(CNSNews.com) – Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour had a message Saturday for President Trump and members of Congress, relating to deal he is trying to strike over funding to secure the southwest border: “Absolutely not!”
“I want to tell members of Congress to listen to me very carefully,” Sarsour told the event in Washington’s Freedom Plaza. “You will not negotiate on the backs of immigrants, on the backs of people of color, for no damn wall!”
“We don’t care what you got to offer,” she continued, apparently now directing her remarks at the president. “Because our answer to a wall in this country is absolutely not! No questions asked. Period. Point blank.”
Sarsour was speaking shortly before Trump in a televised announcement offered Democrats a compromise deal in a bid to secure funding for 230 miles of security barrier on the border.
Sarsour and fellow Women’s March leaders Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez have been caught up an anti-Semitism controversy, arising from associations with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and political positions such as support for the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Alluding to the issue – and in an apparent bid to downplay it – Sarsour told the gathering, “the media can talk about whatever controversy they want, but the real controversy is in the White House.”
Sarsour cited the administration’s policies on illegal immigration, border security, “rights for LGBTQ people” and what she called “our complicit support for a Saudi-led war in Yemen” and “collusion with Russia.”
“So if you want to talk about controversy, let’s start talking about the real controversy.”
Later in her remarks she again alluded to criticism aimed at the Women’s March and its leaders, suggesting that no effective alternative exists.
“We don’t listen to critics without credentials. The credentials are in this movement, on the frontlines,” she said.
“And when you’re listening to the critics, ask yourself this question: Show me another women-led, large mobilization force like us, and if there is an alternative to us, we are about to go organize with them. But it doesn’t exist, because it is here in Freedom Plaza.”
Sarsour then touted a document released by the Women’s March which she described as “a truly bold, intersectional, feminist agenda,” drawn up by women across the country including representatives of the ACLU and Planned Parenthood and “environmental justice and reproductive rights” activists.
She said the agenda was broad, going beyond pay equity and reproductive rights, and including things such as “Medicare-for-all” and “standing up for free speech and our constitutional right to boycott, divestment and sanctions [against Israel] in these United States of America.”
Mallory, flanking Sarsour, nodded as she made the reference to BDS.
The agenda document publicized by Sarsour includes opposition to any legislation that pushes back against the BDS movement.
It refers specifically to “attempts to silence social movements, including those advocating for Palestinian rights” and to “attempts to create federal or state laws banning political boycotts or criticism of Israel (including the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions tactic).”
(Legislation in the spotlight includes a Senate measure that does not ban criticism of Israel as alleged by opponents, but allows state and local governments to divest from any company which itself boycotts or divests from Israel. Its Republican sponsor, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says it merely gives Americans the right to boycott the boycotters.)
BDS proponents characterize their movement as one that supports Palestinian human rights. Critics argue that the campaign of economic warfare against Israel is essentially anti-Semitic, since it targets only the Jewish state and none of the other nations around the world where territorial disputes exist.
BDS has long drawn strong, bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Congress, although the two newly-elected Muslim lawmakers, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) have both publicly voiced support for the movement.