Keith Ellison faces renewed scrutiny over past ties to Nation of Islam, defense of anti-Semitic figures

But several outlets have resurfaced Ellison’s past writings as he runs for DNC chair, raising new concerns about his own views and what they would mean for the Democratic Party if he were to be its leader. A CNN KFile review of Ellison’s past writings and public statements during the late 1980s through the 1990s reveal his decade-long involvement in the Nation of Islam and his repeated defense of Farrakhan and other radical black leaders against accusations of anti-Semitism in columns and statements to the press. None of the records reviewed found examples of Ellison making any anti-Semitic comments himself.

In one scathing column from 1990 unearthed by CNN’s KFile, Ellison accused the university’s president of chilling the free expression of black students by openly criticizing a controversial speaker invited to speak on campus by the Africana Student Cultural Center. That speaker, Kwame Ture (also known as Stokely Carmichael), had publicly claimed that Zionists had collaborated with the Nazis in World War II and has been quoted as saying “Zionism must be destroyed.”

University of Minnesota President Nils Hasselmo said he “personally found the statements in Ture’s speech concerning alleged Zionist collaboration with the Nazis deeply offensive.” Ellison, writing under the name “Keith E. Hakim” for the Minnesota Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Minnesota where Ellison attended law school, argued that Hasselmo “denounced Ture’s comment without offering any factual refutation of it,” and defended Ture’s right to speak on campus and to question Zionism.