The Women’s March has incited another uproar over anti-Semitism, this time stemming from national co-chair Tamika Mallory’s comment about “white Jews” contributing to white supremacy.
Ms. Mallory weighed in after a Dec. 10 expose in Tablet magazine about a January 2017 meeting of the initial Women’s March leaders. The report said that she and co-chairwoman Carmen Perez made critical comments about Jewish people, while Ms. Mallory said the role of Jewish people was discussed.
“Since that conversation, we’ve all learned a lot about how while white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy, ALL Jews are targeted by it,” Ms. Mallory said in a Sunday statement in The New York Times.
Her comment, while apparently aimed at appeasing her critics, instead fueled a fresh round of attacks on the Women’s March, whose leaders have repeatedly been accused of anti-Semitism, which they deny.
At issue are their associations with the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan and Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh; failure to mention anti-Semitism in their Unity Principles; lack of Jewish women in top posts; and recent accusations that they pushed out 2017 organizer Vanessa Wruble because she was Jewish.
The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov called Ms. Mallory an “open, unabashed anti-Semite,” while Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen blasted the comment as “deeply ignorant & offensive.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted Monday that “you cannot rally for equality against #bigotry and embrace @LouisFarrakhan et al.”
While a number of publications on the right and left have long pointed to alleged anti-Semitism within the Women’s March leadership, The Times article comes as an indication that mainstream and liberal-leaning outlets have begun to take notice, raising questions about whether Democrats and progressive groups will continue to partner with the organization.
The growing focus on anti-Semitism comes as the Women’s March prepares for its third march on Washington, D.C., this one called #WomensWave, a reference to the women elected to office in November, for which the group has taken credit.
Some feminists have called on women to avoid the Women’s March-sponsored event and instead attend rallies organized by groups such as the Women’s March Alliance and WoMen 4 All, which specifically reject anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, Democrats such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York who have cheered the Women’s March have remained mum under increasing pressure to comment on the anti-Semitism issue, raising questions about whether any leading Democrats will speak at the Jan. 19 event.
Republican National Committee Chairwomen Ronna McDaniel noted that the Women’s March is not some obscure non-entity, but has been a part of the Democratic mainstream and called on the party’s elected leaders to weigh in.
“Democrats like Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren & Kirsten Gillibrand have all proudly aligned themselves with the Women’s March. Now that the group’s anti-Semitism has been exposed, they should be asked whether they still support it,” she tweeted.
One organization standing by the Women’s March is Planned Parenthood of America, which announced earlier this month that it will act as a sponsor and partner of the march on D.C. while denouncing “anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, or any kind of bigotry in our communities.”
Ms. Mallory’s statement comes as a setback to efforts by the Women’s March to improve its image, including recent posts denouncing anti-Semitism; plans to include more women by adding a 30-member steering committee; and revamping its Unity Principles.
The four national co-chairs are Ms. Mallory, Ms. Perez, Bob Bland and Linda Sarsour.
“We will have a great program of women leaders,” Ms. Sarsour said in a Dec. 12 Facebook Live video stream. “You will be very proud of the updating of the Unity Principles. You will see the efforts we have put in to keep making the table bigger.”