May 20, 2019

Winnipeg Mayor: Sarsour Should Be Removed from Social Justice Panel

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman called for Women’s March, Inc. co-leader Linda Sarsour to be removed from an upcoming social justice panel, citing her “anti-Semitic views and hate.”

Sarsour is scheduled to speak at an April 26 panel titled “Sorry Not Sorry: Unapologetically Working for Social Justice,” co-hosted by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute and will be located at the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg.

Bowman’s office said in an April 23 statement that it’s not “appropriate to provide [Sarsour] a public platform to further propagate anti-Semitic views and hate.”

Later in the day, Bowman told reporters that he was disturbed that Sarsour has “continually attacked the foundation of the state of Israel’s right to exist” and that by inviting Sarsour on the panel, the council is sending a negative message “to the Jewish community and the community as a whole.”

Canadian Jewish groups have similarly been calling for Sarsour’s removal from the panel. Elaine Goldstone, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, said in an April 18 statement that the Federation had met with the council and the institute about Sarsour’s “unrepentant anti-Semitism.” In a March press release, B’nai Brith Canada highlighted Sarsour’s warmth to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist Rasmea Odeh as well as her use of the dual loyalty trope against supporters of Israel as examples of her anti-Semitism.

Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey wrote in an April 24 op-ed that while he thinks that the calls to remove Sarsour from the panel are “understandable,” it’s better to let “Sarsour speak” and let “others vigorously criticize her and what she stands her.”

Kate Kehler, executive director of the council, defended their decision to invite Sarsour on the panel, telling the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that Sarsour has “a tremendous amount of experience in building movements that have been effective and achieved policy change.”