The close vote by the Democratic National Committee to reject Keith Ellison as its chairperson was a victory for basic decency and a defeat for the kind of bigotry represented by Ellison’s past associations with Louis Farrakhan and his current voting record against Israel’s Iron Dome. Ellison’s loss is not attributable to any “smear campaign,” as some of his supporters have falsely alleged, but rather to his own actions, both past and present. Would anyone call it a smear if a candidate’s history of sexism, racism or homophobia had been exposed? Why then it is a smear to have raised questions based on Ellison’s past associations with anti-Semitism and his current voting anti-Israel voting record? Nor was it a smear to question Ellison’s credibility when he said that he was not aware that Farrakhan was an anti-Semite, when Farrakhan himself was publicly boasting about his Jew hatred.
The smear charge itself reflects the kind of double standard within elements of the Democratic Party that worry centrist pro-Israel voters. Both Democrats and Republicans alike must have the same zero tolerance for anti-Semitism as they do for sexism, racism and homophobia.
The growing influence of intolerant hard left extremists endangers both our country and the Democratic Party. Democrats must recognize the reality that the United States is not a hard left country. Unlike some European countries, we have never had significant Communist or socialist parties. Nor are we a hard right country, with a history of fascist parties. We govern from the center, alternating centrist liberals, such as Obama and Clinton, with centrist conservatives like the Bushes and Reagan.
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