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May 25, 2017 6:15 pm

ADL Rejects Anti-Israel Activist Linda Sarsour Over BDS, Upholds Her ‘First Amendment Right’ to Address CUNY Graduation Ceremony

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Linda Sarsour. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a sharp rejection on Thursday of the pro-BDS positions advocated by Linda Sarsour — the controversial Palestinian-American activist who is scheduled to deliver the commencement speech at the graduating ceremony of the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health on Thursday, June 1.

Sarsour, a co-organizer of the Women’s March held in Washington, DC in January, has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence among progressives over the last year, despite an established record of violent outbursts against her political opponents on social media, as well as her ideological baiting of the Jewish community. Her statements have included the contention that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” as well as her forthright insistence that pro-Israel women should be excluded from the feminist movement on the grounds that “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 criticize it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism.”

“We profoundly reject Linda Sarsour’s positions that delegitimize Israel,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement. “We have vigorously opposed efforts like the Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, which she supports and we oppose her stance that one cannot be simultaneously a feminist and pro-Israel.”

The ADL was firm that Sarsour should be allowed to speak at CUNY nonetheless. “Despite our deep opposition to Sarsour’s views on Israel, we believe that she has a First Amendment right to offer those views,” Greenblatt told The Algemeiner.

Greenblatt pointed out that this perspective is shared by CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken, who recognizes, he said, “that defending one’s right to free speech does not equate to defending the content of that speech.” Greenblatt said he commended Milliken’s “principled leadership in denouncing BDS and distancing the University from Sarsour’s problematic views.”

The ADL also upbraided speakers at a rally opposing Sarsour’s CUNY invite — held outside CUNY’s offices in midtown Manhattan earlier on Thursday — for their “anti-Muslim bigotry and other invective.” Among the rally’s organizers were far-right firebrand Pamela Geller and Milo Yiannopoulos, a media provocateur who on Wednesday slammed US pop singer Ariana Grande — whose concert in Manchester on Monday night was targeted by an Islamist suicide bomber — for being “pro-Islam.”

Sarsour’s invitation to speak at the CUNY ceremony — where Chirlane McCray, wife of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, will receive an honorary doctorate — has been strongly criticized by a number of influential Jewish figures, among them ADL National Director Emeritus Abraham Foxman. In an April 30 interview with The Algemeiner, Foxman cautioned against canceling the invite to Sarsour, arguing that doing so would turn her into a “free speech martyr.” But, Foxman said, the invite should not have been extended in the first place.

“She is an enemy of Jewish sovereignty and Jewish liberation,” Foxman stated. “She’s a bigot.”

In an exclusive Algemeiner opinion column published on Wednesday, the Israeli writer Petra Marquardt-Bigman examined Sarsour’s links with Nation of Islam (NoI) leader Louis Farrakhan  — described by the ADL as “the leading anti-Semite in America.” Marquardt-Bigman pointed out that in 2015, Sarsour shared a platform with Farrakhan at his “Justice or Else” rally in Washington, DC.

At that event, Farrakhan attacked Jews for “saying they’re the children of God, and they don’t have no forgiveness in them.” For her part, Sarsour asserted that the “common enemy … is white supremacy” and that “the liberation of the Palestinian people is bound up with the liberation of Black people in America.”

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  • Marvin Finkelstein

    The ADL are a bunch of wimps who are the laughing stock of World Politics!!!!

  • Howard Schaerf

    once again ADL misses the point.!…….CU N Y is supported by your tax dollars. The 1st. amendment does not sanction”freedom to destroy freedom”

  • Joseph Feld

    ‘The liberation of the Palestinian people is bound up with the liberation of Black people in America.’ The Arabs/ Ishmaelites and the Jews /Israelites are both the Children of Abraham our Father. Her racial theory falls flat !

  • jobacon

    How can Linda Sarsour claim to be a feminist when she wears that rag on her head! She probably condones FGM! If she is married, how many wives does her husband have? How many wives did her father have? Feminism and Islam are diametrical opposites.

  • Human Man

    She casts herself as a feminist leader while promoting Sharia law. She has wormed her way into every minority group and wants to drive a wedge between them and Jews who support Israel. She plays the anti-white card while she herself is white.

  • dante

    she has a first amendment right to address a graduation ceremony? really. does Greenblatt have a first amendment right to address the same ceremony? do I? does Milo? does Greenblatt know what he’s saying? [but, one wonders who invited the fool? what disreputable imbecile-reptile invited the fool?]

  • Kwitcherbellyakin

    The “Liberation” of black people in America? What does that imply? I can not see that as anything other than racism. I do defend the First Amendment, as long as the full truth is told. The First should not be covered by it.

  • Oren Safdie

    The new ADL .. Arab Defense League,

  • Reuven

    Under Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL has morphed into a group that at best is lukewarm on Israel. Greenblatt has steered the ADL very far to the left. Nobody is denying the terrorist-supporting Sarsour’s free speech rights. What people of goodwill are saying is that she shouldn’t be honored by the tax-supported CUNY. She’s unfit to receive such an honor. I note too that the graduation ceremony is being held on Shavuot. Consequently, observant Jewish students will be unable to attend, and many of those who would have walked out when Sarsour got up to speak, will not be able to show their discontent with this terrible, anti-Semitic speaker.

  • Stephen Jahn

    Greenblatt speaking for the Jewish community is a travesty. He is a charlatan that would sell out to Islam upon a simple stroke of Soros’ pen.

  • LtcHoward

    As a Christian, I am always mystified how Jonathan Greenblatt can support Sarsour when she is such an ardent supporter of those who murder Israelis in cold blood.

    Apparently, Jonathan is still in service to that segment of the Obama administration that gave the most violent Jew haters, Iran’s clerical regime, nearly $1 billion to support Hezbollah and a direct path to a nuclear weapon to destroy Israel.

    It is not free speech that Jonathan is defending… Jonathan is defending those whose every waking moment is devoted to killing Jews .

  • Hillel

    I agree with Abraham Foxman, you don’t want to make her a shahid, but who the hell is this Greenblatt character. It is high time we Jews stop pussy footing around these characters. These guys are so concerned with incurring the wrath of the world’s anti-Semites they don’t mind how many of us go to the slaughter again. Bear in mind that the way world events are turning up and exponential growth in anti Semitism world wide, it can happen again. 50 years ago after the 6 day war the tiny nation Israel was the world’s darling for defeating the Arab armies just like David and Goliath. The media invented Balestine or Falestin who is seen now as David and Israel as Goliath. Conveniently, millennia old Jew hatred manifests itself in the guise of people like this bigot Sarsour and we the Jews defend their right to come down on us? What the hell is wrong with these people! We had a few like that before and during the holocaust and we still have them now. Be wary.

  • solange9

    The ADL is an ass. Here’s why; “I may not agree with everyone who speaks before or after me. I may take issue with some of their beliefs. But their beliefs don’t call for my death by stoning or the other “progressive” tactics of Linda Sarsour’s beloved Intifada. If a pair of silly female rabbis can forgive Sarsour’s romantic view of terrorism and excuse her Tweeted fantasies of “taking Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s vagina away” as “a little mean,” I can surely stand with Milo Yiannopoulos and everyone else from the LGBT community and other walks of life who understand that Sarsour’s political agenda, if successful, would place all of our collective heads in the basket of Jihad. My personal public health and policy requires that I keep my head,” ~ Dov Hikind, NY Assemblyman

  • Helene Kalfuss

    Why are such bigots glorified on the graduation stages of the supposedly intellectually superior? Could it be that the “intellectuals” of today are not quite as superior as they think? To glorify a bigot by honoring her with the invitation was a terrible mistake. One can only hope that the graduating class members are not brainwashed by this exemplar of the bigoted culture from which she came. Shame on CUNY! I would want my class or the class of my children/grandchildren to be presented with an inspiring speaker who reflects respect and love for all humankind. In other words: a positive and loving experience!

  • Zev Sero

    What a crock of ****. There is no first amendment right to be invited to address a university, especially at a function that people have little choice but to attend. I’m sure that if Pamela Geller had been invited the ADL would have had no hesitation in calling for it to be withdrawn.

  • GodIsOneAndHisNameIsOne

    The ADL was already foundering under its previous leader. Now, under Greenblatt, it has completely lost its moral compass. Would the ADL have been inclined to give platform to speak to some of the 20th centuries biggest murderers (i.e., Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler)?
    I will not give a dime to the ADL – it no longer represents me or moral society.
    As for Sarsour, what more can one expect from her kind? She is what she is, a shill for murderers and thieves.

  • martin danenberg

    Check this out about racism and Linda Sarour. Check this out and share it,
    My Nazi grandfather, Amon Goeth, would have shot me – BBC

    Video embedded · Media captionJennifer Teege said her Nazi grandfather would have had her killed Jennifer Teege was shocked to discover her grandfather was a Nazi concentration camp …

  • NYDoc

    She should be cancelled. Free speech does not mean condoning hate speech. She is a hate monger. This week she castigated a white male student at Dartmouth for having no credibility, when he asked a question about some insane tweets she made.

  • Chuck

    She has a right to free speech, but not a right to a forum provided by CCNY for their graduation. That’s solely up to CCNY.

  • Reb_Yaakov

    The question is not whether she should be allowed to speak but rather why she was asked to speak.

    In the second paragraph, there should be a comma after “DC.” This is a consistent mistake made by this web site, and it gets tiring.

    Finally, why is it that the article does not state that the commencement exercises are taking place on the major Jewish holiday of Shavuot? Is it necessary to hide anything pertaining to the Jewish religion?