An official at the anti-Israel American Muslims for Palestine group who openly advocates for violence against the Jewish state contributed $2,500 to Democratic Party leader Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) last year, according to campaign disclosure documents.
The contribution from Taher Herzallah, AMP's associate director of outreach and grassroots organizing, came in March 2017 shortly after Ellison was named the Democratic National Committee's deputy chairman.
Herzallah is best known as one of the "Irvine 11," a group of students who were sentenced to three years probation for actions taken to disrupt a 2010 speech by then-Israeli ambassador Michael Oren. He more recently—just a few weeks before his contribution to Ellison—was arrested for disrupting confirmation hearings for U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Herzallah has in recent years openly advocated for using violence to destroy Israel, saying in 2014 that "the State of Israel is a lie" and "Israelis have to be bombed."
"Israelis have to be bombed, they are a threat to the legitimacy of Palestine, and it is wrong to maintain the State of Israel," Herzallah said, according to the Anti-Defamation League. "It is an illegitimate creation born from colonialism and racism."
Herzallah backs up his calls for violence by arguing "the only language that the state of Israel understands is that of resistance."
Herzallah has also proposed establishing "an Islamic State" to "use violent means to resist occupation."
"What if as Muslims we wanted to establish an Islamic State? What if as Muslims we wanted to use violent means to resist occupation? Is that wrong?"
Herzallah argues there is no future for Palestinian people "as long as Zionism exists," and he doesn't "limit discourse on a future Palestine based on the 1967 lines."
Herzallah's radical comments are unsurprising given his role at AMP, a group founded by a man who in 2004 called for "an intifada" in the United States.
Herzallah's role at AMP is to run its campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine, the leading activist group for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign that aims to destroy Israel economically.
Ellison supported the BDS movement until his campaign for the top DNC leadership post, during which he was repeatedly dinged for previous statements on Israel and associations with radical groups such as Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood-founded Muslim American Society.
He backtracked from many of his controversial positions during his campaign, which was ultimately unsuccessful.
"I have long supported a two-state solution and a democratic and secure state for the Jewish people, with a democratic and viable Palestinian state side-by-side in peace and dignity," Ellison said during his campaign. "I don’t believe boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning Israel helps us achieve that goal. I supported the Democratic Platform, which embraces this position."
Neither Ellison's office nor his campaign responded to requests for comment on the contribution from Herzallah.
The DNC also failed to respond to an inquiry into whether it believes Ellison should return the contribution.
Published under: Keith Ellison