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Sarsour: symbol of US Jew vs Jew

  • linda sarsour 2
One of the best symbols of the current Jewish political divide is a Muslim woman.
by BEN SALES, NEW YORK | May 04, 2017

To Jews on the left, Linda Sarsour is a courageous and effective activist who builds bridges and breaks stereotypes. To Jews on the right and some in the centre, she’s an Israel-hating apologist for Islamic extremists.

Both sides point to evidence backing up their claims: Sarsour supports a boycott of Israel and favours a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And earlier this year, she raised more than $100 000 to repair a vandalised Jewish cemetery in Missouri.

She’s also a rising star in the protest movement against President Donald Trump, with a record of success in organising and advocating for legislative change. As her profile rises in progressive circles, the tension over her attitude toward Israel keeps surfacing.

Born in Brooklyn in 1980, Sarsour was married at age 17 and had three kids by the time she was 24. She began engaging in activism after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, volunteering at the Arab-American Association of New York. Four years later she was the group’s executive director.

In the years since, she has effected change for her community and drawn praise from liberal politicians and activists. She participated in the successful campaigns for New York City schools to close on Muslim holidays and for an independent review of racial profiling from the city’s police.

This year, Sarsour’s profile rose as one of the co-organisers of the Women’s March on Washington, a large protest for women’s rights and against Trump. Time magazine included Sarsour and three other organisers on its list of 100 most influential people.

Sarsour also was recognised by President Barack Obama, whose White House named her a “champion of change”.

Sarsour, who is of Palestinian descent, is a harsh critic of Israel. Soon after the Women’s March, she drew fire from Jewish leaders for saying unabashed supporters of Israel cannot be feminists.

“It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say: ‘Is there room for people who support the State of Israel and do not criticise it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism,” she told the magazine in March.

Sarsour backs the BDS movement. She told NY1 that she supports a one-state solution that would create a shared country for Jews and Palestinians - a solution that many Jews consider a formula for the demise of Israel.

Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organisation of America, called her “a bigot and divider” and “extremist”. “She’s bigoted because she loves Jews but hates Zionism,” former Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman said. Her progressive activism, he added, “doesn’t excuse bigotry”.

Jewish groups on the left have lavished praise on Sarsour.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, which backs the BDS movement, has described Sarsour as “passionate and compelling, very smart, committed and an impressive person".

Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, cites Sarsour as the test of "the choices we make about our alliances in the pursuit of our political causes".

 

2 Comments

  1. 2 Gary Selikow 04 May
    In short Linda Sarsour has nothing against Jews living in the galut but would like every Jew in Israel slaughtered down to the last child.
    she is a malignant human shaped sack of venom.
  2. 1 David B 06 May
    playing both ends to the middle -- doesn't take long to get burned
      She hates Israeli Jews but loves American Jews - sounds like she was absolutely a candidate for Obama to recognise -- the hypocrisy oozing with an ease that would make Obama proud, and to relate this to feminism shows the lefty misunderstanding of most logical things.
     By the way her name means 'She knows'  and 'Bug' in Arabic -  a polarised as her crazy beliefs are   

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