Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Congressman Keith Ellison is a liar and a racist.
If you listen to Ellison, which the media does, his time with the Nation of Islam, a violently racist and anti-Semitic hate group which believes that white people were created by a mad scientist and will be exterminated by UFOs, was a brief youthful mistake that he made back when he was a college student.
But Ellison appears to have been involved with the Nation of Islam for eleven years, from his time in law school to his early attempts at seeking public office, through his twenties and thirties.
Politico’s Glenn Thrush offers the aspiring DNC boss a platform in a puff piece and podcast which compares the extremist bigot’s “spiritual progression” to that of Martin Luther King Jr. Thrush prompts Ellison, “You were a young man” and asks him to explain his affinity for the racist hate group.
And right on cue, Keith Ellison begins distorting his own history. He cites the 1991 Rodney King case.
But Ellison was praising “Minister Farrakhan” and defending the Nation of Islam in 1989. Writing as “Keith Hakim”, he whined that the “sensational” news media smears the Nation of Islam as the “black Klu Klux Klan” so it never gets credit for “all of its laudable work.”
Keith Ellison doesn’t just defend the racist group and its leader. His rhetoric, denouncing Malcolm X for abandoning the “Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s legacy” is the sort of thing an NOI member would say.
And, back in 1989, Keith Ellison was already being condemned for anti-Semitism. The Minnesota Daily opinion editor, Michael Olenick, described Ellison’s writing as "a genuine threat to the long-term safety and well-being of the Jewish people, a threat that history dictates must not be ignored."
"Time and time again my people have been slaughtered after the words of Hakim (Ellison) and those like him influenced the masses," Olenick writes.
In a more recent comment, Olenick compared Ellison to David Duke.
Ellison tries to minimize his involvement to the Million Man March, claiming that he defended Farrakhan because it was important to “defend the person who called the March”.
But that was in 1995. Ellison was praising “Minister Farrakhan” as a liberator six years earlier. His affinity for the racist hate group predated Rodney King, the Million Man March and any other excuses.
Ellison now claims that he “came to learn that defense wasn’t deserved” and insists that he had decided to pursue a less bigoted approach in the 90s.
In 1997, two years later, he was defending the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitism and praising “Minister Farrakhan” as a “tireless servant of Black people”.
In 1998, Ellison ran for office as affiliated with the Nation of Islam on a platform of, among other things, having Nation of Islam thugs patrol neighborhoods. He complained about a “propaganda war” being waged against “Minister Louis Farrakhan”.
In 2000, five years later, Ellison is still referring to “Minister Farrakhan” and spewing NOI conspiracy theories.
“I had to account for things I had written as a college student,” Ellison whines. But he was arguing in defense of the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitism in 1997. By then Keith was a lawyer with four children.
Keith Ellison had graduated from law school seven years earlier and from college, ten years earlier, in 1987. This was not something that he was doing as an immature college student.
Ellison complains that “some things they want to get me for” he had written back when he was younger than his 20-year-old daughter. Except that nobody has anything dating that far back. Instead the timeline developed by Scott Johnson at Powerline runs back to Ellison’s time in law school.
From 1989, when Ellison was a 26-year-old law student, married man and likely a father, to 1997, when he was an established professional, he was on record defending the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitism. His own writings and statements suggest that he was affiliated with the hate group, from 1989 to 1998 and probably to 2000. He only publicly rejected the racist organization in 2006.
That means Keith Ellison was aligned with the Nation of Islam from as little as nine years to a more probable eleven years. It’s not impossible that he was with the hate group for much longer than that.
During this period, Ellison referred to its leader as “Minister Farrakhan”, praised the hate group, defended its bigotry and complained that the media was smearing the bigot in charge.
Keith Ellison has been lying about his involvement with the racist hate group since he ran for Congress.
In 2006, when running for Congress, he claimed that he had worked with “local members of the Nation of Islam” and other African-American leaders “over a decade ago” and "at no time did I ever share their hateful views... or approve their hateful statements directed at Jews."
Those are lies. Keith Ellison had defended Nation of Islam bigots from Khalid Abdul Muhammed (“that old no-good Jew, that old imposter Jew, that old hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating… just crawled out of the caves and hills of Europe, so-called damn Jew”) to Joanne Jackson ("Jews are among the most racist white people I know") through a large section of his early adult life.
And Keith Ellison is still lying.
Keith Ellison spent a likely eleven years of his life affiliated with a racist and anti-Semitic hate group. Since then he has lied about it and distorted his past. That alone should be disqualifying.
But has Ellison ever really ceased to be a bigot?
Ellison switched from the Nation of Islam’s brand of bigoted theology to a more mainstream Islamic bigoted theology. Even as he scrambles for the leadership of the DNC, his name appeared on a list of speakers at an MAS-ICNA convention in Chicago alongside Siraj Wahhaj, a former Nation of Islam member, an unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing, who declared, “I will never ever tell people don’t be violent that is not the Islamic way. The violence has to be selected.”
Numerous figures supportive of Hamas will be there. As well as Sheikh Al-Nabulsi who called Jews the "worst enemies of Allah" and stated that "all the Jewish people are combatants" and could be killed.
After public outrage, Ellison’s name has vanished from the list of speakers. But he has a long history of associating Islamist groups. And the difference between the NOI and his new Islamist friends is that CAIR, ISNA and the MAS understand the value of subtlety. They want to build coalitions with the left to achieve their theocratic agendas instead of advocating the militant separatism of the Nation of Islam.
This does not mean that they are any less anti-Semitic or racist than Keith Ellison’s old friends.
Keith Ellison has also become more subtle. The mask slips, occasionally, in front of friendlier audiences, as it did in 2010, when Ellison claimed that Israel had “mobilized” the Jews to “do its bidding in America”. But the media is eager to dismiss his comments as mere “criticism” of Israel.
When lefties, Jewish or non-Jewish, defend Ellison, they are normalizing anti-Semitism.
The year that Keith Ellison made his public break with the Nation of Islam, he appeared at a CAIR fundraiser with CAIR boss Nihad Awad. CAIR has helped fund Ellison’s political ambitions and the two men are friends. Awad, who supported Hamas, even spoke at a fundraiser for Ellison.
Awad and CAIR are somewhat more subtle than Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, but not by that much. “Who is opposing the latest agreement with Iraq? Look at their names. Look at their ethnic, their ethnic or religious or racial background,” Awad once asked.
CAIR has invited a Holocaust denier to its conferences and distributed material calling Jews apes and pigs. But the media chooses not to see its bigotry, just as it chooses not to see Keith Ellison’s hate.
After abandoning his long association with one Islamic hate group, Keith Ellison switched his association to another Islamic hate group. He never did become a moderate. He just turned into a slicker extremist.