupt “pay to play” deals with overseas corporations, wealthy individuals and foreign governments.
Band also was recently credited with securing access of Clinton Foundation donors to Hillary Clinton. Band is now the chairman of Teneo, a company that has been dubbed “Clinton, Inc.” Abedin was senior adviser to Teneo while she was serving as deputy chief of staff for Hillary Clinton.
Abedin’s special status allowing her to draw paychecks from the government and Teneo is being investigated by Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
In a Sept. 10, 2009, email, Band told Cheryl Mills and Abedin that Bill Clinton was reluctant to attend the AIPAC Jewish forum, stating, “Aipac begging for wjc to come speak at conference. He doesn’t think he should unless you all do.”
Mills, Hillary’s chief of staff, told Band the final decision was up to Hillary Clinton and she would touch base with her. As Mills sought that answer, Abedin comments, “U really want to consider sending him into that crowd?”
An apparently impatient Band pointedly asked, “Go or not go?”
Abedin finally responds: “No go to aipac.”
It’s unclear from the email exchange why they wanted to skip the AIPAC meeting. Bill Clinton twice addressed AIPAC in the 1990s as president. Hillary Clinton spoke before AIPAC in 2010 after her husband was asked to address the group.
Bill Clinton attended the funeral for Israeli leader Shimon Peres last week, but in years past, Bill Clinton has expressed more sympathy for the Palestinians than Israelis.
“I will never forget what it taught me about your suffering, your history of dispossession and dispersal, but also about your resilience and courage,” he said in an open letter to the Palestinian people on Jan. 19, 2001, the day he left the White House.
He also released a statement to the Israelis. Here, however, he counseled “compromise” rather than empathy: “Compromise is often difficult and always painful. But the people and leaders of the region must understand that to seek a peace without compromise is not to seek peace at all.”
A spokesman for AIPAC declined to address the email. The Clinton campaign did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.