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Roll Call Smears Pro-Israel Group as Having Ties with ‘Neo-Nazis’ After Group Calls Out Ilhan Omar’s Antisemitism

US House condemns bigotry but anti-Semitism debate exposes Democrat rifts
AFP/MANDEL NGAN
ALANA MASTRANGELO

Roll Call reporter and former Nancy Pelosi intern Emily Kopp smeared two pro-Israel organizations last week — even going as far as to accuse one of the groups of having “Neo-Nazi ties” — after the groups called for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee due to her antisemitic statements.

Roll Call is facing backlash after one of its reporters smeared two pro-Israel groups — ACT for America (ACT) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP) — in a bizarre piece written by former Pelosi intern Emily Kopp that even accused ACT for America of having ties with “Neo-Nazis.”

ACT and CSP had recently called for Rep. Omar’s removal from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs due to her anti-Semitic remarks, which have elicited a response of widespread concern and condemnation.

In her piece, Kopp relied heavily, if not solely, on information sourced from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a discredited group that at least 60 organizations are considering lawsuits against, and in 2014, was reportedly dropped as a hate crimes resource by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

ACT for America, the pro-Israel group calling out antisemitism in Congress which was founded by Lebanese-American Brigitte Gabriel, was smeared in the Roll Call piece for having ties with “Neo-Nazis” and for being an “anti-Muslim hate group.”

These claims are derived from the SPLC, which maligns ACT as “the largest anti-Muslim organization in the country,” citing the organization’s national March Against Sharia. Additionally, the SPLC’s “Neo-Nazi” accusation cites a white nationalist named Billy Roper, who ACT says it has never been affiliated with.

“Billy Roper was never affiliated with ACT for America. He was never a chapter leader nor even a member,” said the organization in a letter to Roll Call last week, adding that at one time, Roper had attempted to get involved by way of volunteering at an event, but was forbidden from associating with ACT before the event was held, once the organization had learned of his views.

According to ACT’s National Grassroots Director, Thomas Hern — as well as time stamps on the email correspondence between the two individuals — Kopp had received an email reply from Hern 24 minutes after she had requested comment, but published her piece devoid of the director’s response.

Kopp responded to Hern in a tweet on Wednesday, claiming that there had been an “unintentional oversight.”

As for CSP, the organization faced a similar problem, in which the Roll Call journalist did not provide a reasonable amount of time to reply, according to CSP’s Vice President of Government Relations J. Michael Waller.

“Roll Call attacked the Center for Security Policy without contacting the Center in time for comment,” said Waller in a statement, “Kopp did call the Center, but too close to deadline to allow the Center to reply – an old journalistic trick to satisfy an editor that the journalist ‘tried’ to get the other side.”

Moreover, CSP’s VP of Government Affairs cited Kopp’s source as faulty, adding that “Roll Call relied on an increasingly discredited third-party source to form the source of its false allegations. That source, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has no methodology for researching and defining what it identifies at ‘hate groups.'”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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