The Women’s March has been roiled again by charges of anti-Semitism after co-leader Tamika D. Mallory, a Louis Farrakhan supporter, blasted Starbucks for seeking advice on bias from the Anti-Defamation League.
Instead, Ms. Mallory called on Starbucks to enlist the help of groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, an ally of Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who was deported last year for failing to disclose her conviction in a 1969 Jerusalem bombing that left two dead.
“So you are aware, Starbucks was on a decent track until they enlisted the Anti Defamation League to build their anti-bias training,” tweeted Ms. Mallory with the hashtag #boycottstarbucks. “The ADL is CONSTANTLY attacking black and brown people.”
Her criticism came shortly after Starbucks announced Tuesday that it would close its more than 8,000 company-owned stores on May 29 “to conduct racial-bias education” in response to an outcry over two black men arrested April 12 at a shop in Philadelphia.
Starbucks said its curriculum would be developed with the help of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt as well as officials from the Equal Justice Initiative, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Demos.
Ms. Mallory wasn’t the only activist to object to the ADL’s involvement. The decision also drew rebukes from Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter DC, the Nation of Islam Research Group, and Jewish Voice for Peace.
“The ADL has a long history of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian advocacy and at a minimum has shown profound insensitivity toward Black communities,” said Jewish Voice for Peace in a statement. “The ADL’s aggressive support of Israel often comes at the cost of the human and civil rights of Palestinians.”
Ms. Mallory, who said she has been attending Nation of Islam events since she was a girl, came under fire after she posted Instagram photos from a Farrakhan speech in February that included jabs at the “Jewish controlled media” and “the Satanic Jew.”
She posted an Instagram photo in 2017 wishing him a happy birthday and saying, “Thank God this man is still alive and doing well. He is definitely the GOAT.”
The Women’s March later issued a statement denouncing anti-Semitism without condemning Mr. Farrakhan personally.
Critics were quick to call out Ms. Mallory as well as Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour after she jumped on the anti-ADL bandwagon.
“I know activists have a problem with the ADL, but full on assaulting it after being embroiled in a scandal about antisemitism is not even close to a good look for @womensmarch leaders,” said the Forward’s Elad Nehorai.
In a statement, the ADL said that it has long fought racial discrimination through initiatives such as passing hate-crime laws, ending racial bias in the criminal-justice system, and fighting to derail the “school-to-prison” pipeline.
The two men arrested, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, said in an interview Thursday with ABC News that they asked to use the restroom shortly after entering the store and sitting at a table, but were told the facilities were for paying customers only.
Mr. Robinson said the manager came up to them at their table and asked if they wanted drinks or water, and they declined, explaining that they were waiting for a meeting that would begin in about 10 minutes.
He said Philadelphia police arrived minutes later and told them they had to leave.
“The first time, they walk over and they said, you have to leave, and I say, ‘We have a meeting.’ It’s a real estate meeting. We’ve been working on this for months,” Mr. Robinson said.
He said they were then handcuffed and led to a squad car.
“This is something that’s been going on for years and everyone’s blind to it, but they know what’s going on,” said Mr. Nelson, adding, “It’s not just a black people thing, it’s a people thing.”
Their attorney, Stewart Cohen, said that Starbucks had agreed to enter into mediation with a retired judge in Philadelphia, adding that the process “requires confidentiality.”
“I understand that rules are rules, but what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong,” Mr. Robinson said.