After he unexpectedly won the endorsement of the DFL nominating convention for Minnesota’s Fifth District congressional seat on May 6, 2006, Keith Ellison faced a serious problem. The problem was how to deal with his well-known involvement with the Nation of Islam. Had Ellison not managed to dispose of the problem, his candidacy would likely have been irreparably weakened in the competitive DFL primary field.
Ellison chose to deal with the problem by writing an audacious letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council on May 28, 2006. In the letter, Ellison staked his campaign on three assertions: That his involvement with the Nation of Islam was limited to a period of 18 months around the time of the Million Man March in 1995, that he was unaware of the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitism and that he terminated his involvement with the Nation of Islam when he became aware of it.
This is Ellison’s May 28 letter; click to enlarge.
Instead of undertaking any investigation of these assertions, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported the assertions and repeated them as facts ever since. Yet each of these assertions is demonstrably false. Their falsehood is easily established by newspaper accounts documenting Ellison’s activities, speeches and beliefs over the relevant period of time.
Moreover, Ellison’s long commitment to and advocacy of the Nation of Islam is reflected in the various aliases he used over a period of ten years: Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad. The Star Tribune has not only failed to connect these aliases to Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam, it has erroneously reported that Ellison used these aliases during his student days at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam includes his support of “the truth” of Joanne Jackson’s condemnation of Jews in 1997 as “the most racist white people.” In his May 28 letter to the JCRC, Ellison went out of his way to state that, unlike others, he did not come to the defense of the statement that created the controversy that engulfed Joanne Jackson. Rather, according to Ellison, he only called for dialogue. This too is demonstrably false.
Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam is not the most offensive of his public associations and commitments. That distinction must belong to Ellison’s work with Minneapolis gang leader and murderer Sharif Willis following the 1992 murder of Minneapolis Police Officer Jerry Haaf.
Ellison’s February 2000 speech on behalf of domestic terrorist Kathleen Soliah/Sara Jane Olson picked up this reprehensible aspect of Ellison’s career and united it with his missionary work on behalf of the Nation of Islam. In that speech Ellison called for the release of Soliah/Olson and spoke favorably of cop killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur. The Star Tribune has never gotten around to reporting what Ellison said on that occasion either.
My article summarizing the most notable aspects of Keith Ellison’s public career — “Louis Farrakhan’s First Congressman” — was published in the Weekly Standard on September 30, 2006, in anticipation of Ellison’s election. As Power Line readers may have guessed, my preferred title for the article was “Who is Keith Ellison?”
Given the media’s disinclination to examine Ellison’s public record, or to get straight what little it has let come to the surface, we set out a Keith Ellison timeline and posted copies of some key articles as a companion to the Standard piece:
1987–Ellison enrolls in University of Minnesota Law School
1989–Ellison publishes the first of two articles in the University of Minnesota Daily under the alias “Keith Hakim.” In the first such article, Ellison speaks up for the Nation of Islam.
1990–Ellison participates in the sponsorship of the anti-Semitic speech by Kwame Ture given at the University of Minnesota Law School (“Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?”). Ellison rejects the appeal of Jewish law students to withdraw sponsorship of the lecture. Ellison graduates from University of Minnesota Law School.
1992–Ellison appears as speaker at demonstration against Minneapolis police with Vice Lords leader Sharif Willis following the murder of Officer Haaf by four Vice Lords gangsters in September.
1993–Ellison leads demonstration chanting “We don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace” in support of Vice Lords defendant on trial for the murder of Officer Haaf. Ellison attends Gang Summit in Kansas City with Willis.
1995–Ellison supports Million Man March, appears at organizing rally with former Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Muhammed at University of Minnesota. Ellison acts as local Nation of Islam leader in march at office of U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis protesting indictment of Qubilah Shabazz for conspiring to murder Louis Farrakhan. Ellison charges FBI with conspiring to murder Farrakhan. Ellison writes article under alias “Keith X Ellison” attacking Star Tribune for criticizing Louis Farrakhan. Here it is; click to enlarge:
1997–Ellison appears under alias “Keith Ellison-Muhammad” at Minnesota Initiative Against Racism hearing in support of Joanne Jackson. Ellison defends “the truth” of Jackson’s statement that “Jews are the most racist white people.” This is the Star Tribune’s article on the controversy, which refers to Ellison’s statement:
This is the statement that Ellison read, as described in the Star Tribune article, and published in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder; click to enlarge:
1998–Ellison first runs for DFL endorsement for state representative. Ellison identifies himself as member of Nation of Islam in Insight News article on his candidacy. Ellison runs for endorsement under alias “Keith Ellison-Muhammad.” This is the Insight News article; click to enlarge:
2000–Ellison gives speech supporting Kathleen Soliah/Sara Jane Olson at National Lawyers Guild fundraiser. Demands Soliah/Olson’s release. Asks audience to recall time when “Qubilah Shabazz was prosecuted in retribution against Minister Farrakhan.” Speaks favorably of cop killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur.
May 2006–Ellison writes letter to JCRC asserting involvement with Nation of Islam limited to 18 months supporting Million Man March.
August 2006–Ellison appears at unpublicizied fundraiser with CAIR executive director and Hamas supporter Nihad Awad among featured guests.
What are we to make of this? Take a look at Ellison’s May 28, 2006, letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council; it served as the keystone of his 2006 campaign for election to Congress. That letter to the contrary notwithstanding, the documents posted above nevertheless by themselves establish that 1) Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam exceeded any 18-month period, 2) Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam extended far beyond the promotion of the Million Man March, and 3) that Ellison himself, far from being ignorant of the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitism, actively supported it.
The steadfast refusal of the local Minnesota media to examine Ellison’s public record in the course of his congressional campaign represented a striking case of nonfeasance, incompetence and willfully averted eyes that remains a story unto itself.
NOTE: This post is adapted from the post that appeared here on September 30, 2006, as a companion to my Weekly Standard article on Ellison. I have slightly revised and reposted it as a companion to “Faith questions for Keith Ellison.”