Maryland’s new commission to “prevent and respond to hate crime activity” has met only once, but one member already has been suspended—for comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. This incident seems to echo a trend: Many of those on the Left who rush to police “hate” often spread their own kind of hate.
Zainab Chaudry, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Maryland chapter and one of the commission’s first 10 members, described the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7 as an “uprising” and condemned the state of Israel as oppressive and worse.
Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, a Democrat, last week suspended Chaudry from the newly launched Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention.
The Maryland Legislature passed HB 1066 in April and Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat, signed it into law in May. The law established the Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention to prevent and respond to hate crimes and “evaluate state laws and policies relating to hate crimes.”
“The commission has only met once, with its inaugural meeting on Sept. 6, 2023,” Brown noted in a Nov. 21 press release. “Ms. Chaudry’s posts on her personal social media since Oct. 7, in these very early days of the commission, have challenged the commission’s ability to do its work.”
Brown said he determined that Chaudry’s “social media posts risk disrupting the work and mission of the Commission,” so he temporarily suspended her, assigned staff to write a values statement to protect the commission from similar scandals, and urged members of the panel to “exercise great care in their communications and conduct.”
What led Brown to this conclusion?
On Oct. 7, Hamas terrorists slaughtered about 1,200 Israelis, including women and children, and took more than 240 hostages. Horrific videos of terrorists bragging about killing Jews hit social media.
Hamas terrorists slaughtered parents in front of their children and children in front of their parents. They raped women before killing them and mutilating their bodies. Terrorists bragged about this in horrifying detail when questioned after the fact by Israel Defense Forces.
On social media, Chaudry described these horrific events as “the uprising in Palestine,” urging readers to “keep in mind that they are a people who are illegally occupied.” She added that “the thirst for freedom is an innate instinct we’re born with.”
“Resistance is a reminder that it can’t be quenched through might and force,” she wrote.
Chaudry did not condemn the Hamas terrorists or lament the Israeli dead. Rather, she apparently praised the attacks in Israel as an “uprising” of freedom.
Chaudry’s later posts echoed the same ideas.
On Oct. 9, she compared “Palestinian freedom fighters” to “Ukrainian freedom fighters.”
She also suggested that a focus on the Israeli victims of the terrorists amounted to centering “white pain” in “global consciences.”
After appearing to celebrate the terrorist attacks that killed the most Jews in one day since the Holocaust in the 1940s, Chaudry compared the Jewish state to Germany’s Nazi regime during World War II that sought to eradicate Jews from the face of the Earth.
She shared two photos of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany: a 1936 photo of a Nazi parade and a 2023 photo of the gate lit up in the blue and white of the Israeli flag.
Chaudry posted the photos with the message: “That moment when you become what you hated most.”
Chaudry has not shown remorse for these posts, which remain public on her Facebook page. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has not condemned them either. Instead, it mobilized nearly 4,000 petitioners to demand Chaudry’s reinstatement to Maryland’s hate crimes commission.
“There is no conflict between condemning the Israeli government’s war crimes overseas and standing up against all forms of hate here at home, including antisemitism, Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism,” Chaudry said in a formal statement after her suspension by Brown, the Free State’s attorney general. “False smears from anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim extremists will not stop me from standing up for justice here and abroad.”
Supporters wrote in a Nov. 22 letter to Brown that they “completely agree” with Chaudry’s quote.
“As the only American Muslim on the Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Commission, Zainab Chaudry’s voice was critical in representing our community’s concerns to your office,” the petitioners wrote. “Even a temporary suspension of her role is harmful and completely unjustified. Like Zainab, many members of the Maryland community have been critical of the Israel government’s horrific crimes against the Palestinian people.”
Chaudry may disagree with Israel and condemn its actions, but in what world is it acceptable to compare the world’s only Jewish state with the genocidal regime that sought to eliminate all Jews?
Rather than condemning Hamas for slaughtering women and children, she blamed Israel. She did not even acknowledge that Israel’s military takes key steps to minimize civilian casualties, while Hamas deliberately stages terrorist activities in civilian buildings such as hospitals to use civilians as human shields.
Israel’s military objective, stated from the beginning, has been the eradication of Hamas’ military capabilities, to prevent another Oct. 7 pogrom. A Hamas terrorist infamously called his parents to brag, “Mom, Dad, I killed 10 Jews!” Israelis do not call their parents to brag, “Mom, Dad, I killed Palestinians.”
Although Chaudry is correct that criticizing Israel is not ipso facto a form of antisemitism, this blatant double standard, and the extreme hyperbole of comparing Israel to the Nazis, is absolutely antisemitic. Yet the Left’s intersectional ideology gives Chaudry a smokescreen for her hatred.
As Chaudry’s statement about “white pain” reveals, she considers Israelis part of the “white” oppressor class, putting the Jews—the No. 1 example of an oppressed people group throughout history—in the same category as the Nazis. The Marxist lens of analyzing every conflict along oppressor-versus-oppressed lines leads her to moral insanity, a moral insanity that inspires hatred.
This moral insanity reminds me of the perverse accusations of the Southern Poverty Law Center. As I wrote in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC began as a noble civil rights nonprofit, helping poor people in the South. It later expanded its operations to suing truly hateful groups such as the Ku Klux Klan into bankruptcy, and then expanded that effort to “monitor” conservative groups as if they were themselves hateful.
Now, religious freedom groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Freedom Law Center, and the Family Research Council find themselves on the SPLC’s “hate group” list alongside Klan chapters and plotted on a map with neo-Nazis. Groups that call for the enforcement of immigration law, such as the Center for Immigration Studies and the Dustin Inman Society, find themselves on the same map. So do parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education.
In the name of fighting hate, the SPLC has inspired hate—and even terrorism. In 2012, a man used the SPLC “hate map” to target the Family Research Council for a mass shooting. After a brave security guard foiled his plan, the gunman confessed to the FBI that he planned to slaughter everyone in the building.
Amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal in 2019, a former SPLC employee revealed that the organization’s “hate” accusations are a “highly profitable scam,” but that hasn’t stopped government agencies from relying upon those accusations.
The FBI infamously used the SPLC to target “radical-traditional Catholics” in a since-rescinded January memo. In 2019, Michigan’s Democratic attorney general, Dana Nessel, announced a hate crimes unit “to fight against hate crimes and the many hate groups … in our state.” Her announcement cited the SPLC hate map and highlighted an area of the state that includes the headquarters of the Judeo-Christian group American Freedom Law Center.
The American Freedom Law Center sued Nessel, carguing that the announcement violated the group’s rights to free speech under the First Amendment. The center, a nonprofit public interest law firm, principally defends the First Amendment rights of conservative Christians and Jews.
Robert Muise, the center’s co-founder, recounted how the SPLC attacked him.
“I was on active duty in the Marine Corps for 13 years as an officer. I’m a father of 12 and a devout Catholic,” Muise told me in 2019. “They had me listed as an antisemite when my co-founder is a yarmulke-wearing Orthodox Jew!”
Much of the Left’s “hate” monitoring boils down to an excuse to demonize conservatives and exclude them from the conversation. This ideological policing often seems to miss antisemitism when it doesn’t outright enable it.
Many civil rights commissions and hate crimes commissions are slanted heavily to the Left, leading to perverse outcomes. Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who refused to create a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding, found himself prosecuted by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Phillips won his case because members of that commission had demonstrated hostility toward Phillips’ faith.
The Maryland hate crimes commission shows a clear leftward tilt. It includes left-leaning organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Pride Coalition of Maryland, but not any right-leaning organization.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Chaudry’s organization, has worked with the SPLC to urge charitable institutions to blacklist “Anti-Muslim hate groups,” including the American Freedom Law Center.
Until hate crime commissions start including conservative members, conservatives rightly will view these efforts with skepticism. Brown not only should refuse to reinstate Chaudry, but also take the opportunity of the vacancy to find a conservative voice for the commission.
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