Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro went after Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) Wednesday for the lawmaker's recent comparison of the "Dreamer" illegal immigrants to Jews hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
What did Keith Ellison say exactly?
During a speech to supporters in Minneapolis, Ellison, who is also the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, directly compared illegal immigrants to Jews being persecuted by the Nazis in World War II.
"I'm one of the people who believes we should give our neighbors sanctuary," he said. "And if you ask yourself what would I do if I was a gentile in 1941 if my Jewish neighbors were under attack by the Nazis — would I give them sanctuary?"
"You might be about to find out what you would do," he concluded. "Would you pass that moral test or will you fail it?"
What did Ben Shapiro respond?
"Well I mean, there are about one bajillion things with everything he just said," Shapiro said on Fox News Wednesday.
"First of all," he added, "Keith Ellison is the last person who should be making Holocaust references considering that he spent the last 30 years of his life opposing Jews. I mean he was very close with Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan in the 1990s. He gave a leadoff speech for a guy named Kalid Muhammed who was so radical that he was thrown out of the Nation of Islam for anti-Semitism."
"He's tried to back off of that in recent years," Shapiro explained, "but Alan Dershowitz said that if Keith Ellison had been appointed head of the DNC, he would have left the Democratic Party wholesale.
"Keith Ellison is not the guy to be making this particular reference to begin. If Keith Ellison had been around in 1941, I have my doubts about what he would have done with Jews trying to hide from Nazis," he laughed.
"But beyond that," Shapiro continued, "the reference with regard to ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], that ICE is somehow a Nazi force in enforcing the immigration laws is just absurd and the idea that people who are here illegally who have been living in the country in largely freedom, many of their kids are going to public schools, they are taking advantage of public benefits, they have jobs here — the idea that this is the same thing as making legal citizens of your country illegal and then throwing them into concentration camps or gassing them is just beyond the pale.
"It's insane language from Ellison but nothing shocking considering who Ellison is," he concluded.
Does Rep. Ellison make extreme comments a lot?
Yes. Ellison has a pattern and history of making outrageous comments seemingly to grab attention. He claimed that President Donald Trump was impeachable on the first day of his first term, something even Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democrats to calm down over.
Why does this matter?
For the most part, it really doesn't. This is another example of how the left is generating more extreme rhetoric while accusing the right of doing the same, but Ellison is not terribly representative of Democrats. Ellison represents the far left progressive wing of the party and his statements don't reflect the attitudes of everyone on the left.