Israel partisans make Perez Democratic National Committee chair, defeat Keith Ellison

Israel partisans make Perez Democratic National Committee chair, defeat Keith Ellison

Former labor secretary Tom Perez won 235 votes to Ellison’s 200. Below are four valuable articles on how this happened:

(1) Zaid Jilani reports in The Intercept: 

Perez was widely perceived as being brought into the race by allies of President Obama, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other members of the party establishment. One of the speakers who introduced his nomination, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison, also works as a corporate lobbyist for the D.C.-based Podesta Group. After neither candidate reached a majority of votes in the first round of voting, Harrison was on the floor, whipping votes for Perez.

Ellison — a black man, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and the first Muslim elected to Congress — earned initial support from many Democrats until a strong backlash from the Obama and Clinton camps and prominent pro-Israeli activists.

Haim Saban, the entertainment tycoon who is one of the Democratic Party’s largest donors, called Ellison both “anti-Israel” and anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League called on Democrats to reject him.  On the eve of the vote, prominent Democrat Alan Dershowitz proclaimed that he would leave the party if Ellison were elected chair; Jack Rosen, who leads the American Jewish Congress, emailed DNC members the day before the vote decrying Ellison’s views on the Middle East, concluding that he threatened the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Perez, on the other hand, courted pro-Israel activists during the course of the contest.

Shortly after his victory, Perez offered the newly created position of “deputy chair” to Ellison, which Ellison accepted. This is not an official position in the DNC’s bylaws so it is unclear what this position would entail. It is also unclear whether Ellison will still leave Congress, which he announced he would do if he won the chair position… Read full article

(2) “Jewish Dems line up behind Tom Perez for Democratic Party chair

December 22, 2016, 6:58 am, The Times of Israel

WASHINGTON — In his quest to chair the Democratic National Committee, US Labor Secretary Tom Perez is trying to gain traction with a constituency deeply divided about his chief opponent, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison.

Perez held a conference call with more than 50 prominent Jewish leaders and activists on Wednesday afternoon, including dozens of former and current members of Congress. The call was organized by Bluelight Strategies, a consulting firm that represents a number of Jewish organizations and Democratic interest groups. 

While Perez did not mention Ellison by name, he took pains to distinguish himself from the man whose past remarks the Anti-Defamation League recently deemed “disqualifying” for the leadership post.

According to several Jewish Democrats who participated in the call, Perez has already made inroads with a community eager for an alternative to Ellison…….

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and other House Democrats stand in opposition to the president's trade deal during a press conference on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Victoria Burke/AP)

“When talking to the Jewish community, Keith has to spend all his time apologizing or explaining his past positions,” a Jewish Democratic insider said. “Whereas Tom’s call with the Jewish community is about his actual record, Keith’s is about revisionist history.”

One former Jewish leader and Democratic official who was also on the call echoed the sentiment: “Every second Keith Ellison has to explain why he voted against Iron Dome funding is a second he is not spending getting out the message of rebuilding the party.”

“Most members of the DNC won’t vote against him because of his stance on Israel, maybe some, but not a lot,” that person added. “But the fact that it’s an issue with the Jewish community will matter to DNC members because it’s an issue. Tom is letting it be known that that is not a problem with him.”

 The internal DNC election takes place on the weekend of February 23 to February 26. Out of the 447 party officials who cast a vote, fewer than 20 are Jewish, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Perez, who was urged to run by the White House, repeatedly referred to his past collaboration with ADL during the almost hour-long conversation. At one point, he said he had long ago “memorized” the Jewish rights group’s mission statement, which he called “timeless.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt speaking at the organization’s Never is Now conference in New York City, Nov. 17, 2016. (Courtesy of the ADL)

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt speaking at the organization’s Never is Now conference in New York City, Nov. 17, 2016. (Courtesy of the ADL)Three weeks ago, ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt rebuked Ellison for newly released audio in which he seemed to encourage Americans of Arab descent to become active in politics by suggesting that US foreign policy was dictated by Israeli interests.

Three weeks ago, ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt rebuked Ellison for newly released audio in which he seemed to encourage Americans of Arab descent to become active in politics by suggesting that US foreign policy was dictated by Israeli interests.

Ellison insisted he was “taken out of context” and that the audio of his address, given at a private fundraiser, was “selectively edited.”

The Investigative Report on Terrorism, which first released the recording of the speech, responded by publishing a follow-up of the entire audio, which also divulged the Congressman saying the US “can’t allow another country to treat us like we’re their ATM,” referring to Israel, but that “it makes all the sense in the world when you see that that country has mobilized its Diaspora in America to do its bidding in America.”

Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, has garnered the support of some in the Jewish community, including the left-wing Mideast policy group J Street and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, one of the most prominent Jewish members of Congress and a famously staunch supporter of Israel.

But he has also elicited strong opposition from some in the party establishment.

Israeli-American media mogul Haim Saban, a major Democratic donor, lashed out at Ellison recently, calling him “clearly an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel individual” who “would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”

Saban is one of the highest overall individual contributors to the Democratic Party who in 2002 wrote a $7 million check to underwrite the DNC’s headquarters building in Washington, DC.

Haim Saban speaks at the Friends Of The Israel Defense Forces 2014 Western Region Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 6, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Tiffany Rose/WireImage)

Haim Saban speaks at the Friends Of The Israel Defense Forces 2014 Western Region Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 6, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Tiffany Rose/WireImage)

But with Jewish Democrats desperate to rebuild their beleaguered party and challenge the incoming Trump administration, Perez appeared intent on striking a different chord.

“What I have learned in my work, and what I have learned throughout my life as a life-long Democrat, is that the Jewish community has always had an invaluable place in our party,” he said. “And that must never change.”

Before being appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the Department of Labor, Perez was the assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

The Buffalo, New York native spoke at length Wednesday of his experience working with the ADL and its Washington counsel Michael Lieberman in that job and as a former staffer for the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Referring to the ADL’s “powerful” mission statement, he said he “saw its power in action” when he worked with Kennedy in 1996 to introduce a hate crimes prevention act that took 14 years to pass.

“I would argue the ADL was the most important external stakeholder in the passage of this law,” he said of the measure that expanded federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by the victim’s gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

Perez also mentioned his past visit to Israel and admiration for former president and prime minister Shimon Peres.

“One of the privileges of my life was getting to travel to Israel and meet someone who is one of my heroes, Shimon Peres,” he said. “Uncle Shimon, to me.”

President Shimon Peres (photo credit: Flash90)

President Shimon Peres (photo credit: Flash90)

“When he passed away, I remember going to my church to say a prayer for him and to light a candle for him, and to hope that the progressive values that he championed are progressive values that will endure,” he added.

Former US ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen, a prominent Democrat who is already backing Perez, was on the call. He called Perez an old friend, cited his “warm feelings for Israel” and said he had “deep experience in managing large, complex organizations, which is essential for the DNC in this challenging time.”

While Perez has only just entered the DNC race, he suggested he would be presenting an aggressive vision for Democrats to challenge the Trump agenda.

“It’s time to stop fretting and start fighting,” he said. “You never bring a spoon to a knife-fight.”

– Times of Israel

(3) Don’t Be Fooled: Ellison Lost the DNC Vote Because of a Pro-Israel Smear Campaign

POSTED ON: MAR 1, 2017

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer, ArabAmerica

Did Keith Ellison lose the DNC chairmanship because of multiple threats from the pro-Israel lobby?

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a leading candidate for the Democratic National Convention chair, lost the vote on Saturday to Obama’s former Labor Secretary Tom Perez by a margin of 235-200.

Many supporters of Ellison, who is the first Muslim elected to Congress, believe he abruptly lost Saturday’s election after a last-minute rush of anti-Semite and anti-Israel accusations from the pro-Israel lobby. According to an Ellison campaign official, the team used considerable resources to combat the smear campaign in the final 36 hours before the vote.

The Smear Campaign

Democrats vying for the chair debated on Wednesday before Saturday’s election. At the debate, Ellison’s history of criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians was brought up multiple times.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was the first to challenge Ellison, stating that if he won, many Democrats would take issue with his viewpoint that “Israel could not be the only lens” through which “all foreign policy was seen.”

Cuomo spoke in reference to a 2010 statement made by Ellison at a fundraising party, where the Minnesota Rep stated: “United States 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. Does that make sense?”

After Ellison announced he was running, Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a pro-Israel group, said the Congressman was a good man and stood behind him, but two weeks later, the ADL released a statement from Greenblatt, saying Ellison was perpetuating an “age-old” stereotype “about Jewish control of our government… that has no place in open societies like the U.S.”

The switch in character allegedly happened after Greenblatt heard another old recording, a 36-second tape from 2007 where Ellison compares the 9/11 attacks to the 1933 burning of the German Parliament, which Nazis used as an excuse to crackdown on its opposition and gain popularity.

In the short recording, Ellison says bigots have used the 9/11 terrorist attacks to crackdown on “religious minorities.” The tape began circulating again by those who think Ellison blames “Jews” for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the tape. Although he says nothing about blaming 9/11 on Jewish people, this tape, along with the 2010 recording, was used against him during his bid for DNC chair.

The People Behind the Smear Campaign

Steven Emerson, a self-proclaimed expert on terrorism and known anti-Muslim extremist (who has also perpetuated a lie that the Obama administration was working for the Muslim Brotherhood), intentionally took the 2007 clip out of context and has called Ellison an anti-Semite many times. His work is what could have possibly convinced the ADL that Ellison was allegedly anti-Semitic.

During the debate, Cuomo also said Ellison was “dogged by [his] own questions about potential anti-Semitism.”

Ellison pushed back, calling these false allegations, adding, “I have a long, strong history of interfaith dialogue, interfaith communication.” Ellison has been speaking out fiercely against the wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes taking place across the country, which is more than President Trump has said. Ellison has also stated on numerous occasions throughout his career that his intentions are to combat racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.

Two prominent Jewish Congressmen, Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders endorsed Ellison, as well as other Jewish DNC voters. However, Haim Saban, an Israeli-American mega-donor who has admitted that his only priority is to influence U.S. politics in favor of Israel, also labeled Ellison an anti-Semite. The debate moderator asked if Saban should apologize to Ellison for this accusation.

“I just think everybody should know that Haim and I did have a phone call,” Ellison replied. “I won’t disclose what we talked about but it was amicable and we’re going to get together and build on our relationship.”

Together, Saban, Emerson, Greenblatt and other pro-Israel leaders made it difficult for Ellison to move away from the anti-Semitism conversation.

The Last-Minute Letter That Converted the Democrats

Alan Dershowitz, a self-proclaimed centrist liberal and long time contender to Palestinian author Edward Said, wrote a letter the day before the DNC vote, threatening to leave the party and stop providing funding if Ellison is elected.

Dershowitz wrote that he wouldn’t vote for Ellison because he has a “long history of sordid association with anti-Semitism.” He said he did not believe Ellison when he said he was unaware of anti-Semitism from a Nation of Islam leader from his youth. “That is not a credible statement,” Dershowitz reported. He was referencing Ellison’s youthful support for Nation of Islam leaders, Kwame Ture and Louis Farrakhan. Both leaders have made anti-Semitic statements, but in 2006, Ellison apologized for “not doing more to directly call out their anti-Semitic views.”

In the letter, Dershowitz also said he won’t be voting for Ellison because of a story he heard from a woman years ago. “A prominent lawyer, with significant credibility, told me that while he was a law student, Ellison approached her and said he could not respect her, because she was a Jew and because she was a woman who should not be at a law school. This woman immediately disclosed that anti-Semitic and anti-feminists statement to her husband and friends, and I believe she is telling the truth.”

This story is unverified and seems very out-of-character for Ellison, but Dershowitz chooses the stories he wants to believe.

The letter, along with similar ones written by pro-Israel organizations, was reportedly sent to Jewish DNC voting members in order to stop Ellison.

Using Ellison’s Past to Call Him Anti-Semitic

A few attendees at the Atlanta-based DNC vote blamed CNN’s coverage of Ellison as a contributing factor to his loss. In December of 2016, CNN published a lengthy story examining Ellison’s relationship with Nation of Islam leaders during his youth.

At the same time as the CNN story, the Jewish newspaper Forward, had published a story actually defending Ellison, but was – like many of Ellison’s statements – taken out of context. The author defends Ellison’s 2007 and 2010 events, claiming they do not have any anti-Semitic statements in them, but the investigative report was used as further proof of his alleged anti-Semitism.

The Washington Post also published an op-ed in December arguing that Ellison is not anti-Semitic in order to weed out the false accusations. The article explains how the ADL and Jewish leaders are intentionally using the 2007 and 2010 incidents out of context in order to rally voters for a different DNC chair.

Is it Islamophobia?

Some Ellison supporters believe Islamophobia was at play in the campaign, or that the party wants to be “progressive except on Palestine” – a term used to describe liberals who support equality and justice for everyone, but Palestinians.

“Probably the most heartbreaking part of this process was seeing the fruition of Islamophobia in our own party. It was Islamophobia, to the fullest extent possible, and it was disappointing [that Democrats] were influenced by it,” said Melahat Rafiei, a California DNC voting member who supported Ellison.

A Chicago nurse who attended the Atlanta rally to back Ellison told Vox that “[Democrats] claim they’re an inclusive party, but then they drop a Muslim and everyone backs off.”

Missouri Democrat Brian Wahby, an Arab American voting member, disagrees with the Islamophobia question.

“Nobody said anything to me about that,” Wahby told Vox. He credited Ellison’s loss to “emotions” instead.

“Emotions run high, and they’re running very high now — not just in the DNC but in the country. We say a lot of things we don’t really mean in an election.”

Is Ellison Even That Pro-Palestinian?

Ellison is known for being more pro-Palestinian than a typical democrat, but is he really that supportive? He has visited Gaza on numerous occasions and criticized Israel’s denial of Palestinian’s rights to travel. However, Ellison made major concessions of his pro-Palestine views before the DNC election.

In November, he condemned the BDS movement in an official statement from his office, and at the debate, he reiterated his opposition to the movement once more. He brought up anti-Semitism far more than the rising anti-Muslim attacks, as well.

Ellison’s actions were apparently not enough, though. The frontrunner lost the election at the last minute because of misconstrued and outdated words that don’t even relate to whether or not he has the ability to lead the Democratic Party. Showing the slightest support for Palestinian rights can drown an elected official’s career in a matter of days. Now that’s power.

– ArabAmerica

(4) Rigged DNC and DWS Played Major Role in Defeating Keith Ellison

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The DNC is designed to be rigged to protect the power of the top down insiders. And it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone that DWS probably played a major role in the defeat of Keith Ellison and the rejection of reinstatement of Obama’s Rule banning lobbyist cash.

The way I see it, the DNC has, built into its bylaws, several ways that they rig the system to favor a top down few over the democratically elected members. It’s not just the superdelegate system which is rigged to give extra power to a few hundred insiders.

The Urban dictionary defines rigged:

“”The word rigged is used to describe situations where unfair advantages are given to one side of a conflict”

The DNC’s rules and policies rig things so that a small, top down group of insiders exert most of the control over the party. The grassroots influence is diluted drastically. How. Only 200 members are elected from the states– and even the process for election of those members needs careful scrutiny. The other 230 are given slots because they are elected legislators or because the DNC chair selected them, to be rubber-stamp approved by the “executive committee.” Seventy-five at-large members to be exact.

I’m trying to find out who those 75 members are and when they are selected and authorized. But my guess is that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz selected the 75 at-large members who cast their votes on Saturday. Do you think they’d vote for Keith Ellison or Hillary”s and Obama’s designee Tom Perez.

That’s right. The ghost of DWS played a heavy hand in deciding who became the next chair. Feh!

Digging into the minutiae of the DNC one learns that former DNC chairs become permanent, lifetime members and super delegates. DWS should not have that privilege. She should have those privileges taken away for corruption and doing massive damage to the Democratic party, Democratic elections and the Democratic party brand. Failure to clean up that bad karma would be one more reason for millions of Berniecrats to #DemExit.

They say a close-up look at politics looks like sausage making. The DNC looks like a rotten sausage factory.

It is also not surprising that the election violated DNC rules by making the voting anonymous. That way members can’t be held accountable. Imagine if elected officials from a state like Washington, which went 70% for Bernie Sanders, voted against Sander’s choice, Ellison.

The bottom-line is the DNC is rigged at its core. There is NOT A WAY for we-the-people to be sure that a democratic solution to the DNC’s anti-democratic top down domination nature can be found.

The question is, What will it take to force the DNC to reform its act? It must…   Read full article