Former congressman Keith Ellison met with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday, with the American praising the Brit as a "true grassroots organizer." Both men have ties to anti-Semitic leaders in their respective countries and have themselves been accused of anti-Semitism.
Awesome day in London, especially meeting with Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn – a true grassroots organizer. pic.twitter.com/Jl6HhyVNxY
— Keith Ellison (@keithellison) July 2, 2019
Ellison belonged to Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam in the 1990s, leaving the organization when he ran for Congress in 2006. Farrakhan has in the past decried Jewish leaders in America as "the synagogue of Satan," adding "you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell." Upon becoming Democratic Party chairman in 2016, Ellison said that he had severed ties with the anti-Semitic organization.
But subsequent reporting from the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Caller revealed that Ellison attended at least three meetings with Farrakhan since entering Congress. Ellison met with Farrakhan and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in a private dinner party in September 2013, along with other prominent American Muslims. Ellison met with Farrakhan two more times, once in the Nation of Islam leader's hotel room.
The National Council of Young Israel urged for Ellison's resignation in 2018, citing his connections with Farrakhan as "a serious credibility problem."
For his part, Corbyn associated with a motley collection of anti-Semites before his rise to prominence in 2015. He associated with Deir Yassin Remembered, an anti-Israel group that denies the Holocaust. He referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as "friends" in speeches. Additionally, he has defended the Anglican Reverend Stephen Sizer, who was banned from social media sites because he spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, calling Sizer courageous because he has "dared to speak out over Zionism."
Corbyn has repeatedly apologized in the press for his past associations with anti-Semites, but as Labour's relationship with British Jews worsens, some critics have called his apologies insincere.