In politics, once can be an oversight. But twice is a pattern.
When U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was photographed with an avowed Hizballah supporter in January – just after being sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives – she claimed she didn’t know the guy or what he stood for.
But just two months later, Tlaib did it again. In a March photograph just discovered by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Tlaib poses with Nader Jalajel, a Palestinian activist who last year mourned the death of a terrorist who led a shooting attack that murdered a rabbi.
“Allah Yerhamo,” or “May God have mercy on him,” Jalajel wrote above an image of the terrorist, Ahmed Jarrar, brandishing a gun. He died “after a long battle resisting the brutal Israeli occupation and defending his people and his land,” the image said. “We will never forget.”
Jalajel offered similar condolences Sunday after Israel killed four Hamas terrorists who crossed the border from Gaza armed with assault rifles, grenades and anti-tank rockets. “LONG LIVE THE RESISTANCE!!!” Jalajel added.
The Israel Defense Forces released a picture of the arsenal the four carried.
“I’m just an all around easy going nice guy,” Jalajel’s Facebook profile says.
Tlaib’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Jalajel’s Facebook post, the picture with Tlaib was taken March 9 during a Palestinian American Women’s Association banquet in Garden Grove, Cal. That same organization directed supporters to donate to help Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh get out of jail on bail in 2014 while she awaited sentencing for naturalization fraud. Odeh failed to tell U.S. immigration officials about her role in a 1969 Jerusalem grocery store bombing that killed two college students.
Tlaib has generated controversy for some of her anti-Israel positions, including her full support for the BDS campaign to boycott Israel and encourage business and academic institutions to divest investments in companies which do business in Israel. Tlaib compared the campaign to a boycott against Nazi Germany. Yet critics of BDS emphasize the program’s real goal as eliminating the state of Israel.
Her BDS advocacy appears to be a key reason Israel has just barred her from entering the country for a planned visit this weekend.
Her House colleagues overwhelmingly condemned BDS July 23, passing a resolution by a vote of 398-17 that criticized the movement for “encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure” and because BDS “does not recognize, and many of its supporters explicitly deny, the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination.”
Tlaib accused her colleagues of not understanding the issue.
Yet, she again has been caught smiling in a photograph with a terrorist supporter. As the pictures show, Tlaib uses her office to advance BDS and its supporters.
In April, she met with an American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) delegation. Several AMP leaders, including its chairman and its executive director, previously worked with a group called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which served as the propaganda arm of a Muslim Brotherhood-run Hamas-support network in the United States.
If it’s possible, Jalajel might be even more extreme than AMP, given his open support for terrorists and their actions. The same is true for Abbas Hamideh, the man with whom Tlaib posed in January.
Jalajel and Abbas Hamideh both work with the anti-Israel group Al-Awda, the Palestine Right of Return Coalition. And the two are Facebook friends.
In February, Al-Awda issued a statement defending Tlaib and her freshman House colleague Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Criticism of the two, including anti-Semitism accusations against Omar, are solely due to “their support for Palestinian freedom,” the statement said.
Hamideh runs Al-Awda. Its goal, a Palestinian right of return, would swamp Israel demographically, stripping it of its status as the world’s lone Jewish state.
Al-Awda’s co-founder Mazin Qumsiyeh was the coordinator of the Popular Resistance Committee Against the Wall, which the Jerusalem Post reported, “coordinated its activities with Hamas and the [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] PFLP, among other groups.”
Al-Awda repeatedly stood by Palestinian terrorists, hosting PFLP Secretary-General George Habash during a 2001 rally, the Post story said. It also defended Palestinian Islamic Jihad board members Sami Al-Arian and Mazen Al-Najjar, along with officials from the Holy Land Foundation, who were later convicted of illegally routing $12 million to Hamas.
When her picture with Hamideh made news, Tlaib claimed ignorance.
“It is also important to note,” she told the Detroit Free Press, “A photo does not mean I agree with anything someone says. It is obvious this man thrives on media attention from his recent posts. It’s unfortunate that he was successful. I do not agree with the statements brought to my attention.”
Hamideh, who called Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah “the most honorable Arab-Muslim leader of our lifetime,” saw the relationship differently, saying he was able to attend Tlaib’s swearing in ceremony and a “private dinner afterward.”
“I know her well through her campaign and stuff like that—like we’ve met numerous times [at] numerous events,” Hamideh told the Daily Caller.
In fact, the picture was at least the second the two took together. Hamideh posted another one in April 2018, during Tlaib’s campaign for Congress. He reposted it Sunday, with the cutline, “the original squad,” a play on the nickname given to Tlaib, Omar and fellow freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayana Pressley.
Hamideh posted it again in August 2018, after Tlaib won her primary. “Congratulations to my dear friend Rashida Tlaib …” he wrote.
Tlaib has claimed that she is being attacked solely for criticizing Israeli policies. But she continues to meet with, and at times embrace, people and organizations who want to see the country eliminated. As long as that continues, expect more photographs to show a member of the U.S. House smiling with people who support terrorist killers.
Research Analyst Teri Blumenfeld contributed to this report.
This column was originally published at The Investigative Project on Terrorism.
The views expressed in CCNS member articles are not necessarily the views or positions of the entire CCNS. They are the views of the authors, who are members of the CCNS.