Rafeeq Jaber was born in the West Bank in 1950 and graduated from high school in 1968. He then held a municipal administrative job for five-and-a half years before immigrating in 1974 to the United States, where he worked as a salesman and regional manager for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company from 1974-97.
In the 1990s as well, Jaber spent two years as president of the Bridgeview, Illinois-based Mosque Foundation. Moreover, he was national president of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) from 1996-98, and again from 1999 until 2005, at which time the organization was shut down by the U.S. government because of its ties to Islamic terrorism. Jaber also served a stint as president of the IAP’s local chapter in Chicago, known as the American Muslim Society.Jaber rejoiced in May 2000, when Israel, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 425, withdrew entirely from southern Lebanon after having maintained a 22-year military presence there. Attributing that withdrawal to “the tremendous efforts of the Islamic resistance movement, Hizballah,” Jaber concluded that armed warfare was the strategy most likely to help the Palestinians achieve their goals in the Middle East. He thus exhorted the Palestinian Authority to reject “the slippery road” of peace negotiations, and to instead “join the resistance to Zionist occupation in order to liberate the land of Palestine.” “I firmly believe that Palestine will never be liberated by any other means,” he emphasized. Jaber revisited this theme three years later when he condemned Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in peace talks with Israel’s prime minister, “the terrorist [Ariel] Sharon,” instead of emulating “the success that was gained by the [violent] Intifada.”
In 2001 Jaber publicly acknowledged that under his leadership, IAP had galvanized support for Hamas political chief Mousa Abu Marzook after U.S. officials had arrested the latter on an Israeli murder warrant in 1995. Jaber also conceded that IAP had published articles and editorials characterizing Islamic suicide bombers as “martyrs” and “freedom fighters.”
In 2003 Jaber testified that IAP sought to promote the interests of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF)—a financial backer of Hamas—“in every way we can.” He revealed, for instance, that IAP had sent all the money it collected at its 1996 convention to HLF, and that funds raised by IAP at annual Intifada celebrations also had been funneled to HLF.
In May 2003 Jaber declared that “just because the United States says that such-and-such organization is a terrorist organization, does not make it so.” America’s definition of “terrorism,” he elaborated, not only described the foreign policy of the U.S. itself, but also set standards that would “make the so-called Israel the biggest and most dangerous terrorist entity on earth.”
In January 2005, Jaber stated that proposals for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were “really just a farce” promoted by “the Zionists and the Jewish people” who exerted disproportionate influence on America’s Mideast policy by: (a) lining the pockets of “the political leaders of our country” with “Jewish money,” and (b) applying pressure through “the Jewish lobby.”
At a July 14, 2006 rally at the Islamic Center of Detroit, Jaber denounced the U.S. media for allegedly providing inadequate coverage of Arab suffering at the hands of the Jewish state. “Israel has perfected the killing of [Palestinian] families, of whole families, and the media doesn’t talk about it,” he complained. Specifically, Jaber charged that Israel had developed a secret weapon that used a certain undetectable chemical—“depleted uranium, we don’t know”—to kill Arabs by destroying their “soft tissues internally.” “They [Israelis] are not human!” Jaber shouted, to loud applause. “They are terrorist!… They are barbaric! They are not human!” He concluded his remarks by reminding the audience that “the highest form of jihad is to save the world against an oppressor,” like Israel.
In October 2006, Jaber described Hamas operative Muhammad Salah as a man with “a big heart” who “always came across for people who needed him.”
In August 2008 Jaber was a panelist at an event hosted by Arab American Action Network director Hatem Abudayyeh, commemorating the 60th anniversary of Al Nakba—Arabic for “The Catastrophe”—a term many Palestinians assign to the 1948 founding of the state of Israel.
In addition to the affiliations discussed above, Jaber has also served as a co-founder of the Chicago Center for Muslim Civil Rights, the Muslim Civil Center, the United Muslim American Association, Christian Muslim Dialog, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee‘s Chicago chapter. In addition, he has been a member of the American Muslim Alliance and the Arab American Institute; a board member of the Spartan Educational Foundation; and a regional director of the Greater Chicago Area’s Muslim Legal Fund of America—a group that defended the Holy Land Foundation officials who were convicted of funding terrorism.Today, Jaber is the proprietor of Jaber Financial Services. He also lectures on college and university campuses throughout the United States.