“I just found the book that strike fear in the heart of Donald Trump,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Min.), Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted on Wednesday, and attached his selfie holding up a copy of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” by Mark Bray.
This is worrisome, especially should the anticipated Democratic “wave” materialize in November, 2018. Because, even as reflected through Bray’s book, Antifa in the US are self-appointed gangs on the hunt for their natural enemies—whomever they decide they are—and, like a gang, they have no problem using violence. A senior DNC official must not advocate these tactics.
Bray, a visiting historian at Dartmouth College, whose other book (he’s written dozens) is “Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street,” and whose leftist credentials, academic and actual, are impeccable, is an advocate of doing away with Voltaire’s famous quote that “I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
His argument should be acceptable to Jews, of all people. Last February, he told WNYC’s Brooke Gladstone that “Anti-fascists fundamentally disagree with that premise. They argue that, given the horrors of Auschwitz and Treblinka, the destruction that Nazis have caused, that fascists, white supremacists should not be granted the right to express their ideas in public, in part because, they argue, had that been done early in the 1920s and the 1930s we may have been able to bypass what ended up happening.”
Following that logic, it is clear why Bray is fascinated by the historic Antifa – Antifaschistische Aktion – in the late 1920s and early 1930s, in a time of rising tensions between Nazis and leftists. But, as Loren Balhorn put it in her “The Lost History of Antifa,” that the contemporary Antifa, which emerged in the 1980s in Germany, “has no practical historical connection to the movement from which it takes its name, but is instead a product of West Germany’s squatter scene.”
Antifa tactics, according to Bray, include denying their targets the opportunity to speak out in public; obstructing their events and defacing their propaganda; and, when antifa activists deem it necessary, deploying violence to deter them. In other words, militant thugs, much like the various alt.right militant thugs.
In addition to his support for anti-free speech thugs, Keith Ellison is problematic in the context of a big Democratic party win in November because of his disturbing support for conspiracy theories about 9/11, and his open affiliation with radical Islam.
On July 8, 2007, Ellison compared then Vice President Dick Cheney to Hitler, suggesting the administration was manipulating the 9/11 attack to fit its political needs. “It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Ellison said. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country, Hitler, in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I’m not saying September 11 was a US plan or anything like that because, you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.”
Using the pseudonyms “Keith E. Hakim” and “Keith X Ellison,” in the 1990s Keith Ellison defended Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in a series of newspaper columns against charges of anti-Semitism. But during his 2006 campaign, after a Republican blogger outed him as the author of those columns, Ellison wrote a letter to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota & the Dakotas saying he had never been a member of the Nation of Islam. He denounced the Nation of Islam and Farrakhan, writing, “I wrongly dismissed concerns that they [Farrakhan’s remarks] were anti-Semitic. They were and are anti-Semitic and I should have come to that conclusion earlier than I did.”
He also stated, “Any kind of discrimination and hate are wrong. This has always been my position.”
Perhaps the gentleman from Minnesota should acquaint himself with the openly anti-free speech tactics of his newly discovered movement that “strikes fear in the heart of Donald Trump.”
Then there was Ellison’s 2008 trip to Saudi Arabia, where, according to several mainstream media outlets, he met with Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, a radical Muslim cleric who publicly endorsed killing US soldiers; and with the president of a bank used to pay the families of suicide bombers living in the Palestinian Authprity.
Other details of Ellison’s Haj (religious pilgrimage) to Saudi Arabia are sketchy, but there are photographs, unearthed discovered by the rightwing Washington Free Beacon, showing that Ellison met with extremists while Hajjing.
In February 2009, Ellison visited Gaza to view firsthand the destruction from the recent conflict, following which he said, “The stories about the children affected me the most. No parent, or anyone who cares for kids, can remain unmoved by what […] I saw here.”
The following day, Ellison and Baird visited the Israeli towns of Sderot and Ashkelon, which were the targets of numerous Qassam rocket attacks, launched from within the Gaza Strip. Perhaps he added a heartfelt note describing his impressions, but we did not find any.