Denouncing Keith Ellison
Keith Ellison denies that he is a Louis Farrakhan supporter. In fact, ask Ellison, and he'll insist that he hardly even knows they guy. Forget about the times that he's met with Farrakhan in his hotel room in 2016, or at private dinner in 2013 in which Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani was also a guest, or those numerous other meetings at numerous other times.
Johari Abdul-Malik, then director at Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center in Virginia, uploaded a YouTube video in 2013 that shows Ellison casually chatting among a crowd of men, including Farrakhan. The video is short — just 28 seconds —- but what it shows is indisputable: Ellison comfortably socializing in the same group as Farrakhan, decades after Ellison supposedly cut ties with him.
The exact date of the video is unclear, but Abdul-Malik’s caption indicates it took place no earlier than 2010. In the video, Farrakhan is seen hugging Muslim American activist Mahdi Bray. “Min Farrakhan gives thanks for Mahdi Bray’s recovery from stroke,” Abdul-Malik wrote. Bray suffered his stroke in 2010, according to PBS.
Keith Ellison is offended that anyone would keep asking about his troubling association with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam and would not accept his denunciations of anti-Semitism. He wants people to stop turning the focus back to his association with Farrakhan. He is offended that people believe the news reports, the photos, and the videos that show him comfortable in Farrakhan's company. We are supposed to believe his long, rambling, at times nonsensical self-defense.
“Look, I gotta be honest with you and tell you, this thing about Farrakhan being absolutely radioactive and then trying to connect anyone possible to him and then make them radioactive, is. . . Look, Farrakhan’s organization is tiny, they don’t have any influence, nobody listens to them, they don’t have any answers for anyone. Nobody’s paying any attention to them. I’m telling you, they’re not. I mean, give me credit for leading my life.
“Farrakhan is irrelevant. To any politics. Nobody ca- - is he working on health care, is he working on anything? Is anyone thinking oh yeah, I’m gonna be an antisemite like him. No one is saying that. What I’m telling you is, the only way Farrakhan gets in the news is if someone tries to say, oh this black person whose whole life is dedicated to human rights met him or saw him or was in a room with him. It’s a smear, Man. I’m sorry, it is a smear.”
Some Jewish organizations are demanding that Ellison, in light of his continuous association with the anti-Semitic Farrakhan resign, but not all Jewish organizations. Some are only "extremely disturbed." For Jewish Democrats, you can remove the word "extremely."
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who consistently leans toward the Democratic Party, allowed that Farrakhan’s presence at the Rouhani dinner was “extremely disturbing” and that “the presence of Louis Farrakhan should have been a red flag” for Ellison. David Bernstein, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, tweeted that Ellison’s actions were “very disturbing… Dining with hatemongers is not ok.”
As disturbed as Jonathan Greenblatt is, it seems to be only Orthodox Jewish groups who are calling for Ellison to resign. Jewish Democrats seem to be satisfied with expressing their "extreme disturbed-ness". But as Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values said:
“Farrakhan seemed certain that Ellison was merely acting out of political necessity, and now we see why: away from the media, contact between them continued. And now that he was caught in Farrakhan’s close company multiple times, Ellison cannot even repudiate him by name in his statement. He supported this hateful individual for years, joined him on multiple occasions as a congressman, and has been dishonest about their relationship. He has disqualified himself.
“All those who condemned the President for not forcefully denouncing the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville must now demonstrate that this was not merely partisan politics. They must denounce Ellison’s dishonesty and continued contact with one of America’s leading anti-Semitic hatemongers, and call upon him to resign both his seat in Congress and as Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee.”
He's right, of course.