Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison has retweeted dozens of anti-Zionist posts on Twitter over the last nine days, including one that accuses “zionists of ethnic cleansing,” compares Israel to Nazis, and one from the former spokesperson of Neturei Karta, an organization of Orthodox Jews who participated in Iran’s Holocaust denial conference and don’t believe in Israel because “only God can restore Jewish sovereignty.”
Ellison is running for re-election in Minneapolis’ Ward 5. His tweets and retweets range from conspiracies and anti-zionism to testimonials of Palestinians with family in Gaza and tweets about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He did not respond to emails seeking comment.
His opponent, Victor Martinez, was critical of Ellison’s lack of a statement condemning Hamas.
“My opponent has not released a single statement in support of Israel, Jewish people in Minneapolis, or the thousands of innocent men, women, and children who have been murdered in Gaza and Israel,” said Martinez, who added he was in attendance at last week’s Israel solidarity gathering at Beth El Synagogue. “Instead, he has chosen to double down on antisemitic sentiment in his social media activity and align himself with the atrocious statements put out by the Twin Cities [Democratic Socialists of America].
“Ward 5 is the ancestral hub of the Jewish community in Minneapolis,” Martinez said. “Ward 5 should be a place where residents of all faiths and backgrounds feel safe and supported.”
The local DSA chapter put out a statement on Oct. 10 that didn’t mention Hamas’ brutal massacre of Israelis at all. Jewish members of the Minnesota Legislature blasted the DSA in their own statement:
“In the wake of the barbaric attack and massacre of Israeli civilians, including many elders and children, we stand in solidarity with our Israeli families and friends. We are heartbroken by images of entire communities destroyed in the largest single-day Jewish loss of life since the Holocaust. We grieve the loss of all civilian life – Israeli and Palestinian – in this war.
“That is why we are appalled at a recent statement by the Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) that fails to even mention or acknowledge the heinous mass murder of Israelis at the hands of Hamas terrorists. In this moment of grief and pain in the Jewish communities across the globe, the failure to condemn this bloodshed is hurtful to our communities that have experienced so much generational trauma.
“The DSA statement concludes with an egregious proclamation that negates the existence of Israel. Such statements do not move us closer to a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace, security, and justice. We have and will continue to support peace efforts in the region.”
The DSA put out a second, clarifying statement two days later that said, “We strongly condemn attacks on civilians by Hamas…not mentioning the mass death and kidnapping of Israeli civilians [in the initial statement] gave the impression that we were unconcerned about the tragic civilian casualties that have occurred as a result of Saturday’s attacks. This is not the case, but we recognize that the impact of our statement is more important than our intent.”
Earlier Monday, 15 DFL party officials announced a temporary leave from party positions so that they could campaign against the DSA-endorsed city council candidates who also won DFL endorsements. Many of those who signed are in Ellison’s ward. Ellison didn’t seek the DSA nomination but frequently votes with some of those candidates.
“We cannot say if the TCDSA is steeped in Jew-hatred, or if it simply is unable to find the moral clarity of which Gov. Walz spoke,” they wrote in an op-ed in the Star Tribune. “It hardly matters: Jew-hatred flourishes in the absence of moral clarity.”
The Neturei Karta, which Ellison retweeted, views itself as the religious Jewish authority on Zionism and Israel and claims to “pray for the peaceful dismantlement of the state of Israel,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. It has met with the former president of Iran and notorious Holocaust-denying antisemite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on several occasions in Tehran as well as in New York, where it greeted him before the Iranian leader spoke at the United Nations General Assembly. Group members have also met with leaders of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Sami Rahamim, the communications director for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, said Ellison’s tweets were “deeply discouraging.”
“They invert reality and ignore Hamas’ unspeakable massacre and kidnapping of Israeli civilians on October 7, as well as the broader active threat and genocidal aims of Hamas and their benefactor Iran toward Israel,” he said. “The tweets also reveal ignorance about the demographics and mainstream positions of the Jewish community. If Councilmember Ellison had attended our solidarity gathering at Beth El last week, he would have seen a diverse community of thousands deep in grief who still seek peace, safety, and justice for all.
“I invite Councilmember Ellison to a conversation; I offer my perspective as a Minneapolitan born to an Iranian-Israeli father, z”l, and as a person who holds compassion for Palestinians while rooted in the lived experiences of Jews and Israelis.”