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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in trouble over anti-Israel appointee?

On Monday there was an expose of the well regarded father of Ms. Samar Ali an accomplished American Muslim appointee of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. The expose published in Frontpage Magazine concerned Samar’s father, Dr. Subhi  Ali, an esteemed member of the local and state medical community, who practices in Waverly,Tennessee, “Samar Ali: Her Father’s Organization Wants to Destroy Israel”.

Dr. Ali is Chairman of The Jerusalem Fund in Washington, DC, a pro-Palestinian anti-Israel NGO promoting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Jewish State of Israel seeking its destruction. David James, the author of the expose has limned his sources, the disclosures of which are sure to cause headaches for both Tennessee Gov. Haslam and Bill Hagerty the State Commissioner of Economic and Community Development. According to sources in Tennessee, Commissioner Hagerty, where Ms. Ali heads a state international trade office, is fighting the possibility of losing her talents and Middle East financial connections. Perhaps it may be intimidation from Muslim Advocacy groups who have penetrated the Haslam Administration Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Samar Ali(1)

Samar Ali, Director TN Trade Department of Economic & Community Development

Back in June of 2012, we posted on Ms. Ali’s impressive background. She was the first American Muslim student council President at Vanderbilt University, a graduate of its Law School, and a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration.  She was also an associate at a Washington, DC law firm with a client list that included major Saudi and Emirate financiers with a specialization in the growing practice of Shariah compliant finance.

We noted the following in our post on Ms. Ali’s appointment.

In mid- May 2012 Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed Samar Ali, a former White House fellow and member of the international Washington, DC – based law firm of Lovells & Hogan, LLC as international director of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The Nashville Post noted this in a May 12, 2012 article about Ms. Ali’s appointment:

Ali, who is from Waverly, will serve as international director. She joins ECD after serving as a White House Fellow and practicing corporate law at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C., and Abu Dhabi. Her role will include overseeing TN Trade as well as ECD’s other international initiatives, including managing the operations of the state’s four international offices.

The White House website announcement provided further background on Ms. Ali when she was appointed a Fellow for the 2010-2011 class:

Samar Ali is an Associate with the firm Hogan Lovells US LLP.  She is responsible for counseling clients on mergers & acquisitions, cross-border transactions, Shari’a compliant transactions, project finance, and international business matters.  During her time with Hogan Lovells, she has been a founding member of the firm’s Abu Dhabi office.

[. . .]

While in Nashville, Samar led the YMCA Israeli-Palestinian Modern Voices for Progress Program, and is currently the transatlantic liaison for the development of the Palestine Diabetes Institute.  She is a founding member of the first U.S. Delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum, and has served as an Advisory Board Member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

Hogan Lovells’ website revealed how important and material their Shari’a compliant finance practice is:

Over the past four years, we have advised on more than 200 Islamic finance transactions with an aggregate deal value in excess of US $40 bn. Our team members are at the forefront of developments in the Islamic finance industry.

Governor Haslam defended his announcement of Ms. Ali’s appointment despite criticism from within Republican state party ranks. Note this exchange in a Knoxville News column of Nashville Bureau Chief Tom Humphrey in July 2012:

A resolution passed by the Stewart County Republican Party called Ali “an expert in Shariah Compliant Finance, which is one of the many ways Islamic terrorism is funded.” It also noted that she is a one-time appointee of President Barack Obama — she served in a White House fellowship program — and that her family has a long history of supporting the Democratic Party.

Speaking after his appearance before a congressional panel in Washington, Haslam said Ali is highly qualified for the state job and “we’re lucky to have her in Tennessee.”

Humphrey did a follow up column based on a Knoxville News interview with Ms. Ali in November 2012 where she dismissed the Anti-Muslim allegations, saying that, “such attacks were hurtful.” But she called them “silly and “untrue.”  Moreover as a student council president she had spoken out against ‘terrorism’ after 9/11. She was grateful for the support from Governor Haslam. Humphrey cited Clint Brewer, assistant commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development who called Ms. Ali “one of the brightest leaders of her generation from this state.”

“Her extensive work experience in international business makes her eminently qualified to serve the people of the Volunteer State,” he said.

She has been traveling the globe opening up state trade offices in the UK, Mexico, Germany, China and India to boost Tennessee exports by 10% per annum over five years. Her project is backed by a $616,000 Federal grant.

Not to be excluded from support for Ms. Ali’s appointment is the Nashville Jewish Federation. The Federation board penned a letter in 2012 to Governor Haslam applauding his decision.

ATCPJ Newsletter noted her father’s role as Chairman of The Jerusalem Fund. The Fund’s executive director Yousef Munayyer openly advocates BDS against Israel. It noted:

It seems the Jerusalem Fund’s anti-Israel bent has not wavered much since its founding. It’s very public advocacy for BDS against Israel makes this organization’s position question.

Does the Jewish Federation understand that the end goal of BDS is the delegitimization and destruction of the State of Israel?

The answer to that is no. With the revelations of FPM dossier piece accusing The Jerusalem Fund Chaired by Dr. Subhi Ali of advocating delegitimization of Israel the Nashville Jewish Federation will probably opt to remain silent. After all Dr. Subhi Ali and the leaders of the Volunteer Muslim community have ready access to both Capitol Hill and Metro government in Nashville. We are told that they have powerful friends in Washington, as well.

Will Ms. Ali think that the evidence of her father’s organization supporting BDS against Israel is “hurtful” to the Volunteer State’s Jewish community and Gov. Haslam’s Administration?  Somehow we doubt it. After all Gov. Haslam may want to take advantage of a Shariah compliant sukuk bond financing that  Ms. Ali’s Middle East financial connections would deem exemplary of ‘ethical investing’. Ethical investing with a portion of proceeds devoted to Zakat, Muslim Charity, which includes the way of Allah, Jihad.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.