While saying that she marched for many of the stated goals of January’s Women’s March, a former Clinton adviser wrote that “I did not march to show support for hateful, divisive language” that has since been used in the march’s name, in an op-ed published Wednesday in the Washington Jewish Week.
Ann Lewis, a leading feminist who has counseled both Bill and Hillary Clinton, wrote that she was proud of her participation in the march, both as a way of showing her disapproval of President Donald Trump as well as her support for “policies like equal pay for women’s work, for pro-family legislation like family leave, for education and health care — including reproductive health care — available to every woman and girl.”
Although she is proud of what she marched for, she objected to “attempts to highjack the Women’s March in support of a very different kind of politics.”
Specifically, Lewis noted that leaders of the march adopted “hateful, divisive language that tries to expel Zionists like myself and my friends from the women’s movement by defining feminism as available only to those who deny Israel the right to exist.” With so many nations failing to grant women equal rights, she asked, “why would leaders of the Women’s March aim their attacks only on Israel — a country in which women’s rights are written into law, and the only homeland for the Jewish people?”
Lewis also disassociated herself from leaders of the Women’s March movement, such as Rasmeah Odeh and Assata Shakur, both of whom were convicted of murder.
“I did not march because I agree with the expulsion of women holding Star of David flags from a march for LGBT rights, on the astounding claim that this historic symbol of the Jewish people is threatening to some people,” Lewis wrote, referring to a story first reported by Gretchen Rachel Hammond of The Windy City Times. “I was angry when I learned of this story, and even angrier when I learned that the woman who reported it for an LGBT newspaper has been fired from her job. What happened to slogans about the rights of working women, when a reporter is fired for telling the truth?”
Lewis dismissed the charge made in a letter to The New York Times by one of the founders of the Women’s March, who said that criticism of the group amounted to “a sensational alt-right attack that aims to discredit the Women’s March movement.”
“What discredits the Women’s March are the ugly statements made in its name,” Lewis wrote. “The telling silence when other women are expelled for daring to identify as Jews; the charges of ‘alt-right’ against anyone who speaks up to disagree.”
“Maybe I’ll be accused of siding with the alt-right or tarred as Islamophobic. But what I stand against is embracing terrorists, disdaining independent feminist voices, hating on democracies and celebrating dictatorships,” New York Times editor Bari Weiss wrote in a similar vein earlier this month. “If that puts me beyond the pale of the progressive feminist movement in America right now, so be it,” she concluded.
In a critique of Linda Sarsour, one of the leaders of the march, Julie Lenarz observed in The Tower, “Linda Sarsour is not a feminist. She supports a culture that is forcing millions of women into religious slavery. She is a false apostle selling her regressive views to a blinded liberal audience.”
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