With a new challenger to his bid to become Democratic National Committee chairman, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison took to CNN Wednesday morning and lied about 2010 anti-Israel remarks first exposed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
During a private fundraiser, Ellison criticized what he saw as Israel's disproportionate influence in American foreign policy.
"The United States foreign 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?"
Asked about the comments by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, Ellison falsely claimed he was merely answering a question about political involvement.
"I was talking to a group of people who asked me how they could look at the Jewish community as a model for political empowerment," Ellison said in a transcript posted by Real Clear Politics.
The IPT published the entirety of Ellison's remarks from that 2010 fundraiser, which was hosted by former Muslim American Society (MAS) President Esam Omeish, an activist who previously praised Palestinians for choosing "the jihad way" for their liberation. MAS was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States, and Omeish recently published a glowing tribute to the Egyptian-based Islamist group.
The full recording and transcript show that Ellison addressed a range of issues, including taking time to praise Omeish and note the passage of the Affordable Care Act. But there was no question about empowerment.
On CNN, Ellison said he saw "nothing wrong with any group of Americans using our democratic system in order to advance their policy views."
Again, that statement flies in the face of Ellison's recorded comments. His language, and the rhetorical questions he posed, indicated something was very wrong: "A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic?"
He does say that this can change "[w]hen the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved," but it was a subject he raised despite his recent spin. There was no consideration that it is in American national security interest to support the region's only stable democracy. To Ellison, it must be because of disproportionate influence.
Later, he added, "We can't allow another country to treat us like we're their ATM. Right? And so we ought to stand up as Americans. Now some of us have affinity for other places around the globe. Some of us are new Americans and adopted America as our home. But whether you're born here or whether you accepted America as your own voluntarily, this is our home. Right? All of our home equally, and we can't allow it to be disrespected because some, by a country that we're paying money to."
It's good that Cuomo asked Ellison about his comments. But he let the politician skate with a false account.