Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, the leading contender for the post of chairman of the Democratic National Committee, again tried to duck and run for cover when asked about his anti-Jewish, anti-Israel past.
In an interview with MSNBC Wednesday Ellison, D-Minn., who was sworn into office with his hand on the Quran, refused to answer a question about his past anti-Semitic rantings and blamed his past support for anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan on “bad reporting.”
Ellison once called Farrakhan “a role model for black youth,” adding that Farrakhan “is not an anti-Semite.”
Asked by Joe Scarborough whether he believes that Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, is an anti-Semite, Ellison said “sure,” but then got testy with Scarborough for even asking the question rather than elaborating on why he decided to disavow his support for Farrakhan.
“Sure, but what does he have to do with anything going on with this race or this country at this time – absolutely nothing,” Ellison said.
“I think that it is bad reporting because I have a 10-year record in the Congress, a four-year record in the Minnesota State House, I practiced law for 16 years,” Ellison said. “I just think that, you know, it’s just that kind of reporting that, you know, just that sort of … is not quality and doesn’t help people understand the real issues.”
Watch Ellison’s interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough:
Scarborough then asked him why he referred to Farrakhan a “role model for black youth.”
Ellison again dodged the question.
“Here’s the thing, Joe, we’re talking about something that happened in 1995,” Ellison said. He then called the questions part of a “smear campaign.”
Caught in a lie
This comes one week after Ellison was caught lying about his comments in 2010 blasting Israel’s “disproportionate influence” over American foreign policy.
Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism provided an audio clip of the 2010 comments, which led the Anti-Defamation League to issue a statement Thursday saying it found Ellison’s comments “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.”
Ellison shot back at the ADL in a letter claiming the audio of his comments was “selectively edited and taken out of context,” prompting Emerson to release the full transcript of the remarks to show no edits were made.
While Ellison may have disavowed his association with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, he appears to have switched his allegiance to an even more dangerous proponent of global Shariah law – the International Muslim Brotherhood.
Ellison’s comments came during a 2010 fundraiser for Esam Omeish’s state assembly campaign, IPT reported. Omeish is a former president of the Muslim American Society or MAS, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2007, Omeish was forced to resign from a Virginia immigration panel after the IPT produced video of him praising Palestinians in 2000 for learning that “the jihad way is the way to liberate your land.”
A second video, shot two months earlier, shows Omeish congratulating “our brothers and sisters in [Palestine] for their bravery, for their giving up their lives for the sake of Allah.”
Omeish has visited President Obama at the White House and been featured by the U.S. State Department as a model American Muslim.
In February, Omeish sent an open letter to Obama asking him to support the al-Qaida linked Revolutionary Council of Derna, according to an IPT report.
Omeish endorsed the Muslim Brotherhood branch in his native Libya in a 2012 IRIN News article, saying that although it came in a distant second in Libya’s 2012 elections, it “may be able to provide a better platform and a more coherent agenda of national action.”
“He is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,” Haim Saban, an Israeli-American businessman and a Democratic Party donor, said at a December policy forum endowed by his donations. “Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”
Ellison also joined with fellow Muslim Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., last year to protest the arrival of Geert Wilders, a Dutch member of parliament and leader of that country’s Freedom Party who has been a vocal critic of Islam and Muslim immigration into Western democracies.
All of this baggage has taken its toll on Ellison’s campaign to be the next DNC chair.
“I think it would be the best thing to ever happen to the Republican Party if Ellison were to get that job,” Ann Corcoran, author of the Refugee Resettlement Watch blog told WND. “He would turn the Democratic Party into a wing of CAIR, like a CAIR pipeline to the Democrat Party.”
In fact, Corcoran said she wishes the conservative media would stop beating up on Ellison so his transition into the job would not meet any resistance.
“I don’t understand why our side is writing all this negative stuff about him,” she said.
Dems repelled by Ellison’s baggage want another option
Apparently the reporting by IPT and others is having an effect on Ellison’s candidacy for the DNC leader.
Politico ran an article Wednesday saying Ellison is “no lock” for the job and that he faces “serious hurdles” from national and state Democratic Party leaders who aren’t sold on his candidacy.
“I’m hoping that there’s another candidate that’s going to emerge. I’m not really happy with the candidates that are out there,” Illinois committeeman Daniel Hynes told Politico, echoing sentiments relayed over and over in interviews over the past week. “I don’t know who that person is, I just think it’s someone who’s detached from Washington, somebody who’s full time, somebody who’s from the moderate side of the party, and somebody who’s going to steer the party back toward our ability to appeal to middle-class working Americans.”
Democrats like Hynes are looking at the election results of last month and seeing traditionally blue areas of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin poked with red breakthroughs from Donald Trump, who whipped Hillary Clinton among white working-class Democrats in semi-rural and even suburban areas.
Even in Ellison’s home state of Minnesota, a liberal stronghold, there are signs that voters have had enough of the Muslim refugees arriving weekly from Somalia. Trump beat Clinton in every part of the state with the exception of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth, which provided her with a narrow win in the popular vote.
Ellison has been riding the backing of socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
So when a far-left Muslim former supporter of Farrakhan emerged as the only serious candidate for DNC chairman, some nervous party leaders started seeking another option.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Obama’s Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, is expected to throw his hat in the ring, setting up a renewed showdown between between the Clinton and Sanders wings of the party.
“Perez is very smart,” said Corcoran, who hails from Maryland, the same state as the labor secretary. “He’s a very smooth operator.”
Perez has been the target of “weeks of quiet pressure” to give Democrats another alternative to Ellison, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A spokesman for Ellison told the Tribune there would be no comment until Perez made his bid official, but the two other candidates for the job welcomed him to the race.
Ellison was the first candidate in the DNC race, with backing from Sanders and incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
The DNC is expected to choose its next leader in early 2017.