Dem NYC Councilman Defends Palestinian Terrorist: She Was ‘Fighting for Their Freedom’

New York City council member Jumaane Williams / AP

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A Democratic New York City councilman on Monday defended a liberal, anti-Israel activist for associating with a convicted Palestinian terrorist, arguing the terrorist in question was fighting for "freedom."

Jumaane Williams, who represents New York City's 45th district in Brooklyn, appeared Monday on Fox News to defend the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health's decision to invite anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour to give its 2017 commencement address next month. Critics accuse Sarsour of using rhetoric that borders on anti-Semitism and glorifies violence against Israelis.

At one point during the interview, Williams claimed that the "alt-right" was responsible for the outrage against Sarsour. Republican strategist Evan Siegfried questioned those comments, and tweeted at Williams demanding an explanation.

That set off a Twitter back-and-forth between the two men. Siegfried eventually brought up the fact that Sarsour has defended and appeared on-stage alongside Rasmea Odeh, a terrorist who carried out multiple bombings that killed two Israeli civilians and injured nine more. Odeh was sentenced to life in prison, but was later released as part of a prisoner exchange.

Williams retorted that there were pro-Israeli activists–like Democratic New York politician Dov Hikind–who were once members of extremist organizations as well. Siegfried then rebuked Hikind and asked Williams to do the same of Odeh.

But Williams would not, arguing there was a racial bias at play and that people like Odeh can take actions "fighting for their freedom" he does not endorse.

"My point [is] people abound fighting [for] their freedom take actions I don't promote. I find [the] more melanin in [your] skin, [the] more [you're] admonished for it," he tweeted.

Alex Griswold

Alex Griswold   Email Alex | Full Bio | RSS
Alex is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Before joining the Free Beacon, he was a writer for Mediaite and The Daily Caller. He is originally from Buffalo, New York, but regrettably now lives in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at griswold@freebeacon.com

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