March 21, 2019
By Daniel Koren
Manager, Media Relations & Communications
B'nai Brith Canada
WINNIPEG – Linda Sarsour is not welcome in Winnipeg.
Yet, the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (SPCW) and the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute (CMWI), both organizers of an event that is scheduled to feature the anti-Israel activist on April 26, are providing a platform to Sarsour despite her history of associating with known antisemites and terrorists, belittling instances of anti-Jewish hatred, and promoting several antisemitic tropes herself.
On Wednesday, the SPCW doubled down after a grassroots petition spearheaded by local activist Ron East, which garnered over 1,100 signatures as of publication, led the Seven Oaks Performance Arts Centre to pull out of the event.
B’nai Brith had sent letters of complaint to the organizers asking them to rescind their invitation to Sarsour. We hope the community’s response will demonstrate that her brand of hatred will not be tolerated, not in #Winnipeg or anywhere else in Canada. #cdnpoli https://t.co/7wCjDfCB6b— Michael Mostyn (@MichaelMostyn) March 20, 2019
“SPCW holds that it is possible to support Palestinians, a Palestinian homeland, criticize the Israeli government and not be antisemitic,” the organization stated.
However, given Sarsour’s history of espousing antisemitic slogans and association with the purveyors of anti-Jewish hatred, her activism goes far beyond criticizing the Israeli government.
- She considered it an “honour” to share a stage with Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist who bombed a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969 as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a listed terrorist organization in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere, resulting in the murder of two young college students.
- She rejects the legitimacy of Zionism, a belief by the vast majority of Jews that simply entitles them self-determination on their indigenous and ancestral lands, and said Zionist women should be excluded by feminist movements.
- She has promoted age-old antisemitic tropes such as accusing U.S. Jews of dual loyalty to Israel and U.S. politicians of being more loyal to Israel than to their own country.
- She has downplayed the prevalence of antisemitism as a phenomenon compared to other forms of prejudice.
- She is a huge supporter of Louis Farrakhan, who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power.
“B’nai Brith Canada lauds Seven Oaks for deciding not to provide a platform to Sarsour’s brand of indefensible hatred,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.
“It is now incumbent upon the SPCW and CMWI to follow their own values of creating communities that are just and equitable and swiftly rescind their invitation to Sarsour. Equity means that members of all identity groups could attend without being harassed or targeted. That includes Jews.”