Rep. Keith Ellison Slammed for Comparing Illegal Immigrants in U.S. to Jews Fleeing Nazis

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U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison speaks at breakout session "From Demonstration to Legislation: How Organizing Will Win Back Progressive Power" in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 11, 2017.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison speaks at breakout session "From Demonstration to Legislation: How Organizing Will Win Back Progressive Power" in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 11, 2017. Credit: CHRISTOPHER ALUKA BERRY/REUTER

Democratic party leader Rep. Keith Ellison has come under attack by conservative news outlets and websites for remarks he made on Monday comparing illegal immigrants in the U.S. to Jews fleeing Nazi oppression.

From Breitbart to Fox News to Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire, a video clip of Ellison speaking at an event in Minneapolis was featured Tuesday, discussing the charged issue of the fate of those in the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals, the beneficiaries of an Obama-era program for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Ellison, a Minnesota congressman and deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee urged his audience to help protect them from deportation by fighting for the DREAM Act, which would protect the DACA recipients from deportation and offer them a path to legal citizenship.

“This is not someone else’s fight. This is all our fight, but some are in the bullseye, and others of us are not exactly the target. Therefore, it is our responsibility to stand up and fight and do the right thing,” Ellison said. “I’m going to tell you right now, I’m one of the people who believe we should give our neighbors sanctuary. And if you ask yourself what I would do if I were a Gentile in 1941, if my Jewish neighbors were under attack by the the Nazis? Would I give them sanctuary? You might be about to find out what you would do. Will you pass that moral test or will you fail it? This is the time for people who truly have faith and belief in their hearts to step up and demonstrate it.”

The clip was obtained and posted on YouTube by an opposition research group called the “GOP War Room.” The event Ellison spoke at was called “Beyond DACA” and was hosted by the Minnesota chapter of the Immigration Lawyers Association at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College so that Ellison could “hear community concerns about DACA and the future of undocumented immigrants” and “share updates on how DACA legislative solutions are moving in Congress.”

Ellison told the gathering that as many as 100 million Americans "are deeply connected to people who have immigrated to the United States, some with official papers, some with none."

A post on the Fox News website taken from the Daily Wire, the website run by conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro, called the analogy “disgusting” and wrote that to “seriously compare illegals living in America today to Jews in Nazi Germany is gross and wrong in a myriad of ways. People who are here illegally — meaning they broke the law and are facing consequences for doing so — are far different than Jews who were gassed to death by the Nazis. To make that comparison trivializes the horrors of the Holocaust.”

The same article said that Ellison was in “no position” to make the comparison since, in the past, the Muslim congressman was a member and supporter of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Ellison is also in no position to be making such a comparison given his extensive ties to Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Ellison was widely condemned across Twitter on right-wing accounts:

Ellison lost his bid to be chairman of the DNC last February to Thomas Perez, after his candidacy was dogged by allegations of anti-Semitic sentiments in his past that was fueled by intense personal attacks from the alt right. This sparked concern in the Jewish community regarding his past ties with Farrakhan, despite the fact that before he became the first Muslim elected to Congress in 2006, Ellison apologized for his involvement in the Nation of Islam and denounced the group and that over the course of his decade in Congress, Ellison has worked closely with progressive Jewish organizations on the left, many of whom supported his candidacy.

During his campaign, however, Jewish support for Ellison hit another snag following the revelation of an excerpt from a 2010 speech in which he said that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East was “governed” by Israel, drawing condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League who called his remarks “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.”