By Morton A. Klein
Despite the volumes of evidence about Congressman Keith Ellison’s longstanding record of Israel-bashing and antisemitism, the Anti-Defamation League praised this leading contender for chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Appallingly, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt took to Twitter to characterize Ellison as an “important ally in the fight against antisemitism” and “on record in support of Israel.”
Last week, ZOA published a release, urging that Ellison not be appointed to head the DNC. Ellison’s dangerous positions, involvements and anti-Israel congressional initiatives have included the following:
Also in 2016, Ellison tweeted a sign falsely accusing Israel of expropriation and “apartheid.” And in September, Ellison defended the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) on the House floor. ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, involved in funneling money to Hamas.
In 2015, Ellison spearheaded and co-authored a letter (and obtained the signatures of 23 Democratic members of Congress) demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress about the Iran deal be delayed until after the sanctions deadline – when the visit would have been useless.
In 2014, Ellison was one of only eight members of Congress who voted against the bipartisan bill to provide $225 million to Israel’s “Iron dome” missile system.
In 2012, Ellison traveled from Minnesota to raise funds and speak at mosques in New Jersey, urging and helping Arab-American residents of the state to defeat pro-Israel Democratic Jewish Congressman Steve Rothman.
In 2010, Ellison convinced 53 other Democratic Congresspersons to sign his infamous “Gaza 54” letter to President Obama, which falsely accused Israel of humiliating and wreaking “collective punishment” on Gaza residents, and demanded that President Obama pressure Israel to lift the Gaza blockade – thereby enabling Hamas to obtain more weapons to kill and terrorize innocent Israeli civilians.
In a 2010 DemocracyNow! interview, Ellison also argued that the US not kill a leading terrorist located in Yemen, who was responsible for numerous deaths of Americans, and was continuing to foment some of the worst additional attacks, on the grounds that the terrorist would consider his own death to be a “reward.”
Ellison also received substantial campaign contributions from groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is the “parent” organization of Hamas, al Qaeda and other terrorist entities. Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UAE and Kuwait have all designated the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.
Ellison also spoke at Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) dinners, and defended CAIR on the House floor. Materials handed out at CAIR’s 2008 dinner (where Ellison spoke) referred to America as a terrorist organization, and called for the destruction of Israel and the United States. CAIR is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, involved in funneling money to Hamas.
In addition, the House of Representatives’ Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into Ellison’s failure to disclose that the Muslim American Society — a group founded by Muslim Brotherhood members to be the “overt arm…in the US” of that extremist organization — paid $13,350 for Ellison to go on hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2008. (See “Muslim Brotherhood-Tied Group Paid for Keith Ellison to Visit Mecca in 2008: Group was founded as ‘overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the US,’” by Brent Scher, Washington Free Beacon, Nov. 21, 2016.)
In 2007, Ellison analogized President Bush’s prosecution of the war on terror after 9/11 to Hitler’s rise to power and activities after the Reichstag German Parliament Building fire.
From approximately 1989 until at least 1998, Ellison was an active leader in Louis Farrakhan’s antisemitic Nation of Islam. Ellison raised funds and led anti-police chants to support cop-killers; co-sponsored a vicious antisemitic speech by Kwame Ture (formerly known as Stokely Carmichael) — entitled “Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?” — and ignored Jewish law students’ pleas not to sponsor the program; and spoke at a public hearing on behalf of the Nation of Islam in support of a woman alleged to have said, “Jews are among the most racist white people I know.” In 1995, Ellison organized a rally featuring Khalid Abdul Muhammed saying, “If words were swords, the chests of Jews, gays and whites would be pierced.”
Back in 2007, the ADL criticized Ellison’s Bush-Hitler comparison.
However, the ADL is praising Ellison now – when an important leadership post of the Democratic party is at risk of falling into his hands — those of someone with a longstanding record of antisemitic, anti-Israel activities. Instead of calling out the real danger, the ADL has been busy condemning President-elect Trump’s appointee Stephen Bannon as an antisemite, though it recently retracted that false, baseless claim.
ADL’s failure to soundly condemn Ellison’s overwhelming record of anti-Israel and antisemitic activities displays rank partisanship, and is an abdication of the ADL’s stated mission of combating antisemitism.
The ZOA thus again urges the ADL to join us in speaking out against appointing Ellison to the extraordinarily powerful position of DNC chair.
Morton A. Klein is the President of the Zionist Organization of America.