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Keith Ellison Stands By Anti-Israeli Comments

On Tuesday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) appeared on Politico’s Glenn Thrush podcast ‘Off Message.’ During the interview, Ellison was asked about comments he had previously made about Israeli.

In a 2010 speech, Ellison said, “A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right?”

The Anti-Defamation League called these remarks, “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.”

“Obviously Israel features very prominently in the US policy toward the entire region. And I was explaining, ‘Why does Israel, based on population, feature more prominently than other countries that have much more population?’ Ellison said. “So what I said, though inartfult, it certainly wasn’t made in a mean-spirited way, it certainly wasn’t disparaging of anyone, but it was the statement that — look, and people were asking me, ‘How can we be more effective at engaging our government?’ And you’ve got to understand a lot of people who, in the audience I was talking to, if you come from Syria, you don’t have any experience with reaching out to government and trying to get them to be responsive to you.”

Ellison then voiced his support for a two-state solution for Israel.

“Look, I am supportive of Israel and a Palestinian state. I believe there must be a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state. I believe that the United States should be an agent to try and promote a two state solution. I don’t think a settlement movement in the Palestinian state is helpful to the ends of a two-state solution,” Ellison told Thrush.

But Ellison’s position may run into pushback from other top Democrats. Back in 2010, incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Palestinians simply do not believe in Israeli statehood.

“The Palestinian people still don’t believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution. More do than before, but a majority still do not. Their fundamental view is ‘the Europeans treated the Jews badly and gave them our land.’ This is Palestinian thinking,” Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said about a Palestinian state in 2010.