Washington, D.C. (Dec. 2, 2016) — U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5) sent the following open letter to Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt:
Dear Mr. Greenblatt,
I appreciated our conversation several weeks ago before you issued your first statement in support of my work. As I expressed to you then, since being elected to Congress, I have been a strong supporter of the Jewish state, voting for more than $27 billion in aid to Israel. I also am committed to its safety and security, and believe in the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and striving for a two-state solution.
I wish we could have spoken once again before your most recent statement. If given the opportunity, I could have provided a full and proper explanation.
The audio released was selectively edited and taken out of context by an individual the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an “anti-Muslim extremist”. My memory is that I was responding to a question about how Americans with roots in the Middle East could engage in the political process in a more effective way. My advice was simply to get involved. I believe that Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship are, and should be, key considerations in shaping U.S. policy in the Middle East. Americans with roots or interests in the region should be involved in advocacy and discussions of public policy concerning the region. My response was meant to encourage those in attendance to increase their level of involvement and effectiveness.
My record proves my deep and long-lasting support for Israel, and I have always fought anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, and homophobia – the same values embodied by the Anti-Defamation League. I believe that this is an attempt by right-wing interests to drive a wedge between long-standing allies in the fight for equal rights. We cannot allow that to happen.
I am saddened by your statement, but I am committed to building a strong relationship with you. Let’s get together as soon as possible to discuss our shared beliefs and commitment to fairness and justice.