Jewish Leaders Question Chuck Schumer's Endorsement of Keith Ellison

Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Keith Ellison / AP
November 16, 2016

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y) is facing criticism from Jewish leaders in New York over his endorsement of Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) to head the Democratic National Committee.

Schumer was pushed to support Ellison, a vocal critic of Israel, by the far-left wing of the Democratic Party. Protestors went to Schumer's Washington, D.C., office this week calling for him to give up his leadership role to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was endorsed by Ellison during the Democratic primary.

Members of New York's Jewish community are questioning why Schumer would push for Ellison, who has voiced his belief that Israel is an apartheid state, to have an increased role in the party, according to a CBS New York report.

Prominent Jewish leaders told CBS2’s Kramer they are upset with Schumer for backing Ellison, who has been highly critical of Israel.

The Jewish leaders recited a litany of concerns. Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, worked to insert pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel pranks into the Democratic Party platform, but they were stopped by the Clinton team.

On a trip to Israel last summer, Ellison posted a photo of a sign in Hebron declaring Israel to be an apartheid state. He also proudly defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan against accusations of being anti-Semitic.

"(H)is vile beliefs… ought to disqualify him outright," said Joel Mowbray, a consultant to Jewish groups. "If Chuck Schumer actually did his due diligence and is supporting Ellison anyway, that’s shameful."

Schumer's office brushed off the critics, saying that Ellison was "instrumental" in crafting the party's strong pro-Israel platform.

"Democrats have an excellent platform, including one of the strongest pro-Israel platforms," said a Schumer spokesperson. "Keith Ellison was instrumental in making that happen and persuading others to support it."