Ellisonian gleanings

Keith Ellison is trying to plug the leaks that have sprung in his nascent campaign to head the Democratic National Committee. Ellison seeks to plug the leaks with lies and he’s lying as fast as he can talk. Let’s tune on him in action.

Last week the Investigative Project on Terrorism released audio of Ellison speaking during a 2010 political fundraiser, criticizing what he saw as the inappropriate and disproportionate influence Israel carries over American foreign policy. The IPT audio caught Ellison on tape: “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,” said Ellison, D-Minn. “Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes. Can I say that again?”

This was enough for the Anti-Defamation League to dismount from Ellison’s train. The ADL’s left-wing executive director Jonathan Greenblatt has succumbed to institutional imperatives. Greenblatt has declared Ellison’s comments “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.” That’s because, “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.”

Jonathan Martin reports in the New York Times that Ellison responded in an open letter to the ADL. Hey, in 2006 it worked for him with the Jewish Community Relations Council in Minneapolis. Why not now?

In his open letter to the ADL Ellison falsely claimed that “the audio released was selectively edited and taken out of context.” He also claimed that he was merely “responding to a question about how Americans with roots in the Middle East could engage in the political process in a more effective way.” And then he chose to attack the IPT, as he has “right-wing blogs” closer to home.

In “Keith Ellison’s disinformation campaign” the IPT has now posted the complete audio of Ellison’s remarks. It responds: “None of Ellison’s comments are true.” That’s what I’ve been saying now for 10 years.

None of Ellison’s comments in his 2006 letter to the JCRC letter was true either. This time around, however, Ellison lacks the protection of a cow town’s local paper and its devoutly Democratic Jewish power brokers.

On the contrary, one major national Democratic donor and power broker has been paying attention. He’s got Ellison’s number. Speaking on Friday at the gala dinner organized by the Brookings Institution in connection with the Saban Forum, Haim Saban unloaded on Ellison: “If you listen to Keith Ellison today, and you see his statements he’s more of a Zionist than Herzl, and Ben Gurion and Begin combined. It’s amazing, it’s a beautiful thing. If you go back to his positions, his statements, his speeches, the way’s he voted, he’s clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual.”

That signifies. Ron Kampeas covers Saban’s remarks on Ellison at length for the JTA in “Saban says Keith Ellison’s DNC win would bring ‘disaster’ to relationship between Jews and Dems.” Martin notes Saban’s remarks in “Question facing Ellison: Could he lead DNC as part-timer?”

Ellison is lying as fast as he can. Last week in response to national interest the University of Minnesota Daily posted the complete works of “Keith E. Hakim,” Ellison’s four columns advocating the Nation of Islam line in 1989-1990 as a third-year student at the University of Minnesota Law School. In the columns Ellison called for reparations and a separate black nation. Ellison explicated his columns for the hometown crowd on Minnesota Public Radio: “Those stories were tongue in cheek when I wrote them. It was over 26 years ago.” I think this falls into the category of nonresponse response: “People are going to try and dig up stuff to undermine my candidacy, but we’ve all been on a life journey and have hopefully learned something over the past quarter century, and I have too.”

This is a variation of Ellison’s claims of ignorance of what he was doing in the Nation of Islam after his graduation from law school while he was on the make in Minneapolis. He put it this way on Medium last week: “In my effort to pursue justice for the African-American community, I neglected to scrutinize the words of those like Khalid Muhammed and Farrakhan who mixed a message of African American empowerment with scapegoating of other communities. These men organize by sowing hatred and division, including, anti-Semitism, homophobia and a chauvinistic model of manhood. I disavowed them long ago, condemned their views, and apologized.”

Does the Democratic National Committee really want to join Ellison on his “life journey”? We shall see.

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