For Hester Street Collaborative, Uproar Over Linda Sarsour Honor

Posted on: May 8th, 2018 at 5:04 am by

The Hester Street Collaborative just announced its annual benefit gala. As part of the fundraiser fete next month, they’re honoring, among others, controversial Palestinian-American activist, Linda Sarsour.

The local nonprofit group – dedicated to urban planning, design, and development “to ensure neighborhoods are shaped by the people who live in them” – is apparently making waves with the decision to include the Brooklyn-born Sarsour. After all, it’s well documented that she and Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory are known Israel bashers with alleged ties to one of America’s most virulant antisemites, Nation of Islam firebrand Louis Farrakhan. (The Atlantic went into depth on this relationship in its piece about how the Women’s March has a “Farrakhan problem.”)

This isn’t the first time that Sarsour has caused controversy here on the Lower East Side. Another social organization with Jewish roots – the Henry Street Settlement – included her on a panel at Abrons Arts Center around this time last year for a discussion about “immigrant New York.” The rabbi of the nearby Bialystoker Synagogue on Willett Street made it known that this was unacceptable; the event nonetheless went on.

We sent two emails to Hester Street asking about whether honoring Sarsour at this event was insensitive given her notoriety, but did not receive any response before publication.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is also participating on the “host committee” and still maintains her backing, despite the controversy. “I’m pleased to support the Hester Street Collaborative, a neighborhood planning nonprofit that does important work in our city,” her spokesperson told us in an email.

It’s worth noting that other local politicians have backed out from the host committee, including Councilwoman Margaret Chin. However, Nydia Velazquez and State Senator Brian Kavanaugh remain participants for the time being.

Meanwhile, an organization called Women’s March for All is stirring up a storm on Twitter, calling the fundraiser event a “normalization” of antisemitism. Their overall mission statement is to increase pressure on the leaders of the March to resign “in order to bring the movement back to a place of respectibility and viability.”

According to a recent report in Newsweek, the Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish NGO, found a 57-percent increase in antisemetic-related incidents in America last year.

Recent Stories

Clayton’s Corner: One More for the Door [PHOTOS]

Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson returns with his eponymous photo essay series, Clayton’s Corner. Patterson has documented thousands of locals posing at his front door on Essex Street over the last three decades. This unassuming neighborhood portal is legendary amongst locals, even though you probably haven’t heard of it. Hakki Akdeniz. Known professionally as Famous […]

Lower East Side Partnership is Leaving Orchard Street for Essex Crossing

The Lower East Side Partnership is packing up and on the move. Headed toward the greener pastures of Essex Crossing. And now, the space it called home for the last decade-plus is again available. A leasing sign is currently pasted in the window of 54 Orchard Street. The local business improvement district signed a ten-year […]

Bowery Building Razed for New Office Development

The old Bowery tenement that previously housed a restaurant supply company is coming down. In its place, a new five-story office building. Passing by 216 Bowery this week, we spotted half the structure eliminated behind a Black death shroud. Approved permits on file with Department of Buildings indicate that the stout brick tenement at 216 […]

Burned-out Bulbs on the Williamsburg Bridge for Months

Lights are burning a bit dimmer over on the Williamsburg Bridge. Readers point out that numerous bulbs lining the Manhattan side of the span are dark. And have been for months. Presumably the necessary approvals must snake through the bureaucracy before the necklace lighting is fully restored. So, it might be awhile yet. Department of […]

Report: Protected Bike Lanes Underway for Alphabet City

Protected bike lanes may be on the way to Alphabet City. With the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project on the near horizon, the Department of Transportation is attempting to make good on its recent promise to cyclists, by improving city bike infrastructure surrounding the project. “DOT, in consultation with Council members and other local stakeholders, […]