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Letter: Sarsour was a poor choice for CUNY commencement

Sarsour was a poor choice for CUNY commencement

The article about political activist Linda Sarsour’s controversial appearance as CUNY’s commencement speaker is misleading. Sarsour’s hijacking of civil rights movements to mainstream anti-Zionism, the desire to destroy Israel, the Jewish homeland is made to feel unimportant compared with her role in helping minorities. She has succeeded in pitting minorities against a very small minority, the Jews.

For example, in a brilliant public relations coup Sarsour inoculated herself from anti-Semitic charges by raising money for vandalized Jewish cemeteries. But her compassion for dead Jews in cemeteries doesn’t extend to those living. Sarsour embraced a convicted terrorist whose part in the bombing of an Israeli supermarket killed two people. She praised children throwing stones at those defending Israeli citizens. She’s demanded that Jewish women supporting Israel be excluded from the women’s movement. Sarsour has even tweeted for removing the vaginas of two women who disagree with her views.

Through interfaith dialogue, Sarsour manipulated people like Jewish Democratic city councilman Brad Lander and his rabbi to view her critics as the issue. They are used as apologists for acts that should clearly be indefensible. Martin Luther King Jr. would have seen right through Sarsour, however. He once said, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.” If only others could see what MLK understood, perhaps the controversy over the CUNY commencement speaker might have been avoided. CUNY graduates deserve better and so do the civil rights movements.

Elinor Weiss

East Amherst

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