WASHINGTON – The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) is calling on seven Democratic members of Congress, including Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, to resign over ties to “known anti-Semite” Louis Farrakhan.
While several members of Congress were called out for their connections to Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan, the lobbying group focused on Ellison in particular.
“Seven long-serving Democrats have close ties with Louis Farrakhan. Each of them should resign,” the group said in a statement last week. “They include former Nation of Islam employee, Congressman Keith Ellison, who is Deputy Chair of the DNC. Ellison has tried to excuse his 2013 meeting with Farrakhan, while ignoring his more recent meeting with the NOI leader in Farrakhan’s hotel room, in 2015.”
Ellison has long been plagued by his association with Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam including a decade-long involvement in the late 1980s to 1990s that included working with the organization for 18 months leading up to the 1995 Million Man March. In 2006, during his first run for Congress, Ellison attempted to sever ties with Farrakhan, saying he had “long distanced” himself from the Nation of Islam.
“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,” Ellison wrote in a letter at the time.
In 2016, during the race for DNC Chair, Ellison’s past came back to haunt him again, prompting him to reiterate his stance saying he “disavowed them long ago.” However, Ellison’s denouncement appears to dance around the truth. Despite continuing to deny association with Farrakhan, new evidence of continued interaction with Farrakhan has come to light.
As RJC notes in their statement, Ellison participated in a meeting with Farrakhan in 2013. Then, shortly after Ellison attempted to disassociate himself with Farrakhan during the race for DNC chair, Farrakhan said in an interview that he had met with Ellison in a hotel room the year prior. The continued interactions has caused many to question how distanced Ellison truly is from Farrakhan and his anti-Semitic views.
Farrakhan has long been known for contemptuous comments against the Jewish people. Just last week Farrakhan sparked controversy over remarks made at an event in Chicago at the end of February. Clips of Farrakhan’s speech were posted to his Twitter, including one that referred to Jews as the “enemy.”
“The FBI has been the worst enemy of Black advancement. The Jews have control over those agencies of government,” Farrakhan said in a video posted on Twitter.
Such comments are hardly uncommon for Farrakhan, and RJC believes it is “abhorrent” for Democrats to be willing to associate with a “preacher of hate.” RJC says “nothing short of resignation” should be accepted from Democrats with known ties to Farrakhan.
“Anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Farrakhan is the moral equivalent of a leader of the KKK,” RJC wrote in a press release. “If it was discovered that members of Congress had met with the leader of the KKK, they would need to resign. In this case, for meeting with, and embracing, Louis Farrakhan, nothing short of resignation is acceptable from these seven Democrats.”
Ellison has not responded to the calls for resignation.