Scuffle erupts at rally against CUNY’s hosting of BDS promoter Linda Sarsour
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Scuffle erupts at rally against CUNY’s hosting of BDS promoter Linda Sarsour

A scene from a protest of activist Linda Sarsour in New York City, May 25, 2017. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

(JTA) — A scuffle broke out between supporters and critics of the City University of New York’s plan to host Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, an opponent of President Donald Trump’s agenda and a supporter of attempts to boycott Israel.

The incident occurred Thursday night outside the CUNY building in Manhattan, where activists against radical Islam, including Pamela Geller and Milo Yiannopoulos, had rallied in protest of the decision by the institution’s School of Public Health to host Sarsour on Friday as a commencement speaker, the New York Daily News reported.

One 19-year-old student who supports the invitation to Sarsour, an organizer of the anti-Trump Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 20, was pushed around by a small group of demonstrators chanting “Make America great again,” according to the report. No arrests were made.

Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, and Yiannopoulos, who on Wednesday criticized singer Ariana Grande for being “pro-Islam” less than a day after a terror attack at her Manchester concert, were joined by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who like Geller is Jewish.

Geller, a firebrand conservative blogger, said the invitation extended to Sarsour was “obscene,” describing her as a “pro-terror vicious anti-Semite” and punctuating her remarks with “Surely CUNY can do better!”

Earlier this year, Sarsour raised more than $100,000 to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery in Missouri. But Sarsour also has been criticized for denouncing Zionism and tweeting a photo of a young boy with rocks in each hand facing Israeli police along with the words “the definition of courage.”

“Why would CUNY have a commencement speaker who supports terrorism and believes in throwing rocks?” Hikind said at the rally.

Sarsour said this year that uncritical supporters of Israel cannot be feminists. She favors a one-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a formula that many Jews believe would lead to the demise of Israel. In 2012, she tweeted “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

Some liberal Jewish groups, including Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, defended Sarsour against accusations of radicalism or anti-Semitism.

“She has stood with us against anti-Semitism, both in words and actions,” the group said in a statement last month.