Sunday, July 9, 2017
Mainstream Hate And Discrimination--Sarsour Style
Women’s March co-organizer Linda Sarsour said in her speech to a Jewish Voice for Peace conference in Chicago on Sunday that she’s “providing a service . . . that I’m allowing the Jewish community to have the real hard conversation that it always needed to be having” about whether it should support Israel.
Thanks! Let me return the favor and encourage Sarsour to have a hard conversation about how she is preaching hatred while claiming to be fighting for equality, and putting women down while saying she’s trying to lift them up.
The Brooklyn-born Sarsour, daughter of Palestinian immigrants, shared the dais Sunday with another darling of the feminist “resistance,” Rasmea Odeh — convicted in Israel of killing two Hebrew University students in a 1969 terrorist attack and of planning an attack on the British Consulate. After her release, Odeh was able to immigrate to the United States by hiding her crime. She’s now being deported to Jordan.
Odeh has become a leftist hero. Sunday night, she and Sarsour embraced, and Sarsour gushed to the audience about feeling “honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.”
It’s a curious embrace of terrorism and anti-Semitism from a recipient of a $500,000 taxpayer grant from Mayor de Blasio, as Sarsour’s group, the Arab American Association of New York, was last year. Sarsour, in fact, has been an important ally of de Blasio’s since his election — a role she’s sure to reprise in the mayor’s bid for a second term.
Sarsour said last month feminism is “about the rights of all women.” Yet in the same interview, when asked whether there’s “room for people who support the state of Israel” in the women’s movement, she said: “There can’t be in feminism.” Apparently, Sarsour doesn’t believe all women deserve equal rights — Israeli and Israel-supporting women are an exception. And, by her logic, since she isn’t for the rights of all women, she isn’t a feminist.
In a flattering interview with Ha’aretz, Sarsour advocated a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which the Jewish state would no longer exist. And Sarsour once tweeted that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” Meaning that her struggles, whether they’re for Palestinians or women, are just, but the Jewish liberation movement has no right to exist.
In her speech to Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization of extremist Jewish activists dedicated to delegitimizing Israel, Sarsour said, “There’s always been anti-Semitism,” and people must fight it.
She doesn’t seem to grasp that advocating wiping Israel off the map, as she does, is fighting for the continued oppression of Jews, denying their self-determination and taking away their safe haven — nor did she seem to grasp the chutzpah required to make a statement like that after embracing and praising Odeh.
Sarsour doesn’t only deny the rights of Jewish and pro-Israel women — for example, she said Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a prominent critic of radical Islam and victim of female genital mutilation should have her vagina taken away.
Sarsour claimed that Zionists are asking her “to somehow leave out a portion of my identity so you can be welcomed to a space to work on justice . . . We, as Palestinian-Americans . . . will not change who we are to make anyone comfortable.”
Here’s the thing: No one asked Sarsour to stop being a Palestinian-American or wanting there to be a Palestinian state. What pro-Israel feminists — like myself and Emily Shire, who wrote a New York Times column that sparked the question of feminism and Zionism — are saying is, we may not agree on the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we agree that we want equal rights for women, so let’s join forces on that.
But Sarsour is an adherent of intersectionality, an idea that women cannot separate the different elements of a woman’s identity, such that the oppression of marginalized groups is compounded with women’s oppression. The women’s movement, according to people who believe this idea, can’t just be about equality for women.
Therefore, Sarsour has argued, Palestinian women suffer more than Palestinian men and the women’s movement must be anti-Israel. What she forgets is that, by that logic, Israeli women suffer more than Israeli men, for example, when Hamas shoots rockets from Gaza at Israeli civilians or Palestinian terrorists try to run them over.
Yet she doesn’t think all bigotry must be fought. “Of course there’s anti-Semitism,” she said Sunday, adding that she doesn’t ask for Jews’ political opinions before she opposes discrimination against them. But then, she said anti-Semitism “can’t exactly compare . . . to anti-black racism or Islamophobia.”
Sorry, Jews, your safety doesn’t really matter. Then again, that’s not surprising from someone who thinks Israel shouldn’t exist and praises a murderer of Israelis.
Any movement that seeks to uplift women shouldn’t be led by someone so unapologetically discriminatory, or it cannot claim to stand for the rights of all women. Women deserve better than Linda Sarsour’s doublespeak.
Lahav Harkov is The Jerusalem Post’s senior Knesset correspondent.