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February 24, 2017 5:19 pm

Alan Dershowitz: Why I Will Leave the Democratic Party If Ellison Is Elected its Chairman

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Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Photo:

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Photo:

Tomorrow the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will have to choose the direction of the Democratic Party, as well as its likely composition. It will be among the most important choices the DNC has ever had to make.  There has been a powerful push from the hard-left of the Democratic Party, led by senator Bernie Sanders, to elect Keith Ellison chairman. If he is elected, I will quit the party after 60 years of loyal association and voting. I will become an independent, continuing to vote for the best candidates, most of whom, I assume, will still be Democrats. But I will not contribute to the DNC or support it as an institution. My loyalty to my country and my principles and my heritage exceeds any loyalty to my party. I will urge other like-minded people – centrist liberals – to follow my lead and quit the Democratic Party if Ellison is elected Chairman. We will not be leaving the Democratic Party we have long supported.  The Democratic Party will be leaving us!

Let me explain the reasons for this difficult decision on my part. Ellison has a long history of sordid association with anti-Semitism. He worked closely with and supported one of a handful of the most notorious and public anti-Semites in our country:  The Reverend Louis Farrakhan. And he worked with Farrakhan at the very time this anti-Semite was publicly describing Judaism as a “gutter religion” and insisting that the Jews were a primary force in the African slave trade. Ellison has publicly stated that he was unaware of Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism. That is not a credible statement. Everyone was aware of Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism. Farrakhan did not try to hide it. Indeed he proclaimed it on every occasion. Ellison is either lying or he willfully blinded himself to what was obvious to everyone else. Neither of these qualities makes him suitable to be the next Chairman of the DNC.

Moreover, Ellison himself has made anti-Semitic statements. A prominent lawyer, with significant credibility, told me that while he was a law student, Ellison approached her and said he could not respect her, because she was a Jew and because she was a woman who should not be at a law school. This woman immediately disclosed that anti-Semitic and anti-feminist statement to her husband and friends, and I believe she is telling the truth.

Ellison’s anti-Semitism is confirmed by his support for another anti-Semite, Stokely Carmichael. When there were protests about Carmichael’s speaking at the University of Minnesota, Ellison responded that “Political Zionism is off-limits no matter what dubious circumstances Israel was founded under; no matter what the Zionists do to the Palestinians; and no matter what wicked regimes Israel allies itself with — like South Africa. This position is untenable.”  At a fundraiser for his reelection in 2010, hosted by Esam Omeish who had told Palestinians that “Jihad way is the way to liberate your land,” he complained that Jews had too much influence in American politics.

With regard to Israel, Ellison was one of only a small number of Congress people who recently voted against funding the Iron Dome, a missile system used by Israel to protect its civilians against rocket attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah. His voting record with regard to the nation state of the Jewish people is among the very worst in Congress.

Ellison is now on an apology tour, but his apologies and renunciations of his past association with anti-Semitism have been tactical and timed to his political aspirations. He first claimed to realize that Farrakhan was an anti-Semite when he ran for office seeking Jewish support. His claim to be a supporter of Israel was timed to coincide with his run for the chairmanship of DNC. I do not trust him. I do not believe him. And neither should any centrist liberal supporters of Israel and opponents of anti-Semitism.

The DNC has a momentous choice this weekend. It can move the party in the direction of Jeremy Corbyn’s labor party in England, in the hope of attracting Jill Stein Green Party voters and millennial’s who stayed home. In doing so they would be giving up on any attempt to recapture the working class and rust-belt voters in the mid-western states that turned the Electoral College over to Donald Trump. Jeremy Corbyn today could not get elected dog catcher in Great Britain. I do not want to see the Democratic Party relegated to permanent minority status as a hard-left fringe. Remember what happened when the Democrats moved left by nominating George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis – all good men. The total combined electoral votes for these candidates would not have won a single election.  There is no reason to think the country has moved so far to the left since those days that the Democrats can win by pushing even further in the direction of the hard left. The self-destructive election of Keith Ellison will be hard to undo for many years.

So tomorrow, the democrats must choose between electing Ellison or keeping centrist liberals, who support Israel, like me and many others in their party. I hope they choose wisely. But if they do not, I have made my choice.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School, and author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law and Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for the Unaroused Voter. This article was previously published by The Hill. 

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  • ken hulse

    wrong. The republican party doesnt give a crap about you or any average person

  • ken hulse

    your respect is like obtaining the respect of a cb operating long haul trucker who is still trying for that GEC

  • ken hulse

    Dershowitz needs to stay in the class room. He makes a fool of himself every time he leaves and opens his mouth.

  • A David Darman

    “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”(BHO at the UN on 9/25/12)
    I guess the Dems are taking this admonition from BHO seriously…and avoiding the fact that the ideology of this prophet (and presumably Ellison) precribes a world wide supremacist theocracy in which all women and non-Muslims do not have equal rights under the law, in which misogyny is institutionalized (and men may beat their wives with impunity) and in which apostasy, blasphemy, homosexual acts and adultery are all capital offenses.
    I’d sooner leave the US than to submit that kind of leadership.You are not going to get my tax $ if I can help it even if it means cheating.

  • Skeptic7

    Mr. Dershowitz, you are now officially on the wrong side of history. Look who is leading the women’s march:

    New York Post
    [Women’s March} organizers have in mind a “general strike” called the Day without a Woman. In a manifesto published in The Guardian on Feb. 6, the brains behind the movement are calling for a “new wave of militant
    feminist struggle.” That’s right: militant, not peaceful.

    “The document was co-authored by, among others, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a
    convicted terrorist. Odeh, a Palestinian, was convicted in Israel in
    1970 for her part in two terrorist bombings, one of which killed two
    students while they were shopping for groceries. She spent 10 years in
    prison for her crimes. She then managed to become a US citizen in 2004
    by lying about her past (great detective work, INS: Next time, use
    Google) but was subsequently convicted, in 2014, of immigration fraud
    for the falsehoods. However, she won the right to a new trial (set for
    this spring) by claiming she had been suffering from PTSD at the time
    she lied on her application. Oh, and in her time as a citizen, she
    worked for a while as an ObamaCare navigator.”

    How does it get worse that this? A Terrorist in charge of a Women’s March.

  • Geoff

    You ought to be ashamed of your censorship. Really

  • Mr_Cohen

    Anti-Israel Keith Ellison became Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee by a UNANIMOUS VOICE VOTE of DNC members, according to Wikipedia.

  • Geoff

    Ok I get it. This site is about conformity. Like Trump and the GOP, an echo chamber of the like-minded. No better.

  • Geoff

    I was thinking of posting an alternative viewpoint here but looking at the below, why bother? Clearly not a lot of room for tolerance here.

  • Surak

    Anti-Semite! Anti-Semite! Anti-Semite! sis boom=”” bah=”” go=”” anti-Semite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!=””>

  • Surak

    Nothing Dershowitz said was a lie. He quoted Ellison. You dhimmicrats hate the truth, don’t you – like vampires and sunlight.

  • Surak

    Being an anti-Semite isn’t tolerated here. Neither is foolishness – the Dhimmicrats have destroyed labor all by themselves.

  • Surak

    Donald Trump is the most pro-Israel president in American history, following Barack Insane 0bama, the most anti-Israel president in American history. You prefer the anti-Semitic communists. Message received loud and clear.

  • Eddie Schwind

    Mr. Dershowitz should leave the party now!!! Just the fact that this individual was in the running should be enough for him to disclaim his party. Does he really think Ellison is going away because he wasn’t elected. He is sowing the seeds for future generations of anti-semites already. Wake up Alan.

  • Joseph Feld

    Professor Dershowitz is one of the great men of our time in the USA and we rely on his opinion. His book ‘The Case for Israel’ ( John Wlley and Sons, 2003) should be read by every friend of Israel. His speech at the Oxford Union is a masterpiece.

  • Pupman

    Well Perez was elected as DNC chairman and promptly appointed Ellison as vice chairman with complete support from the the DNC.

    Will that be enough for Dershowitz to leave this party of clowns?

  • Tony Lee

    Trump is president and this where you chose find offense to anti semitism. Get out of here.

    • Surak

      That’s right, Tony, we can’t handle a second Holocaust, sorry to inconvenience you.

  • JeffwithaJ

    Centrist liberals? No one who is actually liberal could vote for a character like Ellison. Why grace the illiberal left with the title liberal at all?

  • David Carson

    while I disagree with Dershowitz on many things, I agree with him on this–also going loony left will force many white hs grad males to vote Republican

  • Neal Gosman

    Dershowitz is dead wrong about Keith being an anti-Semite. I know and support Keith here in Minnesota. Does Dershowitz agree with every defendant he has ever associated with?