Monday, October 20th, 2014

Chain e-mail sings familiar tune with new chorus

A chain e-mail incorrectly alleges Obama supported a plan to buy airline tickets to bring "Hamas refugees" to the United States.
A chain e-mail incorrectly alleges Obama supported a plan to buy airline tickets to bring "Hamas refugees" to the United States.

Claims in chain e-mails we are asked to check have so often proven to be ridiculously and maliciously false, we often wonder who takes these things seriously anymore.

In this case, the answer seems to be be ... a U.S. senator.

Our readers have sent us several versions of the e-mail , but they all begin with typical chain e-mail boilerplate (at least the conservative variety), beginning with the suggestion that President Barack Obama is actually a Muslim and that Congress has recently passed something "behind our backs."

Then the meat: "Obama funds $20M in tax payer dollars to emmigrate Hamas Refugees to the USA. This is the news that didn't make the headlines..."

The e-mail got such wide circulation — we got versions from many readers — and apparently even reached Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the Senate minority whip, because he offered an amendment to the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, a "prohibition on the use of funds in this bill for resettlement into the United States of Palestinians from Gaza."

Explained Kyl: "There has been a suggestion that perhaps that might be permitted, and we simply want to make it clear that will not be permitted with any funds in this bill."

Three days later, several senators objected on the floor of the Senate.

"Frankly, it is unnecessary and for the United States, a nation of immigrants, it goes against everything we stand for," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. "We don’t resettle anybody from Gaza, nor do we resettle anybody from Gaza who is living in the U.N. refugee camps in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan. The amendment is a solution looking for a problem. If a Palestinian from Gaza gets to a place like Italy, or somewhere in Europe, the amendment would prevent the State Department from even considering that person for resettlement to the United States. We would have to tell them 'Sorry, you can’t come in, because you are from a place that has terrorists.'"

Kyl defended the amendment by saying "it was a response to a news story which gained a great deal of attention from my constituents related to the January 30 order by the president, ordering $20 million for urgent relief efforts to provide migration assistance to Palestinian refugees. That has gotten a lot of attention from folks. They wanted to know what we were doing."

You can read our full report on the Hamas resettlement allegation here . Like so many chain e-mail claims, it earned a Pants on Fire.

Another claim in the e-mail — that the first foreign leader President Obama called after he took office was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — fared better on our Truth-O-Meter. It earned a Half True .