(CNSNews.com) – Women’s March co-leader Linda Sarsour suggested on Twitter Tuesday that the controversy over remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was part of a “pattern” in which the right-wing tries to marginalize “prominent voices who dare speak up for Palestinians.”
In her tweet, Sarsour listed Omar along with five other high-profile figures who have drawn condemnation over recent months for views critical of Israel, including views seen by some as anti-Semitic.
“Marc Lamont Hill, Tamika Mallory, Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar – it’s a pattern,” she said. “End goal of the right is to marginalize prominent voices who dare speak up for Palestinians. They work to make us radioactive. Untouchable. We need to resist this.”
Sarsour, a Palestinian-American, implicitly added her own name to that list. Her associations with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, along with those of fellow Women’s March co-leaders Mallory and Carmen Perez, have deeply divided the activist movement over the past year.
Hill, a Temple University professor, was fired as a CNN contributor last November after he endorsed, at a U.N. event, “a free Palestine, from the river to the sea” – a slogan amounting to a call for an end to Israel. He also voiced support for Palestinian “resistance,” which in the context of the Mideast conflict is a term often associated with violence.
Activist Angela Davis and lawyer and author Michelle Alexander both came under fire in recent months for their pro-Palestinian activism and views, including support for the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) movement.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), like Omar, publicly supports the BDS movement. Both of the first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress have records of strong criticism of Israel.
Mallory on Tuesday tweeted her support for Omar and, like Sarsour, suggested the group of Palestine advocates were under attack : “I will stand with Ilhan, they will not break us. No matter what they try to do we will stand bolder, stronger and more determined.”
Much of the controversy swirling around the Women’s March leadership had to do with its national leaders’ defense of or links to Farrakhan, widely labeled an anti-Semite.
The row deepened after Farrakhan, in a speech in Chicago a year ago acknowledged Mallory in the audience. In that same speech, marking the Nation of Islam’s annual “Saviours’ Day,” Farrakhan declared that “the powerful Jews are my enemy.”
As recently as last month, Mallory in an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” declined to condemn outright Farrakhan’s criticism of Jews.
This weekend, the Nation of Islam is gearing up for this year’s “Saviours’ Day” convention, with a program that will include a session on “Defending Farrakhan”on Friday and a keynote speech by him on Sunday.
The Nation of Islam held a “Defending Farrakhan” forum in San Francisco late last month, where participants, the organization reported, “expressed their support for the Minister and condemned Jewish groups and leaders trying to paint him as a hater and anti-Semite.”
Speakers including former Black Panther Elaine Brown accused elected black leaders of bowing to Jewish interests and denouncing Farrakhan, while being silent on what Brown called “the crimes of the Zionist state of Israel.”
“Now, we look at Minister Farrakhan and on the question of the Jew, I don’t know any Jews that Minister Farrakhan has killed,” she said. “I don’t know about no agenda for mass extinction of the Jews, when there’s a mass extinction of Palestinians in Palestine. I don’t know of any of this, all I know is Louis Farrakhan has been consistently, I would say, for more than a half a century, standing up for black people.”
“Any attack on Louis Farrakhan is an attack on our people,” Brown said.