HILLSBOROUGH – Orange County is not exactly a conservative place. In fact, Orange County’s Department of Human Rights & Relations and The Orange County Human Relations Commission (HRC) of N.C. sponsored an event last spring in which the keynote speaker was a blatant terrorist sympathizer and anti-Semite, but she’s ‘woke’ so it struck Orange County’s fancy.
Unfortunately for Orange County taxpayers, especially those that don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with someone that views violent jihad as a just cause, they have to foot the nearly $10,000 bill.
From Legal Insurrection:
“Linda Sarsour was the keynote speaker on March 31, 2019, in Hillsborough, NC at an event sponsored by Orange County […] Sarsour is an American-Palestinian activist who has said “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and has advised Muslims not to “humanize” Israelis. […]
Public records indicate that Sarsour was paid $5,000 plus expenses with total costs to Orange County taxpayers reaching $9,313. We now know, according to HRC minutes, that Annette Moore — the Senior Staff Attorney and Director of the Human Rights and Relations Department — “introduced the idea of having Ms. Linda Sarsour as a speaker” and that HRC members immediately voiced approval. […]”
So what exactly do those county taxpayers have the pleasure of paying for? Sarsour, in her $5,000 taxpayer funded speech, reportedly promoted the boycott of Israel, downplayed the holocaust, equated capitalism with racism, and advocated for the abolition of police and prisons. Come to think of it, that sounds an awful lot like a modern day Democrat, but Sarsour also seems to think violent jihad is a worthy movement. We’re willing to bet there are at least handful of taxpayers in Orange County that do not want their money spent promoting such political speech, and they’d have the backing of the Constitution, too.
How in the world does ‘Dixie’ gets nixed from a fair name on account of hurt feelings, but taxpayers are compelled to support speech literally spouting Antisemitism? And both coming from the same space on the political spectrum.
Indeed, some people were pretty upset:
“[…] Immediately after the Sarsour event was announced, Orange County officials began receiving strong letters of concern.
Four prominent local rabbis wrote the HRC, “By inviting Ms. Sarsour…the Human Relations Council is dividing rather than uniting us.” One resident wrote the HRC, “Your actions demonstrate your willingness to spread racism, sexism, hatred, bigotry, and division.” Another concerned resident wrote, “I am going to start going to meetings more often, and get people more involved. It is clear that whatever you conceive your mission to be, it most assuredly does not include working to protect Jews and their allies in Orange County.” In an email to Orange County commissioners titled “This is not a ‘free speech’ issue,” a resident explained, “Sarsour can say whatever she wants; I just don’t want to be forced to subsidize her toxic ideology.”
In response to this avalanche of public concern, HRC Chair Deborah Stroman sent several emails asking her fellow HRC members not to engage with the public. On March 19 Stroman wrote, “I strongly suggest that you do not engage with anyone about the how’s and why’s of the invitation to her [Sarsour].” In a second email dated March 24, Stroman stated, “We should avoid engagement…I personally feel there are many ways to protest someone who has a different viewpoint of my own — including not giving the person my energy or time.” Not a single HRC member protested to say, ‘Shouldn’t we respectfully respond to concerned residents who are being forced to pay for this speaker?’ […]”
Invite a radical anti-Semite to speak, pay her thousands of other people’s tax dollars to promote radical political speech, then completely ignore complaints about it all.
Imagine a county inviting, let’s say, David Duke to be a keynote speaker at a ‘Diversity and Acceptance’ event, paid him thousands in taxpayer dollars, and then snub any county citizen that has a problem with it? It would be absolute mayhem. There’d be protests and demands for resignations. But this? Crickets.
Read more on the disturbing background of Linda Sarsour, and the fallout in Orange County, here.