Harvard law professor and longtime Democrat Alan Dershowitz vowed recently that he will leave the Democratic Party if Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who many view as a radical liberal, is elected party chairman.
Party leaders and delegates have convened in Atalanta this weekend to officially select the next chairperson of the party after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) resigned last summer amid scandal over Democratic Party leaders favoring Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries.
The new chairperson will be elected Saturday and it appears that Ellison, along with Tom Perez, Barack Obama's labor secretary, are the two leading candidates for the position. Perez represents the mainstream of the DNC while Ellison represents the hard-Left.
But if Ellison is elected chairman, Dershowitz says he will leave the party that he has been a part of for more than a half century.
"There has been powerful push from the hard-left of the Democratic Party, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders to elect Rep. Keith Ellison chairman. If he is elected, I will quit the party after 60 years of loyal association and voting," Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed for The Hill on Friday.
"I will become an independent, continuing to vote for the best candidates, most of whom, I assume, will still be Democrats. But I will not contribute to the DNC or support it as an institution," he added.
Not only will he leave the party if Ellison is elected chairman, but Dershowitz wrote that he will urge others to follow his lead.
"My loyalty to my country and my principles and my heritage exceeds any loyalty to my party," he wrote. "I will urge other like-minded people — centrist liberals — to follow my lead and quit the Democratic Party if Ellison is elected chairman."
For Dershowitz, not supporting Ellison is a clear choice.
"Ellison has a long history of sordid association with anti-Semitism," he wrote, explaining Ellison's ties to anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.
Ellison has publicly stated that he was unaware of Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism. That is not a credible statement. Everyone was aware of Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism. Farrakhan did not try to hide it. Indeed, he proclaimed it on every occasion. Ellison is either lying or he willfully blinded himself to what was obvious to everyone else. Neither of these qualities makes him suitable to be the next chairman of the DNC.
Moreover, Ellison himself has made anti-Semitic statements. A prominent lawyer, with significant credibility, told me that while he was a law student, Ellison approached her and said he could not respect her, because she was a Jew and because she was a woman who should not be at a law school. This woman immediately disclosed that anti-Semitic and anti-feminists statement to her husband and friends, and I believe she is telling the truth.
The Harvard law professor went on to skewer Ellison for his connection to anti-Israel figures like Stokely Carmichael and Esam Omeish, in addition to voting against funding for Israel's Iron Dome, which helps the country defend itself from rocket attacks by terrorist groups in neighboring areas including Hamas and Hezbollah.
"His voting record with regard to the Nation State of the Jewish people is among the very worst in Congress," Dershowitz wrote.
In the end, Dershowitz believes the DNC has a "momentous choice" choice to make this weekend. They can either head to the extreme Left and alienate a lot of moderate Democrats with Ellison or stay mainstream and recapture "rust-belt" Democrats who voted for President Donald Trump over Clinton last November.
"I hope they choose wisely. But if they do not, I have made my choice," he concluded.