June 26, 2019

AJC Hosts Meeting Between L.A. Women’s March Leaders, Jewish Groups

Saba Soomekh, American Jewish Committee (AJC) Los Angeles Assistant Director (left) with Emiliana Guereca, Executive Director of Women's March Los Angeles (right) Photo courtesy of the American Jewish Committee

Emiliana Guereca, executive director of Women’s March Los Angeles (WMLA) met with several large Los Angeles Jewish organizations Jan. 9 at a meeting hosted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) to discuss the Anti-Semitism taking place surrounding the National Women’s March.

Sinai Temple, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, Leo Baeck Temple, Valley Beth Shalom, Stephen Wise Temple, Congregation Kol Ami, Zioness, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC), JQ International, 30 Years After and Jumpstart were among the many in attendance.

Guereca stressed that WMLA does not share leadership, structure or funding with the national Women’s March (Women’s March Inc.) and does not have any input on the makeup of their leadership or decision-making. She also noted that the national Women’s March had taken too long –and did not go far enough — to reject Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism and homophobia. Guereca called for “a new and expanded leadership to form a true national organization.”  

“We commend Emiliana Guereca for standing with the Jewish and LGBTQ communities,” Saba Soomekh, AJC Los Angeles Assistant Director, said. “Jewish women should not be expected to check their identities and values at the door to join a national women’s rights movement. That same demand is not made of any other minority. Further, Jewish women can be proudly Zionist and feminist at the same time.”

The controversy surrounding the national Women’s March comes from its leaders’ ties to Farrakhan and statements made by Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory that have alienated the Jewish community.

Jewish social rights organization Zioness has condemned the leaders and Zioness founder Amanda Berman has formed the progressive platform for the L.A. march for those who are Jewish and wish to fight for social causes such as women’s and LGBTQ rights.

In December 2018, Zioness released a statement regarding anti-semitism at the march and condemned the Women’s March alongside other progressive California Democrats.

“We learned that a deep-seated, conspiratorial hatred of the Jewish people was an often unspoken, yet ever-present, fundamental and unifying principle driving the co-chairs’ organizing,” the statement read. “This knowledge makes it impossible for any sincere progressive to march alongside these women.”

Guereca will be speaking at a Los Angeles Zioness chapter event Sunday, Jan. 13 at University Synagogue.