CNN claimed Tuesday that Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) is “running an anti-Muslim campaign” against Democrat challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar in California’s 50th congressional district, east and northeast of San Diego.
The same claim has been repeated by countless mainstream media outlets in the past several days, as more facts have come to light about Campa-Najjar’s background — facts that tend to contradict his previous public claims.
The tone of Hunter’s campaign is debatable. He ran an ad accusing Campa-Najjar of trying to “infiltrate” Congress. His campaign is circulating a letter signed by three former U.S. Marine Corps generals (and, later, lobbyists) who argue that Campa-Najjar would be a “security risk” if elected. He has been accused of suggesting Campa-Najjar, who converted to Christianity, is actually a Muslim (he denies doing so).
But the following facts are beyond dispute:
- Campa-Najjar’s grandfather, Muhammad Yousef al-Najjar (Abu Yousef), was a major Palestinian terrorist, responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. He was also a senior aide to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat. He was killed by Israeli commandos but continues to receive posthumous honors, like other terrorists, from the Palestinian Authority.
- Campa-Najjar denounced his grandfather in 2018. However, in 2015, he called him a “legend” in a post on Instagram. When Breitbart News drew attention to the post, Campa-Najjar deleted it, without explanation.
- Campa-Najjar changed his name legally from “Ammar Yasser Najjar” to “Ammar Joseph Campa-Najjar” after the California primary. His name had appeared on the primary ballot as “Ammar Campa-Najjar.”
- Campa-Najjar removed the surname “Najjar” from his campaign committee, as filed with the FEC.
- Campa-Najjar’s campaign donated $650 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in 2017. As Breitbart News has noted: “In 2007-8, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. That case, in turn, led the FBI to discontinue its work with the organization. In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the government “produced ample evidence to establish” the ties of CAIR with Hamas, the Palestinian terror organization. The United Arab Emirates labeled CAIR a terrorist organization in 2014 (a decision that the Obama administration opposed).”
- Campa-Najjar has received nearly $9,000 in donations from CAIR officials, which he refuses to return.
- Campa-Najjar received a $250 donation in 2017 from a Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations.
None of these facts has anything to do with Campa-Najjar’s religion. They address his credibility, his foreign policy views, and his associations. As the country probes Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign, searching for mere meetings between Russians and Trump associates, Campa-Najjar has taken money from a Palestinian official.
Hunter and his wife were indicted earlier this year on federal charges of mis-using campaign funds (they say they are innocent). That may be motivating the congressman to attack his opponent.
But it has nothing to do with the facts, which are not “racist,” and which Campa-Najjar and much of the left-leaning media would prefer to ignore.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.