ViacomCBS is scheduled to host this month former Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, who is known for her support of the anti-Israel BDS movement and has been accused of spreading anti-Semitism.
“Join us 3/11 at 4:30 pm EST for a conversation with author and co-organizer of the Women’s March, Linda Sarsour! Check your inbox for RSVP details,” posted Viacom’s Women’s Employee Affinity Group on Facebook on Thursday.
The Women’s History Month event is specifically being hosted by the multinational media conglomerate’s Office of Global Inclusion, a source familiar with the situation told JNS. ViacomCBS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Sarsour, a Palestinian American, has been an outspoken critic of Israel and has supported the BDS movement; the Anti-Defamation League says her BDS advocacy “encourages and spreads anti-Semitism.”
Dexter Van Zile, a researcher at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), rebuked CBS for inviting Sarsour. “The idea that so many people who are interested in global inclusion are essentially promoting a speaker who called for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s vagina to be removed is just insane,” he told JNS on Friday.
In 2011, Sarsour posted on Twitter that conservative writer “Brigitte Gabriel= Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin’. I wish I could take their vaginas away—they don’t deserve to be women.”
Van Zile also said that Sarsour, a surrogate for the Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has “worked to marginalize and demonize American Jews who support Israel as long as she has been a public figure.”
“What do these people [at ViacomCBS] think they’re doing?” he asked rhetorically. “Why would they help promote the idea of someone who has spoken in such ugly terms about American Jews and about the victims of Islamist violence? It’s unbelievable!”
He added that “the whole point of Sarsour’s rhetoric is to drive Jews who support Israel from the public square and to drive Israel out of the circle of concern on the part of the so-called progressive left. That’s not inclusion. That’s exclusion.”
The Women’s March cut ties last year with Sarsour and two other co-founders due to accusations of anti-Semitism.
At the American Muslims for Palestine conference in Chicago last year, Sarsour equated the State of Israel to white supremacy. “Ask them this: How can you be against white supremacy in the United States of America and the idea of living in a supremacist state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is built on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else?” she said.
“Ask those who call themselves progressive Zionists to explain to you how can they be against the separation of children on the U.S.-Mexican border? How can they be against building a wall between us and Mexico? How can they be against agencies like ICE–Immigration Customs Enforcement? But then you tell me … ‘you can’t push me out of the movement because I’m also against white supremacy.’ ”
Additionally, Sarsour has expressed support for Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh and police-killing fugitive Assata Shakur, in addition to Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan.
“ViacomCBS hosting Jew-hating Israelophobe Sarsour promotes legitimizing and mainstreaming anti-Semitism,” said Mort Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, referring to Odeh and Farrakhan. “Especially in a time of rising anti-Semitism, ViacomCBS must cancel Sarsour immediately.”