Amid Farrakhan Scandal, The Women’s March Reminds Us it’s Not for All Women

The Women's March organization claims to be for "diverse women and their communities." Once again, they've proven that false.

By Liberty McArtor Published on March 9, 2018

The Women’s March organization claims to be for “diverse women and their communities.” Once again, they’ve proven that false.

Their latest struggle with “intersectionality” came just as Women’s History Month began. Members of the movement are upset. Some even want Women’s March leadership to resign.

Tamika Mallory and the Anti-Semite

Women’s March co-president Tamika Mallory kicked off the controversy on February 25. She she posted an Instagram video of herself at the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day event.

Southern Poverty Law Center labels NOI a hate group. SPLC isn’t exactly trustworthy when it comes to applying that label. (They’ve also given it to Christian organizations like Family Research Council.) But they’re right on this one. As SPLC puts it, NOI adheres to a “bizarre theology of innate black superiority over whites.” And its leader, Louis Farrakhan, is infamous for his anti-Semitic remarks.

His recent speech was no different. He claimed the “Jews are my enemy.” He referred to the “Satanic Jew.” You can see a list of offensive quotes from the speech, compiled by CNN’s Jake Tapper, here.

As Vox reported, many called for Mallory to resign after she attended the event. She pushed back on Twitter. She even defended herself in a NewsOne column Wednesday.

Mallory admits she’s attended the event for over 30 years. She claims it’s “impossible” to agree with every statement or viewpoint of those she works with. She adds, “I do not wish to be held responsible for the words of others when my own history shows that I stand in opposition to them.”

“I was raised in activism and believe that … all people must stand together to fight racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” she says. But she doesn’t condemn Farrakhan. Nor does she directly condemn his “rabid” anti-Semitism, as Tapper aptly put it.

Not Just Mallory

Mallory isn’t the only Women’s March leader who’s publicly admired Farrakhan. Treasurer Carmen Perez praised him on social media. More than once. She’s posed for pictures with him and attended his events. (See here, here, and here.) Recently defending her association, she said “there are no perfect leaders.”

Linda Sarsour, assistant treasurer, has long faced accusations of anti-Semitism. In 2012, she tweeted “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” She’s said that anti-Semitism isn’t “systemic.” She claims to be an ally of Jewish people. But her affiliation with people involved in terrorism doesn’t assuage critics’ fears.

A Weak Statement

On Tuesday Women’s March issued a lengthy statement to combat accusations of anti-Semitism among its leaders. It only took nine days after Mallory attended the problematic event. During that gap, the organization was silent.

“We will not tolerate anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia,” the statement begins. It does name Farrakahn specifically. But the condemnation is weak. It merely states that his comments “are not aligned” with the group’s Unity Principles.

The statement quickly pivots to self-congratulation. It notes how Women’s March “is holding conversations … to create space for understanding and healing.” This explains the group’s long “external silence,” apparently.

On Twitter, some show dissatisfaction with the statement, and the leaders.

One user argued the statement was “meaningless” since it didn’t come from offending leaders themselves. Another user implied the “days-late” statement did not restore trust.

In The Atlantic, John-Paul Pagano wrote about the tepid response. It “reveals anti-Semitism as a crucial blind spot of contemporary left-wing activism,” he writes. “That the group refuses to be accountable for a high-level alliance with an open anti-Semite disqualifies it from ranking among today’s movements for social justice.”

Already Problematic

But people paying attention already knew that. Women’s March isn’t a movement for social justice. Not a sincere one, anyway. And forget being for all women.

Jewish women now feel excluded thanks to the unapologetic association with Farrakhan. But millions of pro-life and conservative women felt excluded almost as soon as the movement launched.

Ahead of the historic Women’s March on Washington last year, some pro-life organizations wanted to be sponsors. Despite disagreements over abortion, they planned to join other women in fighting misogyny. But Women’s March made it very clear that if you didn’t support abortion, you were not welcome.

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The organization has since launched its Power to the Polls campaign. It encourages women vote and support female candidates. Not all female candidates of course. Just extremely progressive ones.

“There are many issues that can and would unite all women,” writes Andrea Seastrand, a former U.S. congresswoman — and a Republican. She laments that Women’s March overlooks this. “The movement does itself a great disservice by excluding conservative women.”

But Women’s March isn’t likely to change. Neither the movement nor the organization has never included all women. This recent scandal is just the latest proof.

Women, take note.

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