Jewish Members of Congress Support Keith Ellison

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Via Press Release

WASHINGTON DC – Today, Jewish Members of Congress released a letter in support of Keith Ellison, citing his long standing support of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. 

In an open letter to members of the DNC,  Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) defended Ellison’s record, while highlighting the outpouring of support he’s received from Jewish leaders, rabbis and others. 

In part, the letter states, “Supporters of the State of Israel can – and frequently do – disagree on individual policy questions impacting our ally. Each of us have not always agreed with each other, or with Rep. Ellison, on every issue related to Israel. At the same time, it is undeniable that the totality of his record is one of strong support for Israel and the Jewish community here in the United States. He has forcefully stood up to anti-Semitism in the United States, Europe and across the globe. In his time in Congress, Rep. Ellison has joined us in supporting more than $27 billion in aid to Israel. He has brought together leaders of many faiths in dialogue to combat anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and the boycott, divestment sanctions movement.” 

The letter also notes that Ellison has continued his work on these important issues while being attacked. It reads “...he has taken steps like these while being singled out for criticism – from extremists at the fringes of the political spectrum – as the first Muslim Member of Congress.” 

Full text of the letter here.

Dear Members of the Democratic National Committee:
 
We are current and former colleagues of Congressman Keith Ellison who have stood up for Jewish values and the US-Israel special relationship throughout our careers. We write today to express our categorical rejection, based on years of working alongside Rep. Ellison, of accusations that he is hostile to the State of Israel or the Jewish community. While we take no position as a group in this letter as to Rep. Ellison’s candidacy to head the Democratic National Committee, we feel it is important to state our clear disagreement with those accusing him of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. 
 
Supporters of the State of Israel can – and frequently do – disagree on individual policy questions impacting our ally. Each of us have not always agreed with each other, or with Rep. Ellison, on every issue related to Israel.
 
At the same time, it is undeniable that the totality of his record is one of strong support for Israel and the Jewish community here in the United States. He has forcefully stood up to anti-Semitism in the United States, Europe and across the globe. In his time in Congress, Rep. Ellison has joined us in supporting more than $27 billion in aid to Israel. He has brought together leaders of many faiths in dialogue to combat anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and the boycott, divestment sanctions movement. 
 
During the past few weeks we have been moved by the outpouring of support from Jewish leaders, rabbis and other elected officials in Minnesota who know Rep. Ellison well and have worked with him for more than a decade. 
 
His advocacy for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and for the return of the remains of other fallen soldiers has been praised by the Shalit family and the Israeli government. His voice is critical in support for Israel’s security and the two-state solution. 
 
And he has taken steps like these while being singled out for criticism – from extremists at the fringes of the political spectrum – as the first Muslim Member of Congress.
 
As current and former legislators, we regard disagreement with a lawmaker’s positions and decisions as expected and healthy in a vibrant Democracy. As Americans with a personal connection to the Jewish community, we know that scrutiny based on one’s background or religious beliefs is not. 

We stand today against those who seek to demean our colleague.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), 
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.)
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)
Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach)


*This is not an endorsement of his candidacy for DNC Chair*

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