Rep. Keith Ellison unveiled his “platform” for the Democratic Party on Thursday as the Minnesotan faces fresh questioning about his past ties to anti-Semitic figures.

“We must energize Democratic activists across the country and give them the tools to build the party from the bottom-up,” Ellison said about his bid to become Democratic National Committee chairman.

But his past association with the Nation of Islam and its controversial leader Louis Farrakhan are overshadowing his plan.

“The last thing we need is a chairman who has to spend all of his time defending” himself at the beginning of his chairmanship, said veteran Democratic operative Jim Manley, who is a Minnesota native.

Jewish publications and pro-Israel publications for weeks have been questioning whether Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is an anti-Semite.

Ellison disassociated himself from the Nation of Islam during his first run for Congress in 2006 and he and his supporters have worked hard to push back against the allegations.

He “rejects all forms of anti-Semitism,” an Ellison spokesman told CNN Thursday. “[T]he right wing has been pushing these stories for years to drive a wedge between Congressman Ellison and the Jewish community.”

When the rumors began swirling before Thanksgiving, Ellison said he is a friend of Israel’s.

“I support Israel,” he said in a Nov. 23 statement. “And I have long supported a two-state solution and a democratic and secure state for the Jewish people, with a democratic and viable Palestinian state side-by-side in peace and dignity.

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“As I told Senator [Charles] Schumer before he endorsed me, as chair of the Democratic National Committee, I will continue to support the DNC platform which…affirms: Support for a strong and secure Israel, including its right of self-defense; Opposition to the BDS Movement; [and] Support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate, is also seeking the position.

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