September 18, 2019

The Process to Replace Leadership of Women’s March Was a Sham

People gather for the Women's March in Washington. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The announcement in today’s Washington Post that Women’s March co-chairs Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland will no longer serve on the board is only part of the story. The other part is that the process to replace them has been a sham.

Before highly-controversial Sarsour, Mallory and Bland even began the process to find their replacements, they already had overstayed their official term, violating their organization’s bylaws. What followed was an undemocratic, opaque process, with some local Women’s March organizers thinking the previous co-chairs would handpick the new board.

“I’m sure it’s going to be all internal, and they will put in their own people or reelect themselves,” Angie Beem, president of the Washington state chapter, told The Jewish Journal after the announcement.

 In fact, one of the new board members, Zahara Billoo, who runs the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco office, has compared Israeli soldiers to ISIS terrorists, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and has written that being pro-Israel is being “pro-terror, pro-violence, pro-land theft, and pro-apartheid.”

Sarsour first announced to Women’s March organizers that it was time to step down six months ago. The Post reports the trio officially stepped down on July 15, although they did not announce it publicly nor update the website.

The original Women’s March, Inc. bylaws, which were written when the first board was solidified in 2017, stipulate leaders must step down and be reelected every two years. However, it was weeks after the co-chairs’ term had ended when the organization began its search for new board members.

As you may know, Women’s March board has two-year terms, and we are now approaching the end of this first board term,” wrote Sarsour in an email to Women’s March state and local level chapter leaders, co-signed by Chief Operating Officer Rachel Carmona. The letter, entitled “Women’s March Board Transition Update” was sent March 21, 2019, by a source connected to Women’s March, Inc. and was reviewed by The Jewish Journal.

“We have officially opened the process for the 2019-2021 board to shape the next phase of our work,” wrote Sarsour and Carmona, attaching a Women’s March board application. “This open process will include a formal application and review by a board nomination and selection committee, comprised primarily of members of the 2019 March Steering Committee who volunteered to be part of this process.”

“Founders have one rotating seat & Carmen is in it,” Sarsour tweeted after the announcement of the new board, referencing how Carmen Perez will stay on the board of the organization. However, nowhere in the bylaws of Women’s March, Inc. is a rotating seat for founders mentioned. “This AMAZING group of women stepped up, most of whom I worked w/ YEARS before WM,” Sarsour wrote.

Sarsour, Perez, Bland and Mallory were not elected into leadership

“The initial directors shall be those persons whose names and addresses are set forth in the Certificate of Incorporation and they shall serve until the next meeting of members at which directors are elected and until the election and qualification of their successors,” specifies Article I of Women’s March, Inc. bylaws.

Scandals have plagued leadership under Sarsour, Mallory, Bland and Perez, including support of those espousing anti-Semitic stances. More than 10,000 people signed a petition demanding they step down from Women’s March, Inc. Teresa Shook, the founder of the movement, has called for them to resign over their missteps with Jewish and LGBTQ women.

The controversy began when Mallory faced criticism for sitting on stage with Louis Farrakhan as he declared “the powerful Jews are my enemy.” Perez, who will remain on the board, has posed holding hands with Louis Farrakhan on Instagram. Sarsour also is associated with Farrkhan; she delivered a speech at a 2015 rally organized by him in his celebration.

In 2019, 100,000 attended the official Washington D.C. Women’s March – 400,000 less than who showed up into 2017. Since its founding in 2017, the organization has lost the majority of its partners; over 287 organizations have pulled support from Women’s March Inc. including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Emily’s List, the Human Rights Campaign and the Democratic Party.

Currently, only 10 chapters remain officially affiliated with Women’s March, Inc.

Three weeks after the email regarding a shift in leadership, Women’s March, Inc. sent out affiliate agreements to other march groups. It promised “Women’s March, Inc. will ensure that there is at least a minimum of two board seats reserved for Women’s March Chapter representation,” which “individual WM Chapter organizers can self-nominate and WM Chapters will then vote based upon their geographic area for the desired WM Chapter board rep.”

However, this directly contradicts the letter Sarsour and Carmona sent, who wrote the new leaders will be selected by the Steering Committee, which was handpicked by the board, not local organizers. There was no mention of a democratic process.

These agreements seemingly offered local marches a voice in leadership, and operated more like a cease-and-desist letter rather than an opportunity to have a voice in the upcoming elections.

Miranda Marquit, lead organizer of Women’s March of Idaho Falls, told The Jewish Journal that up to this point, all it took to be affiliated with Women’s March, Inc. was to list your march on its website. She confirmed that although it is listed on the website, Idaho is no longer affiliated with Women’s March, Inc.

“While the controversy surrounding this year’s march has some influence, the biggest thing is that we’re considering changing the format to do something more locally focused,” Marquit explained. She noted all Women’s March, Inc. provided its affiliates was an eight-page “Sister March Guide” and an invitation to an occasional conference call.

When asked how often she gets email invitations to the Women’s March calls, Marquit says, “I honestly just delete them without opening them.”

The agreement, sent out March 25, stated that if local marches do not affiliate, they must cease all use of the WM emblems within five days and immediately remove the name “Women’s March” from the chapter’s assumed name, domain names and social media accounts. It also asserts that non-affiliated marches must cease selling “Women’s March” merchandise, which funds grassroots activism.

Women’s March, Inc. also requires its affiliates do not “challenge the validity or ownership of any of the WM emblems,” which includes the term “Women’s March.” 

This is unusual, given that the Women’s March already gave up its legal claim to trademark the term “Women’s March,” which 14 other organizations disputed they owned in court.

Even odder was that Women’s March, Inc. not only sent out the draft affiliate agreements to groups with whom they wanted to solidify their partnership, but also to sporadic activist groups with the name “Women’s March” − even those that had no ties with it.

A leader of a large Women’s March group in California confirmed to The Jewish Journal that it had received the affiliate agreement, even though the chapter has openly divorced itself from Women’s March, Inc. and is affiliated with Los Angeles-based Women’s March Foundation.

In exchange for affiliation, Women’s March, Inc. offers online training, public relations support, amplification of local actions on its social media pages, web support and access to “network-wide communications platforms like Slack.” 

The organization did not offer to distribute any of its funding to grassroots organizers who sign on with it. In contrast, March On, a competing women’s march organization, has given 19 percent of its total funding directly to affiliates, investing approximately $250,000 in local groups, March On told The Jewish Journal.

In July, Samia Assed, who runs the New Mexico Women’s March told The Jewish Journal she has not received any funding or organizing resources from the parent organization, but Carmen Perez once came and spoke at a meeting.

Assed said she would sign the agreement because “I won’t splinter the movement. I won’t weaken it.” However, she had problems with the leadership. “Do I believe Linda and Tamika are anti-Semitic? No. Do I think they acted stupidly? Yes.”

In September it was announced she had joined the Women’s March Inc. board.

For many local chapters, not having a say in major decisions is a deal breaker.

“I don’t see how there will be an election when we have no say in anything they do. I don’t know how they would do the vote,” Beem said of the new board’s selection process. “If we had that kind of power, we could have voted them out. But it takes the board members to vote out a board member, and you know none of them are going to go against each other. I don’t see how an election can happen in this vacuum.”

Women’s March Announces That Sarsour, Mallory, Bland Resigned

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland have stepped down as co-chairs of Women’s March, Inc. on July 15, according to a statement released on Sept. 16.

The Women’s March said in a statement on their website that Sarsour, Mallory and Bland “will transition off the Women’s March Board and onto other projects focused on advocacy within their respective organizations.” Bland, who served as co-president of the Women’s March along with Mallory, told The Washington Post that the leadership was in the works for some time. 

Sarsour, who is a surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, told the Post, “I am grateful to the women who stepped up to shepherd the Women’s March. This is what women supporting women looks like.”

Co-chair Carmen Perez is staying with the Women’s March.

The statement went onto list the names of 16 new board members for the organization.

The Women’s March has been plagued with accusations of anti-Semitism, stemming from Sarsour, Mallory and Perez expressing warmth toward Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and a December report from Tablet alleging that Mallory and Perez accused Jews of being behind the American slave trade, among other allegations of anti-Semitism. 

Some of the reactions from the Jewish world include:

Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a statement to the Journal that he’s “grateful” that the Women’s March is “taking back control from extremists who hijacked this vital American campaign for social justice, creating an anti-Semitic litmus test for social activism that denounces Zionism and demonizes Zionists.”

OMG, Just Shut Up: An Open Letter to Linda Sarsour

Activist Linda Sarsour addresses the crowd during a protest against President Donald Trump's travel ban, in New York City, U.S. Jan. 29. Stephanie Keith/REUTERS

Dear Linda Sarsour,

This is an appeal to you on behalf of the Jewish community for you to stop speaking for us, about us or to us. 

I know you’ve ignored these requests before. 

You laughed off more than 21,000 Jews who signed a petition for you not to speak on a panel called “Antisemitism and the Struggle for Justice” because you are neither Jewish nor a scholar on anti-Semitism. Declaring you know better about hatred of Jews than actual Jews is — you guessed it — anti-Semitic. It also is belittling and disrespectful.

But after years of you showing absolutely no sensitivity toward the Jewish community, I’m pleading with you to please shut up.

You entered the conversation around anti-Semitism when in 2017, your organization, MPower Change, along with Celebrate Mercy raised $162,000 for Golden Hill Cemetery in Colorado to repair anti-Semitic vandalism. Later, you helped raise $238,624 to provide for Tree of Life synagogue after a terrorist murdered 11 Jews inside. This has been the name you’ve dropped to get into the intra-community conversation on what is and isn’t anti-Semitism.

While we are grateful for the efforts you’ve made to help dead Jews, those efforts are hollow when you frequently spread inflammatory and painful language toward living Jews.

You cannot bribe the Jewish community. You are wrong if you think any sum of money would make us overlook your consistent minimizing of anti-Semitism.

It’s telling that you ever thought we would.

Linda, you are the Lena Dunham of anti-Semitism. The list of needlessly offensive things you’ve done to the Jewish people is longer than the Torah, Talmud and two Passover seders.

You cannot bribe the Jewish community. You are wrong if you think any sum of money would make us overlook your consistent minimizing of anti-Semitism.

Here are your greatest hits:

1. You were complicit in the face of Louis Farrakhan’s undeniable anti-Semitism, delivering a speech at a 2015 rally organized by him in his celebration.

2. You victim-blamed Jews for complaining about your organization’s relationship with Farrakhan, painting them as part of a right-wing conspiracy.

3. You asked Jews on Facebook: “What work are we willing to do and are we willing to be open to the true idea that members of the NOI [Nation of Islam] are not all anti-Semites? Are we cool with broad brushing a whole group?”

4. When Elder Kirsten John Foy told a Jewish woman, “You’ve got wicked spirit laying upon your heart. I pray them bound and cast from you by the blood of the lamb of God, Jesus Christ,” you applauded him and replied, “You are too blessed to be stressed.”

5. You proudly associate with Bishop Talbert Swan, another open anti-Semite, who has written a book advocating for conversion therapy, which directly leads to the suicides of LGBTQ youth.

6. You told Jews to boycott the Forward, a nonprofit Jewish publication that even has defended you in its pages.

7. You created lists of “good Jews” versus the “bad Jews” in your attack on the Forward.

8. You threw a temper tantrum over the announcement of a black-Jewish caucus, encouraging more division between two communities of which you are not a part.

9. You vilified the most respected organization fighting anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), leading it to be expelled from diversity training at Starbucks — while you used security from the Nation of Islam.

10. Oh, yeah. Hiring security from the Nation of Islam.

11. When a Jewish grocery in Winnepeg, Canada faked anti-Semitic vandalism, you exploited that it was staged in order to attack the ADL for condemning the bigotry, before the fraud was exposed.

12. You suggested Jewish progressives harbor divided loyalties to Israel over their values.

13. You commented on an anti-Semitic tweet that told Jews their homeland is Poland and Brooklyn to “hey, hey leave Brooklyn out of this.” 

14. You enthusiastically co-signed an article that accused Jews of waging “profound war on black people and people of color.”

15. You erased the Jewish heritage of Jesus on multiple occasions — which contributes to Christian anti-Semitism.

16. You claimed Jews who complained when you reframed Jesus as a Palestinian are against a black actress playing the Little Mermaid and support human rights abuses against migrants at the U.S. border.

But Linda, what makes you most worthy of this request to shut the hell up is that you’ve contributed to a culture that vilifies Jews for speaking out against anti-Semitism.

“Dont (sic]) you get it: we can wake up in the morning say ‘good morning’ and be labeled antisemitic,” you tweeted this May. “It’s not about what we say, it’s who we are. It’s based on orientalist tropes that deem Muslims and Arabs inherently antisemitic. It’s racist. It’s bigoted. It’s finally being exposed.”

According to the ADL, 74% of people in the Middle East and North Africa harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, and not because they said good morning.

You aren’t just hurting Jews; you’re hurting Muslims. You have encouraged divisiveness when our communities need unity the most.

Just because someone is a member of another marginalized group doesn’t mean they are incapable of hating Jews. Just like I — as a Jew — am capable of being racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamaphobic and just plain mean, you, as a Muslim or Arab, can be anti-Semitic. Claiming Jews who call out anti-Semitism are “the real bigots” is victim-blaming, unhelpful and cruel. It makes it impossible for us to come forward without real fear for our safety.

No ally to our community actively seeks to paint us as liars. No friend to Jews would claim all anti-Semitism allegations as frauds. You are partaking and furthering the trope that the Jewish people are in a conspiracy to keep down the rest of society.

I frequently interact with white supremacists on social media. A favorite phrase of theirs is “the Jew cries out in pain as he strikes you.”  You paraphrased their hateful slogan and perpetuated it to a new crowd.

You wouldn’t know this, because white supremacists — although they might target you — don’t shout these anti-Semitic tropes at you.

That’s not to say hateful intimidation hasn’t been thrown your way. I recognize that many members of my community have participated in that. I’m revolted by anyone who calls you a cockroach, terrorist, Sharia law proselytizer or un-American. They also disgust the many people in my life who are Muslim — but so do you. Your anti-Semitic rhetoric has become a source of shame for many Muslims, Palestinians included. By consistently refusing to respect Jews, you, yourself, are the one promoting the stereotype that our communities are adversaries.

I’m asking you to talk less and listen more about Jewish issues — not any of your other experiences — because you are a necessary voice on other issues. I make this request because you aren’t just hurting Jews; you’re hurting Muslims. You have encouraged divisiveness when our communities need unity the most.

Linda, it’s not the Jews’ fault that Tamika Mallory sat onstage with Louis Farrakhan as he declared, “The powerful Jews are my enemy” and “the Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men.” It’s not our fault you were complacent.

We didn’t make you repeatedly intrude on conversations about anti-Semitism or try to define our oppression for us. We can’t make you shut up, either. But it never hurts to ask.

Signed,

Ariel Sobel, an anti-Semite’s worst nightmare.


Ariel Sobel is a screenwriter, filmmaker and activist, and won the 2019 Bluecat Screenplay Competition. 

Reut Report: How Intersectionality Poses A Threat to the Organized American Jewish Community

A Palestinian boy looks on near a graffiti boycotting Israel in Bethlehem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 3, 2018. Picture taken on November 3, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Farrell/File Photo

A new report by a Tel Aviv-based strategy and leadership group outlines how intersectionality is posing a threat to the organized American Jewish community. 

Published in June by the Reut Group, the report, titled “Navigating Intersectional Landscapes: Rules for Jewish Community Professionals,” argues that the American Jewish community is divided over many viewpoints on Israel and tensions are being exacerbated by those who are using intersectionality to promote anti-Israel agendas.

The 42-page report was produced with the support of the Los Angeles-based Julis Foundation for Multi-Disciplinary Thinking following a yearlong partnership between the Reut Group and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), which is made up of 125 Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs) and 17 national Jewish agencies, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. 

According to the report, the goal of the Reut/JCPA partnership is to “bolster the community relations field’s response to contemporary challenges within the Jewish community and anti-Israel campaigns. During this partnership, we identified the potential threat of intersectional movements to the Jewish community.”

What is Intersectionality?

In a 1989 paper for the University of Chicago Legal Forum, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia University and UCLA, developed a theory that African American women face a unique form of oppression that is not sufficiently explained by racism or sexism.

Crenshaw coined her theory “intersectionality,”  which the Reut report argues “holds that different forms of oppression and discrimination overlap and are experienced in a unique manner by individuals that fall within several biological, cultural and social categories, such as race, gender, religion, ability, sexual orientation, age and class.”

Today, the report states, the term intersectionality embraces more than Crenshaw’s original definition, and social justice coalitions understand it as a call to support other disenfranchised groups, even if their causes do not seem connected. 

In a Feb. 8, 2019, op-ed, “The Progressive Assault on Israel,” New York Times columnist Bret Stephens defined intersectionality as “the idea that the oppression of one group is the oppression of all others.” 

“Under intersectional umbrellas,” the report states, “members of Black, Latino and LGBTQ communities regularly stand in solidarity with anti-Israel and BDS-promoting groups.” 

In 2014, demonstrators in Ferguson, Mo., protested the death of 18-year-old African American Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a white police officer. That demonstration coincided with Israel’s Operation Protective Edge battle in Gaza. The report states that among those calling out police shootings of African Americans were pro-BDS protesters promoting “the #PALESTINE2FERGUSON campaign in an attempt to draw a parallel between the Palestinian struggle and the issue of police brutality against African Americans.” 

According to the report, this was a turning point in how Israel was viewed through the lens of intersectionality.

“In the recent years since Ferguson, we can see how anti-Israeli activity is seen as a right social cause and support for BDS as a legitimate solidarity cause,” Reut Group CEO Eran Shayshon told the Journal from Israel in a phone interview.

The report also links the rise of intersectionality to events including the 2017 Women’s March, led by leaders Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, who have been accused of being anti-Semitic, and the 2017 Chicago Dyke March, during which three women were told they could not march in the event because they were carrying flags with Stars of David, a “Zionist symbol.” 

All the while, support for Palestinians in the context of its conflict with Israel has become an increasing presence in intersectional coalitions, the report states, noting, “the Palestinian cause has been widely adopted as a core and prominent threshold for solidarity by many marginalized groups.” 

Where Do American Jews Fit In? 

According to the report, American Jews are often omitted from intersectional spaces, despite a history of standing with African Americans during the civil rights era, because contemporary American Jews are not seen today as marginalized but as privileged. 

“Jewish identity in America is mutating from a self-perception of being a marginalized and disempowered community to one increasingly being seen by outsiders as a privileged social group,” the report states. “As a result, Jews are often excluded from intersectional coalitions of solidarity formed among members of oppressed groups.”

Shayshon said this exclusion of Jews from intersectional spaces is anti-Semitic.

“Intersectionality in its current form mainstreams subtle anti-Semitism because it combines conspiratorial things like the disproportionate power and influence of Jews and asks Jews to renounce their privilege and claims of prejudice, and makes the Jewish cause to defend the Jewish state illegitimate,” he said. “Anti-Zionism has become a litmus test for progressive communities to make.”

Shayshon added it was incumbent on his organization to understand how intersectionality is affecting the American Jewish community because “the challenges facing the Jewish community are critical to the resilience of the Jewish people and also to Israel, and Israel has been inserted into the conversation of intersectionality.” 

Breaking Down the Report 

The report classifies the American-Jewish community’s perspectives about Israel into four categories, or tribes:  

1. Aligners, or those who “consider Israel to be an integral part of their Jewish identity and generally support the State of Israel.” 

2. Moderate Critics, who, “while pro-Israel, tend to oppose the Jewish Establishment’s traditional, unconditional support for Israel.” 

3. Harsh Critics, who “hold highly critical views of Israel’s policies, most often with regards to Israel’s continued control of the Palestinians.” 

4. Radicals, “anti-Zionists who denounce Israel.”

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leads his colleagues to the unveiling of the statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett on Parliament Square, in London, Britain, April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

In the  “new anti-Semitism” that is anti-Zionism, the report states, the United States is seeing “the ‘Corbynization’ of progressive politics,” a reference to British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is, according to the report, “mainstreaming new anti-Semitism” into the ideologies of his political party.

If London is at the center of much of the anti-Israel activity in Europe, the center of anti-Zionism in North America is San Francisco, Shayshon said. “We’ve studied the dynamic of anti-Israeli groups and clearly the geographical hubs in the U.S. are metropolitan areas. In the San Francisco Bay area, there is a concentration of anti-Israeli groups, which serve as a hub for a long list of anti-Israeli groups all over North America. Clearly [UC] Berkeley is such a hub. SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine), their hub is at Berkeley.” 

Stating that “we know that the anti-Israeli movements flourish in progressive hubs,” Shayshon added, “Israel has been losing its progressive credibility.”

The report states that increasing criticism of Israel among far-left members of the Democratic Party poses a “threat to the future of traditional U.S. bipartisan support for Israel.”

Among the incidents the report cites backing these claims is a 2003 episode involving a San Francisco-based rape crisis center, San Francisco Women Against Rape, that defined itself as anti-Zionist and asked potential interns and volunteers if they would be willing to take a stance against Zionism, even though the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was unrelated to its mission.  

Another article the report references was published on Oct. 8, 2018, in the Forward, highlighting how Tucson Jews for Justice, while protesting President Donald Trump’s policies on child separations and the Muslim travel ban, faced bullying from far-left groups for not condemning Israel. This was part of “a national trend of harsh treatment of Jews in progressive spaces,” according to the Forward.

The report also discusses recent events involving Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), whose remarks on Twitter about Israel and the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) were widely deemed anti-Semitic, and Mallory, the Women’s March leader, who refused to condemn what many deemed anti-Semitic remarks made by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves the U.S. Senate chamber and walks back to the House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., Jan. 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Shayshon went further, saying, “Many Israelis believe the relationship between Israel and the U.S. has never been stronger because of the Trump-[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu relationship and many talk about the possible blowback when a Democratic administration succeeds it.”

Shayshon said he was more concerned about anti-Semitism on the political left than he was with anti-Semitism from the right. “On the right, it is much more about a challenge of physical insecurity, like what happened in Pittsburgh, but anti-Semitism on the left is more threatening in the sense that it is polarizing the Jewish community. It drives a wedge between Jewish communal organizations and many young Jews and as a result loses its vitality.”

The report goes on to state that intersectionality not only is driving a wedge between members of the American Jewish community but also is threatening “Israel’s status within the U.S. Jewish community from a unifying issue into a divisive one.” 

The report also highlights how the younger generation of American Jews is distancing itself from Israel and has a distrust of Jewish communal organizations. 

Shayshon said anti-Israel movements like BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) are popular among young people who are susceptible to viewpoints masking as tikkun olam. 

“I have no doubt that most people who support BDS are not motivated by an anti-Israel view or anti-Zionism,” he said. “Many times their position is a submission to the anti-Israeli spirit of the times, which [the intersectionality] ideology aims to create.”

How to Fight Back

The report encourages Jewish groups to engage with Israel’s critics, stating, “Jewish communal broad-tent engagement efforts should specifically focus on engaging Harsh Critics who may give Israel the benefit of the doubt, maintain a meaningful connection to Israel and disapprove of the BDS movement.” 

The report goes on to say that while Jewish organizations may have a tendency to lessen its emphasis on Israel to remain relevant among young people, the better response is doubling down on Israel engagement.

In combating the growing antagonism toward Israel, the report recommends that the Jewish community broaden its tolerance for “legitimate discourse on Israel” and avoid blacklisting organizations that hold differing viewpoints on issues like the boycotting of West Bank products, stating, “There is a low likelihood of a divided Jewish community reaching common ground on several eminent issues.” 

The report also advises Jewish organization to find new allies, including Jews of color, to demonstrate that the pro-Israel movement also has diverse, intersectional support. Among some of the smaller, niche organizations the report cites that can help play a role include Moishe House, which provides subsidized living for young adult Jews who commit to holding Jewish programming in their homes, and OneTable, which provides millennials with tools and resources to hold Shabbat dinners. They too, according to the report, can be bridges between Israel’s critics, Jewish communal life and Israeli society. 

Photo by Odemirense

Moving Forward

Shayshon said the report’s focus on how intersectionality presents new challenges for the American Jewish community stems from his group’s belief that the American Jewish community relations field is the “most potent platform of the Jewish community to fight anti-Israeli movements.”

However, he added, “We don’t see the sense of urgency in the Jewish community regarding intersectionality. One of the main threats of intersectionality in its current format is it mainstreams anti-Semitism and we see how the Jewish community is unable to coalesce around fighting these issues.”

Shayshon said he hoped the publication and dissemination of the report leads to change in how the community interacts with the intersectionality question. “We are not just a think tank that publishes papers and hopes the words will take effect,” he said. “This is part of a long couple of years’ effort to strengthen the community relations field with our strategic partner for the U.S., JCPA.”

“We hope research can trickle down and become pillars of operations for the JCRC network,” he said. “That’s our plan.”

Jewish Groups Slam Sarsour for Saying Jesus Was a Palestinian

Activist Linda Sarsour speaks during a Women For Syria gathering at Union Square in New York City on April 13. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Myriad Jewish groups slammed Women’s March, Inc. co-leader Linda Sarsour on Twitter for saying that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian.

The controversy began with Sarsour tweeting on July 5, “Jesus was Palestinian of Nazareth and is described in the Quran as being brown copper skinned with wooly hair.”

Sarsour doubled down on Twitter in response to backlash:

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) tweeted in response to Sarsour that Judea is mentioned 48 times in the New Testament, while Palestine isn’t mentioned anywhere because “because the name “Palestine” was only applied to the region by the Romans in 135 CE.” 

They added, “Try cracking a history book, Linda. It’ll blow your mind.”

AJC CEO David Harris similarly tweeted, “Jesus was a Jew born in Bethlehem (in Hebrew, Bet Lehem) in Judea, then a Roman province. Next up for her cultural appropriation? Maybe King David, born in Bethlehem 1000 [years] earlier & another ‘Palestinian’?”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted, “#Sarsour‘s hatred for the #Jewish State blinds her to inconvenient historic truths. Yes, @lsarsour invents her own ‘facts’ to bolster her bigotry.”

StandWithUs similarly tweeted in response to Sarsour, “1. Jesus was born in Judea. The name “Palestine” did not even exist at that time. 2. Jesus was born Jewish. Why does Linda keep trying to revise the history of Jews living in their indigenous homeland, Judea (=Israel) for her own politicized aims?”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) came under a similar controversy in April when she re-tweeted a tweet stating that Jesus was a Palestinian. Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Journal at the time that it is a “grotesque insult” to say that Jesus was a Palestinian, saying that “Palestine was a name made up by Romans after they crucified thousands, destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and exiled the People of Israel from their homeland.”

Winnipeg Mayor: Sarsour Should Be Removed from Social Justice Panel

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman called for Women’s March, Inc. co-leader Linda Sarsour to be removed from an upcoming social justice panel, citing her “anti-Semitic views and hate.”

Sarsour is scheduled to speak at an April 26 panel titled “Sorry Not Sorry: Unapologetically Working for Social Justice,” co-hosted by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute and will be located at the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg.

Bowman’s office said in an April 23 statement that it’s not “appropriate to provide [Sarsour] a public platform to further propagate anti-Semitic views and hate.”

Later in the day, Bowman told reporters that he was disturbed that Sarsour has “continually attacked the foundation of the state of Israel’s right to exist” and that by inviting Sarsour on the panel, the council is sending a negative message “to the Jewish community and the community as a whole.”

Canadian Jewish groups have similarly been calling for Sarsour’s removal from the panel. Elaine Goldstone, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, said in an April 18 statement that the Federation had met with the council and the institute about Sarsour’s “unrepentant anti-Semitism.” In a March press release, B’nai Brith Canada highlighted Sarsour’s warmth to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and former Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist Rasmea Odeh as well as her use of the dual loyalty trope against supporters of Israel as examples of her anti-Semitism.

Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey wrote in an April 24 op-ed that while he thinks that the calls to remove Sarsour from the panel are “understandable,” it’s better to let “Sarsour speak” and let “others vigorously criticize her and what she stands her.”

Kate Kehler, executive director of the council, defended their decision to invite Sarsour on the panel, telling the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that Sarsour has “a tremendous amount of experience in building movements that have been effective and achieved policy change.”

Pro-Israel Organizations Urge UMass to End Departments’ Sponsorship of Anti-Israel Panel

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Eighty pro-Israel organizations wrote an April 23 letter to the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst calling on the university to end all departmental sponsorship of an upcoming anti-Israel panel.

The May 4 panel at the Fine Arts Center, titled “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, & the Battle for Palestinian Rights,” will feature Women’s March, Inc. co-leader Linda Sarsour, former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Water, Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill and Dave Zirin, sports editor of The Nation. According to a press release promoting the event, the panelists will convey the message that anti-Semitism is being used to silence criticism of the Israeli government, specifically against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

The letter, which was spearheaded by the AMCHA Initiative and has signatories that include the Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs and the American Jewish Congress, states that the panelists “are all outspoken anti-Israel activists who have engaged in expression deemed anti-Semitic not only by the vast majority of world Jewry, but also by the standards established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which has been adopted by dozens of countries including the United States.”

“These activists’ anti-Semitic expressions include charges that Jewish Americans are more loyal to Israel than America, calls for the elimination of the Jewish state, comparisons of Israelis to Nazis, and other false and defamatory accusations about Israel and Israel’s supporters that draw on classic anti-Semitic tropes,” the letter states. “Official departmental sponsorship of this event will provide the appearance of academic legitimacy to the kind of political hatred that will undoubtedly be purveyed by these speakers — hatred that can’t help but encourage open hostility towards Jewish and pro-Israel students on your campus.”

Sarsour has ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and accused progressive supporters of Israel of having dual loyalty, Hill was fired by CNN in November after for calling for “free Palestine from the river to the sea” in front of the United Nations, Zirin criticized Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green for visiting the Israel Defense Force in July, and Waters has a long history of pro-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activism.

The letter also notes that the event is being co-sponsored by the UMass Department of Communication, Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Resistance Studies Initiative UMASS. Additionally, the event is being co-sponsored by The Media Education Foundation, an NGO that is directed by Sut Jhally, who chairs the Department of Communication.

“This is not an educational event but a political rally,” the letter states. “Rather than aiming to promote an understanding of a highly contentious and polarizing issue by including speakers with a variety of perspectives, this event includes speakers with only one extremely partisan perspective and clearly aims to promote a political cause and encourage political action. Providing the imprimatur of three academic departments to such a politically motivated and directed event violates the core academic mission of the university, suppresses student expression and impedes the free exchange of ideas so essential for any university.”

The letter concludes by urging the university to “rescind all named university sponsorship of this event and ensure that no academic unit or other university entity is connected to this event in any way” and “provide us with assurances, highlighting relevant university policies and procedures, that UMass faculty will not be permitted to use their academic position or the university’s name or resources to promote a personal, political agenda that compromises the university’s academic mission and imperils the safety and well-being of UMass students.”

Similarly, Anti-Defamation League New England Regional Director Robert Trestan wrote in an April 17 letter to the university that the event is featuring “speakers who engage in rhetoric that demonizes the State of Israel and seeks to marginalize its supporters,” causing “significant consternation among Jewish students and many others on campus and in the community.”

“This event links the university with a discredited concept having a singular outcome: the elimination of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people,” Trestan wrote. “Our experience indicates that programs of this nature are highly divisive, impacting Jewish students’ sense of belonging, as well as their sense of safety and security on campus.”

UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy responded to the AMCHA Initiative with a letter of his own on April 23, which was obtained by the Journal, stating that the event “is being presented by a private foundation.”

“No university or taxpayer funds are being used to support the event,” Subbaswamy’s letter stated. “UMass Amherst is committed to fostering a community of dignity and respect and rejects all forms of bigotry. The campus is also firmly committed to the principles of free speech and academic freedom. As such, and as is required of a public institution under the First Amendment, UMass Amherst applies a content-neutral standard when making facilities available to outside organizations for the purpose of holding events.”

Subbaswamy added in his letter that department sponsorships of events constitute as “academic freedom.”

“Departmental sponsorship of various types of events does not constitute an endorsement of the views expressed at those proceedings, rather it is an endorsement of the exploration of complex and sometimes difficult topics,” Subbasswamy’s letter stated.

His letter concluded by reiterating the university’s opposition to the BDS movement.

Pharaoh’s Daughter Addresses Linda Sarsour

My sister: Zionism is not,
as you have notoriously suggested, “creepy.”
I know that you do not believe it.
But if you’d witnessed what I have —
Jews enslaved, their babies murdered —
perhaps you’d understand.

 

How many generations of Jewish mothers
like the one who birthed my Moses
have feared for their children’s lives?
For how many decades, centuries, millennia,
have the Jews lacked a single home of their own
and looked back, with longing, to Zion?

 

But above and beyond all of that, my sister:
If you believe in self-determination for your own community
how can you deny others the same? I cannot discern
how their aspirations are any “creepier” than yours.
Please, sister, reconsider your past words
and your present ones.


Erika Dreifus is a New York-based writer and book publicist. Her next book, “Birthright: Poems,” will be published by Kelsay Books in fall 2019. Web: ErikaDreifus.com.

NYC Councilmember: ‘Palestine Does Not Exist’

Screenshot from Twitter.

New York City (NYC) Councilman Kalman Yeger created some controversy on March 27 when he tweeted that “Palestine does not exist.”

It started when Yeger, a Jewish Democrat, tweeted in response: to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) Twitter thread criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahy for singling her out in his AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference speech.

A Twitter user responded to Yeger by pointing out that the councilman has previously said that “Palestine does not exist” and has used the term “so-called Palestinians.” Yeger tweeted in response, “Palestine does not exist. There, I said it again. Also, Congresswoman Omar is an anti-Semite. Said that too. Thanks for following me.”

Yeger’s tweet drew rebukes from Women’s March, Inc. co-leader Linda Sarsour and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Former Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind defended Yeger:

According to Jewish Virtual Library, the term “Palestine” originated from the Philistines, who were ancestors of the Greeks. Palestine was loosely used to refer to southern Syria under the Ottoman Empire; after the empire fell, the word “Palestine” was used to refer to the land that eventually became Israel and Jordan. Today, Judea and Samaria and Gaza are referred to as the Palestinian territories, however an official state called “Palestine” has never been established.

Sarsour Calls for a Boycott of The Forward

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Women’s March, Inc. co-president Linda Sarsour called for a boycott of The Forward on Feb. 13, tweeting that they weren’t progressive enough.

Progressive activist, Rafael Shimunov, who is affiliated with organizations like IfNotNow and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, criticized The Forward for sending a fundraising email based on Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) recent AIPAC comments.

Sarsour later tweeted in response, “Instead of donating to The Forward, support the work of progressive Jewish organizations on the front lines: @JFREJNYC @jewishaction @jvplive @jewsofcolor & I am sure there are many others. They make the progressive left whole.”

Some criticized Sarsour over this tweet:

Zioness president and co-founder Amanda Berman said in a statement sent to the Journal via email that Sarsour’s tweet promulgated “explicit anti-Semitism” by “dividing the ‘good’ Jews from the ‘bad’ Jews.”

“Sarsour’s tweets demonstrate clearly that when views are espoused that conflict with her own––especially when those views are from Jews––she is quick to turn and cast the Jewish community aside,” Berman said. “This behavior divides our movement and makes it impossible for us to advance our shared goals of a more just and equal America.”

Berman added, “This type of language forces American progressives to choose sides and delineate which Jews are acceptable and included and which are not. It makes it impossible for our community to use our voices to participate in the advancement of movements committed to social, racial, economic and gender justice. It disempowers a community of activists who have been on the forefront of these issues for decades, stripping us of our voices and demanding that we submit to a definition of bigotry against ourselves that we are not allowed to define.”

“We reject her language, her bigotry, and her goals, and commit ourselves to overcoming this hatred with love,” Berman concluded.

The Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party said in a statement sent to the Journal, ““This statement from Sarsour only perpetuates what has been an exhausting news cycle for American Jews. All but one of the organizations she promotes leans or explicitly identifies as anti-Zionist– the Jews of Color Project immediately rejected her post and disassociated themselves. Meanwhile, 92% of American Jews identify as pro-Israel, so she is cynically tokenizing a small minority of our community and encouraging progressives to do the same.”

“Additionally, Jewish Voice for Peace was recently rebuked by Mizrahi and Sephardi communal institutions for exploiting their voices,” they added. “It is telling that even after The Forward gave more of a platform to Women’s March Inc. activists than any other mainstream Jewish publication, Sarsour threw them under the bus. Independent Jewish press is the lifeblood of our community – one need not love the Forward’s editorial line to be outraged by this attack.”

Forward opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon told the Journal in an email that The Forward is declining to comment on the matter.

Sarsour has been criticized for her connection to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and accusing progressive Jews who are against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement of having dual loyalty.

Hijacking Holocaust Remembrance Day

Screenshot from Twitter.

“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day this past Sunday, Jan. 27, political figures across the globe tweeted out their thoughts on the commemoration of history’s greatest atrocity. Most of the messages were simple reminders that evil must be fought, that we must learn from history and that the victims must not be forgotten.

But a few directly undermined the message of the day. They did so with animus and intent. They did so by carving out the heart of the Holocaust in favor of trite, rote platitudes that could then be used as political hatchets against their political opposition. 

Leading the way was open anti-Semite and British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. As National Review’s Julie Lenarz wrote, Corbyn once met with members of Hamas and Hezbollah, calling it his “honor and pleasure.” Corbyn described Raed Salah, a practitioner of the anti-Semitic blood libel, as a “very honored citizen.” He allegedly gave money to Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. He even hosted a program on the Iranian TV outlet Press TV. You can find photos of him attending a memorial for the Palestinian terrorist perpetrators of the Munich massacre. Corbyn’s anti-Semitism is so blatant and obvious that it has rent the Labour Party, even as the Conservative Party struggles to maintain control in Britain.  

None of his past actions stopped Corbyn from issuing his Holocaust remembrance message: “In memory of the millions of Jewish people, and others, who perished in the Holocaust. Let us never allow antisemitism or any other form of racism to disfigure our society.” By zooming out from the Holocaust — a massacre of 6 million Jews for the crime of being Jewish — and thus turning the Holocaust into a rote lesson on “racism” writ large, Corbyn can disassociate his own support for genocidal anti-Semites from his supposed opposition to the Holocaust itself.

“The Holocaust must be remembered. Obscuring it with platitudinous statements uttered by anti-Semites isn’t just disgusting, it’s dangerous.”

The same holds true for Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women’s March. Sarsour is a supporter of the anti-Semitic boycott against Israel. In 2012, she tweeted, “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and has publicly defended radical Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan. She has stated that support of Israel cannot coincide with feminism. Yet she, too, sent out a Holocaust Remembrance missive — this one curiously missing any mention of the Jews. “May the memories of those who perished inspire us to love and protect one another. May we never forget history so that we may never repeat it,” she tweeted. “May they rest in an eternal peace knowing that we will fight for each other no matter the consequences.”

Again, a message just vague enough with which to virtue-signal — all without ever having to acknowledge the real-life anti-Semitism in which Sarsour herself has engaged.

Her tweet is a convenient way of omitting the actual message of the Holocaust: first, that Jews must never again be dehumanized and murdered for political purposes; second, that anti-Semitism is not merely a subset of bigotry, but its own poisonous brand; and third, that mass murder is possible when purportedly civilized people forget the first two lessons. And yet, thanks to a deliberate campaign to obfuscate those first two lessons, enemies of the Jewish people can hijack Holocaust Remembrance Day to use as a political club. 

One time, the Lubavitcher Rebbe was asked if the Holocaust could ever happen again. “Morgen in der fruh,” he answered. “Tomorrow morning.”

In a world in which Iran routinely threatens Israel’s Jews with annihilation, in which the Palestinian Authority and Hamas unite to teach their children about the eventual hope of a Judenrein Palestine, in which Jews across Europe live under the possibility of the knife, the Holocaust must be remembered. Obscuring it with platitudinous statements uttered by anti-Semites isn’t just disgusting, it’s dangerous.


Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire.

Sarsour Faces Criticism for Not Mentioning Jews in Holocaust Statement

Activist Linda Sarsour speaks during a Women For Syria gathering at Union Square in New York City on April 13. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Women’s March co-leader Linda Sarsour has been criticized for not mentioning Jews in her Holocaust Remembrance statement.

Myriad Twitter users have pointed out that in 2017, Sarsour criticized the Trump administration for not mentioning Jews in their Holocaust statement at the time.

“How do you have a Remembrance Day for the holocaust and not mention Jews?!” Sarsour tweeted. “Absolutely outrageous. Definition of anti-semitism.”

On Sunday, Sarsour wrote on Facebook, “May the memories of those who perished inspire us to love and protect one another. May we never forget history so that we may never repeat it. May their stories instill a sense of commitment and determination in our movements and communities to never leave anyone behind. May they rest in an eternal peace knowing that we will fight for each other no matter the consequences. #HolocaustRemembranceDay”

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement sent to the Journal, “Linda Sarsour’s omission of Jews in her statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where one third of world Jewry was murdered, is an ever greater omission than for a speaker not to mention women at the Women’s March.”

Sarsour and the other national Women’s March leaders have been plagued by accusations of anti-Semitism due to their warmth toward Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Sarsour issued a statement addressing anti-Semitism in November, although it was heavily criticized for failing to explicitly condemn anti-Semitism.

H/T: Washington Free Beacon

Rep. Zeldin Introduces Resolution ‘Rejecting Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Hatred’

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives on Wednesday that condemns “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred” globally.

The resolution, which was sponsored by Zeldin and Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.), highlights a few of Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic statements, including that Jews are “Satanic” and calling Adolf Hitler “a very great man.”

“Activist Tamika Mallory called Minister Louis Farrakhan the ‘‘greatest of all time’’, and her fellow organizer, Linda Sarsour said, ‘Only Jews . . . are ones that condone violence against Arabs and are cool with mosques being attacked,’” the resolution states.

It went on to add that “current Members of Congress have met with, posed for pictures with, and have otherwise embraced Farrakhan.”

The resolution proceeded to call out Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The resolution also called into question Tlaib’s association with a Hezbollah supporter and called out Omar for accusing Israel of hypnotizing the world. Omar recently said she “unknowingly” used the anti-Semitic trope.

The resolution also argued that the BDS movement has been detrimental toward Jewish students on college campuses.

“As a result of the BDS movement, Jewish students on college campuses across America have been exposed to rampant anti-Semitism,” the resolution states. “For example, at New York University, after the student government passed a resolution supporting BDS, the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life was temporarily closed in response to threatening Twitter posts by a student who expressed ‘a desire for Zionists to die.’”

The resolution also denounced the neo-Nazi riots in Charlottesville in August 2017, noting how the “extremist demonstration turned violent when a neo-Nazi sympathizer drove a vehicle into a crowd, which resulted in the death of one peaceful demonstrator, and two Virginia State police officers died in the line of duty that day.” Robert Bowers, who is accused of murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, was also condemned in the resolution.

“Whereas contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere include denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination: Now, therefore, be it resolved, that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the House of Representatives rejects anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in the United States and around the world,” the resolution concludes.

On Jan. 15, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution introduced by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) condemning white nationalism by a margin of 424-1 in response to Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) telling The New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King voted in favor of the resolution.

The lone congressman who voted against the resolution was Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), stating that he wouldn’t vote for any resolution that didn’t censure King.

 

Women’s March Comes Out Against Anti-BDS Legislation in Platform

Screenshot from Twitter.

The national Women’s March Inc. came out against anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) legislation in their platform.

Page 25 of the platform states, “One of the biggest threats to speech today are the attempts to silence social movements, including those advocating Palestinian rights.”

“Whether it’s the attempts to create federal or state laws banning political boycotts or criticism of Israel (including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions tactic), targeting environmental protest or preventing students and faculty on college campuses from expressing their views or engaging in peaceable assembly, the silencing of one side of the debate is precisely what our First Amendment protects against,” the platform states.

During the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Women’s March co-president Linda Sarsour said, “We will protect our constitutional right to Boycott, Divest and Sanctions in this country.”

StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said in a statement that StandWithUs is “deeply disappointed” in the Women’s March Inc.’s opposition to the anti-BDS legislation.

“Anti-BDS legislation is about ensuring that states will not do business with companies that engage in discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin. Nothing more, nothing less,” Rothstein said. “It is hypocritical for BDS activists to claim the mantle of free speech, while they themselves frequently try to stop those they disagree with from speaking.”

Rothstein added, “It is telling that while this new document commits to opposing hatred against Jews, it makes no mention of anti-Semitism on the far left. Anyone who cares about supporting Jewish communities must acknowledge and fight this racism on both sides of the political spectrum.”

The Women’s March Inc. leaders have been plagued by accusations of anti-Semitism in a Tablet report and have been criticized for their associations with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Women’s March Inc. co-president Tamika Mallory recently said, “I don’t agree with Minister Farrakhan’s statements” when asked by Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View” on if she condemns Farrakhan. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) reportedly dropped its sponsorship to the Women’s March “over anti-Semitism concerns.”

Sarsour told CNN on the morning of the march, “We unequivocally have rejected the comments made by Minister Farrakhan on LGBTQ communities and on Jewish communities.”

I Have a Dream

An event honoring Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will take place on Jan. 11.

I have a dream that one day soon we will live in a nation where all people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I have a dream that those touting “identity politics” and victimhood will soon understand that both are the exact opposite of everything Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for.

I have a dream that if a teacher forces my son to do a “privilege walk” because his olive skin is two tones lighter than another student, that he will have the courage to cite MLK and say “No.”

I have a dream that the “character” MLK referred to will begin to trend again, that uncivil discourse, hate, lies, and demonization will be seen as undermining good character, that the dignity and moral courage MLK stood for will prevail.

I have a dream that it will be understood once again that taking responsibility for one’s actions is a substantial part of the ‘character’ MLK stood for.

I have a dream that blacks and Jews will rekindle their long-standing bond as two communities forced out of our homelands and into diasporas of persecution, and that people like Linda Sarsour will stop trying to break that bond for the sake of their own agendas.

I have a dream that black leaders will courageously step forward to discuss the Jewish activists who helped to create the civil rights movement and have died fighting for the rights of all people to be treated equally.

I have a dream that black leaders will courageously step forward to renew MLK’s fierce Zionism and love for the state of Israel.

I have a dream that Jewish leaders will courageously step forward to state unequivocally that Jews are not and have never been “white”—that all Jews are Jews of color—and as such our responsibility to erase racism both in our own community and in society at large is even more acute.

I have a dream that blacks and Jews will again work together to stop others from defining who we are, where we came from, and what defines racism against us.

I have a dream that my son will continue to judge people by the content of their characters, not by the color of their skin.

I have a dream that my son will be able to teach his friends who have had the misfortune of being taught to hate that bigotry of any form goes against every moral precept of a just society.

I have a dream that we can again begin to nurture future leaders to be in the stature of MLK: morally unflinching, courageous, decent, honorable, kind.

I have a dream that blacks and Jews will stand together again to fight for every liberal principle that MLK stood for—truth, justice, freedom, equality, and peace.

I have a dream.

Karen Lehrman Bloch is an author and cultural critic living in New York City.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz Denounces D.C. Women’s March

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida speaking to a reporter before the Democratic Party presidential debate in Manchester, N.H., on Dec. 19, 2015. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.) condemned the national Women’s March in a Friday USA Today op-ed, stating that she would not march with them until they denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Wasserman Schultz wrote that she supports the march’s “values and mission,” she can’t “walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.”

“With anti-Semitism and white nationalism apparently on the upswing in America and globally, the associations that [Linda] Sarsour, [Carmen] Perez and [Tamika] Mallory have had with Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan have been most troubling,” Wasserman Schultz wrote.

Wasserman Schultz added that it was “alarming” that Mallory attended NOI’s Saviour’s Day in 2018.

“At almost every turn, Mallory has failed to clearly denounce Farrakhan,” Wasserman Schultz wrote. “Instead, she has attended Farrakhan’s speeches and posted her support for him on social media, referring to him as the ‘GOAT’ — or, the Greatest Of All Time. Just this week, she was repeatedly asked on national television to clearly condemn him, and she instead dodged the question, taking issue with the words he chose and the fact that Minister Farrakhan is male, rather than acknowledging the hurtfulness of his rhetoric toward Jews and the LGBTQ community.”

The former Democratic National Committee chairwoman also noted that Sarsour has said that progressives criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions put “their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.”

“This rhetoric is hurtful and shames the Jewish women who have stood for equality and inclusiveness since before the Women’s March even came into being,” Wasserman Schultz wrote.

Wasserman Schultz concluded the op-ed by stating that she will not march with the national Women’s March until they fully denounce anti-Semitism in all forms. In the meantime, she said she’ll march with local marches that have distanced themselves from the national march.

The Women’s March Los Angeles is one of the marches that has made clear that they have zero affiliation with the national Women’s March and that “hate speech” against Jews and Israel isn’t welcome.

We Must Go After Bigots on Both Sides

Photo from Flickr/Gage Skidmore.

Last week, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was interviewed by The New York Times. King has a long history of racially tinged comments — comments that could plausibly be interpreted as either racist or as awkwardly phrased but not racist. But his interview with the Times destroyed any vestige of such vagary, as he explained, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Obviously, this is out-and-out bigotry. White supremacism is a grave evil — the declaration that whites are innately superior to others is by definition discriminatory. So is white nationalism, which is based on the assumptions of white supremacism. Ironically, King embraces the arguments of the political left when he suggests that Western civilization is coincident with and springs from racial discrimination.

That’s why I called on Congress to censure King; I maxed out by donating to his political opponent and called on others to do so, too. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) denounced King’s comments and said there would be consequences from the Republican caucus. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) tore into King and silent Republicans in the pages of The Washington Post. The National Republican Congressional Committee already had announced it would cut ties with King last October.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is openly anti-Semitic. Last week, she accused members of Congress of dual loyalty to Israel thanks to their support for anti-BDS legislation. Tlaib is a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, and a defender of CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill, who called for the destruction of the State of Israel. This week, it emerged that Tlaib hosted Abbas Hamideh, a pro-terrorist artist, at her swearing-in in Detroit; she also invited him to a private dinner. Hamideh has openly called for the destruction of the State of Israel and embraced the leadership of Hezbollah. Thus far, no comment from Tlaib.

“The immune systems of both the Republican and Democratic parties have been compromised.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted in 2012, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Democratic leadership has been silent.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) met and danced with anti-Semite Al Sharpton, a man who once helped incite riots in Crown Heights and racial arson at Freddy’s Fashion Mart. Sharpton once called Jews “diamond merchants” and “white interlopers” and ranted, “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.” Sharpton is still a treasured member of the leftist coterie.

Democratic leaders including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have embraced anti-Semites like Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour. The Women’s March leadership as a whole has been embraced by members of both the leftist media and the Democratic Party. That leadership includes Tamika Mallory, who appeared on “The View” this week to defend her view that insane anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan is the “greatest of all time.” When pressed to condemn Farrakhan, she demurred.

Here’s the sad reality: In American politics, there are bigots on both sides. There are alt-right bigots who masquerade as defenders of Western civilization while promoting pagan racism; there are leftist bigots who masquerade as crusaders for diversity while promoting intersectional racism. The difference is that the right occasionally cleans house. It is nearly impossible to think of a Democratic figure too radical or bigoted for Democrats. 

The immune systems of both the Republican and Democratic parties have been compromised. But only one party seems to have even a baseline readiness to excise cancers from its midst — and it’s not the party the mainstream media would have you believe.


Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire.

Why Am I Excluded From the Women’s March?

Screenshot from Youtube.

On the Jan. 14 episode of ABC’s “The View,” co-host Meghan McCain said that politically conservative women like herself who are anti-abortion are being excluded from the Women’s March. Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland, two of Women’s March Inc.’s co-presidents appeared on the show in an apparent attempt to quell some of the controversy swirling around the massive rally. They told McCain that all women are welcome and that “there are no prerequisites.”

Yet if you’re a white, cisgender Jewish woman who loves Israel, there are.

The Women’s March Inc. leadership announced Jan. 14 that more than two dozen women have been added to its steering committee. Three are Jews: Abby Stein, Yavilah McCoy and April Baskin. Stein is a transgender Jewish woman and activist. McCoy and Baskin are Jews of color.

Why are there no cisgender, white Jewish women on the steering committee? After all, the overwhelming majority of American-Jewish women are white and straight. If the Women’s March Inc. leadership is trying to be inclusive, then it has made (yet another) mistake by not including someone who looks like most American-Jewish women. And it leaves me feeling unrepresented.

It’s a strange thing to feel purposely excluded. Is this how black Jews like Baskin and McCoy, and trans Jews like Stein, usually feel? Is that the point the Women’s March Inc. leadership is trying to make? Or are these the only Jews willing to be publicly aligned with a woman who loves and admires a man who has referred to my people as termites? Alternatively, is the message meant to be that only cisgender, white Jews are termites who need to be exterminated?

Either way, I do not feel comfortable allying myself with the Women’s March Inc. even though rabbis are now urging us to. On Jan. 15, a group of rabbis I admire, including Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, and Rabbi Joshua Stanton of East End Temple, both in Manhattan, issued a statement urging Jews to participate in the national Women’s Marches in Washington, D.C., and New York.

“Why are there no cisgender, white Jewish women on the steering committee?” 

They have been “in dialogue” with Mallory and co-president Linda Sarsour, “who listened carefully and respectfully to our hurt and concern. We have not resolved our differences but we agree to continue meeting, talking and working together long after the 2019 Women’s March is over,” they write. “Tamika and Linda have also heard the concerns of other Jewish leaders and have acknowledged earlier mistakes. They have denounced anti-Semitism and have taken meaningful steps to welcome more Jewish women onto the Steering Committee of the Women’s March and engage Jewish organizations at the highest levels of collaboration.”

Yet on “The View,” when McCain pressed Mallory to denounce Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic, homophobic statements, she did not. Instead, she said she doesn’t agree with everything he says.

The rabbis mentioned above also wrote in their statement, “All of our communities are internally complex and diverse and involve webs of connection that are misunderstood by people outside those communities. No individual can speak for an entire group of people.”

That last statement is a cop-out, for not just obliquely blaming Jews for “misunderstanding” a web of connection between Farrakhan and the black community, but also for giving a hechsher to Mallory’s refusal to outright condemn his reprehensible, influential rhetoric.

What is no longer a question is that, sadly, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic alliances among some leaders of the Women’s March have made this more divisive among liberal American Jews than anything else I can recall. It is sad that the spirit of unity that pervaded the first Women’s March, just after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, is now dead and gone.

Looking at the paucity of Jewish leaders willing to sign onto the rabbis’ new statement, it’s no question that most of the mainstream Jewish community is no longer interested in aligning with the Women’s March leadership — even if it now includes three Jews.


Debra Nussbaum Cohen is a journalist in New York and author of “Celebrating Your New Jewish Daughter: Creating Jewish Ways to Welcome Baby Girls Into the Covenant.”

Zioness, Progressive CA Dem Zionists Condemn Women’s March Over Anti-Semitism Report

Screenshot from Facebook.

The Zioness Movement and the Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party (PZCDP) condemned the Women’s March after a new report raising concerns of anti-Semitism was published on Monday.

Allegations in the Tablet report include Women’s March leaders Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez stating in the first meeting that led to the formation of the Women’s March “that Jewish people bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people—and even, according to a close secondhand source, claimed that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade.” This is a talking point pushed by the Nation of Islam, according to the report.

Additionally, Evvie Harmon, co-founder of the Women’s March on Washington, told Tablet that during a January 2017 meeting, Perez and Mallory were “berating” Vanessa Wruble, an early of leader of the movement, for “being Jewish.”

“‘Your people this, your people that,’” Harmon said. “I was raised in the South and the language that was used is language that I’m very used to hearing in rural South Carolina. Just instead of against black people, against Jewish people. They even said to her ‘your people hold all the wealth.’ You could hear a pin drop. It was awful.”

The report also states that the Women’s March co-chairs use the Nation of Islam for their security.

The Zioness Movement announced in a Monday statement that their “worst fears and suspicions were realized” in the Tablet report about the Women’s March.

“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.”

Zioness added that refuse to “cede the American feminist movement to bigots and anti-Semites.”

“We do not have the luxury of staying home and hoping that others will stand up, push the prejudice out, and lead with radical love and empathy,” the statement continued. “Tonight, we are doubling down on that principle.”

Similarly, the PZCDP said in a statement to the Journal they were “concerned” by what was in the Tablet report.

“While whispers and rumors about the corruption and antisemitism of the Women’s March have run amok, it is noteworthy to see confirmation by former leadership of some of the more egregious concerns,” the statement read. “However, it is clear what began with the original Facebook event in 2016, will not end just because of disagreements in the leadership. The movement is larger than that, and we are glad to see anti-Semitism, trans rights, and disabilities inclusion being taken seriously by the women’s movements as a whole.”

The statement concluded by saying that “the public deserves to know how the millions of dollars made under the Women’s March brand is being spent from its non-profit charter, and whether or not their organization has employed Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam for their private security.”

The Women’s March co-chairs denied the various allegations in the report to Tablet.

The next Women’s March is scheduled to occur on January 19, 2019 at Washington, D.C. Actresses Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano have said that they will not participate due to the Women’s March co-chairs’ warmth to notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.

Brave Students Oppose Anti-Semitism

Photo from Flickr.

Most of us never have to deal with anti-Zionist activists protesting outside our homes or harassing us at our jobs. We can make a conscious decision to face our opponents at rallies or protests or in other public settings, but we almost never enter into in-person encounters unless we deliberately choose to do so. 

But brave pro-Israel students at UCLA and other universities face that challenge every day. Last week, I wrote about the threat of anti-Semitism on our college campuses and praised those students for the work they do and the risks they take to confront that threat. But even while we support and applaud those courageous young people, many in the Jewish community have come to view the campus battle lines as something far removed from our own lives. 

What happens on college campuses, though, rarely stays on college campuses. And the thing to remember about college students is that they often graduate. After they receive their diplomas, they take with them into the real world the lessons they learned both inside and outside the classroom. A cultural attitude or policy preference that a young person develops as an undergraduate doesn’t disappear when they finish college; it accompanies them for many years afterward.

Once they complete their education, these young people grow up to stay at Airbnbs when they travel. They buy music from Lana del Rey and Lorde. They join the National Women’s March, even if the March’s leaders are consorting with Louis Farrakhan. 

None of these ideological or consumer choices make someone anti-Semitic, of course. But our biggest danger as a community doesn’t come from a small number of haters as much as from a much larger group that ignores or tolerates or minimizes hate. The more difficult challenge is not from those few individuals who learned during their college years that they should despise us, but rather the much larger group that learned they just shouldn’t care very much one way or the other.

This ambivalence manifests itself in every corner of society. The owners of Airbnb aren’t anti-Semites. It just never occurred to them that discriminating against Jewish settlers on the West Bank was anything more than a politically correct concession. Most of the singers who refuse to perform in Israel aren’t intentionally malicious, but rather simply oblivious to the security necessities of a nation that must protect its people against terrorism. And those Women’s Marchers who choose to excuse the behavior of their leaders aren’t haters themselves, they’ve just decided that the March’s other goals are higher priorities than standing up against hate directed toward the Jewish community and homeland.

Until now.

With the notable exception of courageous leaders like Amanda Berman and her colleagues at the Zioness Movement, too many Women’s March participants and supporters have been willing to overlook the close relationship that March leaders Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory maintain with a notorious anti-Semite like Farrakhan. It was only after Farrakhan’s most recent invectives against the Jewish people that broader pressure began to build on Sarsour and Mallory to distance themselves from him. (Women’s March Founder Teresa Shook, actor Alyssa Milano and several regional March leaders deserve special credit for their efforts to bring necessary attention to the controversy.) 

Sarsour and Mallory have issued defiant and unsatisfactory responses to this pressure, creating a dilemma for all the women and men who support the March’s goals. Is it better to pretend that Farrakhan’s allies in the March leadership have satisfied our concerns about their relationship with him and their support of his agenda? Or does it make more sense to continue to push for their ouster, even at the risk of potentially weakening the broader impact of the March scheduled for Jan. 19?

The answer can be determined by how troubled each of us is when anti-Zionism oozes into anti-Semitism, and where this particularly noxious brand of hatred ranks on the list of outrages to decide how much that disagreement matters to each of us.


Dan Schnur is a professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, and at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. He is the founder of the USC-L.A. Times statewide political survey and the former director of the American Jewish Committee’s Los Angeles region.

Sarsour Looks to Forge Better Relations With the Jewish Community

Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour issued a statement apologizing to Jews on Tuesday after she and other Women’s March leaders have been criticized for anti-Semitism.

Sarsour began the statement by saying that the Women’s March aims to combat all types of bigotry, which includes anti-Semitism.

“It’s become clear, amidst this media storm, that our values and our message have — too often— been lost,” Sarsour said in the statement. “That loss caused a lot of harm, and a lot pain. We should have been faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. We regret that.”

Sarsour added, “Every member of our movement matters to us — including our incredible Jewish and LGBTQ members. We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused, but we see you, we love you, and we are fighting with you.”

Sarsour concluded by saying that the Women’s March is looking to forge better relationships with the Jewish community.

However, not everyone was satisfied with Sarsour’s apology:

Amanda Berman, founder and president of the Zioness Movement, told the Journal in a statement, “Linda cannot say she wants to deepen her relationship with the Jewish community while simultaneously praising and admiring one of America’s most virulent and influential anti-Semites.”

“Zioness exists because our community needs real leaders who will not demand that we abandon our identities and principles in order to be welcomed in the progressive spaces that our forbearers courageously founded and led,” Berman added. “The Jewish community would not accept a self-proclaimed ‘feminist leader’ who praised David Duke and we will not accept one who praises Louis Farrakhan.”

The Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party said in a statement to the Journal that they were “unmoved” by Sarsour’s statement.

“Nothing in their statement or in Linda Sarsour’s personal post indicate they understand why their actions have been so harmful and alienating to the Jewish community or how they plan on rectifying it,” the statement read. “These are the basic components of a good apology. As much is on the line with this administration, we need leadership that can navigate the challenges of and build a truly intersectional movement — not reflexively attack or dehumanize those who offer good faith criticism, or who offer perspectives different from theirs.”

The Times of Israel notes that Sarsour had issued an apology on Monday as well, although she said that criticisms of her and the Women’s March were simply a deflection from white supremacy.

Sarsour and the Women’s March have been criticized for their ties to notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan; Sarsour herself has accused Israel supporters of dual loyalty and reportedly said that Israelis shouldn’t be “humanized.”

Women’s March Founder Calls on Sarsour, Others to Step Down Over Anti-Semitism

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Teresa Shook, the founder of the Women’s March, called on Linda Sarsour and other Women’s March leaders to step down for allowing anti-Semitism to infect the movement.

Shook wrote in a Monday Facebook post that “Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez of Women’s March, Inc. have steered the Movement away from its true course” of being an inclusive movement.

“They have allowed anti-Semitism, anti- LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs,” Shook wrote. “I call for the current Co-Chairs to step down and to let others lead who can restore faith in the Movement and its original intent.”

Shook added that she will be working “to support grassroots, decentralized leadership promoting a safe, worldwide community devoid of hate speech, bigotry and racism” back to the Women’s March.

The Women’s March responded on their Facebook page by thanking Shook for starting the Women’s March and then criticizing her post as irresponsible.

“We are imperfect,” the post read. “We don’t know everything and we have caused harm. At times we have responded with hurt. But we are committed to learning. We will continue to work through the good and the bad, the impact and the harm – of building an intersectional movement that our daughters, and our daughters’ daughters, can be proud of.”

The post concluded, “We are grateful to people who HAVE been with us for the past two years, wrestling with the challenges and opportunities of what we are trying to build. Our ongoing work speaks for itself. That’s our focus, not armchair critiques from those who want take credit from our labor.”

Siamak Kordestani, assistant director of the American Jewish Committee – Los Angeles, said in a statement to the Journal, “AJC commends Teresa Shook for bringing much-needed national attention to some of the Women’s March co-chairs’ embrace of hateful leaders and ideas.”

“It is unconscionable that Tamika Mallory praises Louis Farrakhan, who spews anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric,” Kordestani said. “It is deplorable that Linda Sarsour uses anti-Semitic tropes to malign progressives who oppose BDS. All Americans should unite against this hate.”

The Zioness Movement also praised Shook’s Facebook post in a statement.

“Through their action and inaction, these leaders have demonized and marginalized members of the Jewish community, LBGTQIA community, and other groups,” the statement read. “Their exclusionary behavior is not only harmful to those of us who have been feeling alienated––it is harmful to all the marginalized communities we want to fight for. Anyone who cares about the advancement of social, racial, economic and gender justice should welcome all committed activists to the fight, not just some.”

Similarly, Susan George, founding member of the Progressive Zionists of California Democratic Party, said in a statement sent to the Journal, “Sadly, the Women’s March organizers continue to betray progressive ideals by not decisively repudiating anti-Semitism and homophobia. It’s amazing to see the rising avalanche of support for Jews and the LBGTQ community. We are so encouraged by the activism of local, community, and state marches to reject bigotry and really embrace intersectional ideals.”

The Women’s March leaders have been criticized over their ties to notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan; Sarsour has been criticized for accusing pro-Israel progressive of dual loyalty to Israel and reportedly saying that Israelis shouldn’t be humanized.

Sarsour Accuses Anti-BDS Progressives of Having ‘Allegiance to Israel’

Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour accused progressives who were critical of newly elected congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement of having “allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.”

As the Journal has previously reported, Omar’s campaign announced her support for the BDS movement on Monday after stating earlier in the campaign that she was opposed to it. Sarsour expressed her support for Omar in a Facebook post on Thursday.

“She’s being attacked for saying that she supports BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) and the right for people to engage in constitutionally protected freedoms,” Sarsour wrote. “This is not only coming from the right-wing but folks who masquerade as progressives but always choose their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.”

Sarsour added, “You don’t have to support BDS and have every right not to but we cannot stand by idly while a brave Black Muslim American woman is targeted for saying she will uphold the constitution of the United States of America as a member of the US Congress.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) tweeted that Sarsour used “one of the oldest and most pernicious anti-Semitic tropes” in her Facebook post:

Similarly, Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg tweeted:

Sarsour also reportedly said in September that Israelis shouldn’t be humanized.

Actresses Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano are among the notable names who have said that they will not participate in the Women’s March due to Sarsour and other Women’s March leaders’ ties to noted anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.

Women’s March Denver Condemns National Women’s March Leadership Over Farrakhan Ties

The Women’s March Denver chapter issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the national Women’s March leadership over their ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The Denver chapter, which goes by the name Womxn’s March to show solidarity with “cis, transgender and non-binary individuals,” wrote that they condemn “anti-Semitism and the National Women’s March leadership team’s failure to clearly disassociate from anti-Semitic public figures. “

“Womxn’s March Denver is an independent VOLUNTEER grassroots team of local Colorado women,” they continued. “We are not affiliated with the national Women’s March organization. We oppose all forms of oppression and operate from an intersectional lens. We stand in solidarity with all marginalized communities and ask that those communities stand together with us against oppression in all its forms.”

Amanda Berman, co-founder of the Zioness Movement, told the Journal in an emailed statement, “Zioness applauds the Women’s March in Denver for unequivocally denouncing Women’s March leaders for their hateful rhetoric and their continued association with bigots and anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan. We are grateful for their principled commitment to fighting anti-Semitism, including within the national Women’s March organization, even when that stance puts them at odd with some self-appointed organizers of the movement.”

“Zioness knows that we, as committed progressives and unabashed Zionists, do not have to check any part of our identity at the door in order to show up to fight for women’s issues in America––and we’re thrilled that Denver leaders know it too,” Berman added. “Zioness will be organizing a significant presence at the next Women’s March in Denver and from coast-to-coast, engaging our more than 18 chapters and thousands of participants. As part of this work, Zioness will be hosting a series of pre-march ‘teach-ins” that bring light to the issues facing Jewish women in a time of skyrocketing anti-Semitism.’”

Actresses Alyssa Milano and Debra Messing have both said that they will not participate in the Women’s March because their leaders have been unwilling to condemn Farrakhan.

The national Women’s March issued the following statement regarding Farrakhan on Nov. 8:

Milano Won’t Participate in Women’s March Because Leaders Won’t Denounce Farrakhan

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Actress Alyssa Milano, a prominent figure in the #MeToo movement, said on Wednesday that she would not participate in the Women’s March because its leaders won’t denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Milano told The Advocate that she was “disappointed” in the Women’s March leaders for their warmth toward Farrakhan. When asked if she would appear at the Women’s March and speak, Milano responded, “I would say no at this point.”

“Unfortunate that none of them have come forward against him [Farrakhan] at this point,” Milano said, “or even given a really good reason why to support them.”

Milano had spoken at the Women’s March in January 2018.

Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory had appeared at a Nation of Islam event in March, where Farrakhan referred to Jews as part of the “Synagogue of Satan”; Mallory and other Women’s March leaders Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez have all posted “laudatory” things on social media about Farrakhan, according to Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

The Women’s March has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment as of publication time.

It’s Not Just About the Ice Cream

Last week, I was stunned with an announcement from Ben & Jerry’s about a new flavor “celebrating activists who are continuing to resist oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustice.” Financial grants were provided to four organizations that Ben and Jerry’s felt represented social activism. I was horrified to learn that one of the organization’s receiving the grant was the Women’s March, primarily founded by Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, both vocal and virulent anti-Semites.

Sarsour presents herself as a “proud anti-Israel activist” who champions boycotting Israel. At the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention this past September in Houston, Texas, Sarsour called “for the dehumanization of Israelis.” Her co-chair, Mallory, is also a vocal supporter of Louis Farrakhan, a long time virulently anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader. On Instagram last year, Mallory posted herself alongside Farrakhan calling him the “GOAT,” which means “Greatest of All Time.” More recently, Farrakhan has referred to Jews as “termites” (the same words the Nazi’s used) and Satanic. This week, Farrakhan has traveled to Iran and called for the destruction of America and of the State of Israel.

In the wake of the largest anti-Semitic attack in the history of our country just over a week ago in Pittsburgh, I was shocked that three days later, Ben & Jerry’s, founded by two individuals who identify as Jewish (and sold to Unilever in 2000), would personally make an announcement of providing grants to various groups who best represent “Resistance.” The news was all over the Internet and news outlets.

So, with little options on my end, I threw out the Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer and emailed the ice cream supplier that services the eight stores that we own in the greater Los Angeles area. I asked them to remove all Ben & Jerry’s products. I also copied a contact at Ben & Jerry’s that I found on the Internet and told them what I was doing with a decision to no longer carry Ben & Jerry ice creams. I posted my opinions and concerns on my personal Facebook page.

I was surprised how quickly I received an email from the Ben & Jerry’s organization with a press release about the grants from the company. The email also requested that they speak with me the next business day.

According to Ben & Jerry’s press release, it stated about the grants that “The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through training, outreach programs and events. The Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.”

I eagerly looked forward to my call to enlighten Ben & Jerry’s about leaders Sarsour and  Mallory and that the Women’s March was anything but what they described. I wanted to share with them that Sarsour has repeatedly told the world that you can’t be a feminist and a Zionist. Sarsour has stated, “that nothing was creepier than a Zionist” and that she suggested cutting the genitalia of women she didn’t like. I wanted to share with the Ben & Jerry’s organization that this past July Sarsour publicly wished a “Happy Birthday to Assata Shakur” (AKA Joanne Chesimard) who remains on FBI’s most wanted list.

I wanted to share with the Ben &  Jerry’s organization that Mallory has also publicly praised Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba. It was during his regimen that he rounded up (arrested) gay people and put them in Cuban concentration camps.

After a brief exchange of emails, a call was scheduled for me with Ben & Jerry’s senior marketing executive Christopher Miller and two other staff members at the company. The power of my comments on my Facebook post seemed unbelievable to me.

But what happened during “our” call today was shocking and deeply disturbing.  Miller was absolute and committed to Ben & Jerry’s support of both Sarsour & Mallory and the Women’s March itself. They informed me that they were supporting organizations  that were consistent in their concept of progressive change, core American values and democracy. I told them that these women did not represent core American values and democracy and their words were hateful and damaging. I added that if these are spokespeople for America, we all need to be concerned!

I was then told by Miller that Unilever was the real victim because they sold products to Israel in the face of BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanction) threats and retaliations against American companies. They actually stated that they still sold products in the “occupied territories” and that Ben & Jerry’s operates in a unique manner in Israel with a licensee that allows them to appear to Israel focused. All proceeds from the license are not shared with Unilever, but are donated to causes as not to appear to truly support Israel.

I shared with the Ben & Jerry’s representatives my work on fighting anti-Semitism, racism and hatred in the United States. I shared with them that my husband & I were honored by the ADL three years ago as Humanitarians of the Year. I also shared our ongoing work to support police and first responders.

I discussed inclusiveness, especially in Israel. I told them that I currently was working with the Jewish National Fund to build the finest culinary academy in the world in the northern region of Israel. I shared our vision to utilize education and food to drive prosperity and bring people together. I continued to inform them that we were also building medical centers in the north of Israel that would improve the lives of so many people across religions. I told them about the many organizations that I am involved with and how we work to support children of all backgrounds in Israel giving them programs, clothing, meals and hope for the future. And love…

I ended my call with the Ben & Jerry’s representatives more disappointed than before it began. I realized a sad fact that this is the new anti-Semitism.  I realized that I am too protected in my bubble living in my pocket of Los Angeles & Beverly Hills. I had not faced aAnti-Semitism in almost two decades. And now, corporate representatives from a product that I sold and served in my own home were informing me about their struggles and sacrifices specific to a relationship to Israel.

I am proud that the State of California and  the City of Beverly Hills have Memorandums of Understandings with the State of Israel (MOU’s). I am proud that my city celebrates Jewish Heritage Month at the Los Angeles City Hall and  Israel’s 70th in the City of Beverly Hills. I am proud that the state of California has outlawed BDS.

There is a new anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head in the United States  and elsewhere. There are standards and kindness for other people and there is another one for Jews. There is also an increase in white nationalist supremacists brazenly speaking against Jews and  other minorities. I am asking people to wake up and and not accept these acts against Jews and Israel. I am asking that we fight the scourge of anti-Semitism and other acts of racism and indifference to others. We need to share our voices and say that providing grants to individuals who openly refer to Jews and Israel in horrific words and terms is not acceptable in 2018. We can not and will not accept anti-Semitism in any manner. That we expect decency and inclusiveness for all no matter where they live.

And sadly, when the call was over, I had to acknowledge that it’s not just about the ice cream…


Gina Raphael co-owns Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill in eight locations across Southern California

A Message to My Compatriots in the American Left From Across the Pond

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, visits the Alexander Dennis Bus Factory in Falkirk, Scotland, Britain August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

The Pittsburgh tragedy made real the worst nightmare of American Jewry. Our community is now examining how we got to this frightening place, with anti-Semitism more pronounced on both the right and the left than it has been in decades. We now dread: Is this just the beginning? Are things only going to get worse? We only have to look across the pond see the writing on the wall.  

Since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as UK Labour Party leader in 2015, the party has become a hotbed of the kind of anti-Semitic worldview previously confined to the political fringe. Corbyn’s links to Holocaust deniers, friendship with terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas, and paid role for the Iranian regime broadcaster, Press TV, were long-established. This summer, the allegations continued to pile up: Corbyn was pictured holding a wreath by the gravesides of the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre masterminds. Then a video from 2013 emerged in which he questioned whether British “Zionists” understood English irony.

The UK’s internationally renowned former Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, condemned Corbyn’s rhetoric as “the language of classic pre-war European anti-Semitism,” only to be denounced by Corbyn’s online fanbase. Like those of President Trump, Corbyn’s supporters respond to every piece of evidence exposing the bigotry of their man—no matter how damning—with cries of “fake news.”

The impact on Britain’s Jewish community has been pronounced. As the party of civil rights, equality and liberal values, Labour was once the natural home for British Jews. But recent polls have revealed not just that Jews are abandoning the party—now, 40 percent of Britain’s Jews say they will seriously consider leaving the UK if Corbyn becomes prime minister. 

Labour’s march to the radical left is not only worrying for the Jews: the phenomenon has decimated the credibility of Britain’s most important progressive force. For American progressives, this should be a cautionary tale. If our own extreme left and its abettors go unchallenged, then what is happening in the UK could happen here. The American right has shown how aggressive populism can hijack the mainstream. Corbyn provides a warning for those of us on the left.

In Britain, those who warned of the far-left threat to progressive movements were, for a decade, ignored or dismissed—until it was too late. Now, Labour has a leader with a lifetime of support for radically anti-Israel movements, inevitably aligning himself with virulent anti-Semites. His communications director is a terror apologist who believes East Germany was preferable to West Germany. His advisers include a recent Communist Party member who previously expressed support for North Korea, and has been unable to gain security clearance to work in Parliament. A few years ago, such people were dismissed as cranks. Now they aspire to govern, and are rising through the ranks alongside Corbyn. No wonder British Jews are uneasy.

On our side of the pond, some warning signs have already been here for a while. Last year, two Jewish lesbians who had been attending the Chicago Dyke March for a decade were thrown out of the major LBGTQ+ event for bringing a rainbow flag with a Jewish star on it. “Zio tears replenish us,” they were told. Later that year, the Chicago SlutWalk trod the same anti-Semitic path, banning “Zionist symbols.”

American Jews and their allies were horrified to learn that the co-founders of one of the most groundbreaking and ostensibly empowering movements in American political history share Corbyn’s brand of contemptible, inexcusable bigotry. Women’s March Co-Founder Tamika Mallory attends rallies of the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. Earlier this year Mallory tweeted a conspiratorial slur against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the United States. In a modern-day blood libel, Mallory said the ADL caused U.S. police brutality because it had sponsored joint counter-terrorism training between US and Israeli law enforcement. That’s absurd and anti-Semitic—and, equally important from a progressive lens, it undermines and exploits the fight against police brutality in the United States, injecting the flimsy thinking of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory into a vital campaign for justice and human dignity.

Mallory’s March co-founder, Linda Sarsour, has publicly shamed fellow Muslims for “humanizing Israelis,”, supported a terrorist convicted of a bomb plot that murdered two university students in Jerusalem and also praises Farrakhan. The types of positions and associations these women hold went unchallenged on the British left for years. Even those who wrote off the alarm bells now see clearly where these ideologies lead.

As a Jew, a Zionist and, not least, a progressive, I am determined to challenge assaults on the values that should define our movements for social, racial, economic and gender justice. Progressive movements in which Jews are isolated, defamed or forced to pass anti-Israel litmus tests are not worthy of the name. That’s why we established Zioness – a movement to give proud, progressive Jewish women a platform to fight for the causes of our time, without having to sell out their Jewish identities for credibility or acceptance. 

When anti-Israel obsession and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories take hold on the political left, most Jews are made politically homeless. The result is disastrous, not just for the Jews but for the movements themselves. This is what we’re witnessing in the UK. Zioness, and our thousands of activists and allies, will not stand by and watch it happen here.

UK Labour has become a safer space for anti-Semites than for Jews. A female Jewish Member of Parliament needed police protection at the Labour Party conference. A third of the British public thinks Corbyn is an anti-Semite. With a Conservative government bitterly divided over Brexit negotiations, a credible progressive party would be soaring in the polls—resulting in the advancement of the issues we stand proudly to fight for. Instead, Labour is struggling to build a lead. 

In the United States, now more than ever, progressives should be on the front foot. Trump’s 38 percent approval rating is a record low. We face massive challenges—for women’s equality, universal healthcare, LGBTQ+ rights and for our PoC communities to live free from fear. Those struggles will be more effectively fought by movements that welcome rather than alienate Jews and Zionists, who have always been on the forefront of social justice activism of every kind.

The 19th century German socialist, August Bebel, called anti-Semitism “the socialism of fools.” The British left might have been seduced by it. But at this pivotal moment for our country, we can’t afford to be—or it will make fools of us all.


Amanda Berman is the co-Founder and President of Zioness.

Ben & Jerry’s Partners With Women’s March, Says Ties to Farrakhan Are Irrelevant

Screenshot from Twitter.

Ben & Jerry’s announced that they were releasing a new ice cream flavor, Pecan Resist, to protest the Trump administration. They are partnering with the Women’s March, whose leaders have ties to Louis Farrakhan.

The ice cream giant’s website states that the Pecan Resist flavor consists of chocolate ice cream, pecans, walnuts, almonds and chunks of fudge.

“We can peacefully resist the Trump administration’s regressive and discriminatory policies and build a future that values inclusivity, equality, and justice for people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, refugees, and immigrants,” the website reads. “Pecan Resist supports four organizations that are working on the front lines of the peaceful resistance, building a world that supports their values.”

One of those progressive organizations is the Women’s March; the others are Color of Change, Honor the Earth and Neta.

Another section of Ben & Jerry’s website calls the Women’s March “a dramatic display of our country at its very best.”

However, Independent Journal Review (IJR) noted that the Women’s March leaders have ties to Louis Farrakhan, who recently referred to Jews as “termites.” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt criticized Women’s March leaders Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez over Farrakhan in March.

“Consider that in the audience at last weekend’s conference was Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, who got a special shout-out from Farrakhan and who regularly posts laudatory pictures of him on her Instagram account — as does Carmen Perez, another leader of the March,” Greenblatt wrote. “Linda Sarsour, another March organizer, spoke and participated at a Nation of Islam event in 2015. Her most notable response to his incendiary remarks this year was a glowing post on Perez’s Facebook page to praise Farrakhan’s youthful demeanor.”

When asked by IJR about the Women’s March leaders’ ties to Farrakhan, a spokeswoman told them:

“We’re comfortable with the idea that the people and the causes we partner with may have a point of view different from our own on some issues. They can be controversial, just as we can. Linda may not agree with everything we’ve done. But the work that she has done to promote women’s rights, as co-chair of the Women’s March, is undeniably important and we are proud to join her in that effort.”

They included a statement from Women’s March’s Linda Sarsour: “We recommit ourselves to dismantling anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.”

Additionally:

When asked if the company has a position on Farrakhan, the Ben & Jerry’s spokeswoman told IJR, “No. We are focusing our efforts toward women empowerment.”

When asked by the Journal about the aforementioned paragraph in the IJR report, Ben & Jerry’s spokesperson Laura Peterson told the Journal in an email that it was in “response to Farrakhan’s remarks in the context of today’s release of our new flavor.”

“The two are not related at all, so I said no,” Peterson said.

In September, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s announced that they were going to introduce seven new ice cream flavors that promote seven specific Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

“We need to come up with seven amazing ice cream flavors (and flavor names) that not only taste great but also capture the essence of what each candidate stands for,” the co-founders said on MoveOn.org’s website.

N.Y. Dem Assemblyman Criticizes Gillibrand for Sarsour Association

Screenshot from Twitter.

Dov Hikind, a Democrat assemblyman in New York who is retiring after this year, released a video on Twitter criticizing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for appearing onstage with Linda Sarsour at a rally protesting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Hikind began the video by listing out some of Sarsour’s past statements, including her showing support for Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted by an Israeli court of a 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing that killed two college students, and saying that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

“Sen. Gillibrand, I know you,” Hikind said. “I know you stand for the principles that make America great. I know that you are a person who does not accept any kind of racism and anti-Semitism. But senator, you cannot sell out the principles that you have always lived by simply because you want to be president and you have to appeal to people on the extreme left.”

Hikind added, “When it comes to racism and anti-Semitism, there is no compromising.”

The outgoing assemblyman then gave a pointed message to the media, stating that the media is responsible for helping create “a new generation of anti-Semites and racists” on both sides of the aisle when they fail to expose and shame racism and anti-Semitism.

“A racist, an anti-Semite, needs to be ostracized, condemned,” Hikind said. “Period.”

Sarsour introduced Gillibrand at an Oct. 6 rally during Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. Sarsour called Gillibrand “another champion, another one of our people who works for us on the inside.”

Gillibrand previously praised Sarsour and the other Women’s March leaders – Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland – in a 2017 piece in Time. Gillibrand called them “extraordinary women” who “are the suffragists of our time.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt criticized Sarsour, Mallory and Perez for their associations with Louis Farrakhan in March 2018.

Gillibrand’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

H/T: Daily Wire

The Light From Within Is Stronger Than Hate

On the afternoon of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation, Reese, our new Yemenite neighbor, was visiting our apartment, playing with my son Alexander. We’d had a Shabbat soiree the evening before, so the refrigerator was stacked, as my son would say.

“What would you like?” I asked Reese. He surveyed the fare and pointed to the chocolate wafer cubes. “Those are epic,” he said. I smiled and gave him a handful. He came back 15 minutes later asking for more. “Please,” he said, “where can my mom get these? I want her to get cartons.”

“In the Israel section,” Alexander piped up from the next room. Reese, 14, looked at me quizzically. “The market Morton Williams has an Israel section,” I explained. “All kinds of stuff that they import from Israel.” Nothing I said made Reese flinch. “OK, can you please tell my mom? And may I have some more?”

I told him I would give him more on one condition: that at some point I could explain to him why the store has a special Israel section, and the politics surrounding those delicious chocolate cubes. “Sure,” he said, popping another into his mouth. 

I later relayed the story to his mother, Waseif — Saya — who had been a child bride in Yemen and just completed a film on the subject. “Islam is a beautiful religion,” she said. “But the culture and politics of some countries are completely warped. I have never taught my children hate; they don’t know what it means to hate a group of people and never will.”

I nodded. “No one is born with hate in their heart.”

Meanwhile, the Kavanaugh confirmation was unloading on social media, and scathing hate toward groups of people — white men, white women, conservatives — was all over my newsfeed. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was being targeted as a “rape apologist” for voting to confirm the judge based on her thought process. In other words, for being a feminist. 

Linda Sarsour tweeted: “Senator Susan Collins is the mother & grandmother of white women in America who gave us a Donald Trump presidency. She is a disgrace & her legacy will be that she was a traitor to women and marginalized communities.” No one can ramp up a race and gender war like Sarsour. Still, I was shocked that she hadn’t found a way to blame it all on Jews. 

“Is there a point when hate has so hardened the heart that little can be done to let the light back in?”

I woke up the morning of Oct. 7 to the horrific news of another terrorist attack in Israel. Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29, a mother of an 18-month-old; and Ziv Hajbi, 35, a father of three, were shot at close range reportedly by a Palestinian co-worker at a factory in the West Bank where they all worked in the Barkan Industrial Park.

Is there a point when hate has so hardened the heart that little can be done to let the light back in?

How has the United States, through the vile hatred inherent in identity politics, come so close to this point, when even the nomination of a Supreme Court justice brings the country to the brink of a vitriolic civil war?

That evening we all got together for a Yemenite-Moroccan Columbus Day feast. Ahmed, a handsome Lebanese actor, joined us. Saya confessed to an attraction to Judaism. Ahmed confessed to an attraction to Israeli women. We talked about the lies people believe and the tribal hatred that keeps people apart. I told them about the terrorist attack that morning.

“That’s horrific,” Saya gasped, covering her mouth. Ahmed just shook his head, speechless.

Their reactions couldn’t have been more distinct from the reactions of my friends on the left, who offer up immediate political rationalizations for the random killing of Jews. Saya and Ahmed had been taught to hate Jews, but the hatred never stuck. The light within had always been stronger than the hatred and the lies.

I don’t know the road to peace in this country, let alone in Israel. But I can keep the light flowing between these two apartments, especially between Reese and Alexander. Perhaps one day these two “cousins,” a Muslim and a Jew, will expose the sham of identity politics. Perhaps one day they will be able to rewrite the stars because we never taught them to hate.  


Karen Lehrman Bloch is an author and cultural critic living in New York City.