Sally Kohn

Sally Kohn

: Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: Gage Skidmore


* Longtime activist with numerous leftwing organizations
* Advocates class warfare
* States that she is gay and wants her daughter to be gay

Born on March 27, 1977 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Sally Kohn holds an undergraduate degree from George Washington University as well as a joint degree in law and public administration from New York University. Since completing her formal education, Kohn has served variously as executive director of the Third Wave Foundation; a Vaid Fellow at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute; a consultant with the Urban Justice Center; a strategic adviser to the Social Justice Infrastructure Funders; a fellow at the Ford Foundation; a senior campaign strategist with the Center for Community Change; a contributor for Fox News; and, currently, a political commentator for CNN and the Daily Beast. Kohn also works as a media and public-speaking coach. She is also the founder and chief executive officer of the Movement Vision Lab, a grassroots think tank that focuses on liberal and progressive ideas and positions. She resides in Brooklyn, New York, with her longtime domestic partner, Sarah Hansen, and the couple’s daughter.

Regarding U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq in 2011

On September 26, 2016, Kohn tweeted: “Without George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, there would be no ISIS. And GWB status of forces agreement didn’t allow for leaving troops” in Iraq after December 2011.

Contrary to Kohn’s latter claim, however, it has been well established that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did in fact favor keeping a substantial U.S. presence in Iraq (to preserve the peace and prevent a resurgence of terrorist activity) even after the withdrawal of most American troops, though for political reasons he needed to be circumspect and discreet in articulating that position. According to a New York Times report: “At the end of the Bush administration, when the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, was negotiated, setting 2011 as the end of the United States’ military role, officials had said the deadline was set for political reasons, to put a symbolic end to the occupation and establish Iraq’s sovereignty. But there was an understanding, a senior official [in Baghdad] said, that a sizable American force would stay in Iraq beyond that date.”

Regarding Refugees from Syria and Elsewhere in the Middle East

Kohn believes that the United States should permit refugees from war-torn hotbeds of terrorism in the Middle East to resettle in America, and she has condemned President Donald Trump’s call for a temporary ban on travel from such countries to the U.S. as both senseless and heartless. For example, on August 19, 2016, Kohn took to her Twitter account and posted a photo of an injured five-year-old boy in Syria, along with the caption: “This is who @HillaryClinton wants America to help – and who @realDonaldTrump wants to keep out.” Similarly, in an October 9, 2016 tweet, Kohn posted a photo of a group of smiling little Syrian children who were flashing “peace” signs with their fingers, below a caption that read: “FYI, these are the dangerous Syrian refugees Trump wants to keep out and lump in with the extremists who destroyed their homes.”

Kohn revisited this theme on January 29, 2017, when she tweeted: “Syrian refugees are fleeing because of war America helped create. Turning them away isn’t just stupid, it’s immoral.” And in an April 4, 2017 Instagram post, Kohn wrote: “[W]e need to do something to stop the atrocities in Syria – and do our fair share to help Syrian refugees. Start there! These are children for crying out loud. And this wouldn’t happen if the white Western cared as much about the rest of the world’s children as it does its own…. What the hell is wrong with us and our basic sense of humanity?”

Regarding the Benghazi Terrorist Attacks and Political Scandal

On the night of September 11, 2012, a U.S. diplomatic mission and a nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya were infamously attacked by a large group of heavily armed Islamic terrorists with ties to such jihadist organizations as al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia. By the time the violence was over, four Americans were dead: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALS, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. In the aftermath of the attacks in Benghazi, the Obama administration immediately and persistently characterized them not as acts of terrorism, but rather, as spontaneous, unplanned uprisings that had evolved from what began as a low-level protest against an obscure YouTube video that disparaged Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed. In reality, however, within a few hours following the attacks, U.S. intelligence agencies had already gained more than enough evidence to conclude unequivocally that they were planned terrorist incidents rather than spontaneous eruptions of violence carried out in reaction to any video.

In a May 2014 opinion piece about the Benghazi terrorist attacks, Kohn wrote: “What happened in Benghazi, Libya, was a tragedy — not a scandal. And no amount of Republican witch hunting or wishful thinking will make it otherwise…. Republicans have been desperate to politicize Benghazi from day one.” In the same article, Kohn condemned Republicans for having “criticized the Obama administration for not doing more to prevent the attacks, such as beefing up consular security.” She also charged that “it was the same House Republicans who [had] initially denied the Obama administration’s request for additional embassy security funding” — implying that a lack of funding was the principal cause of the inadequate security at the American mission. But as the Washington Post has pointed out, this claim is both “highly partisan,” given that “Democrats had also short-changed the State Department budget (compared to presidential requests),” and “not credible,” in light of the fact that “funding for embassy security generally had increased significantly in recent years.”

Nor did Kohn rule out the possibility that American authorities initially thought that the attacks had in fact grown spontaneously out of protests against an obscure, anti-Islam video on YouTube. “It would not seem preposterous to believe [that] what was happening in Benghazi was more spontaneous protests rather than pre-planned terrorism,” she said, more than two years after the attacks.

President Obama’s then-Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, made big headlines on September 16, 2012, when she appeared on five separate television news programs where she claimed, falsely, that according to the “best information at present,” the deadly attack in Benghazi was not a premeditated assault but rather a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” Though Rice’s claims were demonstrably untrue, Kohn stated that they were “not only responsibly cautious in the wake of a complicated and still-unfolding national tragedy, but [also] strikingly accurate.”

On July 18, 2016, Kohn tweeted: “Of course #Benghazi was a horrible, tragic accident. Saying it’s anything more is not only pure partisanship but also untrue.”

Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood

On various occasions, Kohn has posted tweets stating that:

  • she feels completely justified in “equating” radical Muslims with radical Christians who “say AIDS is God’s punishment & gay ppl should be killed”;
  • radical Islam and radical Christianity are merely two different forms of “religious extremism,” neither one better than the other;
  • it is senseless to “critique Islamic radicals for treating women badly when [a fundamentalist] version of Christianity merely treats women [a bit] less badly”;
  • it is wrong to suggest that “radical Christians are lone bad apples but radical Muslims reflect entire 1.3B Muslims” worldwide; and
  • “Lest you think America is perfect… I fight the Muslim Brotherhood over there [in the Middle East] AND the Christian Brotherhood here.”

Regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal

In 2015, the Obama administration and the leaders of five other nations finalized with Iran a negotiated agreement allowing the Islamist regime in Tehran to continue to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and eventually have a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road. Nevertheless, Jen Psaki and the rest of the Obama administration portrayed the accord as a flawed but highly significant step towards thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In March 2015, Kohn criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for having agreed, at the invitation of Rep. John Boehner, to address a joint session of the United States Congress on the matter of this accord. Asserting that the deal was designed “to try and stop an already dangerous state from becoming a nuclear power,” Kohn wondered: “[D]oes Netanyahu rely on the endless specter of war with Iran to rationalize his own hawkish policies?” Moreover, Kohn accused Netanyahu of “inserting himself into American politics” and using “hawkish fearmongering” to “put his thumb firmly on the scale of the Republican Party.” “Can you imagine if President Obama waded into Israeli politics with equally demonstrable support of Netanyahu’s opposition?” Kohn asked.

Unbeknownst to Kohn, Obama was, at that very moment, busy doing precisely that. Specifically, he was assisting an anti-Netanyahu organization called One Voice International (OVI), which was bankrolling the Israeli group V-2015 and its effort to defeat Netanyahu’s bid for reelection. Toward that end, OVI flew a team of five former Obama campaign operatives — including Jeremy Bird, who served as a national field director for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential runs — to help coordinate V-2015’s activities out of a Tel Aviv office building. As part of this anti-Netanyahu effort, OVI paid for hundreds of people to go door-to-door and try to influence voters throughout Israel. Moreover, there was a clear financial link between OVI’s anti-Netanyahu efforts and the Obama State Department. As The Times of Israel reported: “[T]he State Department gave grants totaling $349,276 to One Voice’s Israeli and Palestinian branches ‘to support peace negotiations’ over a 14-month grant period that ended in November 2014. After that period, the organizational infrastructure created with these funds was used by V15 [V-2015], a group that actively called on Israel’s to vote for ‘anyone but Bibi [Netanyahu]’ during [the 2015] general election.”

On April 2, 2015, Kohn tweeted that the “Iran deal may embolden and help widen openings for moderates, over hard-liners, in Iran.”


Regarding Health Care

In a tweet she posted on June 27, 2017, Kohn implied that Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — because of his efforts to replace Obamacare with a Republican alternative — was the equivalent of a serial murderer. Her tweet featured a photo of Ryan alongside the caption, “Troubled Wisconsin Man Goes on 50 State Killing Spree.”

Regarding Radical Muslims

In a tweet she posted on August 16, 2016, Kohn wrote: “Hey @realDonaldTrump, many progressive Muslims — the ones we should support in ideological fight against extremism — believe in Sharia!!”

Kohn on How to Deal With ISIS Terrorism

In a September 2014 opinion piece, Kohn said that “military action against ISIS is a bad idea” because:

  • “U.S. intervention is what destabilized Iraq in the first place — and more bombing will likely make Iraq less stable.”
  • “Airstrikes won’t destroy radical ideology, they’ll make it worse. Most would-be terrorists don’t wake up one morning and suddenly decide to hate America. Often, there’s a reason…. More American military action in the Middle East will just inflame more anti-American terrorists.”

As an alternative to military action against ISIS, Kohn in the same article recommended:

  • “Cut access to guns and money…. ISIS has access to weapons because U.S. and Saudi weapons have been flooding the region for over a decade. The United States can take steps to shut down the weapons supply routes that ISIS is relying on….”
  • “Fix Iraq’s political rifts…. Encouraging [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki to step down and supporting a new, more inclusive Iraqi government is an important first step. The United States, along with allies, must help heal the sectarian rifts. And yes, that means serious engagement with Iran – a traditional U.S. enemy which nonetheless shares our goal in stabilizing Iraq and has far more diplomatic influence in the region than we do….”
  • “Provide humanitarian assistance. While airstrikes won’t help the Syrian and Iraqi people, humanitarian assistance will. Millions have been displaced and have become refugees. It would be nice if American politicians cheering on expensive and deadly bombing campaigns would be at least as enthusiastic, if not more so, about spending money on food and water and shelter for those in desperate need….”
  • “Lead a truly international response…. We need a coalition of nations that will help put Iraq on firm political and cultural footing and restart real negotiations in Syria involving all parties in the crisis there. The United States should work through the United Nations and seek diplomatic solutions through a broad coalition of nations.”

Advocating Class Warfare

In September 2011, Kohn wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post in which she openly advocated the use of “class warfare” as a political strategy “to topple our economy’s brutal inequality.” Some key excerpts:

  • [D]efending his plan to raise taxes on the rich to pay for job creation, President Obama said: ‘This is not class warfare, it’s math.’ No, Mr. President, this is class warfare — and it’s a war you’d better win. Corporate interests and the rich started it. Right now, they’re winning. Progressives and the middle class must fight back, and the president should be clear whose side he’s on.”
  • Suggesting that America’s middle class was created more by government intervention than by the private sector, Kohn wrote: “In the mid-20th century — from the New Deal to Social Security to environmental and civil rights laws — the government … cut into corporate profits while creating middle-class prosperity.”
  • Kohn complained that while “American companies [had recently] posted their biggest profits ever, and bonuses for bank and hedge fund executives … reached record highs,… almost one in 10 Americans is unemployed, and 15 percent live at or below the poverty level.”
  • Kohn said that the real class warfare in America was being waged by “the richest of the rich,” who were “fighting tooth and nail against unions and any tax increases while record numbers of people lose their homes.”
  • Advocating a brand of activism radical enough to strike fear into the hearts of affluent Americans, Kohn wrote: “Effective protest … means unexpected people doing unexpected things to disrupt the status quo and mobilize public will for change. If we’re at war, it’s time to escalate…. Imagine millions of Americans withholding mortgage payments to banks that refuse to adjust underwater loans. Imagine divestment campaigns to pressure public pension funds and universities to pull their money from the private sector and put it into government bonds. Imagine students staging sit-ins to protest teacher layoffs. Imagine families who have lost their homes squatting in vacant, bank-owned properties. Imagine a nationwide call to arms, as passionately nonviolent but as violently passionate as the pro-democracy movements sweeping the Arab world. After all, according to the CIA, income inequality in the United States is greater than in Yemen.”

Wanting Her Daughter to Be Gay

In February 2015, Kohn wrote: “more often than not, we define happiness as some variation on our own lives, or at least the lives of our expectations. If we went to college, we want our kids to go to college. If we like sports, we want our kids to like sports. If we vote Democrat, of course we want our kids to vote Democrat. I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay, too.” “When my daughter plays house with her stuffed koala bears as the mom and dad,” Kohn elaborated, “we [Kohn and her domestic partner] gently remind her that they could be a dad and dad. Sometimes she changes her narrative. Sometimes she doesn’t. It’s her choice.”

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