It’s about time. On Thursday, a week after the Anti-Defamation League avoided opposing Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid to run the Democratic Party, the ADL reversed its position, citing “deeply disturbing and disqualifying” statements Ellison has made in the past about Israel.
New evidence from 2010 surfaced showing Ellison speaking publicly and asking why the “United States' foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right?"
As a result, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, articulated the organization’s opposition to Ellison this way:
New information recently has come to light that raises serious concerns about whether Rep. Ellison faithfully could represent the Democratic Party’s traditional support for a strong and secure Israel. In a speech recorded in 2010 to a group of supporters, Rep. Ellison is heard suggesting that American foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by Israel, saying: “The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes.”
Rep. Ellison’s remarks are both deeply disturbing and disqualifying. His words imply that U.S. foreign policy is based on religiously or national origin-based special interests rather than simply on America’s best interests. Additionally, whether intentional or not, his words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but that has no place in open societies like the U.S.
Ellison fired back at Greenblatt, “I wish we could have spoken once again before your most recent statement. If given the opportunity, I could have provided a full and proper explanation.”
Ellison argued that the audio from which his statements were taken was "was selectively edited and taken out of context by an individual the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an ‘anti-Muslim extremist.' My memory is that I was responding to a question about how Americans with roots in the Middle East could engage in the political process in a more effective way. My advice was simply to get involved. I believe that Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship are, and should be, key considerations in shaping U.S. policy in the Middle East. Americans with roots or interests in the region should be involved in advocacy and discussions of public policy concerning the region. My response was meant to encourage those in attendance to increase their level of involvement and effectiveness."
Ellison is certainly no friend of Israel, as JNS.com reported:
He has organized letters urging more U.S. pressure on Israel, voted against funding Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, and spoken at fundraising events for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a hardline anti-Israel group. While visiting Hebron this past summer, Ellison tweeted a photograph of a placard accusing Israel of "apartheid."
Ellison tried to unseat a pro-Israel New Jersey congressman, Steve Rothman, in 2012. Dr. Ben Chouake, president of NORPAC, a Jewish political action committee in northern New Jersey, said it was "extremely unusual" for Ellison to target Rothman, "since Rothman was a fellow Democrat, in a district halfway across the country—what could motivate him to go to such great lengths?" Ellison spoke at mosques in New Jersey, urging Arab-Americans to vote against Rothman.