Saban calls Ellison ‘clearly an anti-Semite’!
Philip Weiss, Dec 3 2016
The Israel lobby is battling it out inside the Democrat Party; and the Pindo discourse will never be the same again. Last night at a fancy dinner at the Brookings Institution, Haim Saban, who is one of the biggest donors to the Democrat Party, smeared Keith Ellison, who is in the running to be chair of the DNC, as an “anti-Semite” because of his remarks on Israel. Saban said:
I would just like to clarify something about Keith Ellison and him running for head of the DNC. … I think it’s important for this audience to know, first, the fact that Keith Ellison is a Muslim is a non-issue at all. That is not an issue. With that out of the way, if you listen to Keith Ellison today and you see his statements, he’s more of a Zionist than Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Begin combined! I mean, really, it’s amazing! It’s a beautiful thing! If you go back to his positions, his papers, his speeches, the way he has voted: he is clearly an anti-Semite, an anti-Israel individual. Words matter and actions matter more. Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democrat Party. Now I’ve said what I had to say.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was on stage, said he agreed with Saban. Lieberman’s interlocutor, Jake Tapper, looked gobsmacked and said:
That wasn’t really a question, but it is the Saban Forum, so…
Then he called on Dennis Ross to ask a question. Ellison has become controversial to some Jewish groups in recent days because of a comment he made about the power of the Israel lobby in 2010:
Pindostan foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of seven million people (ie Israel).
He also reportedly made anti-Zionist comments in college and has at times expressed sympathy for Palestinians. Ellison is gaining support from some centrists in the Democrat Party, including Chuck Schumer and Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of J Street, who described the campaign against Ellison led by the ADL as a “witchhunt.” Forward editor Jane Eisner characterized Ellison’s remarks about the lobby in 2010 as “awful.” So Pindo-Jewish groups are squabbling over Ellison & Israel inside the narrowed confines of the Democrat Party, even as the Trump administration in waiting indicates that it’s going far right. Josh Marshall of TPM has said the last thing the Democrat Party needs right now is a fight over Israel, but we’ve reached our rendezvous with destiny. The leadership is now so out of step with the grassroots, as Shibley Telhami said at Brookings yesterday, examining polls, that the Ellison battle and Saban’s hubris, are inevitable. As Saban says, this is about the Pindo-Jewish community’s relationship to the Democrat Party. Yeah, we’re split, Kussa! And I have predicted that Saban will have to go GOP in the end. Haim Saban was the biggest contributor to Hillary Clinton’s super-PAC and consulted often by John Podesta, per a series of embarrassing emails leaked Wikileaks. Glenn Greenwald says:
Saban gave $10m to the Clinton Foundation and hosted a Clinton fund-raiser with George Clooney. Yousef Munayyer echoes the point that Saban paid for the microphone:
No one dissociated themself from Saban’s comments. I asked Tapper why he had nothing to say, and he said via Twitter that he asks questions of newsmakers, he doesn’t make comments. In his interview with Lieberman, Tapper put himself forward as part of Pindo Jewry that is distant from Israel, and asked what Israel could do about it. Lieberman offered the usual claptrap about Israel being responsible for Diaspora Jews as well as Israeli Jews, and he wants more “Jewish Zionist education” in Pindostan, because Israel depends on young Pindo Jews. He’s talking about the Jewish Israel lobby.