Chirlane McCray has an issue, and she’s called Linda Sarsour.
As McCray makes moves toward running for political office after her husband leaves City Hall in 2021, the smart and charismatic Bride of de Blasio must answer for her ties with Sarsour, one of the most toxic figures in New York City history.
In 2016, as head of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, McCray handed more than $500,000 to Sarsour’s Brooklyn-based Arab American Association of New York, a huge sum for a local nonprofit. The cash was to be doled out over five years to pay for mental health programs.
The award drew gasps and some protests, mainly from the city’s sizeable Jewish population. But McCray has not publicly explained her reasons for giving so abundantly to the divisive political player who, back when she was unknown outside Brooklyn’s Islamic communities, helped deliver votes to Bill de Blasio in his successful quest for the mayoralty.
As her fame has risen, however, Sarsour has grown even more virulently biased, trashing and bullying anyone who dares disagree with her radical views. Her long and sordid history of expressing pathological hatred toward Israel and America culminated in her declaration, as an organizer of last year’s anti-Trump Women’s March, that Zionists can’t be feminists. Period.
That’s right. Sarsour, who’s mouthed support for Sharia law and Saudi Arabia’s oppressive (especially to women, gays, lesbians and transgender folks) legal system, is willing to alienate a whole bloc of potential progressive allies to feed her antipathy toward the Jewish state. The naked prejudice, of course, has also brought her new fans from the hard left throughout the United States, less inclined to take a dim view of her clear anti-Semitism.
The American-born daughter of Palestinian immigrants stepped down last year as executive director of the Arab American Association, vowing to take a national approach to winning power and influence.
Sarsour’s vile rants, launched on Twitter but also in public speeches, apparently started in earnest with a sickening 2011 tweet she lobbed like a hand grenade against two anti-Islamic women activists, the Lebanese-American Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “She’s asking for an ass whippin’,’’ she wrote. “I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don’t deserve to be women.’’
The disgusting message, later deleted, was all the more shocking because the Somali-born Ali is a victim of female genital mutilation.
Still, Sarsour’s fame continued to grow. She was named one of then-President Barack Obama’s “Champions of Change,” and won a glowing 2015 New York Times profile headlined: “Linda Sarsour is a Brooklyn Homegirl in a Hijab.’’ It revealed, among other things, that the mother of three (who then, at age 35, was hardly a “girl”) entered into an arranged marriage when she was 17 years old.
She soon declared cyberwar against Queens City Councilman Rory Lancman, who objected to her tweet lionizing a small Palestinian boy pictured clutching rocks to lob at Israeli soldiers, to which she added the offensive inscription, “The definition of courage.’’
“No, the definition of barbarism,’’ Lancman shot back.
Not to be outdone, Sarsour slammed her critic with, “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it. You will never silence me.”
Despite all this, Sarsour was catapulted into superstardom last year, thanks to fawning national media coverage on TV and in print. She was named one of Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year.’’ Time magazine listed her as one of “The 100 Most Influential People’’ of 2017.
New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who’s said to have set her sights on seeking the presidency in 2020, even penned a piece for Time lauding Sarsour and other Women’s March leaders as heroines.
As a novice politician, McCray would be taking a gamble by standing by her woman. Let’s hope she severs ties with this loaded gun in a headscarf.