The Democratic National Convention featured Linda Sarsour, former leader of the Women’s March, as she hosted a caucus meeting for the Muslim Delegates and Allies Assembly.
The party’s apparent embrace of Sarsour is notable because of her history of anti-Semitic comments and support for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement to isolate and cripple Israel. The Women’s March, of which Sarsour was a longtime member, cut ties with her and two other board members accused of making anti-Semitic comments last year.
“The Democratic Party is not perfect, but it is absolutely our party in this moment,” Sarsour said in part of her afternoon address on Tuesday.
Sarsour has found allies in some of the more radical Democratic members of Congress, even stumping for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.
“At a time of a startling rise in white nationalism and anti-Semitism, I would be so proud to win,” Sarsour said at a Sanders campaign rally last year. “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.”
Sarsour has also come to the defense of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has her own history of making anti-Semitic comments and is a fellow supporter of the BDS movement.
“I am triggered by those who piled on Representative Ilhan Omar and incited a hate mob against her until she got assassination threats now giving condolences to our community. What we need you to do is reflect on how you contribute to islamophobia and stop doing that,” Sarsour tweeted in March 2019.
Omar had been heavily criticized by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, over comments Omar made widely seen as anti-Semitic. The backlash sparked a push in the House to pass a resolution condemning ant-Semitism, though the final copy of the resolution passed was expanded to condemn a wide range of hate.
Sarsour, then a leading representative of the Women’s March, took partial credit for the resolution that was eventually passed by Congress. She had characterized the initial draft of the resolution, which specifically targeted anti-Semitism, as “playing into the hands of the right” and “upholding the patriarchy.”
“So many of you know that our sister, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was under attack and being able to mobilize progressive leaders across the country to sign on to a letter to organize a press conference in support of Ilhan Omar, to call on the Democratic leadership to actually expand the language of the resolution to include condemning all forms of bigotry because that’s the kind of movement we are a part of,” Sarsour said in a video after making a fundraising pitch to supporters.
“The Women’s March is a movement that unequivocally rejects all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia,” Sarsour continued, “and that’s what we called on the Democratic leadership to do — that in our lifetime we made history with a resolution that is going to be in the public record for life.”