What’s the real reason Linda Sarsour was invited to be a commencement speaker at CUNY?

In US academic tradition, university administrators choose commencement speakers they believe embody the zeitgeist of their institutions and as such, will be able to inspire graduating students to take that zeitgeist with them into the world outside.

In this context, it makes perfect sense that Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy at City University of New York (CUNY), invited Linda Sarsour to serve as commencement speaker at his faculty’s graduation ceremony.

Sarsour embodies Mohandes’s values.

Mohandes’s Twitter feed makes his values clear. His Twitter feed is filled with attacks against Israel.

Mohandes indirectly accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of wishing to commit genocide. Netanyahu, he intimated, wishes to “throw the Arabs in the sea.”

He has repeatedly libeled Israel as a repressive, racist, corrupt state.

Mohandes has effectively justified and legitimized Islamic terrorism and the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza. The Islamic terrorist assault against Israel, led by Hamas from Gaza, is simply an act of “desperation,” he insists.

By Mohandes’s lights, Hamas terrorists are desperate not because they uphold values and beliefs that reject freedom, oppress women and aspire to the genocide of Jewry and the destruction of the West. No, they are desperate because Israel is evil and oppressive.

Who could Mohandes have chosen to serve as his commencement speaker other than Sarsour, given his positions? Sarsour, the rising star of the Democratic Party, not only shares Mohandes’s values and positions, she has taken those common values and positions and amplified them on the national stage.

Sarsour has taken support for Islamic terrorism and Jew hatred – positions that not long ago were considered beyond the pale in the Democratic Party – and moved them into the mainstream of the Democratic Party.

In fact, Sarsour has gone far beyond Mohandes. She has left him in the dust with her willingness to shill for radical Islam and its oppression of women and express openly her desire to see Israel destroyed while embracing Islamic terrorists and murderers.

Whereas Mohandes generally has shielded himself from accusations of bigotry, support for Hamas, and misogyny by basing his Twitter posts on statements by non-Muslim opponents of Israel like Kenneth Roth from Human Rights Watch, Sarsour has publicly embraced Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists.

She unapologetically justifies Islamic misogyny, attacks opponents of Islamic misogyny and terrorism and whitewashes Islamic violence against women.

Indeed, Sarsour has mainstreamed all of these things by fusing support for Islamic terrorism, misogyny and antisemitism with black anti-white racism and leftist hatred for police and law enforcement agencies more generally.

So in light of Sarsour’s trailblazing role in advancing Mohandes’s apparent values as signaled through his Twitter feed, his decision to have her speak to his graduating class this Thursday is entirely understandable.

The only truly challenging aspect of Mohandes’s invitation is that he didn’t tell the truth about why he chose to honor her. He didn’t say he invited her for her pioneering work in mainstreaming antisemitism, anti-Americanism, anti-white bigotry, Islamic misogyny and terrorism in the Democratic Party.

To the contrary, he hid those things.

Mohandes wrote that he invited Sarsour to speak at commencement because her work “has emphasized women’s health issues in the New York area.”

No it hasn’t.

At least, not unless you consider calling for women to have their vaginas carved out “emphasizing women’s health issues.”

In 2011, Sarsour used her Twitter feed to call for precisely that in a shocking verbal assault against two female icons – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has dedicated much of her career to protecting Muslim girls from female genital mutilation and was herself victimized by the barbaric practice, and Brigitte Gabriel, who as a Lebanese Christian suffered firsthand the wrath of Islamic supremacism during the Lebanese Civil War.

In Sarsour’s words, “Brigitte Gabriel= Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin’. I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don’t deserve to be women.”

Earlier this month, during a speech at Dartmouth College, Sarsour was asked by a student how her professed feminism could be squared with her expressed support for genital mutilation of her ideological opponents.

Sarsour’s response was telling.

First, she delegitimized the student, insisting that since he is “a young white man” he had no right to ask her such a question.

Then, she intimated that she never wrote the offensive post.

Then, she insisted that her words are unimportant because she wrote them when she was in her 20s. (She was 31 in 2011).

In her uplifting words, “People say stupid sh*t sometimes, right?” Finally, Sarsour insisted that what she said is irrelevant.

“I will be judged by my impeccable record for standing for black lives and immigrant rights, and women’s rights and LGBT rights. You judge me by my record and not by some tweet you think I did nor did not tweet 10 years ago or seven years ago, or whenever it was.”

But if we judge her by her record, we see the only thing that is impeccable about it is her consistent, unapologetic defense of Islamic misogyny, terrorism and Jew hatred.

Sarsour has been extolled for her championing of women’s rights by former president Barack Obama, and New York Senator Kristin Gillibrand. But it is not clear when she has ever done so in her own community.

For instance, as Ian Tuttle reported in National Review, in 2014 Sarsour (who was then leading efforts to fuse the Black Lives Matter movement with anti-Zionism) published an article on titled, “My hijab is my hoodie.”

There Sarsour conflated the death of Trayvon Martin with the 2012 murder of Shaima Alawadi.

Alawadi was a Muslim woman who was beaten to death in her California home.

Sarsour alleged that Alawadi was murdered because of Islamophobia. But this was a lie. And it would be bizarre if Sarsour didn’t realize it was a lie when she wrote the article.

If Islam had anything to do with Alawadi’s murder, it may have served as a justification for her Muslim husband’s decision to beat her to death. Her husband was arrested for her murder in 2012. He was convicted and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison in 2014.

That wasn’t the only time that Sarsour used false allegations of American anti-Muslim bigotry to whitewash Islamic misogyny.

In 2014 she took to her Twitter feed to defend Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women while belittling Saudi gender apartheid that among other things, bars women from driving cars.

In her words, “10 weeks of PAID maternity leave in Saudi Arabia. Yes PAID. And ur worrying about women driving. Puts us to shame.”

In 2015, she extolled Sharia law, which among other things allows men to marry four women and sanctions wife beating and child brides.

As she did in her defense of Saudi misogyny, Sarsour defended Sharia by ignoring its hatred of women and pretending it is no different from progressive socialism.

Again turning to Twitter, she wrote, “You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia law if suddenly all your loans and credit cards become interest free. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?” As for LGBT rights, Sarsour pretends to support them. But she is silent about the systematic oppression of homosexuals in Muslim society.

With everything related to Jews and Israel, Sarsour has been outspoken in her bigotry, support for terrorism and anti-Jewish supremacism. Sarsour is a leader of the antisemitic boycott, divestment and sanctions movement that seeks to bar pro-Israel voices from college campuses and wider American society.

Sarsour was one of the organizers of the anti-President Donald Trump woman’s marches in January. Yet, Sarsour insists Zionist women cannot be feminists.

She recently publicly embraced a Hamas terrorist. She rejects any cooperation with Jewish groups that support Israel. Her relatives have been served time in Israeli prisons for terrorist activities on behalf of Hamas. Hamas of course, calls for the genocide of world Jewry in its charter.

Sarsour supports the Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh who murdered two Israeli students in a bombing in a Jerusalem supermarket in 1970.

The most notable aspect of Sarsour’s “impeccable record” is that it is all in the public square. She has hidden nothing.

This tells us the most distressing thing about the Left’s decision to promote her. The Left is empowering Sarsour not despite her views, but because of them.

She is being elevated by CUNY, by the Democratic Party and by major American media outlets because she mainstreams Jew hatred, anti-Zionism and Islamic misogyny, not despite the fact that she does those things.

Sarsour has been rightly condemned by opponents of Islamic misogyny, supremacism and terrorism and by supporters of Israel.

But the truth is she’s not the real problem.

The real problem is that Mohandes was right to invite her. Not only does she share his values, she embodies the zeitgeist of the American Left today.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post


The rapid embrace of anti-Semites drives Israel and the American Jewish community apart.

The divide between Israelis and American Jews seems to be growing. Indications of the widening gap came last week with reports of a confrontation between an American Jewish activist and four members of Knesset, from across the political spectrum, at a synagogue near Boston.

As reported at The Algemeiner, at the end of a forum at Brookline’s Congregation Kehillath Israel, an audience member named Shifrah told the four Israeli lawmakers, “You are losing me and you are losing many, many people in the Jewish community… I cannot look the other way when three Israeli teenagers are brutally murdered and the response is to kill 2,300 Palestinians [in Operation Protective Edge in 2014]. I want to know what you are doing to make peace with the Palestinians. I want to know what the government is doing to make peace.”

Despite the general fractiousness of Israeli politics, the lawmakers, who spanned the Right-Left spectrum, rejected the woman’s claims. Not one of them was willing to accept her view that Israel was morally impaired for defending itself from Hamas’s terror war against it. Each in his or her own way pointed out that the woman’s question exposed a callous indifference and utter ignorance to the actual situation in Israel.
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Speaking last, Likud MK Amir Ohana noted that Israel didn’t enter into its war with Hamas three years ago because of the execution and abduction of the three youths by Palestinian terrorists. Israel went to war against Hamas in Operation Protective Edge because the terrorist regime in Gaza began pummeling Israel with tens of thousands of mortars, rockets and missiles.

And as Ohana noted, “Each and every one of them [was] targeted to kill us.”

Ohana concluded, “If I will have to choose between losing more lives of Israelis, whether they are civilians or soldiers, or losing you, I will sadly, sorrowfully, rather lose you.”

To a degree, the Brookline exchange was a watershed event. This is true for two reasons.

First, there was the unanimity of the responses. And second, the lawmakers were willing to walk away from the increasingly vocal anti-Israel faction of the American Jewish community.

Shifrah’s statement was a moral and criminal indictment of Israel. It was also an egregious slander of the entire country.

Shifrah stood before a crowd of American Jews at a synagogue and alleged libelously that in retribution for the murder of three boys, Israel maliciously killed 2,300 innocent Gazans.

And the Knesset members told her not to let the flap slam her on her way out of the pro-Israel tent.

This action was long in the making and long overdue. For more than a decade, American Jews led by radical rabbis and thought leaders have been threatening Israel.

You are making us embarrassed, Peter Beinart and his supporters have said. We won’t be able to keep supporting Israel if you don’t succumb to all the demands that the PLO and Hamas are making. Their terrorism – that is, their “resistance to occupation” – is understandable.

Israel, they harangue, is losing American Jewry. We are progressives. We stand up for the oppressed against the oppressors. Israelis, you are oppressors and we won’t be able to stand with you and as Jews, we will stand against you.

We will seek common ground with anti-Semites like Roger Waters and Alice Walker and invite them to our most prestigious forums to speak. We will make common cause with terrorist supporters like Linda Sarsour and terrorists like Rasmea Odeh. We will show that we don’t hate Israelis by hosting EU-funded anti-Israel groups like Breaking the Silence at our synagogues and campuses. And we will insist we are pro-Israel and pro-peace and send our checks to J Street, a group that has never sided with Israel on anything.

Over and over again Israel has heard these voices, which are often well-paid and always well-covered by the media. Over and over we have listened to their threats of abandonment.

Rather than criticize them for their hostility and reject their threats, Israeli spokesmen, particularly from the Left, have tried to make these Jewish Israel bashers feel better about Israel.

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True, we are “occupiers,” voices like  Haaretz’s former columnist Ari Shavit told his American audiences. But we feel really bad about it so please don’t hate us.

We love you so, please love us back. We are one.

The time has long since passed for Israel to begin a frank exchange with these people.

There are lines you cannot cross and still expect us to care what you think.

Sometimes those lines are crystal clear.

For instance, last week, the anti-Israel and increasingly antisemitic Jewish Voices for Peace BDS pressure group held its annual conference in Chicago.

More than a thousand people showed up. JVP decided to use its annual event to honor a Palestinian terrorist murderer.

Rasmea Odeh, who was imprisoned in Israel for her role in the terrorist bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969 that murdered two Israelis, was honored by JVP for her fight against Israel.

Odeh is about to be deported to Jordan after being found guilty of immigration fraud for failing to mention that she is a convicted terrorist murderer on her immigration forms when she moved to the US in 1994.

Odeh took advantage of the microphone JVP provided her to pledge to continue fighting for the eradication of Israel for the rest of her life, and urging her audience to do so as well.

In her words, “Zionists aren’t going to stop their land grab in Palestine. The Palestinians there and the Palestinians and our supporters here have to stop them with our resistance and our organizing.”

JVP is certainly a Jewish group. Odeh was introduced by Rabbi Alissa Wise. But everyone associated with JVP is an enemy of Israel, Jewish or not. And Israel has begun to treat it as an enemy. Just this week, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan rightly castigated the group as antisemitic.

If JVP is the easy case, the situation quickly becomes complicated.

Can we draw a line when seemingly mainstream leaders join the ranks of Shifrah and JVP in libeling Israel? Can we walk away from prominent American Jews who indicate that as far as they are concerned, Israel is a moral burden that they are having a hard time carrying because they believe – and propagate – slanders of Israeli society and of the IDF? Consider the case of Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove. Cosgrove is the rabbi of the toney Conservative Park Avenue Synagogue in New York.

Last week Cosgrove joined the radical chorus of voices advancing the Israel is Apartheid slander.

In an event at his synagogue following the AIPAC conference, Cosgrove spoke of his daughter’s uneasiness at the sound of speaker after speaker rejecting the false allegation that Israel is an apartheid state.

Cosgrove said that his daughter pointed to the fact that the Palestinians do not vote for the Knesset as proof that Israel is in fact apartheid.

As Yisrael Medad noted on his website, Cosgrove’s daughter’s statement was utter nonsense.

Why would Palestinians vote for the Knesset when they have the right to vote in the Palestinian elections? The Palestinian Authority, not Israel, is their governing body.

It isn’t Israel’s fault that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has failed to hold an election since 2006.

The fact that Rabbi Cosgrove was unwilling to point this obvious truth out to his daughter, and indeed, the fact he thought her ignorant slur was worth repeating publicly and supportively to his congregants speaks volumes about his own anti-Israel prejudices.

Medad also noted that in an article in The Jerusalem Post last year, Cosgrove threatened Israel with a withdrawal of American Jewish communal support.

Cosgrove wrote, “American Jewry isn’t able to reconcile the dream of Israel as a liberal democracy and the death of the two-state solution; it is unable or unwilling to defend Israeli actions in the court of world or campus opinion.”

There is a straight line between Shifrah’s false claim that Israel needlessly and maliciously killed 2,300 Palestinians in Gaza in the 2014 war with Hamas and Cosgrove’s insinuations that Israel and its military actions are to blame for the absence of peace with the Palestinians.

Both are slanderous attacks against Israel. Their goal is not to cultivate a dialogue but to justify condemnations and opposition to Israel.

Telling the Shifrahs and JVPs of the world that they are beyond the pale is important, but insufficient. Israel needs to make clear that blaming Israel for the crimes of its enemies and ignoring objective reality is not acceptable. If the Cosgroves of the American Jewish community cannot tell the difference between Israelis and our enemies, then it is they that require a moral reckoning.

We, with sorrow, will have to make do without their phony support.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The *progressive* arming of “the new guise of the oldest form of hate”

“The problem is not how to determine, as you hear in the media, whether you have ‘the right’ to criticize Israel or whether it is possible to be ‘anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic.’ The truth is that one can now be anti-Semitic only by being anti-Zionist; anti-Zionism is the required path for any anti-Semitism that wishes to expand its recruiting pool beyond those still nostalgic for the discredited brotherhoods.

The question is no longer simply whether the Holocaust deniers are sincere or perverse, ill informed or fully aware of manipulating historical sources: The suggestion of Jewish trafficking in memory; the accusation of inventing, exaggerating, or simply exploiting the hypothetical suffering of one’s own people; the idea that the Jews might be profiteers not of war but of the Holocaust, obsessively cultivating their memories for the sole aim of covering up their own crimes—all of these offer anti-Semitism a new reserve of good conscience and innocence.”

The Genius of Judaism by Bernard-Henri Lévy


image2Linda Sarsour, organizer of the Women’s March, called Yousef Munayyer’s piece in Time magazine (checked here by HonestReporting for its bias and outright display of dishonesty on the issue) a “thought provoking read.” She has also failed to condemn the dangerous incitement of a fellow anti-Israel activist who is a Hezbollah supporter and supports the total annihilation of the Jewish state.
Through her complicity to the hate and incitement, further sanctioned through silence within her larger social circle, she is succeeding in norming what Lévy calls “the new guise of the oldest form of hate” …

image1and drawing members of the *progressive* glitterati in Hollywood & D.C. (along with the *go-along-to-get-along* group) to her fan club — and into the atrocious propaganda-spewing machinery with the unconscionable ruse she’s selling.


image1CAMERA on Campus reports that Sarsour will also be taking part in Jewish Voice for Peace’s Upcoming National Conference in Chicago on March 31 to April 2nd. JVP, as described by CAMERA on Campus is a “misnamed anti-Israel organization” that “plays a significant role in stirring up anti-Israel rhetoric. JVP supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, supports Students for Justice in Palestine events including Israel Apartheid Week, and calls for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel.” The Anti-Defamation League “has asserted that JVP’s role in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort is to provide the movement with a ‘veneer of legitimacy’ and camouflage against identification as antisemitic.” Sarsour will share the anti-Israel spotlight at the JVP conference with speaker Rasmea Odeh, a convicted Palestinian terrorist and “member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group.”

Any news outlets that promote Linda Sarsour’s *social justice* agenda and applaud her activism without explicitly acknowledging the dangerous hypocrisy that comes along with these so-called “good deeds” … need to be called out and condemned … in the interest of #honestreporting and for the sake of humanity.

Originally Published on Reflections of Indwelling Light