Rep. Keith Ellison’s History with Hate Groups

Mitchell Rolling

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Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and the Deputy Chairman of the DNC has once again come under fire for his prior relationships with the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. This comes after a new photo of former President Barrack Obama and Farrakhan from 2008 surfaced, doing so now because the owner did not want to influence the election.

Ellison claimed to have “no relationship” with Farrakhan in an MSNBC interview in 2016, and in a blog post noted that he does “not have and have never had a relationship with Mr. Farrakhan, but I have been in the same room as him.” 

He went on to write about the Nation of Islam in an op-ed in the Washington Post, saying “These men organize by sowing hatred and division, including anti-Semitism, homophobia and a chauvinistic model of manhood.” He also apologized for not condemning the group sooner. 

But new details emerged after Farrakhan told Munir Muhammad in a Facebook interview shortly after Ellison’s piece in the Washington Post that both Rep. Ellison and Rep. Andre Castro (D-Ind.) visited his suite when he was in Washington D.C. 

“Both of them, when I was in Washington, visited my suite and we sat down talking like you and I are talking,” Farrakhan explained. Castro has since admitted to the meeting, Ellison has yet to make a direct comment on the meeting. 

With Castro fessing up to the incident immediately and Ellison dodging any and all questions about it, one can only assume that Ellison did indeed meet with Farrakhan in 2016. This not only raises concern about Ellison’s true feelings about Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, but it calls into question his entire integrity. 

Farrakhan, for his part, seemed to be genuinely impressed with Rep. Ellison in the Facebook interview with Muhammad. He claimed that he likes Ellison and believes him to be an intelligent man, and even wished him success in the future. He explained Ellison’s remarks toward him as a way of appeasing enemies.

“In order to get something that you want, you trash someone that they don’t like,” Farrakhan said. He went, saying “he cannot say that he didn’t follow me at one time… He cannot say that we did anything to harm him or his aspirations.”

Farrakhan’s explanation of Ellison’s attitude is by itself suggestive of a relationship past knowing each other’s names. For a man like Louis Farrakhan to compliment a person openly denouncing him shows that a level of respect was built during prior engagements. 

For all the words and denouncements of Ellison regarding Farrakhan, he has shown support for another group known for hate and terroristic activities devised on limiting free speech: Antifa. In a controversial tweet, Keith Ellison was seen holding up an Antifa Hand-Book in an apparent endorsement of the radical anarchists. 

This is alarming for many reasons. To get a grasp of what is actually in the handbook, here are some of its’ passages:

“[A]nti-fascists prioritize the political project of destroying fascism and protecting the vulnerable regardless of whether their actions are considered violations of the free speech of fascists of not.”

“Anti-fascists conduct research on the Far Right online, in person, and sometimes through infiltration; they dox them, push cultural milieu to disown them, pressure bosses to fire them, and demand that venues cancel their shows, conferences, and meetings.”

They give three justifications for “occasional violence”:

1. “[R]ational debate and the institutions of government have failed to consistently halt the rise of fascism.”

2. “[T]hey point to the many successful examples of militant anti-fascism shutting down or severely hampering far-right organizing since the end of World War II.”

3. “Fascist violence often necessitates self-defense.”

In other words, Antifa members justify violence based on their self-identification of being America’s protector against fascist voices – or anyone who voted for Trump. That is one of the many problems with Antifa; not that the target fascists in the hopes of ostracizing them from society, but that they target people who are not fascists. 

This group is only one of the many bad results that a narcissistic generation can produce, and Rep. Keith Ellison has now endorsed their platform that allows for occasional violence.

This ordeal on Keith Ellison highlights the double-standard that exists in politics. The Nation of Islam is a hateful and anti-Semitic group that Keith Ellison used to sell papers for. 

Republicans have been called racist and sympathizers of white-supremacy for far less. Imagine if a picture surfaced showing George Bush handing out KKK propaganda on the streets when he was younger. It wouldn’t matter if he condemned the group later, it would have certainly harmed him politically. 

Keith Ellison has a track record of supporting hateful and violent groups. He is now leading the charge in the DNC for universal single-payer health-care and instituting a maximum wage limit.