July 17, 2019

Sarsour Calls for a Boycott of The Forward

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Women’s March, Inc. co-president Linda Sarsour called for a boycott of The Forward on Feb. 13, tweeting that they weren’t progressive enough.

Progressive activist, Rafael Shimunov, who is affiliated with organizations like IfNotNow and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, criticized The Forward for sending a fundraising email based on Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) recent AIPAC comments.

Sarsour later tweeted in response, “Instead of donating to The Forward, support the work of progressive Jewish organizations on the front lines: @JFREJNYC @jewishaction @jvplive @jewsofcolor & I am sure there are many others. They make the progressive left whole.”

Some criticized Sarsour over this tweet:

Zioness president and co-founder Amanda Berman said in a statement sent to the Journal via email that Sarsour’s tweet promulgated “explicit anti-Semitism” by “dividing the ‘good’ Jews from the ‘bad’ Jews.”

“Sarsour’s tweets demonstrate clearly that when views are espoused that conflict with her own––especially when those views are from Jews––she is quick to turn and cast the Jewish community aside,” Berman said. “This behavior divides our movement and makes it impossible for us to advance our shared goals of a more just and equal America.”

Berman added, “This type of language forces American progressives to choose sides and delineate which Jews are acceptable and included and which are not. It makes it impossible for our community to use our voices to participate in the advancement of movements committed to social, racial, economic and gender justice. It disempowers a community of activists who have been on the forefront of these issues for decades, stripping us of our voices and demanding that we submit to a definition of bigotry against ourselves that we are not allowed to define.”

“We reject her language, her bigotry, and her goals, and commit ourselves to overcoming this hatred with love,” Berman concluded.

The Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party said in a statement sent to the Journal, ““This statement from Sarsour only perpetuates what has been an exhausting news cycle for American Jews. All but one of the organizations she promotes leans or explicitly identifies as anti-Zionist– the Jews of Color Project immediately rejected her post and disassociated themselves. Meanwhile, 92% of American Jews identify as pro-Israel, so she is cynically tokenizing a small minority of our community and encouraging progressives to do the same.”

“Additionally, Jewish Voice for Peace was recently rebuked by Mizrahi and Sephardi communal institutions for exploiting their voices,” they added. “It is telling that even after The Forward gave more of a platform to Women’s March Inc. activists than any other mainstream Jewish publication, Sarsour threw them under the bus. Independent Jewish press is the lifeblood of our community – one need not love the Forward’s editorial line to be outraged by this attack.”

Forward opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon told the Journal in an email that The Forward is declining to comment on the matter.

Sarsour has been criticized for her connection to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and accusing progressive Jews who are against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement of having dual loyalty.