Opinion: Jewish Women Must Stand with Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour speaking at the Festival of Faiths meeting in May 2016. (Photo by Festival of Faiths, Creative Commons license)

One of the key organizers and leaders of the recent Women’s March on Washington was Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist who is executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. Although Sarsour has long advocated for immigrant rights and police reform and against racial and religious profiling and discrimination, she recently has come under attack for allegedly being anti-Semitic.

Stefanie Iris Weiss, writing in The Forward, condemns the attacks on Sarsour.

Just because Sarsour is an advocate for Palestinian causes — as many Jews and Israelis are — doesn’t put her in opposition to Jewish values. I also believe that the occupation is illegal and immoral – so am I an anti-Semite? I believe that Trump’s pick for Ambassador to Israel, his former bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman (who happens to be from Woodmere, my hometown) is a bigot who will further inflame tensions in the region. Does that make me an anti-Semite? I believe the settlements should be dismantled. Does that make me an anti-Semite? My Israeli friends don’t think so.

Weiss goes on to describe the history of her family’s escape from oppression, and the history of “a town full of Hasidic Jews from Russia,” who eventually settled in Crown Heights.

Go to The Forward to read how Weiss argues that the memories “threaded through our DNA” demand that, against a backdrop of xenophobia, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment, “intersectional values” are needed.

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