News broke on Monday that that three of the inaugural board members of the Women’s March, who have been accused of anti-Semitism, stepped down from their posts on July 15.
Co-Chairs Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland will reportedly be replaced by a new, and diverse group of 16 new board members that includes three Jewish women, a transgender woman, a former legislator, two religious leaders and a member of the Oglala tribe of the Lakota nation.
However, the Women’s March has decided to retain Carmen Perez, who has faced similar accusations of anti-Semitism and among the newest board members is a director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has a long and vocal anti-Israel and anti-Semitic history.
Sarsour, a staunch advocate of Sharia law, has a long history of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
Sarsour has tweeted that “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and said that anti-Islamist writers Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserve an “a$$ whipping”, including vocalizing her wishes that she could have their “vaginas taken away” for their opposition to Sharia law:
Twitter is forever: Women's March leader Linda Sarsour wants to grab Ayaan Hirsi Ali by the p*ssy. pic.twitter.com/XNZIwTwoE5
— Shireen Qudosi (@ShireenQudosi) January 26, 2017
Despite this, and more, Rabbis Barat Ellman and Ellen Lippmann argued In an op-ed for the Daily News, that “Linda Sarsour is a friend to Jews… Yes, Sarsour is an ardent critic of Zionism — which should come as no surprise for a Palestinian-American with relatives in Palestine. But she has been clear that it is right-wing Zionism — Zionism that dismisses Palestinian claims to a national identity or for statehood — that she vehemently opposes.”
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) May 1, 2017
In the past, Sarsour stated that she was “honored and privileged” to share the stage with convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh who was deported from the United States for lying on her immigration papers about her past conviction for her involvement in the murder of two Israelis.
Meanwhile, Bland and Mallory, who served as co-presidents of the organization, will be formally replaced when the new board convenes for its first meeting this month, according to the Washington Post.
Mallory, who has her own controversial and allegedly anti-Semitic history, had attended a Nation of Islam event during which Louis Farrakhan — a known anti-Semite — made incendiary remarks about Jews. Bland reportedly joined Mallory and Perez in defending Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic language during a phone call with organizers, of the Women’s March.
In October, Farrakhan compared Jews to termites.
In a January appearance on PBS’s Firing Line, Mallory refused to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. One month earlier, she told the New York Times that “white Jews … uphold white supremacy.” She later told a fellow activist Vanessa Wruble, a Jew, “that Jews [need] to confront their own role in racism.”
Also in December, Tablet Magazine reported that “Perez and Mallory allegedly first asserted 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.”
Bland reportedly denied that a conversation took place between Perez and Mallory in 2016 in which they said that Jews were the leaders of America’s slave trade and were responsible for exploiting black people.
In November, Teresa Shook, the founder of the Women’s March, called for Bland, Mallory, Sarsour, and Perez to resign in a Facebook post:
Founder of the @womensmarch calls for current leaders to step down for allowing “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.“ https://t.co/gafiEEfX0e
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 19, 2018
“Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez of Women’s March, Inc. have steered the Movement away from its true course,” Shook wrote. “I have waited, hoping they would right the ship. But they have not. In opposition to our Unity Principles, 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. 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.”
Despite the change in leadership, it appears anti-Semitism could still be an issue for the group.
Samia Assed, a Palestinian American activist from New Mexico, who has been selected as part of the Women’s March’s new board has questioned Israel’s existence and declared it an illegitimate state:
Zahra will be joined by Samia Assed: pic.twitter.com/phu0jT2qoG
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) September 16, 2019
Another new board member, Zahra Billoo — who serves as a civil rights attorney and executive director of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — has accused the U.S. and Israel of enabling terrorism:
The Women's March cut ties with their anti-Semitic board members and are now bringing in a whole slew of new anti-Semitic board members
One example is Zahra Billoo
Here's a thread showing her extreme views pic.twitter.com/izY3bIZZAv
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 16, 2019
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