Major Jewish Organization Takes Heat Over Defense of Potential DNC Chief With Anti-Israel Record
A major Jewish organization is facing criticism, after its leader issued a statement on Tuesday that was interpreted by some as a show of support for Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who is seeking to become the next head of the Democratic National Committee.
Ellison, said Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, “is a man of good character” and “an important ally in the fight against antisemitism and for civil rights.”
Furthermore, Greenblatt stated, “We want to make clear to those who disagree with Congressman Ellison that in doing so, there is no room for innuendo or slander because of his race or his faith.”
Ellison, 53, is an African-American who converted from Christianity to Islam when he was in college. As reported by The Algemeiner, a growing number of pro-Israel activists and Jewish community leaders have been airing be concerns that Ellison will turn the Democratic Party away from Israel if he takes charge of the DNC.
Reacting to Greenblatt’s words on Facebook on Tuesday, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser — founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy — wrote, “Unbelievable…the ADL has now officially endorsed and given its blessing to Congressman Keith Ellison as a good ally against anti-Semitism? This memo from Greenblatt might as well be written under duress in Jeddah to some Saudi council. But no it’s in the USA.”
He continued, “Ellison is the face and chief fundraiser of American Islamism and defender of the global OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] theocratic sharia state establishment!”
Jasser also accused Ellison of being “pathologically silent” about Muslim disseminators of antisemitism and said the congressman has been “since 9-11 on a crusade to destroy Muslim anti-Islamist reformers.”
In his statement, Greenblatt did note that Ellison has “made statements and taken positions, especially regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), on which we strongly differ and that concern us.” He also expressed hope that the DNC “will make a choice that affirms the long-standing bipartisan consensus on a strong US-Israel relationship.”
Greenblatt’s predecessor as ADL chief, Abraham Foxman, told JTA on Tuesday that it “sends the wrong symbol for someone with those views [of Ellison] to take a leadership role in the Democratic Party, especially since the party has been struggling with Israel. Israel has always been a bipartisan issue; this makes it less of one.”
In a CNN interview on Tuesday, internationally renowned legal expert Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat, said that if Ellison — who was associated with the Nation of Islam (NOI) in the 1990s — did not realize NOI leader Louis Farrakhan was an antisemite, then he was “too dumb” to run the DNC.
As reported by The Algemeiner, Dershowitz said in remarks at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gala dinner in New York City on Sunday, “I will fight to keep the Democratic Party pro-Israel. It won’t be easy. And it won’t be any easier if Keith Ellison is appointed the head of the DNC.”