Roll Call Smears Jewish Groups That Called for Omar’s Removal From House Committee

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar / Getty Images

BY:

Roll Call is facing backlash after one of its reporters attempted to discredit a recent effort by a group of leading Jewish and pro-Israel organizations to see Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee following a series of anti-Semitic statements that drew widespread condemnation.

Roll Call writer Emily Kopp, a former intern for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif), came under intense scrutiny on Wednesday for what observers widely described as lazy and factually inaccurate reporting on a recent call by Jewish groups to see Omar unseated from the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee.

Kopp, in a report headlined "Among the ‘Jewish groups' Trump cites, one with neo-Nazi ties," attempted to paint several of the groups included on the letter as "anti-Muslim hate groups," a claim that was debunked hours after she published her report.

Kopp relied on research from the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, claiming that two of the groups—ACT for America and the Center for Security Policy—engage in hateful bigotry. Kopp also attempted to tie the Center for Security Policy to neo-Nazis, a spurious claim that has been debunked time and time again.

The letter, which was exclusively reported by the Washington Free Beacon earlier in the week, drew the attention of President Donald Trump, who endorsed the call for Omar to be removed by Democratic leadership from the Foreign Affairs Committee, which works on the U.S.-Israel alliance and funding for the Jewish state's joint defense priorities.

Kopp did not cite the Free Beacon‘s original reporting on the letter.

In what is now being dubbed "the Roll Call smear campaign," the publication is facing an avalanche of criticism for relying solely on the SPLC's debunked research in its bid to criticize Trump and defend Omar under the guise of neutral journalism.

The letter demanding Omar's removal from the Committee for her series of anti-Semitic smears was spearheaded by the Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET, a longtime pro-Israel advocacy group, and was signed by 12 organizations.

Sarah Stern, EMET's founder, penned a lengthy response to the still brewing controversy and provided it to the Free Beacon:

The Roll Call Smear Campaign

Rather than go high, Roll Call decided to go low. When reporting about the letter we authored to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Eliot Engel discussing Representative Ilhan Omar's highly anti-Semitic comments, tweets and associations with a group tied to known terrorists, they made vicious, ad hominem attacks at some of our esteemed colleagues who are among the 12 signatories of the letter.

We find it revealing that Roll Call never reported on the substance of our letter, which is that Rep. Omar exposed her real sentiments when she delivered a fundraising speech two weeks ago before Islamic Relief USA, a "charity" that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates and Israel. International banks Credit Suisse, UBS and HSBC have refused to do any banking with Islamic Relief because of fears of ties to terrorist financing.

Instead of focusing on the substance of Rep. Omar's poor decision to speak before the group, whose leadership also has openly called for the murder of Jews, Roll Call's first article on the subject is a smear against two of the 12 signatories of this letter.

We have known both the founders of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, and ACT for America, Brigitte Gabrielle, for years.  They are led by distinguished individuals who have fought against hate in all its forms, including anti-Semitism. We personally know they are compassionate, loving individuals. That is why it was important to have them join our group letter.

It is ironic that rather than respond to a real and obvious hatred, the anti-Semitism and Judeophobia that Ilhan Omar so obviously has, the author of this article tried to manufacture some fictitious bias of two such incredibly wonderful human beings.

The Roll Call article is not good journalism. If it were, they would have reported on the substance of the letter, a poor attempt to smear good people as a substitute to discussing the substance at hand: Rep. Omar's vile anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish people and her decision to align herself with groups which openly have ties to terrorism.

That is where the debate is.

UPDATE 6:08 p.m.: Following publication of this article, EMET wrote a letter to Roll Call editor Ed Timms demanding a retraction and criticizing the outlet for publishing poor journalism. The letter also called Kopp's former work on behalf of Democrats a clear conflict of interest.

"It is also a very apparent conflict of interest that the author of this article, Emily Kopp, had once worked for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the people our letter had been addressed to," wrote EMET founder Stern.

Full letter:

Dear Mr. Timms,

Rather than go high, Roll Call decided to go low. When reporting about the letter we authored to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Eliot Engel discussing Representative Ilhan Omar’s highly anti-Semitic comments, tweets and associations with a group tied to known terrorists, the author of this story, made vicious, ad hominem attacks at some of our esteemed colleagues who are among the 12 signatories of the letter.

We find it revealing that Roll Call never reported on the substance of our letter, which is that Rep. Omar exposed her real sentiments when she delivered a fundraising speech two weeks ago before Islamic Relief USA, a "charity" that has been designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates and Israel. International banks Credit Suisse, UBS and HSBC have refused to do any banking with Islamic Relief because of fears of ties to terrorist financing.

Instead of focusing on the substance of Rep. Omar's poor decision to speak before the group, whose leadership also have openly called for the murder of Jews, Roll Call's first article on the subject is a smear against two of the 12 signatories of this letter.

We have known both the founders of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, and ACT for America, Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese American of Arab descent, for years. They are led by distinguished individuals who have fought against hate in all its forms, including anti-Semitism. We personally know they are compassionate, loving individuals. That is why it was important to have them join our group letter.

I am also attaching a letter that Brigitte Gabriel ,just sent to me when she had found out that someone who had associated himself with her organization, of well over one million individuals, was, in fact, a white supremacist, and how she immediately demanded that this individual leave any association with her organization, at once.

The article relies on The Southern Poverty Law Center, an outfit which has had to pay a hefty price for its continuous smear campaigns, against individuals, including a $3.375 million judgement for the defamation of Majaad Nawaaz, a former Muslim extremist turned whistle-blower.

It is also a very apparent conflict of interest that the author of this article, Emily Kopp, had once worked for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the people our letter had been addressed to.

It is ironic that rather than respond to a real and obvious hatred, the anti-Semitism and Judeophobia that Ilhan Omar so obviously has, the author of this article tried to manufacture some fictitious bias of two such incredibly wonderful human beings.

The Roll Call article is not good journalism. If it were, they would have reported on the substance of the letter. It is a poor attempt to smear good people as a substitute to discussing the substance at hand: Rep. Omar's vile anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish people and her decision to align herself with groups which openly have ties to terrorism.

And because of this, we demand that you immediately issue a retraction.

Adam Kredo   Email Adam | Full Bio | RSS
Adam Kredo is senior writer reporting on national security and foreign policy matters for the Washington Free Beacon. An award-winning political reporter who has broken news from across the globe, Kredo’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, the Drudge Report, and the Jerusalem Post, among many others. His Twitter handle is @Kredo0. His email address is kredo@freebeacon.com.

×
THE MORNING BEACON DAILY NEWSLETTER
MAKES IT EASIER TO STAY INFORMED
Get the news that matters most to you, delivered straight to your inbox daily.

Register today!
  • Grow your email list exponentially
  • Dramatically increase your conversion rates
  • Engage more with your audience
  • Boost your current and future profits