NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were questions Tuesday evening about the decision by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to throw his support behind Keith Ellison – a fiery critic of Israel – to become chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Schumer got a taste on Monday of what it could be like to lead the out-of-power Senate Democrats in the age of Donald Trump. Some two dozen protesters came to Schumer’s Washington office and occupied it.
“The Democratic establishment cannot lead the opposition right now,” a protester said.
Another protester asked Schumer to step aside and give his Senate minority leadership to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
The protests were one reason for Schumer’s hard-for-some-to-swallow decision to back Ellison (D-Minn.) to chair the Democratic Party. Otherwise, there were concerns that someone else, like Sanders, could become Senate Minority Leader. Ellison was a Sanders supporter.
Prominent Jewish leaders told CBS2’s Kramer they are upset with Schumer for backing Ellison, who has been highly critical of Israel.
The Jewish leaders recited a litany of concerns. Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, worked to insert pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel pranks into the Democratic Party platform, but they were stopped by the Clinton team.
On a trip to Israel last summer, Ellison posted a photo of a sign in Hebron declaring Israel to be an apartheid state. He also proudly defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan against accusations of being anti-Semitic.
“(H)is vile beliefs… ought to disqualify him outright,” said Joel Mowbray, a consultant to Jewish groups. “If Chuck Schumer actually did his due diligence and is supporting Ellison anyway, that’s shameful.”
Jewish leaders also claimed Schumer’s support of Ellison is at odds with Schumer’s own strong support for Israel.
CBS2’s Kramer asked Schumer’s office why he is supporting an anti-Israel candidate.
Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro replied: “Democrats have an excellent platform, including one of the strongest pro-Israel platforms. Keith Ellison was instrumental in making that happen and persuading others to support it.”
On Wednesday, Senate Democrats will decide if Schumer will be their top dog in the Senate.