Anti-Defamation League Calls Keith Ellison's Comments on Israel 'Disqualifying'

Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Keith Ellison / AP
December 1, 2016

The Anti-Defamation League pulled its aidupport of Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) to head the Democratic National Committee after it was revealed that the congressman complained to a private audience that Israel has control of U.S. foreign policy in the United States.

"New information recently has come to light that raises serious concerns about whether Rep. Ellison faithfully could represent the Democratic Party’s traditional support for a strong and secure Israel," wrote ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a Thursday statement.

A recording of Ellison's comments during a private fundraiser in 2010 was obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

"The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people," Ellison said. "A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes."

Greenblatt called the comments "deeply disturbing and disqualifying," and said they are based on "age-old stereotypes."

"His words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but that has no place in open societies like the U.S.," wrote Greenblatt.

The 2010 fundraiser that Ellison spoke at was hosted by a former president of the Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood-founded group that paid for Ellison to travel to Saudi Arabia.

The ADL had previously defended Ellison's candidacy for chairman of the DNC, saying that he was a "man of good character" that has "been on the record in support of Israel."

"We have seen him through his work in Congress as an important ally in the fight against anti-Semitism and for civil rights," said Greenblatt.