More than 100 Jewish leaders condemned attacks on Linda Sarsour, the Palestinian-American activist whose Thursday speech at a City University of New York graduation ceremony has become a flashpoint.
Signatories to the letter include many of the most prominent left-leaning Jewish communal leaders, including J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami, Bend the Arc’s Stosh Cotler, HIAS’s Mark Hetfield, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Nancy Kaufman, and T’ruah’s Rabbi Jill Jacobs. Rabbis from Congregation B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side and Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope also signed, as did the playwright Tony Kushner and New York City Council member Brad Lander.
“We will not stand by as Sarsour is falsely maligned, harassed and smeared, as she, her organization and her family suffer vicious public threats and intimidation,” the letter reads. “We unequivocally oppose these assaults against her, and publicly state our commitment to working alongside her for a more just and equal society.”
Sarsour, a lead organizer of the Women’s March on Washington, has received death threats in advance of her commencement speech at CUNY’s School of Public Health. Opposition to the speech was spearheaded in May by New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and has recently been taken up by alt-right figure Milo Yiannopolous, among others.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.
Jewish Leaders Sign Letter Defending Linda Sarsour