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NYC Jewish groups raise uproar over Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s praise for Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour 

One of Time’s “100 most influential people”

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Guiding her troops, activist Linda Sarsour, r, with another woman at a demonstration. West Side Heighway at West 11th Street. Photo: Pauline Dolle/A Journey through NYC religions

 

Jewish leaders and pro-Israel activists have expressed concern over a contribution to Time Magazine by New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that praised Linda Sarsour – a Palestinian-American political activist and vocal advocate for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel.

In a short piece accompanying the magazine’s “100 most influential people” list for 2017, Gillibrand paid tribute to “four extraordinary women  — Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour” for organizing the Women’s March on Washington, DC on January 21.

“The images of Jan. 21, 2017, show a diverse, dynamic America—striving for equality for all. The moment and movement mattered so profoundly because it was intersectional and deeply personal,” Gillibrand wrote. “These women are the suffragists of our time.”

The depiction of Sarsour as a fighter for the rights of all women jarred with Jewish community leaders, who pointed to her insistence that pro-Israel sentiments have no place among progressives, and her assertion, in an interview with The Nation, that one cannot be both a feminist and a Zionist.

“I salute the progressive women who reject this phony, false, hateful choice,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told The Algemeiner. “Someone who says that Jews need not apply if they have an affection or an affiliation with Israel isn’t a progressive.”  ...

The senator’s Time article has appeared in the midst of another Sarsour-related row, this time over the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health’s decision to invite her to speak at its forthcoming commencement event. ...

She has made frequently inflammatory comments on social media regarding Israel and the Middle East, declaring on Twitter that there is “nothing creepier than Zionism.” ...

From Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner, April 26, 2017

Versus

I’m A Zionist And A Feminist. I Stand With Linda Sarsour.

On February 21, the cemetery in St. Louis where several members of my family are buried was desecrated by cowardly, anti-Semitic vandals. Minutes after I posted about it on social media, I got a text from Linda Sarsour expressing sympathy and offering to help. One day later, she had organized thousands of Muslims across the United States to raise over $80,000.

This was not a surprise to me. Linda has stood with the Jewish community against anti-Semitic hate crimes many times. She has visited our synagogue (Congregation Kolot Chayeinu, in Brooklyn) and worked closely with my rabbi, with fellow congregants, with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and with many other Jews. Including Zionists, like me.

Linda opposes anti-Semitism as part of her broader work for justice. ...

n February 21, the cemetery in St. Louis where several members of my family are buried was desecrated by cowardly, anti-Semitic vandals. Minutes after I posted about it on social media, I got a text from Linda Sarsour expressing sympathy and offering to help. One day later, she had organized thousands of Muslims across the United States to raise over $80,000.

This was not a surprise to me. Linda has stood with the Jewish community against anti-Semitic hate crimes many times. She has visited our synagogue (Congregation Kolot Chayeinu, in Brooklyn) and worked closely with my rabbi, with fellow congregants, with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and with many other Jews. Including Zionists, like me.

Linda opposes anti-Semitism as part of her broader work for justice.

I do not agree with Linda on every issue. We both have strong, and divergent, views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I oppose the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement. She supports it. This does not make me an Islamophobe. And it does not make Linda an anti-Semite. (Indeed, while I disagree with them as well, there are active members of my synagogue who support BDS as well.)...

 

From Brad Lander, NYC Councilman, The Forward, May 8, 1917

 

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