Virginia congressman defends funding Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

In the ongoing battle to deprive Mideast terrorists of financial support, one member of Congress vows he’ll make sure at least one group of violent extremists gets cash from U.S. taxpayers.

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D- Va., defended U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority, despite the fact that the authority includes members of Hamas, a group the U.S. says is a terror organization.

Connolly’s remarks, at a Sept. 28 Arab American Candidates Night forum, emphasized his determination to fight House of Representatives colleagues who might block the funding.

“When there are voices calling for the defunding of the Palestinian Authority, I oppose them, publicly,” Connolly said. “In fact I signed a letter signed by Congressman David Price of North Carolina, also signed by Jim (Moran DVa.), that said we are not going to defund the Palestinian Authority. That would guarantee an explosion in an already volatile situation. When there was a motion to close the Palestinian Authority office here in Washington or let it just be in New York, I opposed it and said it would be a terrible blow to diplomacy and not in U.S. interest let alone Palestine’s interest.”

“Gerry Connolly’s remarks are very troubling,” said Noah Silverman, Republican Jewish Coalition Congressional Affairs Director. “A vow to support taxpayer funding for a Palestinian government that includes Hamas demonstrates reckless indifference to our ally Israel and a disregard for U.S. law, which forbids aid to such a government.”

Connolly’s Republican challenger in November, Suzanne Scholte, posted the audio clip on her YouTube page of the congressman defending his position.

In a news release Tuesday, she said, “We also need to destroy terrorists not fund them.”

“Sending money to Hamas is reckless and hurts Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East – while destabilizing the entire region by legitimizing a terrorist group with U.S. dollars,” Scholte said in the news release.

During his speech, Connolly also addressed the Egyptian military coup that ousted the Mohammed Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood government.

Read more at Watchdog.org.

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