- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rep. Keith Ellison is causing quite the headache for New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

On Tuesday, more than two-dozen protesters staged a sit-in in Mr. Schumer’s Washington office to signal to the minority leader their disapproval of his support for Mr. Ellison as Democratic National Committee Chairman.

Prominent Jewish leaders told CBS’s New York City affiliate they were offended Mr. Schumer backed a man who worked to insert pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel planks into the Democratic Party platform before he was stopped by Hillary Clinton’s team.

“[Mr. Ellison’s] vile beliefs … ought to disqualify him outright,” Joel Mowbray told CBS. “If Chuck Schumer actually did his due diligence and is supporting Ellison anyway, that’s shameful.”

According to the CBS report, Mr. Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives, “posted a photo of a sign in Hebron declaring Israel to be an apartheid state and has defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan against accusations of being anti-Semitic.”

Earlier in his career, Mr. Ellison likened then-President George W. Bush’s consolidation of power after 9/11 to the Reichstag fire that put Adolf Hitler in power.

“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Mr. Ellison said during a meeting with a group of atheists. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”

The Anti-Defamation League, which combats anti-Semitism, said the comments were “odious” and “demeans the victims of 9/11 and the brave American men and women engaged in the war on terror. Furthermore, it demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about the horrors that Hitler and his Nazi regime perpetrated.”

Mr. Ellison, a freshman House member at the time, apologized for using the comparison, but has never backed down from his insinuation that President Bush used 9/11 as a way to consolidate power.

On Wednesday, progressive group MoveOn sought to defend Mr. Ellison from what it explained as a “Islamophobic smear campaign against him.”

“As a Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union, and as someone who’s worked closely with Keith Ellison for years, I know Keith Ellison represents the diverse and inclusive vision the Democratic Party needs to stand for, and I know his commitment to a 50-state deep organizing strategy that the DNC needs,” Ilya Sheyman, an executive director of MoveOn.org political action said in a statement.

ThinkProgress, a progressive website funded by billionaire George Soros, also looked to stop the bleeding — this time blaming Republicans for the attacks.

“With the Democrats in disarray following President-Elect Donald Trump’s surprise victory, the horse-race for the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair is tense, messy, and potentially crowded,” ThinkProgress wrote. “Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison is one of the favorites — and conservatives are already trying to tear him down with false equivalencies and smear tactics.”

Honestly, I don’t think the Republicans much care who heads the DNC — it’s more of an internal Democratic Party war between the progressives and party stalwarts like Mr. Schumer.

On Tuesday, Mr. Schumer’s office told CBS: “Democrats have an excellent platform, including one of the strongest pro-Israel platforms. Keith Ellison was instrumental in making that happen and persuading others to support it.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Schumer was voted in as Harry Reid’s replacement — the Senate’s No. 1 Democrat.

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