October 20, 2019

New Women’s March Board Member Let Go After Backlash from Israel Tweets

Demonstrators take part in the Women's March to protest Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th president of the United States close to the White House in Washington, January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Zahra Billoo, one of the newly announced Women’s March board members, announced on Twitter she was kicked out of the organization following backlash to prior tweets of hers that equated Israel to the Nazis and ISIS, among others.

Billoo, who serves as the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations – San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA), tweeted that she was voted off the board on Sept. 18 and blamed the criticisms of her past tweets as being part of “an Islamophobic smear campaign.” She also defended the tweets in question, saying she “told the truth as my community and I have lived it.”

Billoo accused the Women’s March of caving to pressure to oust her.

In attempting to heal and build in an expedited manner within Women’s March, Inc., I offered to meet with stakeholders to address their concerns, and to work with my sisters on the new board to learn, heal, and build together,” Billoo tweeted. “These efforts were rejected. And in rejecting these efforts, the new Women’s March, Inc. board demonstrated that it lacks the courage to demonstrate allyship in the face of fire.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt praised the Women’s March for removing Billoo.

“Billoo’s hateful views have no place in any organization, much less one with an admirable and inclusive mission such as the Women’s March,” Greenblatt tweeted.

Zioness said in a statement that “Billoo has repeatedly and viscerally attacked American Jews as Zionists, and––most importantly for those who care about the integrity of the American feminist movement––she refuses dialogue and interfaith work with the Jewish community and has even attacked Muslim Americans who participate in it.” They added that “while Ms. Billoo should never have been appointed, we applaud the Women’s March, Inc. leadership for voting to remove her. After years of waffling and empty statements in response to the Jewish community’s attempts to communicate our pain and alienation, this swift, decisive action is welcomed.”

On Sept. 17, the ADL criticized Billoo for saying “that she views Zionism – the belief in Jewish nationhood –  as racism” for “calling for a Palestine ‘from the river to the sea.” They also criticized her for defending Hamas and tweeting “that there is ‘no need for a holocaust museum, seeing as Israel has taken it upon itself to recreate it. #Israel #Nazis.’”

The Women’s March did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.