Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2002 / 10 Shevat, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- "This isn't about money, this is about politics," former Rep. David Bonior (D-MI) said recently, flailing away at the mucky dust kicked up by his decision to keep campaign contributions from Hamas-, Hezbollah- and Islamic Jihad-supporting donors.
Chalk one up for the recently resigned Democratic House Whip now running for Michigan's statehouse: This controversy is about politics -- specifically, the politics of the money in question. Having raised, banked and retained $1,000 from Abdurahman Alamoudi and $3,200 from Sami and Nahla Al-Arian, Bonior has allowed supporters and promoters of terrorist organizations to further his political career. And what kind of politics is that? Not the best way to kick off a gubernatorial campaign. Or is it? You have to wonder what kind of signal Bonior thinks he's sending Michigan's sizable Muslim-American community by failing to renounce the support of those who openly sympathize with radical Islamic terrorists.
Abdurahman Alamoudi, a founder of the American Muslim Council who has found his way to White House events in the wake of Sept. 11, first came to the general public's attention during the 2000 election cycle. That was when both Hillary Rodham Clinton and George W. Bush returned campaign contributions Alamoudi had made to their respective campaigns after Alamoudi's leading, cheering role at a veritable pep rally for the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah became news -- and not just news, but even part of a campaign commercial produced by Clinton's opponent in the New York Senate race, former Rep. Rick Lazio. Earlier this month, after the Associated Press broached the topic of Alamoudi's sympathies with Bonior spokesman Ed Bruley, Bruley pled ignorance, saying he was unaware of such sentiments, and didn't think Bonior had any notion of them, either.
How indelicate of the AP for having intruded on such a delightful state of bliss. Of course, the 2000 rally wasn't the first time Alamoudi revealed his enthusiasm for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which is, of course, notorious for its suicide bombings against Israeli civilians -- and which Alamoudi sees fit to describe as a "freedom fighter organization." In any event, Bonior decided not to return the money, but to get Mr. Hip-Hip-Hamas to apologize (sort of) for his rant. Alamoudi obliged by releasing a statement explaining that his public declarations of support for Hamas and Hezbollah were made "in the heat of anger and frustration," and declaring he certainly doesn't support terrorism. (Of course not; he supports "freedom fighter organizations.") "Mr. Alamoudi has apologized," said Bonior. "That should end this matter."
But not so fast. No sooner had Bonior extracted the Alamoudi "apology" than the Lansing State Journal picked up on Bonior donations from Sami Al-Arian and his wife Nahla. Thanks to the Weekly Standard's David Tell, we know quite a lot about the pro-terror activism of this erstwhile professor at the University of South Florida. For starters, both the FBI and INS long ago seem to have concluded that Al-Arian was Palestinian Islamic Jihad's main representative in North America, a man who fronted various organizations in Southern Florida that became way stations for such known terrorists as Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, now head of Islamic Jihad, and Tarik Hamdi, who has links to Osama bin Laden. As Tell has reported, "Film exists of Al-Arian at ... [a rally] shouting `Jihad is our path! Victory to Islam! Death to Israel! Revolution! Revolution until victory! Rolling into Jerusalem!'" Guess this scintillating performance must have slipped Al-Arian's mind when he was called upon to respond to the Bonior contribution controversy: "It seems awkward to renounce views which you have never espoused," said Al-Arian, "but that it is the situation I find myself in today."
As for the situation Bonior finds himself in today, he actually seems to believe he's doing something downright noble by taking this stand and digging in. "I'm different from Hillary Clinton," he told the Macomb Daily. "I'm different from the people who returned the money. I stand by people and communities." Any kind of people? Any kind of communities? He's different, all
JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.