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DNC debate batters Trump– but Israel support must be ‘bipartisan,’ says Ellison

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The subject of Israel and Jews came up very early in last night’s debate on CNN of the eight candidates to be Democratic National Committee chairperson. The job is to be voted on by the DNC this weekend in Atlanta; and at minute 12 or so, Chris Cuomo asked Keith Ellison how he could lead on issues of Donald Trump’s alleged anti-Semitism given challenges that have “dogged” him on that score. Ellison said:

These are false allegations, and that’s why I have 300 rabbis and Jewish community leaders who’ve signed a letter supporting me…. We know Keith and he’s a good man and always has been. That’s why a week ago I was in New York City with HIAS, which is a Jewish organization which stands up for refugees. They say, we were once refugees… When I spoke at that I invoked the memory of the St. Louis where Jews fleeing the Third Reich were turned away in Cuba with the knowledge of our government and sent back, many of them perishing in the Holocaust.

I have a long strong history of interfaith dialogue, interfaith communication and that’s why in my own community, I have strong support from the Jewish community.

So these are smears. And we are fighting back every day. I just want to say, it is critical that we speak up against this anti-semitism, because right now you have Jewish cemeteries being defaced and desecrated. Right now you have Jewish institutions getting bomb threats. We have to stand with the Jewish community right here, right now, four square.

Cuomo then said that President Trump has made the relationship with Israel central; but Ellison was someone who said that Israel should not be the only lens by which foreign policy is shaped. What do you say to that, if you are head of the DNC facing critics who mention your record?

Here’s what I say. I voted for $27 billion in bilateral aid to Israel over the course of about six or seven votes. I have been to the region many times and sat down with members of the Knesset and worked with them.

I have been a stalwart champion of the two state solution, which means that we have got to have Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security, and I have made that a very key cornerstone of my advocacy, and so look, I believe that the U.S.-Israel relationship is special and important. I have stood for that principle in service in my whole career, and you can trust when I’m the DNC chair that relationship will continue. We will maintain the bipartisan consensus of US support for Israel if I’m the DNC chair.

“Congressman Ellison, thank you for addressing the criticisms,” Cuomo said.

It’s amazing that the rest of the debate, one candidate after another denounced Trump on one issue after another, and put down the donor class of the Democratic Party too, in favor of the grassroots. On this issue: conservative bipartisanship is the only way, officially.

At minute 1:43:00, Ellison and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez were asked about their having gone out to dinner recently. Did they cut a deal? No, we’re committed to the Democratic team, to support whoever wins the job, Ellison said. Who paid? Perez said he did, Ellison made him pay.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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21 Responses

  1. eljay on February 23, 2017, 10:13 am

    … I believe that the U.S.-Israel relationship is special …

    Doesn’t he know it’s anti-Semitic to single out the “Jewish State” for special treatment?

    … We will maintain the bipartisan consensus of US support for Israel if I’m the DNC chair. …

    Are there any other colonialist, (war) criminal and supremacist states for which he plans to maintain support, or is he once again anti-Semitically singling out Israel for special treatment?

    • amigo on February 23, 2017, 12:02 pm

      Let,s be clear ,when Ellison et al are referring to Israel , he /they are speaking only about 80% of the population of Israel. If the 80% have their way , they will ensure that Israel is 100% Jewish.

      However , as Israel is special and a light unto the rest of us , it is necessary to ensure that Israel will always be there , (well , at least one thousand years) to provide a beacon for the rest of us to stay on the path of righteousness , albeit as lesser beings.

    • Mooser on February 23, 2017, 4:47 pm

      Well, I guess the Democrats can favor Israel, and the Republicans can favor Russia. Now we’ve all got a spunky start-up nation to root for.

      • Citizen on February 24, 2017, 10:48 am

        Trump recently stated publicly that Israel was our number one ally and we share the very same interests.

      • Maghlawatan on February 24, 2017, 12:10 pm

        namely paranoia, torture, bullshit, groupthink

  2. Maghlawatan on February 23, 2017, 10:59 am

    DNC debate batters Trump– but support for Tammany Hall must be ‘bipartisan,’ says Ellison –

    Israel is the same

    • Kay24 on February 23, 2017, 8:55 pm

      This is what US politics have become, a place where you can bash the President, but speak of Israel, a brutal occupier, land thief, and guilty of crimes against civilians, with much reverence and adoration.

      • JWalters on February 23, 2017, 9:30 pm

        Way too true. But it appears that all the hammering on the facts is gradually loosening Israel’s tyrannical grip. Another good article is “Israel’s Dead-End Dilemma”

      • Maghlawatan on February 24, 2017, 4:30 am

        That is a superb article. The Israelis built a system from which there is no clean exit. It all comes back to the core Zionist belief in Jewish superiority. They have painted themselves into a corner. Classic groupthink.

  3. peterfeld on February 23, 2017, 11:18 am

    It’s up to us to provide both the pressure and the cover, to require and enable Democratic leaders to break the bipartisan consensus for Israel.

    • JWalters on February 23, 2017, 9:07 pm

      Completely agree.

      The Israelis and their agents in the U.S. don’t want Ellison in that post because he might get some crazy idea that Muslims too should be treated fairly. That would directly conflict with Israel’s longstanding policies and behaviors. This is another event by which to measure the power of Israel’s Iron Heel.

      • Maghlawatan on February 24, 2017, 4:31 am

        The Israelis can’t sell apartheid to the goys. Israeli politics become more and more extremist as the chasm between Israel and the world widens.

  4. MHughes976 on February 23, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Where to start, Peter? In the U.K. the slightest negative word about Israel, or at least about – or at least seeming to be about or even most mildly to mock – Zionism in principle, is anti-Semitic to our political parties. I noted our colleague Eva’s bad trip with the Labour Party. In supposedly secular America a candidate for a senior political job advertises the signatures of 300 community leaders, including many rabbis. Is this because religious professionals are natural advisers on political leadership – will Mr. Perez, the favourite I understand, wave a letter from 30 bishops? Or is it that a sort of fusion of sacred and secular has occurred solely in the Jewish case, with the further assumption that it is absolutely natural for a domestic political organisation to place enormous emphasis on the interests of another country? The latter, I think. If you can get your political movement treated as sacred and get opposition called by a name – ‘anti-Semitism’ – that suggests the demonic realm your position is very, very strong. Mere movements in public opinion will not change much.

  5. xanadou on February 23, 2017, 7:10 pm

    “Ellison said: “Here’s what I say. I voted for $27 billion in bilateral aid to Israel over the course of about six or seven votes. I have been to the region many times and sat down with members of the Knesset and worked with them.”

    What next from “muslim” ellison: “I pledge submissive allegiance to my zio masters…” (Bitter sarcasm)
    Ellison has been to the region many times. Oh, really? Who paid for those trips? What were the instructions imparted unto Ellison while he was sitting with the MKs? (rhetorical). No mention, not even pro forma, about meetings with Palestinians. Ellison is a Muslim in name only. It was all about making sure that his zio audience was hearing to whom he has pledged his loyalty, with nary a word or phrase of any consequence for the Palestinians.

    For this “Muslim” his disgusting assurances were on a par with clinton and her public announcements of submissive fealty to Pighi Bankenyahoo and Co.
    Ellison, too, is clearly out of step with the times and a potential enabler for the final and much delayed collapse of the DNC, if selected. In the absence of a cohesive replacement, such a disaster will only ensure of 8 years of trumpty.

    Yessir, the First Yahoo was quite right about Americans, such as ellison, who can be easily moved” to do the zios’ bidding.

  6. oldgeezer on February 23, 2017, 7:43 pm

    Maybe it’s time to update that pledge of allegiance.

    It is so ludicrous to watch people essentially forced to pledge allegiance to a foreign state. If I was a US taxpayer I would be embarrassed and work hard to defeat this supine gutless politicos.

    • CigarGod on February 24, 2017, 8:00 am

      It ain’t the voters who elect, it’s the donors.
      Of course Trump turned that one on it’s head, but the Dems can’t seem to learn new tricks.

      • Citizen on February 24, 2017, 10:53 am

        I noticed Trump recently met with Sheldon Adelson twice. It did not get in the mainstream media.

  7. Maghlawatan on February 23, 2017, 9:37 pm

    Dan Cassino, a political scientist at Fairleigh Dickinson University, said: “It seems like we are getting his ideas coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth to a great extent.
    “I think we are seeing Bannon’s influence in Israel policy: the idea we have to support a militarily strong Israel and the coexistence in the Oslo process for two decades needs to be thrown out. That tells us he has a lot of influence and he wasn’t kidding about this.”
    Crucially, Cassino argues, Bannon determines what media Trump consumes and shapes his worldview. “The information flow seems to be going through Breitbart and Fox News rather than through the national security apparatus. That’s troubling. It points to the influence of Bannon and how the other people briefing him are not having influence.”

  8. on February 24, 2017, 8:33 am

    Never mind Trump and Bannon, they’re chump change. Ellison’s obviously been groomed for many years with green and talking points, as was Obama, other so-called liberals and most of everyone in Congress for that matter — by the Israel Lobby and AIPAC. That’s why we have this fairy tale two-state solution, bipartisan support for Israel and wishful thinking about a hands off policy of letting the two sides sit down and work out their own problems.

    C’Mon, folks wake up and smell the coffee. Israel has staked the deck against the Palestinians with decades of disingenuous “negotiation”, unquestioning support from the U.S and the Israel Lobby (see Walt and Mearsheimer’s “Israel Lobby” and Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment”). Israel needs to be held responsible for its decades of actions and wrongs against (1) the Palestinians and (2) the true interests of most people in the U.S.

    This means changes in our leadership so they take away the carrot and administer a stick, namely withdrawal of uncritical and unrequited financial, media and policy support for Israel, like the $38 billion without asking anything in return, all to the detriment, impaired security and cost of the U.S.

    Current ineffective and damaging policy is what our leaders, the mainstream media, our cultural institutions and our educational institutions have corruptly supported for many decades, again because of the massive power and influence of the Israel Lobby, which has allied itself with the rest of the corporate oligarchic elite. They are all strong Israel firsters, which many people would label a serious conflict of interest, some might say bordering on treason.

    • Maghlawatan on February 24, 2017, 10:39 am

      In the film Defamation , Norman Finkelstein says that the worst thing to happen to Israel was the ultra rich Jews who drive the lobby in the US. They are destroying Judaism and will break Israel.

  9. SonofDaffyDuck on February 24, 2017, 9:40 am

    Could someone please come up with a simple Pledge of Allegiance to Israel for all politicians to memorize and recite on such occasions as a meeting of Democrats (or Republicans) which makes clear their unqualified, unwavering, unshakable unbounded, unlimited loyalty?

    Billions in tribute do not seem to suffice for those who crack the whip over their heads.

    A properly supine declaration would take less energy to recite and no politician would risk the consequences of not appearing to be loyal enough if he/she should adlib.

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