Mary Walter: Good morning. Joining us now, Steve Emerson. He’s the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. It’s a non-profit group that investigates the threat of radical Islam. Steve, good morning. Welcome to “Mornings on the Mall.”
Emerson: Good morning.
Walter: There is a special election today for the Virginia House of Delegates for the 86th District, which is a suburban area in Fairfax County, to fill a seat. Two people running for the seat are Ibraheem Samirah, who is a dentist, 27 years old. He’s the favorite in this race. He’s running against Greg Nelson, who is an Air Force veteran. And we’re finding out now that apparently there were some comments made by Dr. Samirah about five years ago that were very anti-Semitic, comparing giving money to Israel worse than donating to the KKK; also saying that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would burn in hell; Israeli teenagers were using Tinder to cover up the murders in their names. Very anti-Semitic statements. Is this going to affect him at all though?
Emerson: I don’t know whether it will affect him but I think it should affect him because the comments are undeniably anti-Semitic. Now he has said he has apologized for those comments, but he’s also said that they were taken out of context and that they were part of a slander campaign. Both of those latter allegations are demonstrably false. None of them were taken out of context and to the extent that he says that he’s only mitigating his apology. He also has supported two groups that are very anti-Israel in their positions. One group has supported a radical Islamic terrorist who was convicted in the killing of two Jews in a bombing in Israel several decades ago. Another group supports the movement called BDS – boycott, divestment – that is designed to strangle the economy of Israel. He has not disavowed his support for those two groups. So all in all his total position is a virulently anti-Israeli position, and more than that I would say anti-Semitic. To the extent that people vote for him they should be aware of those positions.