White House ‘Champion of Change’ Goes After Black Pro-Israel Activist

‘This girl forgot where she came from’

Linda Sarsour
Linda Sarsour /
August 1, 2014

An Obama administration-endorsed "champion of change" has lashed out at an African American pro-Israel activist, accusing her of forgetting "where she came from" and implying that she is being manipulated by the pro-Israel community.

Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American Muslim activist who has been honored by the White House as a "champion of change," upbraided pro-Israel activist Chloe Simone Valdary Thursday on Twitter after she criticized the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which has come under fire for engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The heated exchange between Valdary (@Cvaldary on Twitter) and Sarsour (@lsarsour on Twitter) elicited multiple responses from observers who accused Sarsour of engaging in racist and anti-Semitic stereotypes.

"Please understand Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), that this year, we are coming for you," Valdary wrote online, referencing the heated battle on college campuses between Israel’s detractors and its defenders.

Sarsour objected to Valdary’s criticism, tweeting: "This girl forgot where she came from. Publicly threatening @SJPNational. Bring it on."

Valdary, who is African American and has used the language of the civil rights movement to explain her support of Israel, responded by accusing Sarsour of making racist comments.

"Do we have an anti-zionist racist on our hands? *SHOCK* @lsarsour careful your klansman mask is showing," Valdary tweeted.

Sarsour went on to accuse Valdary of having her strings pulled by some sort of unnamed overseer.

"We all know exactly who you are and who pulls your strings and fills your pockets," she wrote. "Run along."

Sarsour did not respond to an emailed request for comment from the Washington Free Beacon to explain her tweets and clarify her position.

Reached on Friday by the Free Beacon, Valdary dubbed Sarsour’s remarks as "unfortunate."

"It is unfortunate that this racist language is being used by Israel's enemies, but I cannot say I am surprised," Valdary said via email. "This is the extrapolation of the anti-Zionist's argument to its logical conclusion. Anyone who denies the Jews the right to self-determination in their native land will obviously disparage other ethnic groups who are allied with them."

"What disturbs me more, however, is that Sarsour is a self-described ‘civil rights activist’ and a ‘Champion of Change,’ according to the White House," Valdary said.

Sarsour is featured on the White House’s website as one of its Champions of Change, an initiative that features "ordinary Americans" who are "doing extraordinary things in their communities."

A winner is picked each week and invited to the White House to "share their ideas."

Sarsour, in her biography on the White House’s website, is described as "a working woman, community activist, and mother of three."

"Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage," the biography states. "Currently she is the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a network of 22 Arab American organizations in 11 states including the District of Columbia, nationwide where she conducts trainings nationally on the importance of civic engagement in the Arab and Muslim American community."

"Locally she serves as the director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social service agency serving the Arab community in NYC," according to the biography. "Linda’s strengths are in the areas of community development, youth empowerment, community organizing, civic engagement, and immigrants’ rights advocacy."

Many of Sarsour’s more recent tweets have been critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza.

In one, for instance, she writes: "Viewer discretion is advised: Israel attacking ambulances. You are sick if you justify this. SICK."

Published under: Anti-Semitism , Israel