With the somewhat smaller Women’s March of 2019 now in our rear-view mirror, we have the opportunity to see precisely how much things have changed in their leadership and the group’s widely publicized strain of antisemitism. As it turns out… not so much. A great deal of the focus on the anti-Jewish rantings of the group’s leaders has dealt with their admiration for, or at least a lack of condemnation of the infamously bigoted Louis Farrakhan. But as Jeff Dunetz points out, that’s really only a smaller symptom of a far larger problem. Several of the group’s leaders, most notably Tamika Mallory, don’t need Farrakhan to prop up their antisemitism. They can dish it out to the Jews with great gusto all on their own.
On PBS’s “Firing Line” Mallory explained to host Margaret Hoover why the march organizers believed “Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy” even though they are targeted by them (apparently all whites uphold white supremacy).
Mallory went on to claim that Palestinians are native to the land since they have been there for a very long time, leading Hoover to ask “Do you feel that the Jewish people are native as well?”
Mallory answered by calling Judaism “ideology” saying, “I mean, I know, I understand the history, that, you know, that there are people who have a number of sort of ideologies around why the Jewish people feel this should be their land.” Going on to tell Hoover that it wouldn’t be fair of her to answer the question because she isn’t Jewish. When Hoover pointed out that Mallory isn’t Palestinian but answered the same question regarding Palestinians, Mallory said she was done talking about that.
During the same interview, Mallory would not say that Israel has the right to exist.
How do you “fix” the Women’s March at this point? I would argue that the task is impossible. You can’t force change on an organization that lacks any and all internal motivation to fix itself. If they wanted, the organization could either force Mallory out, along with Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez, or at least make things so uncomfortable for them that they would step down of their own volition. But they’ve chosen not to do that, downplaying the hate speech on display as a “distraction.”
And let’s make no mistake regarding what we’re talking about here. This isn’t some sort of political dispute with the Israeli government over policy issues. Anyone is free to disagree with decisions Israel’s leadership makes and promote different agenda items. That’s not what this is about. When you refuse to even acknowledge that Jews traditionally have inhabited those lands for as long as we have written historical records and deny that Israel even has a right to exist you are directly attacking Jews. If you are making a blanket assertion that Jews stand for white supremacy (which is a rather laughable concept, to begin with when talking about one of the most historically oppressed peoples on the planet), you are exhibiting antisemitism.
If Louis Farrakhan had never existed, these sentiments would still be sadly common in the world today and these leaders of the Women’s March would obviously be just as quick to express them. With that in mind, as I stated above, it doesn’t appear that the group is “fixable.” If supporters of this movement truly want to move on and make their voices heard without being weighed down by such a hateful reputation, they probably need to start a new group and simply not invite the antisemites to join.