NY Times editor takes on Women's March organizers: 'When progressives embrace hate'

Here’s something you don’t see every day. An editor at the NY Times has written an opinion piece criticizing the leaders of the Women’s March. Author Bari Weiss is the staff editor of the NY Times Opinion section. She writes as someone who supported the Women’s March and it’s four leaders but who also finds their extremism troubling:

The Women’s March moved me. O.K., so Madonna and Ashley Judd said some nutty things. But every movement has its excesses, I reasoned. Mr. Trump had campaigned on attacking the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. Now was the time to put aside petty differences and secondary issues to oppose his presidency…

The image of this fearsome foursome, echoed in more than a few flattering profiles, was as seductive as a Benetton ad. There was Tamika Mallory, a young black activist who was crowned the “Sojourner Truth of our time” by Jet magazine and “a leader of tomorrow” by Valerie Jarrett. Carmen Perez, a Mexican-American and a veteran political organizer, was named one of Fortune’s Top 50 World Leaders. Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing Palestinian-American and the former head of the Arab-American Association of New York, had been recognized as a “champion of change” by the Obama White House. And Bob Bland, the fashion designer behind the “Nasty Women” T-shirts, was the white mother who came up with the idea of the march in the first place.

But over time Weiss became disturbed by some of the “chilling ideas and associations” each of the leaders of the Women’s March was advocating. Linda Sarsour attacked Ayaan Hirsi Ali saying she wasn’t a “real woman” and also praised Assata Shakur (I wrote about that here). When CNN’s Jake Tapper raised questions about the praise for Shakur, Sarsour accused him of joining the “alt-right.

What’s more distressing is that Ms. Sarsour is not the only leader of the women’s movement who harbors such alarming ideas. Largely overlooked have been the similarly outrageous statements of the march’s other organizers.

Ms. Mallory, in addition to applauding Assata Shakur as a feminist emblem, also admires Fidel Castro, who sheltered Ms. Shakur in Cuba. She put up a flurry of posts when Mr. Castro died last year. “R.I.P. Comandante! Your legacy lives on!” she wrote in one. She does not have similar respect for American police officers. “When you throw a brick in a pile of hogs, the one that hollers is the one you hit,” she posted on Nov. 20.

Ms. Perez also expressed her admiration for a Black Panther convicted of trying to kill six police officers: “Love learning from and sharing space with Baba Sekou Odinga.”

Weiss spends the next several paragraphs describing Mallory and Perez’s love for anti-Semitic (and anti-white) racist Louis Farrakhan.

Weiss closes her piece by suggesting she will probably be blocked on Twitter for criticizing the leaders of the Women’s March. However, she can’t allow her dislike of Trump to blind her to the extremism of her own side of the aisle. She writes, “what I stand against is embracing terrorists, disdaining independent feminist voices, hating on democracies and celebrating dictatorships.” She concludes, “If that puts me beyond the pale of the progressive feminist movement in America right now, so be it.”

I suspect Weiss may be underestimating, perhaps substantially, the amount of blowback she is about to receive for this piece. The response could go well beyond being blocked. But what’s really troubling here is that after six months only a handful of mainstream journalists (Tapper, Weiss, ???) have criticized the extremism on the left. Most in the media, and also among elected progressives in Congress, are still giving Sarsour, Mallory and Perez a pass.