Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A guest post from Kweansmom.

Linda Sarsour, outspoken Palestinian-American activist, never has anything good to say about Israel, calling it an oppressive occupier and an apartheid state. Yet during a recent visit to her relatives on the West Bank, she also spent some time in pre-1967 Israel and visited one of its most ethnically and religiously diverse cities, Haifa. Is it any wonder she was silent about it? 


According to publicly available social media posts from others in her touring group, Linda Sarsour walked along Rehov Yefe Nof (literally, the Street with the Beautiful View) from where she could view the Haifa Bay  and almost all of Haifa itself. The view includes the spectacular Bahai Gardens and the spiritual center of the Bahai faith. The Bahai sect originated in Iran, where it is persecuted, but in Israel, the Bahai enjoy full freedom of religion.  Naturally, this fact doesn’t fit in with Sarsour’s “Jewish Supremacy” explanation of Israel’s founding, so she’ll never admit that she personally witnessed it. 


Ms. Sarsour also took a boat tour near the port of Acre. Both Acre and Haifa are mixed ethnically and religiously, having a significant non-Jewish population.  She might even have seen or heard about the University of Haifa, whose student body and faculty about 40% Israeli Arab. Also in Haifa is the Technion, where Arab Israeli student populations have  tripled in the past two decades thanks to active campaigns to increase Arab participation and graduation. But facts like these don’t support her “apartheid” narrative, so she left them out of her public posts. 

 Ms. Sarsour spent most of her time during her recent trip in the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank, where by her own admission she saw that her family and friends are free to practice their religion, commemorate their heroes and celebrate their happy family occasions.  That’s not to say that Palestinians in the West Bank experience no hardship, but her narrative contains no nuance about who is responsible for it. In her telling, Palestinian joy is only because of their “resilience” and Palestinian suffering is only due to Israeli “oppression”.  There is no terrorism, only “resistance”, and Palestinian leaders have no agency.



Ms. Sarsour was very impressed by the presence of signs posted on trees in Palestinian towns reminding passersby to say blessings upon the Prophet Mohammed. It made me wonder what the street signs would say in her utopian vision of a binational state for all citizens of Palestine which she hopes will one day replace Israel. Will Palestine respect all religions, as Israel does? Or will it depend on whether “public order and public morals” are jeopardized, as written in the Constitution of Palestine? 



A short time after she returned to the US from the PA, she proudly went to speak at a conference in Turkey, which has been occupying Northern Cyprus for nearly 50 years. Apparently occupation is only bad if Israel is doing it. For a comprehensive analysis of the human rights double standard for Israel vs. Turkey, see Elder of Ziyon’s excellent essay on that topic. 

When I first posted on Twitter that Ms. Sarsour was in Israel, some people responded that they shouldn’t have let her in. And I’ll admit, I used to think that Israel was right to keep BDS activists out of the country. But despite her best efforts, Linda Sarsour got to see with her own eyes that Israel isn’t the hateful, racist country she likes to say it is. Despite her attempt to keep her visit a secret, a few telling photographs were leaked. So maybe it’s for the best if the haters are allowed in to the country and given the opportunity to witness the truth.  Maybe one day she and others like her will have to publicly admit what their own eyes have seen.



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