Linda Sarsour — It’s You and Not Bari Weiss Who Is on the Wrong Side of History
Bernie Sanders has been famously reluctant to mention his Jewishness on the campaign trail, but Linda Sarsour obviously feels that it serves her own purposes to ignore his reluctance. She recently touted her ambition “to make history,” by helping to elect Sanders as “the first Jewish American president this country has ever seen.” Sanders dutifully shared her endorsement on social media, thus confirming that he is only too happy to have someone who hates Israel and its supporters campaigning for him.
Sarsour promptly proceeded to demonstrate her breathtaking cynicism by first retweeting the clip Sanders had posted of her, and then following up with a tweet taking a swipe at Bari Weiss and her new book How to Fight Anti-Semitism. Linking to a negative review, Sarsour declared arrogantly: “Bari Weiss is what being on the wrong side of history looks like.”
So as far as Linda Sarsour is concerned, the socialist Bernie Sanders — who doesn’t have much support from American Jews — looks like an opportunity “to make history” as “the first Jewish American president this country has ever seen,” while the centrist Bari Weiss — who holds mainstream US Jewish views — is “what being on the wrong side of history looks like.”
But it is Sarsour, and arguably also Sanders, who are on the wrong side of history, because Sanders’ embrace of Sarsour only serves to illustrate the left-wing antisemitism that Bari Weiss — a liberal herself — highlights in her book. Sanders is obviously not bothered by Sarsour’s odious record, which not only includes her courting of, and collaboration with, veteran Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan, but also a long list of statements that document her implacable hostility to Israel, enthusiastic support for convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh, and her willingness to associate with radical Muslim individuals and groups that promote extremist views.
Indeed, at the end of November, Sanders surrogate Linda Sarsour is scheduled to speak at an annual gathering organized by the group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). According to an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report, “AMP has its organizational roots in the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an antisemitic group that served as the main propaganda arm for Hamas in the United States until it was dissolved in 2004. Since its creation in 2005, AMP continues to work closely with some former IAP leaders who currently hold positions as AMP board members.”
The ADL report describes AMP as “the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations” and notes that “AMP promotes extreme anti-Israel views and has at times provided a platform for antisemitism.”
Last year’s AMP gathering was promoted with a poster that advocated Israel’s replacement with a Palestinian state. The poster referred to Israel’s establishment in 1948 with the statement “70 YEARS LATER COMMITTED TO RETURN,” and presented this demand visually with figures carrying Palestinian flags moving towards a gate shaped in the outline of the area between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean, leading to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Linda Sarsour was advertised as one of the speakers for the event.
AMP’s activism in recent years has included staunch support for convicted terrorist and US immigration fraudster Rasmea Odeh, as well as efforts to incite against Israel by propagating the vicious libel that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is endangered by Jews. The group’s website claims that Israel was planning “the Judaization of Al Aqsa” and includes material indicating support for Palestinian terrorism and a sweeping denial of Jewish history. AMP has also denounced the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as an organization that is “supporting theft and murder.”
If Linda Sarsour wanted to ponder which side of history her longstanding association with AMP puts her, she could check out AMP’s slideshow on “Jerusalem in the crosshairs.” The third slide is a good example of the vileness on display: it justifies the murderous violence incited by the notorious Haj Amin al-Husseini against the Jews of British Mandate Palestine exactly 90 years ago, in 1929.
Arabs murdered 133 Jews and wounded hundreds, but as far as AMP is concerned, the victims were to blame: “The uprising was sparked after Zionist groups came to the wall and planted Zionist flags, declaring that ‘This wall is ours.’” The wall in question is the Western Wall, which had been designated as a Jewish place of prayer for hundreds of years. Revealingly, AMP prefers the term “al-Buraq Wall” since this term is popular among those who want to erase Jewish history on the basis of the myth that one night, a flying horse named Buraq conveyed Islam’s founder to the Al-Aqsa mosque, which of course didn’t exist during Muhammad’s lifetime.
While Linda Sarsour presumably feels she and groups like AMP are on the right side of history, Bari Weiss can only be commended for being on the other side. What angers Sarsour so much is that Weiss doesn’t buy into the illusion promoted by many of today’s self-described “progressives,” who insist that the oldest hatred stopped evolving with the Nazis and, therefore, only right-wing Nazi-style antisemitism deserves to be considered dangerous. But as Bari Weiss points out, “Neo-Nazis, in a way, are straightforward. We know they wish us dead. Antisemites with PhDs, the ones who defend their bigotry as enlightened thinking, are harder to fight.”
Linda Sarsour may not have a PhD, but she’s still rather good at defending her hatred for the world’s only Jewish state and her whitewashing of murderous Islamist Jew-hatred as enlightened thinking. And she arguably deserves a dishonorary PhD in hypocrisy and cynicism for pretending to cheer Bernie Sanders’ candidacy as a historic Jewish milestone, while dismissing mainstream Jewish concerns about contemporary antisemitism as “being on the wrong side of history.”
Petra Marquardt-Bigman is a German-Israeli freelance writer and researcher with a PhD in contemporary history.