ZOA: Don’t Appoint Israel-Basher Cong. Keith Ellison Chair of the Democratic National Committee
News Press Release
November 18, 2016

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

As a bi-partisan organization, the ZOA treasures opportunities to work with lawmakers and opinion makers on “both side of the aisle.”   Alarmingly, Congressional bipartisanship on pro-Israel issues, as well as on issues related to U.S. security, is likely to be immeasurably harmed if radical Muslim-American Congressman Keith Ellison a/k/a Keith X. Ellison a/k/a Keith Hakim a/k/a Keith Ellison Muhammed (D-Minn) becomes the new Democratic National Committee (the “DNC”) chair.  Ellison’s efforts to insert anti-Israel provisions into the 2016 Democratic platform, his statements to the press, his efforts to defeat a pro-Israel Jewish Congressman in a faraway district, and his ties to radical anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups, coupled with his experience persuading several dozen fellow Democrats to join his anti-Israel initiatives, are of grave concern. 

In 2014, Ellison was one of only 8 Congresspersons who voted against a bi-partisan bill to provide $225 million to Israel’s “Iron dome” missile defense system.   (395 representatives voted for the bill.)   (SeeVideo: Keith Ellison explains his vote against Iron Dome,” by Jazz Shaw, Aug. 3, 2014.)  

And in 2010, Ellison spearheaded and 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 should pressure Israel to lift the Gaza blockade.   Ellison’s demand would have enabled Hamas to obtain more weapons to kill and terrorize innocent Israeli civilians.  (See Hamas’ 54 Democratic Congressmen, by Daniel Greenfield, Jan. 26, 2010.)   

Ellison was a devotee and worked for anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan for many years… and co-sponsored anti-Semitic speeches by Kwame Ture entitled, “Zionism, Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both.” 

The anti-Israel smears in Ellison’s “Gaza 54” letter are still being used today to promote anti-Israel, anti-Semitic boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), on the website of the leading BDS group in the U.S, which also asked readers to thank Congressman Ellison.

Ellison also co-authored and spearheaded a letter demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress regarding the Iran deal must be delayed until after the sanctions deadline – when the visit would have been useless.  (See Rep. Keith Ellison: Postpone Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress, by Robert Naiman, Jan. 30, 2015; Copy of Ellison’s letter, entitled “Urge Speaker Boehner to Postpone Netanyahu Invitation until After the Israeli Election and Iran Sanctions Deadline,” Peace Now website; and “Delay Netanyahu’s Visit, Say 23 House Democrats,” by Edna Dumain, Roll Call, Feb. 19, 2015.) 

If he becomes DNC leader, Ellison will likely be empowered to persuade even more Democratic Congresspersons to join him in actions hostile to Israel’s security and Israeli civilians’ lives – wreaking enormous damage to the prospects for future bi-partisan support for American’s closest ally in the Middle East.  

Elevating Ellison to DNC Chair could help establish a stark pro-Israel/anti-Israel divide between America’s political parties.

During the same interview, Ellison also suggested that Israeli “occupation” was to blame for a “humanitarian crisis” and lack of sewage processing in Gaza – while ignoring that Israel withdrew from every inch of Gaza, and that Hamas diverts the electricity needed to operate Gaza’s sewage treatment plant to Hamas’s terrorist tunnels and operations.

And just last June, Ellison approvingly tweeted a Hebron window sign falsely accusing Israel of expropriation and portraying Israeli security precautions as “apartheid.”   The sign stated:  “CAUTION: THIS WAS TAKEN BY ISRAEL.  YOU ARE ENTERING APARTHEID.”

Incredibly, during a DemocracyNow! TV interview Ellison also made the nonsensical argument that America should 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 terror attacks on Americans, because the terrorist would consider his own death to be a “reward.”  Ellison stated:  “Anwar al-Awlaki is not scared to get killed. You know, he is somebody who wants — who has delusional, fantastic, crazy dreams of being some kind of a martyr.  And so, why reward him with that?”  

In addition, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (ITP) documented that Ellison received substantial campaign contributions from donors with a history of connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of designated terrorist organization Hamas; and spoke at Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) fundraising dinners and defended CAIR on the House floor.  (See “Keith Ellison’s Muslim Brotherhood Support,” IPT News, April 22, 2010.)  CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, for its involvement in funneling money to Hamas.  ITP also reported that Ellison accused moderate Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of fomenting bigotry against his own people.  

And just two months ago, Ellison defended the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) on the House floor.  (See “ISNA Outraged by the False Accusations Made During Thursday’s Congressional Hearing and Grateful to Congressman Keith Ellison for His Remarks,” ISNA website press release, Sept. 23, 2016.)   ISNA is another unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, for involvement in funneling money to Hamas.

Human rights attorney Brooke Goldstein also described “the very clear connections of Keith Ellison groups to radical Islamist groups, to anti-Semitism. . . . He has spoken at numerous Council on American Islamic Relations conferences.  This is a group that has ties to Hamas, a designated terrorist group.  He’s spoken three times for the Islamic Society of North America.  At the conference in 2008, they were handing out materials calling America a terrorist organization, and calling for the destruction of Israel and the United States.”  (“Potential DNC Chair Keith Ellison’s History of Anti-Semitism,” Nov. 17, 2016.) 

Ellison also was a devotee and worked for brazen anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam for many years.  The Weekly Standard reported Ellison’s extensive involvements, including: raising funds and leading anti-police chants to support cop-killers; co-sponsoring a vicious anti-Semitic speech by Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), entitled “Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?” while ignoring Jewish law students’ pleas to Ellison not to sponsor the speech; speaking 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“; appearing on stage at a Million Man March for the Nation of Islam in 1995 with Khalid Abdul Muhammad, who reportedly said: “If words were swords, the chests of Jews, gays and whites would be pierced.”  (See Louis Farrakhan’s First Congressman,” by Scott W. Johnson, The Weekly Standard, Oct. 9, 2006.) 

Jerusalem Post Senior Editor Caroline Glick noted that Ellison lied when he claimed (when he first ran for Congress) that his association with the Nation of Islam was brief.  Glick explained:  “Ellison was a long standing member of the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam. . . . Ellison’s association with the Nation of Islam dated back at least since 1989 and stretched at least until 1998.  During that period, he not only knew about the Nation of Islam’s Jew hatred, he engaged in it himself.”  (“The Ellison Challenge: The Democratic Party’s Move Towards Anti-Semitism, a move made apparent through Ellison’s rise, is one movement the Jews mustn’t lead,” by Caroline Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2016.)

Ms. Glick also stated, citing the work of writer Scott Johnson, “Ellison is an anti-Semite.  He also defends cop killers.”  (Id.)

Ellison also spouted “blame President Bush” 9/11 conspiracy theories.   Ellison analogized Bush’s prosecution of the war on terror to Hitler’s rise to power, saying:  “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”   This reportedly even led the Anti-Defamation League to demand that Ellison must retract his remarks, saying: “[Ellison’s] comments comparing the rise of Nazism in the aftermath of the burning of the Reichstag to the War on Terror in the aftermath of 9/11 is outrageous and offensive to all Americans.”  (See Compare and Contrast: The Reichstag Fire and 9/11,” by Matt Snyders, City Pages, July 19, 2007.) 

Where are the ADL and other Jewish groups like some in the Reform Movement that profess to care about anti-Semitism and bigotry now?  Why are they silent about Ellison’s frightening anti-Israel, anti Semitic record? Yet, they are wrongly screaming about Trump aide Stephen Bannon’s alleged anti-Semitism. If someone with Ellison’s record were running for Chair of the Republican National Committee would ADL be silent??

Ellison is also likely to use the tremendous power and funds that would be available to him as DNC chairman to help elect anti-Israel Democrats and defeat pro-Israel Democratic Congresspersons.   Ellison has already demonstrated that he is willing to go to enormous lengths to defeat pro-Israel Democrats.  In 2012, Ellison traveled across the country, raised funds and spoke at mosques in New Jersey, urging Arab-American residents of New Jersey to defeat pro-Israel Democratic Jewish Congressman Steve Rothman.  (See Democrats Purge Pro-Israel Congressman,” by Adam Kredo, Free Beacon, June 6, 2012)

JNS article reported that NORPAC Chairman (and ZOA Board Member) Dr. Ben Chouake stated that he fears that if Ellison is elected chair of the DNC, “one of his priorities will be to pull the party away from Israel” and that Ellison represents “the fringe of the Democratic Party, not the center, and would  make it even harder for the party to have broad appeal,” and that “Rabbi Menachem Genack of Englewood, New Jersey, a prominent Jewish supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said [that electing Ellison as DNC chair] . . . would ‘accelerate the process’ of pulling the Democratic Party away from its traditional pro-Israel positions.”  (Id.

Similarly, Democratic New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind stated that Ellison “is the most radical candidate imaginable, someone who represents the extreme left wing of the party, which is why he’s being promoted by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and J Street—in other words, Ellison is being backed by all the wrong people if you care about Israel. . . .  If Israel has to depend on support from the Ellisons of the world, it would be in serious trouble.”  (Id.)

In sum, Congressman Keith Ellison’s Anti-Israel positions and anti Semitic record are too divisive and dangerous to appoint him to head the DNC. ZOA urges Senator Chuck Schumer and others to take a strong stance against Ellison.

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