Women’s March co-leader Tamika Mallory refused to answer a question on Israel’s right to exist in an interview with PBS due to be broadcast Sunday.
The interview comes ahead of protests due to take place on Saturday across the US, although many local chapters of the movement have said they are no longer willing to be affiliated with the national group over claims it has not done enough to disavow anti-Semitism.
On Friday, Margaret Hoover of the PBS Sunday morning interview show “Firing Line,” teased two minutes of her sit-down with Mallory, who has said she disagrees with some of the statements by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom she has lionized, but will not disavow him or specifically his anti-Semitism.
Hoover took it in another direction, asking Mallory if she thought Israel should exist. Mallory would not be pinned down.
The co-president of the @womensmarch refuses to affirm Israel’s right to exist— saying “everyone has a right to exist…I just don’t feel that everyone has a right to exist at the disposal of another group." pic.twitter.com/6BEwkAYVKT
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) January 18, 2019
“I have said many times that I feel everyone has a right to exist, I just don’t feel anyone has a right to exist at the disposal of another group,” she said, adding that “Jewish scholars” shared this view.
Hoover stayed on the theme, however, and things became tense.
“Does that include Israel and Israelis?” she asked.
“I’m done talking about this,” Mallory responded.
“I just don’t think it requires scholarly knowledge to say that Israel has the right to exist,” Hoover said.
Last week, Mallory would not condemn anti-Semitic comments by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who she labelled as the GOAT, an acronym for the “greatest of all time,” in a Facebook post from 2017.
In a tense interview, Mallory would only say that she doesn’t agree with many of Farrakhan’s statements.
Women’s March leaders have apologized to what they acknowledged were missteps in tackling anti-Semitism, but some groups nonetheless have distanced themselves from the movement ahead of its third annual march planned for Saturday in Washington, DC, and simultaneously in other cities across the country.
On Friday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the latest high profile figure to say she will not be participating in the protest, saying she “must walk away” from the national Women’s March organization over the alleged failure of its leaders to condemn anti-Semitism.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.