Israel Critic, Iran Defender Named US Human Rights Emissary by Obama Administration

Bob Beauprez
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Posted: Oct 22, 2012 12:01 AM

On September 11, 2001, he labeled Israel as a suspect in the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. He hedges on efforts to deny Iran a nuclear weapon. The organization he leads criticizes the war against radical Islamic terror, defends Hizballah and Hamas, and challenges U.S. prosecution of captured terrorists. 

You might think such a man would be on some kind of watch list, or at least on the outside-looking-in. But, the Obama Administration regularly opens the doors of the White House to him and named him an American emissary to an international human rights forum just completed in Poland. 

Salaam al-Marayati is the founder and president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, MPAC, which characterized the 1983 bombing of the military barracks in Beirut that killed 299 U.S. and French servicemen as "exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies." 

On the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, al-Marayati said on a Los Angeles radio show: “If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.”

Al-Marayati has been an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy, particularly post-9/11, and a defender of some of the most radical Islamic regimes. “The United States has done a lot of dirty work that has served the interests of Israel," al-Marayati said in January. "It destroyed Iraq. It supported the destruction and crippling of Egypt. It has crippled the Gulf. And now, it is looking to Iran as the next target for crippling and destroying. Who is driving our foreign policy -- President Obama or Prime Minister Netanyahu?" he said.

Two years earlier, after authorities disrupted a plot to bomb synagogues and fire missiles at U.S. military aircraft, al-Marayati told Fox News the four defendants were either “petty criminals or gullible people who were guilty of stupidity. They were not imminent threats.”

The four men in the plot were convicted and sentenced to 25-year prison terms.

But, in the eyes of the Obama State Department, al-Marayati is "a valued and highly credible interlocutor on issues affecting Muslim communities" and was sent to the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last month in Poland "as a reflection of the wide diversity of backgrounds of the American people."

Critics are less complimentary or understanding of the al-Marayati appointment to represent the U.S. "Inexplicable," said Josh Block, a former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and head of The Israel Project

Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy and former Asst. Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan, said the appointment of al-Marayati is "a terrible idea…and, it's not an isolated incident." Gaffney has been highly critical of the cozy relationship and easy access provided numerous radical Islamic sympathizers by the Obama Administration.

“At a minimum, al-Marayati's long record of whitewashing terrorism … and denigrating law enforcement's work in protecting Americans from jihadist terror raises serious questions about the State Department's judgment in deciding who should represent the United States abroad,” said Steve Emerson, the Executive Director of the Investigative Project of Terrorism (IPT). 

A one-year study recently completed by Emerson and IPT discovered that “known radical Islamists made hundreds of visits to the Obama White House.” Among the visitors was al-Marayati, who the logs show has visited the White House at least seven times.

The al-Marayati appointment is but a singular piece of a far larger puzzle of questions about Obama's failed foreign policy agenda and judgment. The tragedy turned scandal that occurred in Benghazi, Libya continues to engulf the Obama Administration. Foreign policy is suddenly a top-of-mind issue in the Presidential campaign - just in time for the third and final debate scheduled for Monday, October 22.