Monday, January 23, 2017

By Petra Marquardt-Bigman

It was perhaps inevitable that during this weekend’s women’s marches, some “progressives” would feel the need to show off their complete cluelessness about the utter lack of support for women’s rights in Palestinian society – where, e.g., 87% believe a wife “must always obey her husband”. Compared with the prevalent Palestinian views on women’s rights, Trump should have no problem to pass as a feminist.

But since facts don’t matter, “legendary activist” Angela Davis could ignore the ultra-conservative Muslim preferences of Palestinian society and firmly declare: “Women’s rights are human rights all over the planet, and that is why we say freedom and justice for Palestine.” Others proudly displayed their cluelessness (and perhaps their flippancy) on signs demanding “Free birth control and Palestine,” while still others felt oh-so “emotional” when march participants used American flag-style scarves to cover women in accordance with the 1400 years-old female “modesty” requirements of Islam’s founder.



All of this was probably very much to the liking of Linda Sarsour, the “award-winning, Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American-Muslim racial justice and civil rights activist, community organizer, [and] social media maverick,” who was one of the four national co-chairs organizing the women’s marches. But while the ambitious Sarsour certainly enjoyed the limelight at this occasion, her prominent role in the organization of the protest marches also resulted in some not so flattering revelations. I wrote about Sarsour’s fake progressivism a few months ago, but it turns out that Sarsour is much more of a hypocrite than I realized. As the Chilean Palestinian commentator Lalo Dagach showed, Sarsour has repeatedly defended Saudi Arabia against criticism, arguing that there are women in parliament and that it is ridiculous to focus on the fact that Saudi women are not allowed to drive because they get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave – which they of course only get if their male guardian allows them to work and if there is a male driver to take them to work...  Astonishingly, Sarsour has also promoted Sharia Law, claiming that it would mean that “all your loans & credit cards become interest free.”




I then discovered that seven years ago, Daniel Pipes began to compile Sarsour’s greatest hits, after she falsely claimed that he had written about her (at a time when he had actually never heard of her) and that his criticism (which at that point didn’t exist) had greatly increased her popularity. Pipes’ compilation includes much revealing material concerning Sarsour’s views, and there are also some truly bizarre posts – for example, Sarsour proudly presenting herself as a Muslim mermaid; or an unintentionally funny post where Sarsour is swooning about her own good looks and taste while appearing in the colors of the Israeli flag…




But the most revealing statement is perhaps her declaration in a video for World Hijab Day 2014: 

“Without my hijab, I don’t really have an identity on the outside.” 

Pretty sad if your identity consists of a piece of cloth wrapped around your head – and pretty sad if this passes as “progressive”.





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