J Street is deeply disturbed by some of the attacks that have surfaced against Representative Keith Ellison (MN-05) since he announced his candidacy for DNC chair on Monday.
We do not take positions on internal deliberations within the Democratic Party and are not making an endorsement in the DNC leadership contest. There are a number of candidates announced and proposed, and they, like Representative Ellison, warrant serious consideration.
Ellison’s critics, however, have spent the last few days digging through tired claims about his past to sow tension between him and the American Jewish community. These attacks are false and unacceptable.
Representative Ellison is a true friend to the Jewish people. His support for a two-state solution, opposition to settlement construction and advocacy for US leadership to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are supported by the majority of American Jews. It is Ellison and other members like him – not their critics – who give voice to this substantial constituency of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans on Capitol Hill.
Comparisons between Representative Ellison and the Trump administration are particularly odious. This week, Trump appointed Stephen Bannon, who promotes white supremacist, anti-Semitic views, as his right-hand-man in the White House. The racism that Trump has enabled against Muslims, immigrants and other vulnerable groups is a direct attack on American Jewish values. We applaud the Members of Congress – like Representative Ellison – who oppose these troubling trends.
Sadly, these attacks are emblematic of the spurious charges often hurled at pro-Israel officials who speak out in support of a two-state solution and oppose the occupation. We must do better, now more than ever. As our country grapples with the consequences of last week’s election results, we must rise above the poisonous discourse that plagued this past election cycle and focus instead on the substantive issues that will determine our shared future.