Two weeks ago Tablet magazine published a damning, detailed report about anti-Semitism at Women’s March Inc. That report made news but Sunday the message got a boost when the NY Times published a story essentially confirming and re-reporting the story at Tablet. The allegations of anti-Semitism behind the scenes primarily comes down to two meetings, one shortly after the group formed and one just after the first Women’s March. In both cases, Vanessa Wruble, who is Jewish, claims she became the target of current Women’s March co-chairs Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez. From the NY Times:
Ms. Mallory and Ms. Perez say they categorically condemn anti-Semitism, and that when they asked Ms. Wruble to leave the group, it had nothing to do with her being Jewish. But they acknowledged that the role of Jewish women was discussed in that first meeting.
“Since that conversation, we’ve all learned a lot about how while white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy, ALL Jews are targeted by it,” Ms. Mallory said in a statement to The New York Times…
“I was taken aback,” said Ms. Wruble in her first extensive interview about her experience organizing the Women’s March. “I thought, ‘Maybe there are things I don’t know about my own people.’”
She said she went home that night and searched Google to read about the Jewish role in the slave trade. Up popped a review of “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and the Jews,” a 1991 book by Mr. Farrakhan, which asserts that Jews were especially culpable. Henry Louis Gates Jr., a Harvard professor, has called the book the “bible of the new anti-Semitism.”
Maybe that quote from Mallory makes more sense if you’ve been immersed in intersectionality for a few years. I’m not sure what she’s trying to say. Clearly, she thinks Jews are white people and therefore oppressors, but also she thinks they are targets of white supremacy and therefore victims. Do opposing forces cancel each other out in intersectionality? It’s not clear where this leaves Jewish people in the hierarchy. What is clear is that Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour—three of the four co-chairs of the Women’s March—have expressed their admiration for Farrakhan in the recent past.
The second attack on Wruble happened days after the march was deemed a massive success:
Ms. Mallory and Ms. Perez began berating Ms. Wruble, according to Evvie Harmon, a white woman who helped organize the march, and who attended the meeting at Ms. Mallory’s apartment complex.
“They were talking about, ‘You people this,’ and ‘You people that’ and the kicker was, ‘You people hold all the wealth.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, they are talking about her being Jewish,’” said Ms. Harmon, whose account was first published by Tablet. “The greatest regret of my life was not standing up and saying ‘This is wrong.’”
Ms. Mallory denied that she disparaged Ms. Wruble’s Jewish heritage in that meeting, but acknowledged telling white women there that she did not trust them.
“They are not trustworthy,” she said, adding that Ms. Wruble gossiped behind the backs of the other march leaders instead of confronting them when she had an issue. “Every single one of us has heard things that offended us. We still do the work.”
So, Mallory did trash white people, collectively, as untrustworthy. That sort of negative judgment of an entire race sounds like outright racism to me, but clearly, Mallory doesn’t have a problem admitting to it. She denies having attacked Jews. And over at Vox, the spokesman for the Women’s March claims she was at both meetings and that she didn’t hear any anti-Semitism.
Cassady Fendlay, the Women’s March communications director, said in a statement to Vox, “I was present for the conversations in question and the allegations being made are patently false. Those conversations did not happen.”
So you have two people, Mallory and Fendlay, who deny these conversations happened and two people, Wruble and Harmon, who claim they definitely did happen. Which claim is more credible? Tamika Mallory has a clear affinity for Farrakhan who is one of the leading anti-Semites in America. She admits to saying whites can’t be trusted. And she has an obvious reason to lie, i.e. the group is under pressure and she wants to preserve her position in it.
On the other hand, Wruble wrote a final text to one of the group’s advisers as she was leaving it behind which said, ” The one thing I would suggest you discuss with them is the anti-Semitic piece of this. Their rhetoric around this stuff will hurt the movement.” That sounds to me like contemporaneous support for her story that anti-Semitism was a problem from the beginning.