Facing controversy, Women’s March says anti-Semitism ‘indefensible’
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Facing controversy, Women’s March says anti-Semitism ‘indefensible’

But rights movement fails to condemn co-organizer Tamika Mallory’s support of Louis Farrakhan: ‘We love and value our sister’

In this Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, activist Tamika Mallory speaks at a news conference in New York (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
In this Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, activist Tamika Mallory speaks at a news conference in New York (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

The Women’s March organization on Tuesday said anti-Semitism and homophobia were “indefensible” and intolerable, but did not censure co-organizer Tamika Mallory for her recent public display of support for anti-Semitic and homophobic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

In a statement, the organization, which has twice now organized annual marches for women’s rights and progressive causes, said it was “very conscious of the conversations that must be had across the intersections of race, religion and gender.

“We love and value our sister and co-President Tamika Mallory, who has played a key role in shaping these conversations. Neither we nor she shy away from the fact that intersectional movement building is difficult and often painful.”

Louis Farrakhan speaking at a news conference at the Mosque Maryam in Chicago, March 31, 2011. (Scott Olson/Getty Images via JTA)

Mallory, who has praised Farrakhan repeatedly, attended a speech of his on February 25, during which he lauded her activities. During that same speech he also said he had “pulled the cover off the eyes of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through.”

He added that “the Jews were responsible” for “filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.”

Mallory in the past posted a photo of her posing with Farrakhan on Instagram, declaring hims to be the “Greatest of all time.”

The Women’s March group has faced widespread criticism for Mallory’s support of Farrakhan.

In its statement Tuesday the organization said “Anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism and white supremacy are and always will be indefensible.”

It stated that “Minister Farrakhan’s statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women’s March Unity Principles.”

Defending the time it has taken to issue a response, the group said “Women’s March is holding conversations with queer, trans, Jewish and Black members of both our team and larger movement to create space for understanding and healing.

“Our external silence has been because we are holding these conversations and are trying to intentionally break the cycles that pit our communities against each other. We have work to do, as individuals, as an organization, as a movement, and as a nation.”

Protesters at the second annual Women’s March in New York City, January 20, 2018 (Danielle Ziri/Times of Israel)

Jewish groups participated in marches across the country this past January, though not without hesitation: Another co-organizer, Linda Sarsour, has been a harsh critic of Israel and a vocal supporter of the the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel, known as BDS.

Soon after the 2017 Women’s March, Sarsour, who is of Palestinian descent, drew fire from Jewish leaders for telling The Nation that unabashed supporters of Israel cannot be feminists.

JTA contributed to this report.

 

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