After long silence, ADL defends Linda Sarsour’s right to free speech

In a statement sent out just after the event, ADL said that while it “profoundly rejects Sarsour’s positions that delegitimize Israel”, it also condemns some of her protesters’ rhetoric.

May 26, 2017 00:43
1 minute read.
Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour (center) leads during a ‘Day Without a Woman’ march on International Women’s Day in New York, earlier this month. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


NEW YORK - After a months-long silence on the issue, the Anti-Defamation League finally reacted to the ongoing controversy surrounding anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour’s upcoming speech at a City University of New York graduation, and defended her right to free speech.

“Despite our deep opposition to Sarsour’s views on Israel, we believe that she has a First Amendment right to offer those views,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told The Jerusalem Post.  “CUNY Chancellor Milliken shares in this belief, and recognizes that defending one's right to free speech does not equate to defending the content of that speech.”

The ADL’s reaction comes just hours after protesters clashed over the issue during a rally on Manhattan’s 42nd street, where hundreds of people had gathered, despite heavy rain, to call for Sarsour’s speech to be canceled. They were met with strong opposition from vocal supporters of the Palestinian-American activist.

In a statement sent out just after the event, ADL said that while it “profoundly rejects Sarsour’s positions that delegitimize Israel”, it also condemns some of her protesters’ rhetoric.

“We strongly condemn the anti-Muslim bigotry and other invective spouted by speakers at today's demonstration against Sarsour in Manhattan,” the statement continued, referring to some of the comments made on the protest stage by controversial activists like Pamela Geller and Milo Yiannopoulos. “There is no excuse for bigotry.”

The ADL had spoken out several months ago against Sarsour’s comment in a March interview with The Nation, in which she said that one cannot be a feminist unless he or she is critical of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The organization however had remained silent since her participation in the CUNY commencement ceremony was announced, which earned it much criticism from those leading efforts to cancel the speech.

“As has been our mission for over a century, ADL will stand up against the defamation of the Jewish people and for equal justice for all, which includes robust protections for free speech in our society,” the organization concluded. “But, we will not relent in calling out and debunking hateful or defamatory ideas from wherever they arise.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

April 18, 2019
South African communal leadership hosts Passover 'Freedom Seder'