The Democrats’ Keith Ellison Problem

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Democrats consistently rely upon one weapon in their arsenal to demonize Republicans in every election cycle of recent memory. The recycled message is quite simple and predictable. We, the Democrats, are the party of tolerance, equal opportunity, civil rights, and mutual respect for all of humanity. The Republicans, on the other hand, are the promoters of the most hateful evil-minded dogmas ever to be disseminated by a political organization. Of course, the left is engaging in a campaign of deceit when they resort to this level of insidious propaganda. Yet, if we concede for just a fleeting moment that Republicans harbor racist tendencies, it then becomes equally important that we unearth some hard truths buried underneath the surface. These truths may be difficult for some people to swallow. Yet, they must be told nonetheless.

Here it is: Democrats can be just as racist as any Republican. The Democratic Party also has a bad habit of ignoring racism within their ranks while branding Republicans as racists.

And, nothing highlights the left’s partisan hypocrisy on this subject more than its warm embrace of Congressman Keith Ellison as a serious candidate for DNC Chair. Under ordinary circumstances, the hierarchy of the Democratic Party would have immediately rejected Ellison’s bid for DNC Chair considering that they pride themselves in decrying bigotry. Now, Ellison has a chance of winning the DNC Chairmanship.

Unfortunately, the Minnesota Congressman has a clear record of supporting virulent anti-Semitic and promoting an anti-Israel agenda. In the 1990’s, he called National of Islam Founder Louis Farrakhan “a sincere tireless and uncompromising advocate for the Black community and other oppressed peoples in America and around the world.” He even argued incredulously that Farrakhan was not an anti-Semite. Ellison made this statement in praise of Farrakhan even though Farrakhan’s hatred for the Jewish people was well documented at the time. When running for Congress in 2006, however, Ellison repudiated Farrakhan’s antisemitism.

Now, some will argue that Ellison should not be denied the DNC Chairmanship merely because of his prior views on Farrakhan. Well, remember what happened to Senator Trent Lott? Lott stated in 2002 at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party that America was proud of voting for him for President despite his segregationist past. Even though Lott apologized for his remarks on BET, he was forced to resign from his Majority Leader position within the Republican Senate caucus. Why should Ellison be held to a different standard than Lott and advance to the helm of the DNC after he glorified a rabid anti-Semite?

But, Ellison’s approval of anti-Semites and his animus toward Israel run deeper than merely praising Farrakhan as an advocate. Ellison’s former classmates at the University of Minnesota told the progressive magazine Mother Jones that Ellison strongly disliked Jews during his college years. His classmates said that Ellison would refer to Jews as slave traders and oppressors. According to Michael Olenick, a former editor of the Minnesota Daily, Ellison would make rather disturbing statements such as “European White Jews are oppressing minorities all over the world.”

As a Congressman, Ellison has been an ardent critic of Israel’s. In 2009, Ellison seemed to suggest in an interview on Al-Jazeera that Israel intentionally targeted innocent Palestinians during the 2008 Gaza war which is of course patently false and nothing short of a blood libel. With this mindset, it is thus not surprising that in 2014 Ellison voted against funding the Iron Dome which protects Israelis from terrorist attacks. And, we now know from a leaked recording that in 2010 during a speech Ellison perpetuated a Jewish stereotype stating that US foreign policy is controlled by Israeli interests.

Despite these troubling statements, Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Minority Leader, continues to blindly support Ellison’s bid to become DNC Chair as does the former Minority Leader Harry Reid and a handful of other Senators and Congressmen including Senator Elizabeth Warren. Ironically, some of the politicians who are backing Ellison are the same individuals who believe that Donald Trump is racist and antisemitic and are now leading the charge that members of Donald Trump’s administration are racist. Most recently, Warren excoriated Jeff Sessions as a “purveyor of racial hatred” on the Senate Floor even though she has essentially endorsed the bigoted views of Keith Ellison by supporting his DNC Chairmanship candidacy.

Perhaps, rather expectantly, Ellison has just earned the endorsement of the anti-Semite and former Klan leader David Duke. Yet, all bets are off that Schumer and the Democrats will demand that Ellison disavow David Duke’s endorsement as Jake Tapper requested of Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

If the Democrats allow Ellison to become DNC Chair, they may potentially lose donors and supporters such as Haim Saban and Alan Dershowitz. But even more damaging, the DNC would be led by a purveyor of a radical antisemitic anti-Israel agenda. And, if that occurs, the Democrats will not be taken seriously the next time they attack Republicans with their anachronistic identity politics.

For the credibility of the Democratic Party, Ellison’s candidacy must be defeated on February 23-26.

Brad E. Kauffman is an attorney, a pro-Israel activist and a freelance/opinion writer. He can be reached via twitter @kauffman126.