Raymond M. Berger
Real Bullet Points

The Demagoguery of Linda Sarsour

That no one has accused Sarsour of dual loyalty is a triumph of progressive identity politics.

Linda Sarsour is an American of Palestinian descent. In recent years, she has made a name for herself with fiery rhetoric in support of Palestinian rights, the Muslim-American community, and progressive social causes.

This month she posted a message of support for Ilhan Omar, an American-Muslim woman recently elected to the US Congress. During the campaign, Omar had voiced opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that, according to its founders, seeks to put an end to Israel as a Jewish state. But, like a sleazy politician, immediately upon being elected, and no longer needing the Jewish vote, Omar turned 180 degrees and voiced her enthusiastic support for BDS. It is not surprising that this turn-about led to some criticism of Omar.

Sarsour posted a Facebook statement of support for Omar in which Sarsour claimed that Omar was being “targeted” for her support of BDS. According to Sarsour, all Omar had done was to uphold the constitution of the United States of America as a member of the US Congress. Sarsour condemned those who opposed Omar and opined that the opposition to Omar “is not only coming from the right-wing but some folks who masquerade as progressives but always choose their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.”

Sarsour’s screed presented the old anti-Semitic canard that Jews are more loyal to their own group than to the country of their citizenship. There was no doubt that the targets of her ire were progressive Jews who support Israel.

Sarsour’s Demagoguery

Like many demagogues who preceded her, Sarsour has made a career for herself by claiming victimhood for her group—Muslims. In order to win supporters, she poses as a moral advocate and engages in conspiracy theories, lies and distortion.

Despite Sarsour’s cries of foul, no one “targeted” Omar. All politicians are subject to criticism and public debate about their positions. But in Sarsour’s hyper-sensitive and victim-centered world, any and all criticism of the “good guys”—-Muslims, women, people of color, Arabs—-is racism, Islamophobia, or worse. This is the opposite of democracy and free speech.

Of course it is absurd to suggest that Omar’s defense of BDS was an act of “upholding the Constitution of the US.” The Constitution says nothing about BDS. It protects US citizens from infringements on their speech by government. It certainly does not protect an elected government official like Omar from being criticized….by anyone.

This is demagoguery. In Sarsour’s twisted logic, those who criticize BDS have abandoned their commitment to democracy and free speech. That is nonsense. By speaking out, BDS critics, like its supporters, are exercising their commitment to democracy and free speech.

Note the irony. Sarsour claims that those who support BDS, that is, those who favor the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas governments over that of Israel, are on the side of democracy and free speech. Sarsour ought to explain that to the thousands of Palestinians languishing in Palestinian prisons for criticizing their own Arab rulers.

While she’s at it, she might also explain her views to PA and Hamas citizens who routinely suffer the indignities of living under Arab dictatorships. In the West Bank, those who demonstrate against Palestinian leaders are beaten up by PA police. Journalists are threatened and harassed by the PA, their offices invaded and wrecked. PA residents who do business with Jewish Israelis are accused of “normalization with the enemy” and are then harassed by the PA police. Hamas thugs in Gaza are known for their swift public executions of those suspected of political crimes.

Sarsour ought to explain her position to the whole of Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza, which is routinely deprived of the freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution.

Instead she is silent.

Sarsour need only look at the Palestinians’ neighbor Israel, to see democracy and free speech. Arabs in Israel are the only ones in the Middle East to enjoy full freedom of expression. This is evident in Arab Israeli civic and political life, media, and certainly in the fiery anti-Israel rhetoric of Arab members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

Sarsour’s thinly veiled accusation of Jewish dual loyalty is a breathtaking case of hypocrisy. Are American Jews more loyal to Israel than to the US?

Is Sarsour herself an exemplar of loyalty to the country of her citizenship, that is, the US? Hardly.

Consider her 2017 speech to the Islamic Society of North America. In that speech, directed to the American Muslim community, she exhorts Muslims to act:


Our number one priority is to protect and defend our community. It is not to assimilate and to please any other people in authority. Our obligation is to our young people, to our women, to make sure our women are protected in our community, and our top priority, even higher than all of those priorities, is to please Allah and only Allah.

That no one has accused Sarsour of dual loyalty is a triumph of progressive identity politics.

The Strange World of Progressive Identity Politics

In the distorted world view of progressives like Sarsour, members of “oppressed groups” are to be praised for self-advocacy. These oppressed groups are the current darlings of the left: Muslims, people of color, immigrants. Members of “privileged” groups are to be condemned for the same self-advocacy. Thus, Jews, white people, and Christians who advocate for their own in precisely the same manner are labeled racist, Islamophobic, supremacist and the like.

Imagine the outrage if a national Jewish leader told American Jews their first priority should be to serve the Jewish God, and that Jews needed to protect our women above all other American women?

Imagine the outrage if Reverend Billy Graham had delivered a fiery speech telling white Christians to “defend our community.” The left would of course, accuse him of being a racist.

The logical distortions of moral entrepreneurs like Linda Sarsour lead to outcomes that seem strange to normal thinking people, but pass without question among brain-addled progressives.

Sarsour occupies an odd position in American public life. She is a leading figure in the American feminist movement, and one of the co-chairs of the yearly Women’s Marches.

Amazingly, at the same time she is a vocal advocate of Sharia—-the oppressive Islamic legal code based on the seventh century pronouncements of Mohammed. Although scholars debate the finer points of Sharia, one thing is certain. Under Sharia, women are treated as second class citizens and are routinely denied basic rights guaranteed to men.

Many imams (Islamic clerics) draw on Sharia to justify wife-beating and marital rape. When a question of child custody arises, the father has sole right and authority to the children; the woman has no say whatsoever. In any legal dispute, the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. A husband may legally kill his wife or daughter if she dishonors the family. Gay men must be put to death. Families may cut out the genitals of their seven year old girls with impunity. Blasphemy (to be determined by whom?) is an offense punishable by death.

Sarsour once complained, “There is nothing creepier than Zionism.” But I think there is nothing creepier than a leader who calls herself a feminist and at the same time promotes the barbaric and anti-woman Sharia.

Once I heard Sarsour give a sales pitch for the benefits of Sharia. According to Sarsour, isn’t it neat that under the traditional Sharia system of no-interest loans, Muslims can borrow money at no cost? I suppose Sarsour believes that women will find Sharia beneficial: In exchange for having their private parts cut out they will enjoy the benefit of easy home and car financing.

Does Sarsour really believe many women would buy into this macabre deal? Would she?

Travelling with Farrakhan

I could go on at length about the moral bankruptcy of this phony advocate for justice and human rights, Linda Sarsour. Nowhere is her hypocrisy more apparent than in her refusal to disassociate herself from America’s number one anti-Semite: Louis Farrakhan.

Farrakhan is the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), a racist organization of African-Americans founded in the 1930s. Even the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled NOI

as a hate group. NOI leaders teach that the original people of the world were black and that white people are a race of devils created by a mad scientist. They have argued at times that whites are genetically inferior, but that they have dominated blacks by means of white supremacism.

For decades, Farrakhan has stoked anti-Semitism with outrageous lies and insults against Jews. He teaches his followers the historical lie that Jews were disproportionately responsible for black slavery and all manner of black suffering. He has called Judaism a “gutter religion” and he has praised Hitler. Recently he echoed the Nazi theme that Jews are a form of vermin, by referring to them as termites.

Despite this, and despite Sarsour’s absurd claims to oppose anti-Semitism and to work for justice and human rights, she has lauded Farrakhan and has refused to denounce him or his racism and anti-Semitism.

Sarsour is a fraud.

She is neither a friend of women, nor a true advocate for social justice and human rights. She supports one of the most anti-woman theologies ever devised. She misleads women and Muslims by convincing them they are victims and by demonizing people with whom she disagrees. She is no friend of her fellow Palestinians when she defends their corrupt, brutal and oppressive rulers. She allies herself with anti-Semites.

Sarsour’s feigned piety, like her hijab, cannot hide her demagoguery.

About the Author
The author is a life-long Zionist and advocate for Israel. He believes that a strong Jewish state is invaluable, not only to Jews, but to the world-wide cause of democracy and human rights. Dr. Berger earned a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has twenty-seven years of teaching experience. He has authored and co-authored three books as well as over 45 professional journal articles and book chapters. His parents were Holocaust survivors.
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