The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has hired a Jewish filmmaker as its new executive director. Jacob Bender, a Jew, is the highest-ranking non-Muslim in CAIR’s national organization, and, also, he’s Jewish.
“Many Muslims face daily suspicion, not unlike other immigrant groups throughout history,” said Bender. “When one group of Americans is attacked, it lessens the quality of democracy for all of us.
“As part of a community that has historically faced persecution in Europe and the United States as well, I hope that I would bring a certain amount of sensitivity,” he told RNS.
CAIR is seen by some right-wing groups as a bunch of terror apologists, and Bender certainly brings some unusual qualifications to the post, having expressed some pro-Palestinian sentiments. Which means that American Jewish groups are watching him in his new post with some wariness. “The fact that he is Jewish does not indicate, necessarily, a change of attitude and activity at CAIR,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement. “Unfortunately, there are Jews who are anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. But we will wait and see.”