The women’s fashion magazine Glamour has announced its 2017 Women of the Year. Women such as actress Nicole Kidman and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson will be honored in an awards ceremony to be live streamed on Glamour‘s website as well as on Facebook onNovember 13. The ceremony will be preceded by a “Summit,” at which the honorees will be given a platform to “discuss the issues we care about most right now.”
Among others, Glamour has chosen to bestow this honor on the organizers of the January Women’s March, including virulent anti-Israel activist and terrorist sympathizer Linda Sarsour. Sarsour is a proponent of the BDS movement, which seeks to eliminate the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and has said that Zionists can’t be feminists even while she herself minimizes misogyny in the Arab and Muslim world.
Is blatant bigotry against Israel and Jews acceptable to the editors at Glamour, or to parent company Conde Nast? Would anti-Black or anti-LGBT bigotry disqualify a woman for inclusion in this honor, or is only bigotry against Jews condoned?
Glamour claims to have 9.7 million print readers and more than 11 million unique visitors to its website each month. It has named its own “Women of the Year” for 27 years. In the past, the list has included a mix of celebrities and activists, with features in the magazine about both the ceremony itself and the summit.
The magazine’s choice to honor a woman who does not believe that Jews are entitled to a homeland (but who is fine with the existence of 56 Muslim-majority nations), who has said that “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” (nothing, including female genital mutilation –more on that below) and who has written off her critics (including CNN’s Jake Tapper) as right-wing racists, is a frightening normalization of bigotry.
Sarsour openly supports the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel– a movement that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said, “is a deeply biased campaign that I would say …is a ‘reinvented form of anti-Semitism’ because it seeks to impose boycotts on Israel and not on any other nation.”
CAMERA has previously written at length about Sarsour’s many problematic statements about Israel, about Jews, and about women’s rights in the Arab world:
[Sarsour] separates anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism by redefining the former to mean ‘criticizing Israel.’ This way, she can claim to be an opponent of anti-Semitism while engaging in anti-Zionist activities. But that is simply being disingenuous. Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people and anti-Zionism is the denial to Jewish people of the right to self-determination in their historic homeland. …
Although she tries to present herself as simply a critic of Israel, what Sarsour is really campaigning for is the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. … When it comes to a Palestinian state, however, she does not talk of “one man one vote” but a state that is wholly Palestinian. … what she advocates is the replacement of the Jewish state with a Palestinian one.
Sarsour is also an outspoken supporter of Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted in Israel for the terrorist killings of Edward Joffee and Leon Kanner in 1969 in Jerusalem. While Odeh’s supporters claim she is innocent, her conviction was based not only on the confession she made the day after her arrest, but also on physical evidence of bomb-making materials found in her home. International Red Cross observers deemed her trial fair. Odeh lied on immigration papers in coming to America and was recently stripped of her citizenship and deported. Sarsour appeared with her at an April conference of the radical anti-Zionist group, Jewish Voice for Peace, where she said she was “honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.”
Sarsour has also made many problematic statements about women’s issues. As CAMERA has written before, Sarsour “is particularly obsessive and malicious in her disparagement of Somali-born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, who campaigns against female genital mutilation (FGM), honor killings and child marriages that are prevalent in some Muslim communities. Sarsour repeatedly smears and agitates against Ali.”
In 2011, Sarsour tweeted:
When asked about this tweet by a student at a college event, Sarsour could have taken the opportunity to apologize or recant it. Instead, as we previously wrote, she “immediately retreated to her identity politics defense, suggesting that the student had no right to speak: ‘So let’s give some context here because this is an event organized by an Asian-American, celebrating a community, talking about communities of color, who are being directly impacted at this moment, and I have a young white man in the back, who is not directly impacted by any of the issues that I mentioned. Let’s give some context here.'”
CAMERA has also previously addressed Sarsour’s minimization of the problems faced by women living in Arab countries. For example:
Notably, in Saudi Arabia, all adult women must have a male guardian, whose permission they need in order to get married, get a passport, or travel. The Saudi prohibition against women driving was only lifted last month, nearly two years after Sarsour wrote the above tweet (and it has yet to go into effect). Saudi Arabia also has ongoing problems with child brides – girl
s as young as eight years old can be forced to marry old men.
Why would a women’s magazine, especially one that historically has championed women’s issues – including the elimination of FGM – give an award to someone who has made anti-woman statements such as these?
Teen Vogue, another Conde Nast publication that has taken anti-Israel stances in the past, is scheduled to cease print publication, remaining an online publication only. Fashion magazines that turn into propaganda vehicles may be miscalculating what their customers want. They may actually prefer fashion, without the bigotry.