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Women’s March names 3 Jewish women to steering committee

Amid anti-Semitism concerns, protest group nominates ex-Hasidic transgender Abby Stein and diversity activists April Baskin and Yavilah McCoy

Abby Stein on February 27, 2018. (Ovrim/Wikipedia CC-BY-SA-4.0)
Abby Stein on February 27, 2018. (Ovrim/Wikipedia CC-BY-SA-4.0)

JTA — The US Women’s March, which has come under fire in recent months for its leaders’ handling of anti-Semitism allegations, has named three Jewish women to its steering committee.

On Monday, the March announced its new 32-member steering committee. The Jewish members are transgender rights activist Abby Stein; Union for Reform Judaism staffer April Baskin; and Jewish diversity activist Yavilah McCoy.

Stein, a formerly Hasidic transgender woman, has worked to raise awareness for transgender people as well as those leaving ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

Baskin is the former vice president of audacious hospitality for the Union for Reform Judaism and is a former president of the Jewish Multiracial Network.

McCoy is the founder of Ayecha, a Jewish nonprofit that advocates for Jews of color.

Celebrities and activists have openly criticized march organizers’ actions in regard to the anti-Semitism concerns.

One of the organizers, Tamika Mallory, attended a speech by and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a long history of making anti-Jewish and homophobic statements. Though the organizers eventually disavowed Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, many felt their response took too long and did not go far enough in denouncing him.

The organizers of the Women’s March, from left to right: Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Tamika Mallory, at BET’s Social Awards in Atlanta, February 11, 2018. (Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET via JTA)

More recently, a report in Tablet said that Mallory and fellow organizer Carmen Perez had made anti-Semitic statements at two Women’s March planning meetings, claims the organizers deny.

A number of organizations have dropped out as march sponsors, including the National Council of Jewish Women, Southern Poverty Law Center and EMILY’s List. Last week, the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a major reform congregation in New York, announced it was disassociating itself from Women’s March, Inc.

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