Southern Poverty Law Center, prominent NY synagogue leave Women’s March
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Southern Poverty Law Center, prominent NY synagogue leave Women’s March

SPLC has designated the Nation of Islam, backed by several March leaders, as a hate group, says ‘other projects a priority’

Supporters of the National Council of Jewish Women and other Jewish organizations come together on the National Mall for the Women's March in Washington, DC, January 21, 2017. (Ron Sachs via JTA)
Supporters of the National Council of Jewish Women and other Jewish organizations come together on the National Mall for the Women's March in Washington, DC, January 21, 2017. (Ron Sachs via JTA)

JTA — The Southern Poverty Law Center and a major Reform synagogue in New York have disassociated themselves from this year’s Women’s March.

Top leaders of the main organization have been accused of engaging in or condoning anti-Semitism, of not cutting ties with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan over his years-long preaching of anti-Semitism and of failing to heed the concerns of its Jewish backers.

Jen Fuson, a spokeswoman for the Alabama-based SPLC, told the Daily Beast that “other projects were a priority.” She said the organization would be involved in local marches where they have offices, however.

SPLC has designated the Nation of Islam as a hate group, but did not specifically cite this as a reason for leaving the national march.

The Daily Beast also noted that EMILY’s List does not appear on the list of Women’s March 2019 partners and that the National Council of Jewish Women told The New York Jewish Week last week that it would not be a partner in this year’s march.

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Senior Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch announced Friday that his New York-based congregation will disassociate from Women’s March Inc., and that it will join the 2019 Women’s March On NYC under the auspices of the Women’s March Alliance.

“As early as 2017, we heard rumblings of troubling accusations of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism within and amongst the leadership of the Washington march,” Hirsch said in a statement. “At the time, we pushed our discomfort aside in deference to what we considered the bigger issues threatening our country. But now, in the aftermath of Pittsburgh and mindful of the surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the past two years, anti-Semitism can no longer be a narrow concern. If you tolerate or are sympathetic to those who are prejudiced against Jews, we cannot stand with you. If you deny Israel’s right to exist, we cannot stand with you.”

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