NYU to Host Linda Sarsour Despite Her Antisemitism Controversies
Linda Sarsour, who has been dogged by accusations of antisemitism, will speak next month at a New York University program on immigration.
The announcement for the March 25 event, sponsored by NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, makes no reference to Sarsour’s divisive views. It ignores the fact that the national Women’s March, which Sarsour helps lead, lost a number of significant sponsors — including the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Emily’s List, and the National Organization for Women (NOW) — due to concerns about antisemitism and other issues from Sarsour and her colleagues.
Instead, the NYU statment describes her as a “racial justice and civil rights activist” who is “[b]est known for her intersectional coalition work and efforts to build bridges across racial, ethnic, and faith communities.”
The missing caveat: She’ll build bridges — as long as you share her hatred for Israel.
In 2015, Sarsour pointedly rejected any solidarity gestures from people who want to stand by Muslims but also support Israel, or who oppose the campaign to boycott Israel.
This built on her 2012 claim, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” a tweet that remains on her Twitter feed today. And, as the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported last fall, Sarsour has blamed Jews for police shootings of unarmed black people. She points to a program run by the Anti-Defamation League that takes police officials to Israel for a week of seminars, “so they can be trained by the Israeli police and military, and then they come back here and do what? Stop and frisk, killing unarmed black people across the country.”
These comments are similar to a viewpoint she offered in 2015, during a speech at the 20th anniversary of antisemite Louis Farrakhan’s “Million Man March.”
“The same people who justify the massacres of Palestinian people and call it collateral damage are the same people who justify the murder of black young men and women,” she said.
It’s not as if NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute had no warning. Sarsour’s 2017 participation on an antisemitism panel at the nearby New School drew widespread criticism.
NYU placed ninth among the nation’s worst campuses for Jews in a 2016 Algemeiner assessment, because “NYU’s was one of the first graduate student governments to pass a BDS resolution, and Jewish students have been subject to antisemitic attacks, such as being served mock eviction notices.”
School officials pushed back, but in December, NYU temporarily shut down the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life after finding “several public online postings by an NYU student which were antisemitic in nature and potentially threatening.”
Sarsour has not tried to explain or walk back her antisemitic comments. But she’s still considered a worthy choice for an academic program at one of the country’s most prestigious institutions. That’s probably not going to help with those rankings.