Washington Women’s March Chapter Disbands Over Antisemitism Within Movement
Wow, that escalated.
Angie Beem, board president of Women’s March Washington, announced the group’s dissolution in a Facebook post last week, citing anti-Semitism allegations against the organization’s national co-chairs — Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.
“Continuing to be a part of the Women’s March with the blatant bigotry they display would be breaking a promise,” Ms. Beem wrote. “We can’t betray our Jewish community by remaining a part of this organization.”
Ms. Beem told The Spokesman-Review that the state group took issue with the national leaders’ ties to the notoriously anti-Semitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan, as well as their “fame-hungry” attitude when it came to promoting their cause.
In the Facebook post, Angie Beem cites this Tablet Magazine expose that had some very damaging revelations about the antisemitism within the Women’s March movement, specifically the co-founders.
It was there that, as the women were opening up about their backgrounds and personal investments in creating a resistance movement to Trump, 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. These are canards popularized by The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, a book published by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam..
Questions also began to emerge about the ideological values upon which the movement was being built. On Jan. 12, the Women’s March made public their Unity Principles, which asserted: “We must create a society in which women, in particular women—in particular Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and queer and trans women—are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.” Numerous observers noted the absence of “Jewish” from the list of signifiers, and began questioning whether it signaled something about whether and how warmly American Jews—the vast majority of whom vote and identify as Democrats—would be welcomed in a changing left.
I suddenly realized that Tamika and Carmen were facing Vanessa, who was sitting on a couch, and berating her—but it wasn’t about her being white. It was about her being Jewish. ‘Your people this, your people that.’ 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.”
It was around this time that Morganfield says she first heard that Nation of Islam members were acting as security detail and drivers for the co-chairs. “Bob called me secretly and said, ‘Mercy, they have been in bed with the Nation of Islam since day one: They do all of our security,’” Morganfield told Tablet.
Two other sources, with direct knowledge of the time, also claimed that security and the drivers for the co-chairs were members of the Nation of Islam. And this was certainly the case in the women’s previous organization. A May 2015 photograph on Sarsour’s Facebook page shows a group of men wearing suits and bow ties in the signature Nation of Islam style. Her caption above the photo reads: “FOI Brothers, security for the movement,” using the acronym for Fruit of Islam.
Disgusted not only with the co-chairs’ connection to Farrakhan but the way they were all handling what she saw as the legitimate public outrage over it, Morganfield, too, asked privately for their resignations.
“I talked to everyone, and I said it to every last one of them: Tamika [Mallory] needs to resign—not just because of her Farrakhan connection, but because of how she handled it afterwards. I said Linda [Sarsour] also needs to step down. Her controversy and the things she keeps saying and doing are detrimental to the movement.” When Tablet asked Morganfield whether she believes the co-chairs are anti-Semitic, she offered a terse answer: “There are no Jewish women on the board. They refused to put any on. Most of the Jewish people resigned and left. They refused to even put anti-Semitism in the unity principles.”
Perhaps now is the time for Ben & Jerry’s to come out with a few new flavors: Anti-creme-itism, which leaves a truly bitter taste in one’s mouth, and Humble Pie, something only the management at Ben & Jerry’ and other defenders of the Women’s March founders should eat.