Rep. Keith Ellison, a candidate to head the Democratic National Committee, said an audio recording in which he said American foreign policy bows to Israeli interests was "taken out of context."
"The audio released was selectively edited and taken out of context by an individual the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an 'anti-Muslim extremist,'" Ellison, D-Minn., said Thursday in an open letter to Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. "My memory is that I was responding to a question about how Americans with roots in the Middle East could engage in the political process in a more effective way. My advice was simply to get involved."
Earlier Thursday, Greenblatt said that the remarks — contained in a short clip recorded at a 2010 fundraiser that was released this week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism — were "disqualifying" of Ellison's candidacy to lead the Democratic National Committee and were reminiscent of classic anti-Semitic stereotypes that Jews control the government. The IPT is run by Steven Emerson, who was featured in the Southern Poverty Law Center's recently released guide to anti-Muslim extremists.