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Biden Judicial Appointee Draws Scrutiny Over Ties to Controversial 9/11 Memorial Event

A prominent Jewish rights organization said it has “serious concerns” over President Biden’s nomination to a US court of appeals — over his ties to a controversial pro-Palestinian advocacy group at Rutgers University. 

The non-profit watchdog StopAntisemitism said Adeel Mangi’s association with Rutgers Center for Security, Race, and Rights (CSRR) will affect his ability to remain impartial as a judge.

The New Jersey-based lawyer, who is Muslim, was picked by President Biden to serve as a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Third District in November.

The nomination quickly drew fiery scrutiny from conservatives over his ties to the CSRR, where he served as a member on its advisory board from 2019 to 2023.

The advocacy group raised eyebrows when it hosted a panel on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2021 — during Mangi’s tenure — which featured Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor who pleaded guilty in 2006 to aiding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group.

Al-Arian, who was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, was sentenced to 57 months in prison.

The panel, titled “Whose Narrative? 20 Years since September 11, 2001,” also included Hatem Bazian, a UC Berkeley professor and co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine who appeared to call passionately for Intifada in the US in a video unearthed by the Jerusalem Post.

Another speaker on the panel was Dr. Rabab Abulhad, who tried in 2020 to organize an event featuring notorious Liberation of Palestine terrorist member Leila Khaled, known for a pair of brazen hijackings she undertook in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

A poster for the event at the Rutgers center is shown, the same location where Adeel Mangi is on the advisory board, entitled: Whose Narrative? 20 Years since September 11, 2001.

“We are not confident he can impartially execute his judicial duties, and should be removed from consideration immediately,” said StopAntisemitism executive director Liora Rez in a statement.

“His association with the Center for Security, Race and Rights (CSRR) raises serious concerns, as does his connection with CSRR’s Executive Director Sahar Aziz and their horrifying commemoration of 9/11 featuring convicted terror supporter Sami al-Arian,” Rez said, adding that the group “strongly oppose” Mangi’s nomination.

Not all Jewish groups agreed with StopAntisemitism’s position, however.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the questioning of Mangi “inappropriate and prejudicial” in a Jan. 9 statement, characterizing it as blatant Islamophobia.

“This was an attempt to create controversy where one did not exist,” the organization said.

“ADL urges leaders to refrain from fueling discrimination and hate — and urges the Senate to offer Mr. Mangi a fair vote, based on his qualifications and fitness for the job.”

It added that Mangi “was subjected to aggressive questioning unrelated to his professional expertise or qualifications. Rather, he was forced to provide responses to a wide range of inquiries regarding his views on global strategic considerations in a manner that inappropriately politicized these issues and raised serious questions regarding pretext and bias.”

The CSRR on its website lists “criminalization of Muslim identity” through “United States and global national security laws and policies” as one of the main themes of its mission.

Recent lectures held at the CSRR include “Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine,” and “Palestine Teach in Series: Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories,” according to its website.

During Mangi’s confirmation hearing before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in December, Republican lawmakers tore into the attorney over his association with the center.

“Are you willing to denounce the center on whose board you served inviting a convicted terrorist, a supporter of Palestinian Islamic Jihad…” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said during an aggressive line of questioning.

Mangi insisted his involvement was limited to academic advisory and he did not know about the controversial 9/11 panel.

“I don’t know anything about this event or who these people are, I never heard of any of them, if someone on there is a terrorist, I condemn them,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mangi submitted his resignation to the CSRR last June and left at the end of July.

“The center’s work had not matched what I personally felt were the most productive areas of academic focus to support civil rights litigation,” he wrote in the Committee questionnaire.

Mangi’s confirmation vote is scheduled for Thursday. If appointed, he would be the first Muslim in American history to serve in the federal appellate courts, where judges serve for life.

He did not respond to requests for comment when contacted by The Post.

The Post has also reached out to the CSRR.

https://nypost.com/2024/01/18/news/biden-judicial-appointee-adeel-mangi-draws-scrutiny-over-ties-to-controversial-9-11-memorial-event/amp/