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09 March, 2017

Election of Tom Perez to DNC chair shows the DNC establishment has learned nothing

Failing to learn from the humiliating losses of the last election, establishment Democrats continue to cater to their oligarchical donors while rejecting the party’s progressive base and its future.

By Whitney Webb

Part 3 - Perez’s campaign for DNC chair was straight out of the Clinton playbook

Perez’s commitment to Clinton-esque campaign strategies was made evident by his own recent campaign for DNC chair. Just like Perez had once helped Clinton play the “race card” in casting a majority of Sanders supporters as “white,” Perez’s campaign for DNC chair benefited from a vicious smear campaign against his opponent, Ellison, in which Ellison, a Muslim, was accused of being anti-Semitic.

This attack on Ellison was launched by the largest funder of both the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban. Ellison’s track record as a “measured critic” of Israel’s occupation of Palestine is clearly at odds with the views of Saban, who has stated, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.

Just a few weeks after Ellison launched his bid for DNC chair, Saban called Ellison “an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,” adding that Ellison’s election “would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.” Saban’s influence within the establishment wing cannot be understated, having donated $2.4 million to the Clintons’ various campaigns and more than $15 million to the Clinton Foundation. He also donated $7 million to the construction of the DNC’s headquarters in 2001.

Following Saban’s invective, Jewish groups began to announce that they had become “uncomfortable” with the prospect of Ellison as DNC chair. Some even remarked that the last thing the Democrats needed to attract Rust Belt voters was to elect a black Muslim as the face of the party, despite the fact that Ellison was born in Detroit and raised in the Rust Belt.

Notable Jewish Democrats, such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, vowed to abandon the party were Ellison to become the next DNC chair. Dershowitz cited Ellison’s allegedly “long history of sordid association with anti-Semitism” as the motivating factor for his not-so-veiled threat. Even though Ellison had the support of over 300 rabbis and Jewish community leaders along with several establishment Democrats coming to his defense, he was unable to shake off the barrage of accusations.

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