About a month ago, I was invited to speak at the first annual dinner of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), evidently because I had taken part in a pray-in to protest against the exclusion of a group of imams from flying - and maybe because I also knew and was known by Iftekhar Hussain, head of the Pennsylvania chapter.
You have to search for this nugget:
To many American Jews, its unwillingness to make a blanket condemnation of Hamas or Hezbollah seems contradictory, if it really opposes terrorism --- because most US Jews, and the US Government, define Hezbollah and Hamas as simply terrorist groups.
But CAIR points to the complex reality in which both groups are simultaneously woven of strands that include social-service organizations with schools and medical clinics, etc.; political parties; friendship groups and ethno-religious communities; police forces; and military / terrorist agents. Much of the non-military parts of this complex, in both organizations, meets real needs on the ground, and much of it is woven into Palestinian or Lebanese society.
Indeed, there is considerable evidence that inside Hamas, at least, there are different sub-groups with competing views and policies about terror and violence. Careful ethical challenges to the use of terror could actually help strengthen the peaceful forces. So CAIR's view is that to condemn the whole organization outright, as distinct from specific terrorist actions, is to demonize all its parts instead of trying to peel away the disgusting actions that CAIR does oppose.