MPAC Appalled by Obama’s Remarks on Gaza at White House Iftar

July 15, 2014

Last night, the White House welcomed American Muslim leaders from across the nation and world for the annual White House Iftar. MPAC was appalled that the White House would take the Iftar as an opportunity to express unequivocal support for Israel.

SEE: “At a White House Dinner of Solidarity, Obama Addresses War” (CNN)

As an organization that champions the principle of engagement, MPAC Washington DC Director Haris Tarin and National Policy Analyst Hoda Elshishtawy seized the opportunity to raise pressing policy concerns with President Obama and his senior staff regarding Gaza.

Tarin and Elshishtawy directly stressed to the President and his senior staff that the disproportionate Israeli military response is a deeply concerning reality for innocent Gazans. They also stressed the need for the U.S. to push for an immediate ceasefire.

After highlighting the accomplishments of three American Muslims in their communities and reflecting on the themes of Ramadan, President Obama turned his attention to Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

SEE: Remarks by President at Iftar Dinner (

In the past eight days, nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. In his remarks last night, Obama supported Israel’s right to defend itself. Given the growing international outcry calling for an immediate ceasefire and a halt to Israel’s military assault on Gaza, it is appalling that the President continues to give Israel a green light to resume their assault on Palestinians.

President Obama said in part:

“And I will say very clearly, no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens.  And so, we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.”

“The U.S. cannot continue to be seen as giving a green light for Israel’s disproportionate military aggression against the Gazan people,” said MPAC National Policy Analyst Hoda Elshishtawy. “The underlying factor here is the occupation. Until the occupation is dealt with and ends, the conflict will continue.”

During the Iftar, MPAC delivered a letter to the White House from KinderUSA Chairwoman, Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, addressing the plight of the people of Gaza. MPAC is calling for more substantive policy discussions with the administration concerning Gaza, surveillance and other issues impacting the American Muslim community.

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