Steve Emerson allegedly provided info on Muslim human rights groups to Israeli government

You may have seen the news that the Ohio chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, last week fired Executive Director Romin Iqbal for collaborating with an anti-Muslim group: the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), headed by Steve Emerson. The collaboration came to light due to an internal investigation of IPT’s infiltration of Muslim organizations.

Yesterday CAIR announced that a second “spy” for IPT in the Muslim community has come forward; and Israel is a focus. CAIR said that IPT has sought to undermine American Muslim advocates for human rights on behalf of the Israeli government.

The individual has informed us that Steven Emerson paid him $3K per month to record prominent Muslim leaders; over $100K over 4 years. One of Emerson’s goals, we’re told, was protecting the Israeli govt by undermining Muslims engaged in political & human rights activism.

Steve Emerson is a well-known figure in the rightwing Israel lobby; he seeks to make Israel’s case in the United States. Often such organizations coordinate their efforts with the Israeli government.

CAIR’s allegations about Israeli involvement with Emerson are a bit vague at this point. It writes, “Emerson worked with Israeli intel officials, such as [Israeli General] Yossi Kuperwasser and Ido Mizrahi from the office of then-PM [Benjamin] Netanyahu.”

CAIR released an email from its investigation from 2014 that shows “Ido” asking Emerson for information about the Palestinian solidarity group Students for Justice in Palestine.


A few months later, Mizrahi sent Emerson a request for information on connections between Hamas and Boko Haram. Emerson responded with a message to his staff. “This is an urgent high priority request from the office of PM Netanyahu. Who can work on this RIGHT NOW? This is urgent.”

CAIR’s national executive director Nihad Awad announced the firing of Iqbal last week and at that time said that CAIR had accumulated a lot of information on IPT. It said Emerson was “providing assistance to Israeli intelligence.”

Last year, our national office received extensive and unprecedented information about the inner workings of one of those organizations, the so-called Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

The evidence also indicated that Emerson’s hate group was communicating with and providing assistance to Israeli intelligence with the office of then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Let me say that again. The Israeli government was collaborating with an anti-Muslim hate group.

Emerson has been a prominent Islamophobe for nearly 30 years, publishing alarmist tracts about the jihadist threat to America and gaining credibility from Fox News and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Israel is central to his worldview. Emerson said that President Obama had joined the “Hamas lobby” in 2010 by saying there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Awad said that CAIR learned from that trove that “multiple” individuals in the Muslim community were acting as spies for Emerson. “Emerson’s hate group had spent years trying to infiltrate and spy upon prominent mosques and Muslim American organizations using ‘moles’ among their staff and volunteers.”

After learning about this situation, we hired an outside law firm and a forensic specialist to vet the evidence we received and provide us with an evidentiary report. We also alerted other Muslim community leaders whose groups were targeted so that they could perform their own investigations. 

Last month, our forensic investigator provided her report. The report confirmed that the key evidence we received was authentic and that an employee of a local CAIR affiliate had indeed been secretly working with a hate group. 

CAIR documented that Iqbal was “sharing private emails, strategic plans, and secretly recorded conversations with the anti-Muslim hate group for years.” Here is evidence of the of Romin Iqbal and Steve Emerson collaboration:

Note: This post has been updated with additional emails from CAIR’s press briefing on the connections between Emerson and the Israeli government.

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