Israeli media investigation has found that an Israeli company, working under a U.S. organization sponsored by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has spied on activist Linda Sarsour, compiling files about her.
Linda Sarsour is a New York-based activist who has won a number of awards for her efforts on behalf of Muslim Americans, as well as a co-chair of the Women’s March. She is also a strong supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, known as BDS, which aims to put economic pressure on Israel so it changes its policies toward Palestinians. Many supporters of Israel have described BDS as anti-Semitic.
The undercover Israeli company Israel Cyber Shield (ICS) collected information on Sarsour and members of her family, the Israeli center-left newspaper Ha’aretz revealed Thursday. The company then put together the information into a file that was delivered to the Adelson-funded organization. This file was used for a campaign to discourage American universities from allowing activists who support BDS to speak on their campuses.
Sarsour said in a statement for Newsweek that she first found out about the files on Thursday when the Israeli media outlet published the story, but that the news didn’t surprise her at all. However, Sarsour added she’s worried the company may target her family members as well.
“I am a Palestinian-American Muslim political activist, so I was not shocked. It wasn’t news to me. I worked at an organization that was targeted by the New York police department,” Sarsour said.
“My parents are the typical hardworking immigrants; my dad has an 800 credit score; these are hardworking homeowners. The thing that hurts me is when it starts affecting my family. I chose this life, and I accept that there will be attacks, but there should be boundaries for families.”
“There is always a student or two who will write an op-ed in the college paper when I come. But I haven’t gotten disinvited. I’m hardly ever home, my mother yesterday was like, ‘You better come home for dinner, it feels like you don’t even live in New York’,” Sarsour described.