Abdul El-Sayed and the Company He Keeps

Some would call it “guilt by association.” We call it paying attention to whom one’s associates are. Abdul El-Sayed is a Democratic candidate for governor. He recently hosted a “town hall event” featuring speakers, Linda Sarsour and Winnie Wong.

Linda Sarsour has received support from some members of the local Jewish community even though she supports Shariah Law, under which Jews, Christians, and women are second-class citizens with fewer rights and more responsibilities than Muslim men. She has declared that Zionists cannot be feminists. With her denunciations against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, we have to wonder how sincere a feminist she is.

Sarsour has called for jihad and has railed against “right-wing Zionists,” comparing these all-purpose boogey-men to white supremacists and neo-Nazis. She was “honored to be on . . . stage with Rasmea” when she shared a stage with convicted terrorist, Rasmea Odeh. She will claim to be against anti-Semitism while she spreads or downplays anti-Semitism and praises Jew killers.

All of Sarsour’s anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-women tweets, speeches, and pronouncements are all easily available on lots of Internet sites. There is no excuse for not knowing what this woman is about.

What’s troubling is knowing that some of Sarsour’s points of view are shared by Jews. Detroit Jewish News editorials by J-Street members portray “right-wing Zionists” and “right-wingers” as scary monsters; people we should be afraid of since they don’t espouse current “progressive” values. Some of Sarsour’s Jewish supporters have admitted being troubled by some of Sarsour’s statements. Yet they continue to place their politics ahead of their Judaism, excusing blatant anti-Semitism because of agreement on abortion or raising the minimum wage. When has that ever been good for the Jewish community?

Whatever your politics are, remember that Jew-hatred is stronger than politics. It exists on both sides of the political aisle. Wishful thinking and naiveté will not change that. If one of your complaints against Donald Trump is that he is divisive and he encourages a climate of hatred and racism, you’d better take a good hard look at Linda Sarsour. Then ask yourself if Abdul El-Sayed, a candidate she is campaigning for, is the best one for you, your children and our Jewish community.