Jewish group raps US campus for inviting Tamika Mallory as MLK Week speaker

North Carolina Hillel ‘disappointed’ by Asheville university’s invitation to Women’s March leader, who supports anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan

Women’s March National Co-Chair Tamika Mallory speaking in New York, April 22, 2017. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Hulu via JTA)
Women’s March National Co-Chair Tamika Mallory speaking in New York, April 22, 2017. (Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Hulu via JTA)

JTA — The North Carolina Hillel has said it is “disappointed” that the University of North Carolina-Asheville invited Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory as keynote speaker for its Martin Luther King Jr. Week celebrations.

The organization, which represents the Jewish communities on 15 campuses throughout the US state, including the five UNC campuses, noted in its statement “Mallory and her co-chairs’ failure to address the concerns of anti-Semitism within the Women’s March movement.”

Mallory has called the establishment of Israel a “human rights crime” and is an unapologetic supporter of Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite and homophobe.

The university defended its decision to invite Mallory, citing “freedom of thought and expression” and noting that the invitation did not represent an endorsement of her views.” It also said that “the university’s fundamental principles reject bias in all of its forms including anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

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

Hillel called MLK Week “an important opportunity to promote the values that Dr. King’s legacy represents, including equality, dignity and respect for all people, and how those values can be furthered on our campus. Offering a platform to someone with a track record of divisive views and associations sends the wrong message to our campus community, especially to Jewish students.”

It noted that the university chancellor “has demonstrated sensitivity to the Jewish community’s disappointment and is engaging with Jewish students and the Asheville Jewish community to explore educational opportunities and advance our shared values.”

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