Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running for Congress in California’s 50th district, shared chat messages in which he opposed the normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel — despite publicly saying he supports peace.
In some messages, Campa-Najjar appeared to oppose the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He also suggested that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who has opposed the two-state solution, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has supported it, should remain “on message” in opposition to it.
Breitbart News obtained the chat messages from a WhatsApp group in which Campa-Najjar and associates discussed politics.
Campa-Najjar is of both Mexican and Palestinian descent, and spent part of his childhood in Gaza. His father has served as a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Last month, Campa-Najjar told Breitbart News Tonight that he supports peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He also repudiated — again — the views and actions of his grandfather, who was a Palestinian terrorist, and was killed by Israeli special forces long before Campa-Najjar was born.
The issue arose in Campa-Najjar’s 2018 campaign, in which he fell short of unseating Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA). (Hunter, who was under indictment during the campaign, later resigned and pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.)
In 2012, Campa-Najjar produced and released a music video calling to “free Palestine.” His campaign told Breitbart News: “It’s promoting peace, as Ammar always has.”
Last year, I sat and met with former Prime Minister and legendary commando Ehud Barak to talk peace.
Those who know the history here, know this embrace may be one of the strongest acts toward a peaceful future and away from a painful past seen in a generation. pic.twitter.com/6F0gPYIxju
— Ammar Campa-Najjar (@ACampaNajjar) October 26, 2020
However, the WhatsApp messages appear to tell a different story.
In one message, he mocked his opponent, former Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), for praising the recent peace and normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
In another message, Campa-Najjar criticized Issa for saying that Palestinians had crossed the Israeli border to kill Israelis — an accurate depiction of terrorist infiltrations into Israel.
“He’s just abandoned us,” Campa-Najjar wrote, referring to Palestinians. “Just like he abandoned his district.” (Issa formerly represented the 49th district, before retiring in 2019.)
Campa-Najjar also criticized “some Arabs in our community, in our close circles, supporting this man.” He added: “Remember that.”
Issa is also Arab American, of Lebanese descent.
In one message, Campa-Najjar informed the chat that one of his primary opponents is “Jewish.” In another, he described his opponents as “non-Arab white old men.”
He also promised to push for “real action” on behalf of the Palestinians, calling the “window” for a two-state solution “virtually closed.”
In one message, Campa-Najjar asked the group if “we” have “approached Ilhan [Omar] about not advocating [a] two state solution?”. He added: “Just think her, Rashida [Tlaib] and I should be on message together.”
Campa-Najjar linked to an op-ed from the Washington Post in which Omar supported a two-state solution to the conflict.
At one point, a member of the group called out Campa-Najjar for distancing himself from his grandfather while also talking about the suffering of the Palestinians. He concluded that Campa-Najjar “will tell every group what the want to hear.”
Campa-Najjar responded: “I have not supported the Muslim ban.” He added: “[F]eel free to look through my FEC filings and identify one Zionist who has donated to my campaign.”
In another set of messages, Campa-Najjar defended Rep. Omar’s bill supporting the rights of the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement. He called the bill “deeply constitutional” and added: “Thank god she’s in there.”
He also shared a tweet showing Rep. Tlaib polling well against her 2020 Democratic primary opponents, adding: “Rashida is doing great!”.
Reached for comment via e-mail, Campa-Najjar replied: “Unverified WhatsApp comments? You should read public statements form Issa calling Israel an apartheid state, sympathies for Hezbollah, meeting with Bashar Asad [sic].”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.