CUNY welcomes pro-terror Linda Sarsour
Op-ed: The university's School of Public Health and Healthy Policy has invited the activist to speak at a graduation ceremony, despite her record being replete with anti-American values, degradation of feminists and others who disagree with her, unbridled hatred of the State of Israel and those who support it, and the promotion of violence. Her invitation must be revoked.
In the United States, violence and terror are not recognized as legitimate means to accomplish goals. Sarsour’s support of violence and terror include: praise of the intifada- the Palestinian terror war against Jews in Israel, through suicide bombings, car rammings, stabbings, bus bombs and other attacks,—as “invaluable on many fronts;” warm words of endorsement for convicted murderer Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two college students in a supermarket bombing in Israel (Odeh will be deported for concealing her terrorist crimes on her US immigration forms); and admiration of Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers as “the definition of courage.” In our civilized society, these are the definitions of crimes. Sarsour supports barbaric methods that are incompatible with American law.
Regarding feminism, a woman’s right to bodily integrity is a fundamental right. Yet Sarsour denigrates feminists who speak out against the role Islam plays in tolerating the abuse of women, such as genital mutilation and honor killings. She urges, in a tweet, a “whippin” of Somali human rights activist Aydan Hirsi Ali, a victim of female genital mutilation, who speaks out against Islam’s acceptance of abuse of women. Sarsour tweets Ali doesn’t “deserve to be a woman.” Sarsour’s attempted delegitimization of women who speak out against abuse is incompatible with feminism.
Additionally, Sarsour defends Saudi Arabia’s oppressive treatment of women. In Saudi Aarbia, women cannot vote, study, work, marry, or open bank accounts without permission from male guardians. Women’s clothing is strictly regulated (they must be covered from head to toe, and only eyes and hands may show). Yet Sarsour tweets Saudi Arabia “puts us to shame” by providing “10 weeks of PAID maternity leave … and ur worried about women driving.” Sarsour’s defense of subjugation of Saudi women disqualifies her as a feminist.
Ironically, Sarsour excludes Jews and other Israel supporters from the feminist movement. This is anti-Semitic and spreads a lie about Israel’s treatment of women. There is absolutely no conflict between Zionism and feminism. In Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, all citizens have equal social and political rights, regardless of gender, religion or race. All citizens of Israel, be it Arab, Christian, or Jew, no matter what gender, have equal access to voting, transportation, hospitals, universities, swimming pools, public restrooms, etc. Israeli Arabs are Supreme Court Justices and have seats in the Knesset, and these positions can be held by men or women. Israeli Arab women have won or been runner-ups in The Voice (Israel), Master Chef, and Miss Israel. Moreover, sexism and discrimination perpetrated by Palestinian men against Palestinian women is pervasive, as described in a recent New York Times article, “In Gaza, Bicycles Are a Battleground for Women Who Dare to Ride,” February 22, 2016.
Sarsour’s unbridled hatred of Israel is prevalent. She advocates for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (“BDS”) movement against Israel, which seeks to cripple and delegitimize the State of Israel, while she ignores the world’s many countries with egregious human rights violations. Further, Sarsour tweets: “Nothing is creepier than Zionism;” and “(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is a waste of a human being.” When Sarsour was justifiably criticized for extolling throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, she tweeted, “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it.”
CUNY in particular should be sensitive to anti-Semitism. Last year, Jewish students at CUNY suffered many anti-Semitic incidents. At a CUNY rally sponsored by Students for Justice for Palestine, protestors screamed at Jews to “go back home and get the (expletive) out of my country” and chanted “Jews out of CUNY” and “death to Jews.” Given these recent events, it is all the more appalling that a CUNY school would invite a divisive person with Sarsour’s record to deliver the commencement address.
Knowing all this, CUNY’s refuses to rescind Sarsour’s invitation. It would be atrocious for CUNY to host a commencement speaker with a history of bigotry towards the LGBTQIA community, African Americans, women, or Hispanics. CUNY should treat Sarsour’s hate-mongering towards Jews and Israel in the same manner.
Given the current climate of division in our country, CUNY, and every university nationwide, should feel compelled to promote tolerance and civility. Sarsour’s platform, rife with bigotry, denigration, and endorsement of violence, must be rejected. CUNY must rescind her invitation. This is a teachable moment for today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders. Don't waste it.
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