Ali Gharib writes: ast year, Investigative Project on Terrorism head Steven Emerson quietly pulled out of the annual conference of Washington’s most influential pro-Israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He pinned the withdrawal on “an unexpected medical problem that required my immediate attention,” but it was impossible not to notice that it came amid reverberations of criticism for the latest of Emerson’s Islamophobic outbursts.
A couple months before the AIPAC summit, Emerson had taken to the airwaves of Fox News to expound on so-called no-go zones in Europe, purported Muslim enclaves where governments dared not go. But there was a problem: “They don’t exist,” David Graham wrote in The Atlantic. And yet Emerson took the myth even farther. In the United Kingdom, he reported on Fox, “There are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims simply don’t go in!”
The Birmingham comment elicited ridicule from across the spectrum — “This guy is clearly a complete idiot,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said in an interview — and eventually Emerson and, perhaps more improbably, Fox News itself apologized. A few weeks later, Emerson was out at AIPAC.