Controversial left-wing activist Linda Sarsour joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on the campaign trail last week to promote the Democratic Socialist’s stalling bid for the presidency.
“At a time of a startling rise in white nationalism and anti-Semitism, I would be so proud to win,” Sarsour told a crowd in Brooklyn, New York at a Sanders campaign rally. “But also to make history and elect the first Jewish American president that this country has ever seen and for his name to be Bernard Sanders.”
While Sanders has recently referred to himself as a “proud Jewish person,” the Vermont senator has largely distanced himself from Judaism. Not only does he refrain from observing Jewish customs, he is also not a member of any congregation and doesn’t attend a synagogue.
“I’m not actively involved with organized religion,” Sanders revealed to reporters in 2016.
Sanders, however, has used his status as an ethnic Jew during his second bid for the presidency, especially when discussing his stance on the U.S.-Israeli alliance and Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has been especially critical of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians, even threatening to withhold billions of dollars in aid to Israel to combat what he calls “racism” on behalf of the Jewish state.
The Sanders campaign shared a clip of Sarsour’s speech on his official social media account, identifying Sarsour as a “Civil Rights Activist, 2020 Bernie Surrogate.”
“Bernie Sanders believes in us and he believes in our worth as a people,” Sarsour said. “We all deserve health care and access to higher education, an economy where we can all thrive and not just the top one percent, and a transformative foreign policy.”
“One that is centered on peace and diplomacy, a foreign policy that sees Palestinians as human beings deserving of human rights and self-determination,” she continued. “Bernie doesn’t ask us how much these things will cost because only people who don’t believe we deserve these things will ask us to pay for things like health care but never ask us how to pay for endless and unjust wars.”
Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist, has been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism since she rose to prominence as a co-founder of the Women’s March. She is a vehement supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which seeks to punish Israel by economically and politically starving the Jewish state.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has referred to BDS as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.” Accordingly, the Israel Knesset passed legislation in 2017 that bars foreign BDS activists from entering the country.
The Israeli government cited the aforementioned legislation in August when it blocked noted anti-Semitic U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from traveling to the Jewish state. Sarsour has been a vocal supporter of the two freshman congresswomen, routinely defending the duo against frequent allegations of anti-Semitism.
The Women’s March faced widespread backlash after its co-founders, including Sarsour, refused to denounce the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan and promoted the BDS movement during the march. Consequently, more than half of the event’s sponsors pulled out of the 2019 event and attendance dropped significantly from the previous year.