On Monday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a career-long anti-Semite with longtime associations with the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semite extraordinaire Louis Farrakhan, penned an article at Medium complaining about the media’s coverage of the connections between top Women’s March leaders and Farrakhan. Top Democrats, too, have come under fire, since they’ve been hanging out with Farrakhan for years, including one Senator Barack Obama. Members of Congress currently continue to defend association with Farrakhan.
Ellison’s article, instead of taking responsibility for association with and defense of Farrakhan, blames those who have the temerity to criticize that closeness. And naturally, Leftists like The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Bruenig — famous most recently for her suggestion that America try socialism — are celebrating Ellison’s take.
So, what does Ellison have to say for himself?
He begins by claiming that he is a messenger of tolerance — even though he has supported the boycott, divestment, and sanctions regime against Israel that intends on its destruction, and sponsored talks by Farrakhan allies at a time when Farrakhan was calling Judaism a “gutter religion.” It’s no wonder Alan Dershowitz threatened to leave the Democratic Party over Ellison’s possible elevation.
But according to Ellison, “Fighting for inclusion is what my service in politics is all about.”
After mewling on about his supposed record of fighting intolerance, Ellison finally addresses his own associations with Farrakhan:
Over the last few weeks, some political opponents have been pushing the narrative that I am somehow connected to a man named Louis Farrakhan. It’s not true. Mr. Farrakhan leads a group called the Nation of Islam and is best known for organizing the 1995 Million Man March. He’s also well-known for his anti-Semitism.
Somehow connected? Here’s CNN on Ellison’s associations:
A CNN KFile review of Ellison's past writings and public statements during the late 1980s through the 1990s reveal his decade-long involvement in the Nation of Islam and his repeated defense of Farrakhan and other radical black leaders against accusations of anti-Semitism in columns and statements to the press.
He defended Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) in 1990 after Ture made a speech stating “Zionism must be destroyed.” In 1995, he helped organize an event at which he spoke before Khalid Abdul Muhammed, an anti-Semite so rabid that he was kicked out of the Nation of Islam by Farrakhan. That same year, Ellison wrote, “Minister Farrakhan is a role model for black youth. He is not an anti-Semite.” He repeated that claim in 1997.
According to the Daily Caller, even after being elected to Congress, “Ellison attended at least three meetings where Farrakhan was present — including a private visit to Farrakhan’s hotel room — according to photos and videos reviewed by TheDC and Farrakhan’s own statements.”
But according to Ellison, all of this is merely pastiche. It’s a big nothingburger. He says, “After the march, Mr. Farrakhan’s disparaging views on Jewish people, women and the LGBT community became clearer to me.” But two years after the march he was still defending Farrakhan. And everybody in America knew that Farrakhan was an anti-Semite in 1995. It was one of the key criticisms of the Million Man March.
I do not have and have never had a relationship with Mr. Farrakhan, but I have been in the same room as him. About a decade ago, he and I had a brief, chance encounter in Washington, D.C. In 2013, I attended a meeting in New York City with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and nearly 50 others where I advocated for the release of an American political prisoner. I didn’t know Mr. Farrakhan would be there and did not speak to him at the event.
So then Farrakhan is a liar, presumably — he says he met Ellison in Farrakhan’s hotel room in December 2016, along with Rep. Andre Carson: “Both of them, when I was in Washington, visited my suite and we sat down talking like you and I are talking.”
So, what’s Ellison’s final excuse? He’s supposedly being “smeared”:
But as the attacks on me and my fellow Black representatives in Congress intensify, I want to be clear: this is a smear by factions on the right who want to pit the Jewish community and the Black community against each other, and distract from the hatred and bigotry on display by the president and the white supremacists who stormed Charlottesville this summer with their anti-Semitic chants and Confederate flags. I declined to dignify questions raised about Mr. Farrakhan because I know they are inherently political, and are designed to separate me from people who I work with every day on issues of importance for Americans of all backgrounds.
Well, no. He avoided answering questions because he has no answers, and because he is an anti-Semite who has associated with other anti-Semites his entire career. Trying to shout “CHARLOTTESVILLE!” should be no more a successful tactic than shouting “FARRAKHAN!” to avoid the implications of Charlottesville.
I believe my long record of fighting and condemning all prejudice, including anti-Semitism from whatever source, should speak for itself. But those who aim to make me guilty by false association have made themselves hard to ignore.
The right’s attempt to split the Jewish and Black communities is not going to work.
Nobody is trying to divide the black and Jewish communities, except for Farrakhan and his former buddy Ellison — and some others in black leadership dating all the way back to James Baldwin. But Ellison needs a scapegoat, and pointing at Trump seems like a way to avoid culpability for the morally indefensible.