Though the petition didn’t violate Change.org’s terms, the platform took steps to significantly restrict its “discovery on our platform,” Change.org told StopAntisemitism.org, in an email shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation. The petition is virtually hidden from users who search for it on the Change.org platform.
Daily Caller The petition, which had more than 32,000 signatures by Tuesday evening, accuses CAIR, a Muslim activist group, of being “an American front group for the Hamas terrorist organization.” The petition also challenges Omar and Tlaib’s loyalties to America. Both congresswomen previously leveled the same charge against supporters of Israel.
“There’s no doubt that Tlaib and Omar have close-knit ties with Hamas affiliated CAIR and we, as concerned citizens, call on Attorney General and U.S. Special Envoy for Anti-Semitism to investigate these ties,” the petition states.
Omar and Tlaib both spoke at CAIR fundraisers this year. Omar stirred controversy with remarks she made about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while speaking at a CAIR event earlier this month. Change.org also added a banner above the petition telling users to “consider researching this issue before signing or sharing” it.
The platform took those steps after reviewing challenges to the petition’s accuracy, Change.org spokesman David Barre told TheDCNF in a series of emails. “A flag on a petition doesn’t automatically lead to action by us. We have to assess each situation individually to determine what response, if any, is appropriate,” Barre wrote in an email to TheDCNF. Barre declined to say what specific language in the petition led to its suppression.
CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in 2008 when former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, a U.S.-based Muslim charity, were convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, which the State Department has labeled a terrorist organization. A federal judge concluded in 2009 that there is “ample evidence” of ties between three U.S.-based organizations, including CAIR, and radical organizations, including Hamas.
Zachor Legal Institute, a legal organization combating anti-Israel movements within the U.S., threatened to bring legal action against Change.org over the suppressed petition.
“Change.org is at odds with its own rules, procedures and guidelines. They refuse to provide substantive responses or uphold their stated mission,” Zachor President Marc Greendorfer said in a statement to TheDCNF. “The company that claims to empower individuals around the world to be agents of positive change is complicit in our problems.”
Barre wrote in another email to TheDCNF: “Change.org is an open platform and we care deeply about free speech and empowering our users to create the change they want to see. When a petition is flagged by users, we review its content to see if it violates our stated policies and to determine whether or not the petition should be removed.”
“Since this petition itself does not violate our terms, we have not removed any specific language or phrase in the petition but taken steps to ensure users know we are aware of their concerns by adding a banner,” Barre added. (And making it hard to find)
Tlaib is a member of the Facebook group “Palestinian American Congress,” where members often demonize Jews. The group’s founder, Palestinian activist Maher Abdel-qader, was a key fundraiser for Tlaib and organized campaign events for her around the country.
In January 2018, Abdel-qader shared an anti-Semitic video that claimed Jews aren’t actually Jewish, and invented their historical claim to Israel and secretly control the media. The video, which described Jews as “satanic,” also questioned whether 6 million Jews actually died in the Holocaust.