On February 19, College Democrats of America President Marvin McMoore and Vice President Ellen Lindblom announced their endorsement of Representative Keith Ellison for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Facebook.
Ellison, who is a co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives, is a former member of the Nation of Islam, a racist and anti-Semitic organization founded by Louis Farrakhan. During his tenure with the organization, he defended Farrakhan's anti-Semitism. As Jeff Ballabon wrote in Tablet Magazine:
He was on record as defending Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism since at least 1989, under the alias of Keith Hakim. But unlike the [Congressional Black Caucus], which immediately suspended its ties with the Nation of Islam after the vote, Ellison apparently saw no reason to rethink his position. In fact, he continued to identify with Farrakhan and work actively for the Nation of Islam for years after Muhammad’s speech.
Since Ellison was elected to Congress in 2006, he has held hostile positions toward Israel. For example, on a trip to the Jewish state, Ellison visited Hebron and tweeted a picture of a sign that claimed that Israel was "guilty of apartheid." In addition, Ellison associates himself with anti-Israel organizations that have a history of anti-Semitic activity. This includes the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which hosted a talk during the Democratic National Convention last year and works with several pro-BDS organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.
Ellison also continues to affiliate with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), organizations implicated in the largest terror finance trial in the history of the United States that exposed the Holy Land Foundation as a financial fundraiser for Hamas, the genocidal terrorist group ruling Gaza.
Despite Ellison's nefarious history of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias, both McMoore and Lindblom believe that endorsing him for DNC Chair will help move the Democratic Party forward:
We know that, in this moment, Democrats need a leader who will be honest about the barriers that exist between young people and the Democratic Party and have the ability and desire to bring us into the conversation. That leader is Keith Ellison. Keith understands that in order to be effective, the Democratic Party must empower young people at every level. He knows that we improve youth engagement by encouraging student activists to seek leadership positions - that includes inspiring young Democrats to run for office, work on campaigns, and take on leadership roles within the Party.
What makes McMoore's endorsement problematic in particular is that he is affiliated with American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Last year, he stood beside the National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee expressing bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
McMoore also joined an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel hosted for national leaders of both the College Democrats and College Republicans.
Ellison has a history of rejecting AIPAC-sponsored legislation that would further the relationship between the two countries. He opposed a bill during Operation Protective Edge, Israel's latest counteroffensive against Hamas in 2014, that would have given Israel additional support for the Iron Dome.
While McMoore has every right as a private citizen to endorse whomever he wants for DNC Chair, it is clear that AIPAC invested a lot of resources trying to convince him that the U.S.-Israel relationship was an important bipartisan position. Given how the Democratic Party has become increasingly more hostile to Israel during Barack Obama's presidency, AIPAC should have taken due care in making sure the students it promotes at its events have a principled stance not only on Israel, but also in American interests overseas.
If Keith Ellison becomes DNC Chair, then AIPAC will have a much more difficult time finding relevancy in the Democratic Party.