Politics

Longtime Democrat Dershowitz To Leave Party If Ellison Elected Chair

Longtime Democrat Alan Dershowitz says he will leave his party if it elects Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

“There has been powerful push from the hard-left of the Democratic Party, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), to elect Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) chairman,” Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed for The Hill published Friday. “If he is elected, I will quit the party after 60 years of loyal association and voting.”

This weekend Democrats are convening in Atlanta to choose their next leader. Ellison is considered a top candidate for the job. If he wins, however, Dershowitz, a Harvard professor and Israel supporter, says not only is he leaving the party but he will encourage other “like minded,” “centrist liberals” to join him.

Of specific concern to Dershowitz is Ellison’s “association with anti-Semitism.”

“He worked with and repeatedly defended one of a handful of the most notorious and public anti-Semites in our country: The Reverend Louis Farrakhan,” Dershowitz wrote. “And worked with Farrakhan at the very time this anti-Semite was publicly describing Judaism as a ‘gutter religion’ and insisting that the Jews were a primary force in the African slave trade.”

Dershowitz explained that he does not believe Ellison’s claims that he was unaware of Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, noting that the Minnesota lawmaker himself has a history of making anti-Semitic remarks.

“A prominent lawyer, with significant credibility, told me that while he was a law student, Ellison approached her and said he could not respect her, because she was a Jew and because she was a woman who should not be at a law school,” Dershowitz wrote, adding that “I believe she is telling the truth.”

The Harvard law professor continued, explaining that Ellison’s “[v]oting record with regard to the Nation State of the Jewish people is among the very worst in Congress.”

Dershowitz added that he was also unconvinced by Ellison’s recent “apology tour.”

“[H]is apologies and renunciations of his past association with anti-Semitism have been tactical and timed to his political aspirations,” Dershowitz wrote.

If Ellison is elected this weekend, Dershowitz wrote that he will be an independent and support the best candidates, which he predicts will largely still be Democrats. But, he wrote, his support for the Democratic Party “as an institution” will be over.