The New York State Republican Party attacked the State Senate Democrats for inviting Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison—the newly elected deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee—to headline a fundraiser in June, calling it a “slap in the face to the nearly 2 million Jews” residing in the Empire State.
The Daily News first reported that the Democratic conference, which has languished in the minority for much of the past decade, had enlisted Ellison to help it raise cash in Manhattan for is 2018 bid to take over the upper chamber of the State Legislature. The first Muslim-American to serve on the Hill, Ellison has come under fire for past supportive statements about the Nation of Islam, his criticisms of American support for Israel and his 2014 vote against sending $225 million in funding to the Jewish State for its “Iron Dome” missile defense system.
“Senate Democrats embrace anti-Semitic, radical left leader to headline event,” the subject line of the GOP press release reads, before continuing in the body, “New York Senate Democrats’ warm embrace of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Keith Ellison is a slap in the face to the nearly 2 million Jews who live in New York.”
Ellison has voted in favor of other military aid packages to Israel, as well as congressional resolutions condemning Hamas. He also supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the first Jewish person to ever win an American presidential primary, in the contest for the Democratic nomination last year.
Sanders returned the favor by backing Ellison’s unsuccessful bid to lead the DNC, as did Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, another prominent Jewish politician.
“It’s shocking that Senate Democrats would invite and embrace someone who has a long history of anti-Semitic leanings to headline their event,” State Republican Party chairman Edward Cox said in the release. “To embrace someone with that history is deeply offensive and disturbing.
“This invitation speaks volumes about their values, and is more proof they are wrong for New York,” the statement continues.
The State Senate Democrats slapped back at Cox and his party for backing President Donald Trump, who has made numerous inflammatory statements about Muslims and Mexican immigrants. Several prominent Trump aides, including chief strategist Stephen Bannon and deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, have been accused of anti-Semitic and racist leanings.
The president also received the endorsement of numerous white nationalist groups while running for the White House.
“This is ironic coming from a party that embraces Donald Trump, who leads the most hateful administration in modern American history,” said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Democrats.
At present, registered Democrats make up the numerical majority within the State Senate, holding 32 of 63 seats. However, Brooklyn State Senator Simcha Felder, a nominal Democrat, has caucused with the Republicans since his election in 2012.
In addition, eight Democrats belong to the Independent Democratic Conference, which has enjoyed a power-sharing arrangement with the GOP for almost five years.