The Democrats came under fire late Tuesday after Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, who is accused of anti-Semitism, appeared at a Democratic National Convention meeting. The Joe Biden campaign was quick to distance itself from Sarsour who has been criticized for her support to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Sarsour participated at the DNC's online meeting for Muslim Delegates and Allies Assembly, where she said that while the Democratic Party was "not perfect," it was "absolutely our party in this moment." She also called to defeat fascism in the U.S. and said that the Muslim community should realize that the 2020 Presidential elections were important.
Sarsour also said she would be "the one" to hold Joe Biden and his vice president choice Kamala Harris accountable for the Muslim community. Biden was officially nominated as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate on Tuesday.
Conservatives slammed the Democrats for giving Sarsour a platform despite her views that are often called anti-Semitic. Matt Brooks, Republican Jewish Coalition's executive director, issued a statement calling Sarsour's appearance at the meeting "outrageous."
"It is outrageous that the Democratic National Committee would allow Linda Sarsour to represent their party to American voters. ... She spreads anti-Israel lies and champions the cause of terrorists. Sarsour's blatant anti-Semitism finally made her so treif that the radical Women's March organization had to force her out of her leadership role, but she's still kosher for the Democrat Party," Brooks said.
Following the criticism, the Biden campaign issued a statement to CNN saying Sarsour did not have any role in the campaign and the Democratic presidential nominee did not endorse her views on the BDS movement.
"Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform. She has no role in the Biden campaign," Andrew Bates, the campaign spokesman said.
An official of the Democratic Party reportedly clarified that the virtual meeting in which Sarsour participated was not run by the DNC or the Biden campaign. It was only a meeting of Muslim delegates to the convention room, the official told CNN.
Who is Linda Sarsour and what are her views on Israel?
Sarsour is a Palestinian-American activist who was previously a co-leader of the Women's March. In 2017, Time magazine included her in its 100 most influential people in the world. She also acted as a surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders for his 2020 campaign.
Sarsour was also criticized for not speaking up against Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's "anti-Semitic and homophobic" views. She has been slammed for her support of the BDS movement that called for promoting boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel. Critics called BDS an anti-Semitic movement that questioned Israel's legitimacy and the movement was akin to the Nazi boycott of business run by Jews.
Sarsour is also known for supporting Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian activist who was convicted in Israel of killing two university students in a 1969 terrorist attack and of plotting an attack on the British Consulate. In 2015, Odeh was stripped of her U.S. citizenship for not disclosing her criminal record and was deported in 2017.