Israel

Why Linda Sarsour’s Denunciation of Pittsburgh Shooter is Meaningless

On the last Saturday in October, Robert Bowers shot and killed eleven members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, physically injured six other people, including law enforcement officers, and created distress and turmoil for the entire American Jewish community. He’s been indicted in federal court on 44 counts, and may face the death penalty.

Bowers killed eleven Jews solely due to his annihilationist anti-Semitism, which was of the neo-Nazi variety. He provided a political cover – he wrote that he didn’t like the political positions held by some other Jews (not the ones he killed), who support certain immigration policies in this country. But as Alana Newhouse noted in Tablet Magazine, the truth was simply that “he had reached the end point of a brain-eating disease called anti-Semitism.”

One day after these brutal murders, Linda Sarsour once again put herself in the spotlight. She did so while attempting to portray herself as a defender of Jews.

While Sarsour denounced Bowers, she has, in the past, embraced a different unrepentant killer of Jews, Rasmeah Odeh.

Many of us, by now, may have forgotten about Odeh. However, just over a year ago she was deported from the United States, after admitting that she lied on her citizenship application. Odeh also killed two Jews, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, who were students at Israel’s Hebrew University in 1969. She was convicted in a trial that was observed and deemed fair by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Odeh was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is a Marxist-Leninist group that “advocates armed insurrection and perpetrates media-oriented attacks, particularly the hijacking of planes.” In 1968, the year before Odeh committed her double murder, the PFLP hijacked an Israeli plane.

Like Bowers, Odeh was motivated by annihilationist anti-Semitism, while using political reasons as a fig-leaf for her crime. In her case, her anti-Semitism was of the anti-Zionist variety. As Allister Heath recently explained in The Telegraph, anti-Zionism is “obsessed with delegitimising the world’s only Jewish country (and no other), in the full knowledge that its existence is what protects its people from persecution, misery and even death.” Both Bowers and Odeh targeted their victims for one reason, because they were Jews.

In April of 2017, before Odeh was deported, at a conference of Jewish Voice for Peace, Odeh and Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour embraced, and Sarsour gushed to the audience about feeling “honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.”

In addition to this connection with Odeh, Sarsour and her Women’s March co-leaders have embraced Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan’s numerous anti-Semitic statements include, most recently, calling Jews “termites.” In the month of March, when the Farrakhan connection came into focus, there was widespread condemnation of the Women’s March leaders, yet that apparently did not prompt any introspection on their part. Sarsour and the March have not disavowed their support for either Farrakhan or Odeh.

Yet, on Sunday, one day after Bowers’s heinous crime, there was Linda Sarsour protesting outside the White House against the anti-Semitism that motivated Bowers – the very same Linda Sarsour who has literally embraced Rasmea Odeh. The Women’s March, which Sarsour leads along with three others, tweeted, “We’ve gathered outside the @WhiteHouse with @jewishaction and communities of faith to echo the call: #WeWillOutliveThem.” Sarsour spoke at the rally, supposedly in defense of her Jewish “sisters and brothers.”

That such a group would purport to speak for Jews in the aftermath of what the ADL has called “the largest attack on the Jewish community in US history” beggars belief. It’s hard to see this as anything other than opportunistic and self-serving.

Anti-Semitism is the world’s oldest hatred. It unites the fringe right and the fringe left. As the Wall Street Journal observed, “All good Americans stand in solidarity against anti-Semitism.” You can’t, however, pick and choose. There is no difference between Robert Bowers and Rasmea Odeh that goes beyond semantics. Both want to kill Jews, just for being Jews. If you embrace Odeh, your stance against Bowers is meaningless. As long as Sarsour and the Women’s March stand with annihilationist anti-Semitism, they cannot also stand against it.

[Photo: Stop the Lies / YouTube ]