Friday, December 2, 2016

The Keith Ellison Perplex

After eight years of systematically ignoring anti-Semitism Democrats went into high dudgeon over Steve Bannon’s work at Breitbart news. The media organization was founded by a Jew named Andrew Breitbart and the article that was supposedly the most offensive was authored by someone named David Horowitz.

The story was salient because it affirmed the left-wing suspicion that anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry came from the one true enemy: the right wing.

Now, the specter of anti-Semitism has come to haunt the Democratic Party itself. In the wake of its election debacle the party had seemed to be uniting around the candidacy of one Keith Mohammed Ellison for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Apparently, the lesson of election 2016 has been lost on Democratic operatives. As Mark Lilla wrote and as I commented on, the biggest loser in the election was identity politics. Dividing the nation into warring factions did not work out as expected. Placing everyone in different groups based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and whatever felt like a systematic attack on white people, an attack that relied on slander and defamation. And, not just on white people. It all felt like an attack on national unity. In the election the nation rose up against the tyranny of political correctness.

And yet, as Bob Dylan famously chanted: “When will they ever learn?” This week the night riders of the thought police have set out against a Texas couple named Chip and Joanna Gaines. The two have a television show on HG TV called Fixer Upper. They have parlayed their show into a budding media empire. No one who has watched the show has any but good feelings for the Gaineses. As it happens, they are a mixed race couple. Not that that matters.

What was their thought crime? In truth, it wasn’t theirs. It was attributed to the pastor of the church they attend. According to Buzzfeed, among others, their pastor Jimmy Seibert holds politically incorrect, and therefore heretical views about marriage.

The Federalist reports:

[According to] Jimmy Seibert, the Gaines’ pastor: “So if someone were to say, ‘Marriage is defined in a different way,’ let me just say: They are wrong. God defined marriage, not you and I. God defined masculine and feminine, male and female, not you and I.”

You may, of course, want to debate the point. As it happens, until a couple of decades ago, no one doubted this notion. Now, it has been thrown into question. But, that is not all. It has been denounced as a thought crime, as an offense against the faith. Anyone who believes what every human society has believed and practiced until a couple of decades ago is a bigot and does not deserve to have a television show on HG TV.

In fact, it does not really matter what Chip and Joanna Gaines believe or disbelieve. Attending a church where the pastor holds heretical views is, in the minds of the politically correct zealots, disqualifying.

If you were wondering why identity politics went down in flames on November 9, here’s one good reason. Then again, remember when Democrats and the political left happily excused a presidential candidate who attended a church led by a pastor who hated America, white people, Jews and Israel?

In the meantime, the great minds of the Democratic Party, led by their congressional leaders have missed the point of the election. Alan Dershowitz excoriates them for not being too bright:

What should a political party that has just lost its white working-­class blue-collar base to a “make America great again” nationalist do to try to regain these voters? Why not appoint as the new head of the party a radical left-wing ideologue who has a long history of supporting an anti-American, anti-white, anti-Semitic Nation of Islam racist?

Such an appointment will surely bring back rust belt voters who have lost their jobs to globalization and free trade! Is this really the thinking of those Democratic leaders who are pushing for Keith Ellison to head the Democratic National Committee?

One hates to say it, but how can we ignore the fact that the current occupant of the White House himself had a long history of supporting an anti-American, anti-white, anti-Semitic Nation of Islam racist. Hmmm.

To be fair, Rev. Jeremiah Wright was not a Muslim and did not belong to the Nation of Islam. And yet, he worked closely with Louis Farrakhan, even to the point of participating in rallies with him. And, Rev. Wright, happily published Hamas propaganda in his Church bulletin.

Do Democrats see Keith Ellison as the new Barack Obama?

Neither Farrakhan nor Wright nor, for that matter, Ellison, could support a campaign to make American great. Even if they disagree over whether America ever was great—they do not—they can hardly be expected to support anyone’s craving for national unity. After all, Wright preached something that was called black liberation theology… a doctrine that defined blacks as an oppressed class that needed to rise up and overthrow their white oppressors.

Since Ellison had a long history of associating with Farrakhan, it is fair to point out that the Nation of Islam founder has not been very much of a patriot.

Dershowitz made the case:

Ellison’s sordid past associations with Louis Farrakhan — the longtime leader of the Nation of Islam — will hurt him in Middle America, which has little appetite for Farrakhan’s anti-American ravings. Recently, Farrakhan made headlines for visiting Iran on the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution where he berated the U.S., while refusing to criticize Iran’s human rights violations.

Farrakhan also appeared as a special guest speaker of the Iranian president at a rally, which featured the unveiling of a float reenacting Iran’s detention of 10 U.S. Navy sailors in the Persian Gulf. (Jessica Chasmar, "Louis Farrakhan Speaking in Iran, Slams American ‘Dismal’ Human Rights Record," The Washington Times, Feb. 12, 2016.)

In addition to embracing American enemies abroad, Farrakhan has exhibited a penchant for lacing his sermons with anti-Semitic hate speech. Around the time that Ellison was working with the Nation of Islam, for example, Farrakhan was delivering speeches attacking “the synagogue as Satan.” He described Jews as “wicked deceivers of the American people” that have “wrapped [their] tentacles around the U.S. government” and are “deceiving and sending this nation to hell.”

Those who care can also examine the record of Ellison’s anti-Israeli votes in Congress. The record is perfectly clear to anyone who cares to look at it.

Dershowitz outlines it:

Ellison’s voting record also does not support his claim that he has become a “friend” of Israel. He was one of only eight congressmen who voted against funding the Iron Dome program, developed jointly by the U.S. and Israel, which helps protect Israeli civilians from Hamas rockets.

In 2009, Ellison was one of only two dozen congressmen to vote “present” rather than vote for a non-­binding resolution “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from, reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

And in 2010, Ellison co-­authored a letter to President Obama, calling on him to pressure Israel into opening the border with Gaza. The letter describes the blockade of the Hamas controlled Gaza strip as “de facto collective punishment of the Palestinian residents.”

And yet, the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party, including New York’s own Jewish senator, Chuck Schumer have supported Ellison. When Ellison ran for Congress in Minnesota Jewish groups decided that he had had a change of heart. They supported him.

When Barack Obama declared that his twenty year association with Rev. Wright did not matter, Jewish groups supported him. How did that work out?

Examine Obama’s contempt for the prime minister of Israel, his efforts to legitimize the Muslim Brotherhood and his efforts to empower the Iranian regime. Then you can ask precisely how much he had really put the Rev. Wright in the past. When Obama sent hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to Tehran, money that would be funneled to Hamas and Hezbollah, the better to support their efforts to kill Jews... who in the American Jewish community stood up against him?

If Obama’s record with Rev. Jeremiah Wright did not matter to the Democratic Party, why should Keith Ellison’s?

Now, the Anti-Defamation League has just discovered that Keith Ellison is too anti-Semitic. So perhaps his quest for legitimacy at the DNC is over? But, then again, why did it take this much time? And when will people understand that the issue is not Keith Ellison, but Barack Obama?


Trigger Warning said...

If I could vote for Keith Ellison as Chair of the DNC, I would happily do so. In fact, in grand Democrat tradition, I would vote twice. Far from disqualifying, his background makes the perfect face for the Democrat Party, just as the lunatic Rev Wright and his brand of Black Liberation Theology did for Barack.

Paul said...

Minor point. It was Pete Seeger, not Dylan, who wrote "Where have all the flowers gone?" and thus "when will they ever learn?"

Sam L. said...

TW, I'm with you on this. Having the face of the DNC and the Dems be Ellison would be Truth personified.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: In the wake of its election debacle the party had seemed to be uniting around the candidacy of one Keith Mohammed Ellison for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Keith Ellison is my U.S. House representative, and while he is Muslim, and in fact sworn into office on Thomas Jefferson's Quran, I was surprised by your adding a middle name Mohammed. So you got the right initial, but the wrong name, his middle name being Maurice.

I wonder where this strange misrepresentation comes from? I see Keith Ellison-Muhammad was one of the "pen names" he used before he was elected, while there's no evidence for "Keith Mohammed Ellison" being accurate or ever used.
Moreover, Ellison’s long commitment to and advocacy of the Nation of Islam is reflected in the various aliases he used over a period of ten years: Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad. The Star Tribune has not only failed to connect these aliases to Ellison’s involvement with the Nation of Islam, it has erroneously reported that Ellison used these aliases during his student days at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Ares Olympus said...

Also Ellison has to face this when he was first elected.
While Ellison has acknowledged an association with the Nation of Islam in the 1990s, he denounced Farrakhan and Nation of Islam in a May 28, 2006, letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas:

"I saw in the Nation of Islam, and specifically the Million Man March, an effort to promote African-American self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and community economic development. I did not adequately scrutinize the positions and statements of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and Khalid Muhammed. I wrongly dismissed concerns that they were anti-Semitic. They were and are anti-Semitic and I should have come to that conclusion earlier than I did. I regret that I didn't. But at no time did I ever share their hateful views or repeat or approve of their hateful statements directed at Jews, gays or any other group."

Ellison also stated in the letter, "I have long since distanced myself from and rejected the Nation of Islam due to its propagation of bigoted and anti-Semitic ideas and statements, as well as other issues ... and I reject and condemn the anti-Semitic statements and actions of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and Khalid Muhammed."

As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on November 13, Ellison "will carry into office the hopes of Muslims and the expectations of a home district that includes half of Minnesota's Jewish population and plenty of urban problems."

A November 8 BBC article noted that during Ellison's campaign, he "was supported by the National Jewish Democratic Council as well as a prominent Minneapolis Jewish newspaper, which endorsed him over his Republican rival Alan Fine, who is Jewish."

So his denouncing Farrakhan is better late than never, and now 10 year old.

That said, I have to agree his self-identity as a Muslim is problematic for a united position as DNC chair. He's a good lightning rod, and it was certainly fun that people spread rumors in 2008 about Obama being a Muslim and that he was sworn in on the Quran, while it was a partially true story as Ellison's swearing in.

But it is all a distraction from what ought to be important to a large nation, and is currently half-hysterical about Islam. I think an imaginary Muslim president in Barack Hussein Obama is progressive enough for now, while we may be a decade or more backwards on seeing Muslims as true Americans.

It's clearly just too traumatic for many white people.

On happier news a woman Muslim was elected in Minneapolis this month, a first Somali refugee. And she had to wrestle the State House seat from a 30 year Democratic imcumbent.
She's a former refugee, a Muslim, a mom of three, and now the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States.

"This really was a victory for that 8-year-old in that refugee camp," Ilhan Omar, 34, said. "This was a victory for the young woman being forced into child marriage. This was a victory for every person that's been told they have limits on their dreams."

Omar is the youngest of seven children. She and her family fled from the Somali civil war and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya. When she came to the United States in 1995, she spoke only Somali. As her English improved, she began translating for her grandfather at political events in the Twin Cities. Today, the Minneapolis organizer is well-versed in business administration and politics.

"I think I bring the voice of young people," Omar said. "I think I bring the voice of women in the East African community. I bring the voice of Muslims. I bring the voice of young mothers looking for opportunities."

Anonymous said...

And yet, as Bob Dylan famously chanted: “When will they ever learn?”
Pete Seeger? Sorry, but I can't just walk away from a Dylan misattribution.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: Now, the Anti-Defamation League has just discovered that Keith Ellison is too anti-Semitic.

I'm curious if anti-Semitic is synonymous with anti-zionist? Are all Jews required by a special covenant to be pro-Israel, or more specific pro-Israeli-majority-government i.e. pro every policy position?

So here's the link:
In a speech recorded in 2010 to a group of supporters, Rep. Ellison is heard suggesting that American foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by Israel, saying: “The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. 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.”

Rep. Ellison’s remarks are both deeply disturbing and disqualifying. His words imply that U.S. foreign policy is based on religiously or national origin-based special interests rather than simply on America’s best interests. Additionally, whether intentional or not, 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.

It seems clear to me that Israel is a very powerful country in the Middle East and its power exists in part because of subsidies by the U.S. government, and that the strategic interests of Israel or the current decisions by the leadership in Israel may not coincide with the U.S. This is no different than the U.S. interests not always coinciding with ours.

So how do we deal with this? Do we pretend we can't talk about our divergent issues? And if we discuss our differences, does that prove hatred towards Israel or Jewish people?

It seems every "identity politics" group gets myopic at times when it presumes its needs and perspective is the only one that is valid. Just like the push back against BLM, as if they're saying black lives matter more than other lives. For black people that's true, but most black people I presume would simply say they want equal treatment under the law, not special treatment. But when they point out unequal treatment, it LOOKS like they're asking for special treatment. And of course that persecution perspective ends up being biases, like everytime there's a shooting of a black man by a police officer, many will assume wrongness on the police, and innocence on the black person who is dead, BEFORE any information is gathered. And if you challenge those presumptions, such passion may sometimes claim your bias, your hatred, for not seeing the special persecution of blacks. So language is easily used as a weapon, and victim status protects one side unequally.

So perhaps dicussions of Israel end up the same way? When you feel your defending yourself from death, its hard to look at the bigger picture, and easier to call out your critics as haters than respond to a wider perspective than what you want to look at.

Trigger Warning said...

"So perhaps dicussions of Israel end up the same way?"

And, consequently, perhaps not.

David Foster said...

Last July I put up a long post about political thuggery, mostly on campus and almost all perpetrated by Leftists and Islamists. Much of this was anti-Semitic: The United States of Weimar?

Very little attention was paid to any of this by the legacy media.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I'm sure Ellison is a shill for the "Alt-Right," as it is a shadowy organization that seems to be everywhere. All the powerful ought be suspected.

AesopFan said...

Personally, I like to give people the benefit of believing that their attitudes and positions can change over time (that is the foundation of Christian salvation, after all). If so, then bringing up their past is no longer a relevant argument.
I would be more impressed with the Democrats protestations of Ellison's new persona if they didn't habitually drag up decades-old charges against Republicans as "proof of unfitness" -- dogs on cars and binders of women weren't even scandals; they had more fodder in Trump's past than in Romney's, but it's part of the general hypocrisy of the Left that anything in the GOPs past is fair game, but nothing older than, oh, last week, should be held against them.

Ares probably won't check it out, but PowerLine Blog has been on Ellison's case since the beginning and has compiled some credible evidence that his "recantation" of his Nation of Islam ties is a subterfuge for political purposes. If his repentance is, in fact, genuine, he isn't showing much indication of it.

(PowerLine also has pursued the possibility that Ms. Omar married her own brother to commit immigration fraud, with so far unconvincing rebuttals from her side: read dodging, obfuscation, invective, and "I won" rather than hard evidence to the contrary -- seems to me that's a pretty easy charge to refute with facts, if they exist.)

/I would take off my tin-foil hat, but so far the Aluminum King is winning.

Ares Olympus said...

AesopFan said...PowerLine also has pursued the possibility that Ms. Omar married her own brother to commit immigration fraud, with so far unconvincing rebuttals from her side: read dodging, obfuscation, invective, and "I won" rather than hard evidence to the contrary -- seems to me that's a pretty easy charge to refute with facts, if they exist.

What a strange assertion, but we live in strange times. I suppose in politics everyone is guilty until proven innocent.
Statement: "In 2002, when I was 19 years old, Ahmed Hirsi (whose name before he received citizenship was Ahmed Aden), the father of my children and love of my life, and I, applied for a marriage license, but we never finalized the application and thus were never legally married. In 2008, we decided to end our relationship in our faith tradition after reaching an impasse in our life together.

"I entered into a relationship with a British citizen, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, and married him legally in 2009. Our relationship ended in 2011 and we divorced in our faith tradition. After that, he moved home to England. I have yet to legally divorce Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, but am in the process of doing so. Insinuations that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is my brother are absurd and offensive.

"Since 2011, I am happy to say that I have reconciled with Ahmed Hirsi, we have married in our faith tradition and are raising our family together. Like all families, we have had our ups and downs but we are proud to have come through it together."

--> What about the allegation that Elmi was Omar’s brother? Where does that come from?

Well, we should reiterate that Omar has unequivocally stated that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is not her brother, calling the allegation “absurd and ridiculous.”

The nature of the charge is easy to trace, however, and stems from the fact that immigration authorities give priority to U.S. citizens who request to bring in their noncitizen spouses to the United States. In practical terms, the immigration process for nonresidents can be cut by years if they are sponsored by citizen spouses.

I see, sort of. So her current husband, and the father of her children, is not accused of being her brother, but an apparent "marriage of convenience" husband who is a citizen of the UK? It sounds confusing, and I suppose anything could be true.

I wonder what sort of lies I might commit as a refugee to find freedom? I also wonder how many bleeding-heart immigration officials look the other way to obvious deceptions, because someone looks desperate?

In any case, I'd expect she must feel gratitude, and perhaps her acts of service as a new State Representative may help ease her conscience at any big or small deceptions she used to get here.

Maybe when she runs for Minnesota Governor in 2032, she'll confess her sin at marrying her brother to gain citizenship. Then she can let the people decide her fate.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @December 4, 2016 at 8:21 PM:

"What a strange assertion, but we live in strange times. I suppose in politics everyone is guilty until proven innocent."

Nonsensical gibberish. What a stupid, silly string of comments.

Yet you write this way all the time here. Why?