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Ellison on blacks and Jews, Al Franken and the platform

We just spoke with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress – we’ll post the video later this evening soon.

Ellison talked about how he worked with Jewish supporters in his Minneapolis district to get elected in 2006, and how that could translate into a nationwide model for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

He also spoke about his get-out-the vote efforts for Al Franken, the comedian/talkshow host attempting to unseat Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) (both candidates are Jewish).

Ellison noted that Franken is catching up with Coleman in recent polling. “The momentum is with Al Franken,” he said. “We’re going to make Al a senator.”

More substantially, Ellison differed with his party – and its presidential candidate – on tough language in the platform on Iran, which talks about keeping “all options on the table” in attempting to get the Islamic Republic to stand down from its suspected nuclear weapons program.

“When you explicitly say the military option is on the table it’s like saying, ‘Let’s negotiate, but this Colt 45 is gonna be sitting here just in case the conversation doesn’t stay right’,” Ellison said. “I don’t think that the implied threat of force is necessary. I hope the Obama administration understands that peace is wrapped up not ultimately in military solutions but in trying to make parties come together.”

Ellison says the United States should draw its example from Israel, which is actively pursuing peace talks on multiple fronts.

“Israel itself is saying our security cannot be exclusively wrapped up in military options.”

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