Europe

Women’s March Award Rescinded by German NGO Due to Anti-Semitism

A German think tank rescinded a human rights award it had planned to present to the Women’s March movement on grounds that the latter group holds anti-Semitic views, Benjamin Weinthal reported for The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

In a letter, a working group of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is associated with Germany’s Social Democratic Party, announced that it would not present the award to Women’s March USA on grounds that the group failed to meet its criteria.

“We believe that the Women’s March USA does not meet the criteria of this award, as its organizers have repeatedly attracted attention through antisemitic statements, the trivialization of antisemitism and the exclusion of Zionists and Jews since Women’s March USA’s establishment in 2017,” members of the working group, Critique of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Studies, wrote Thursday. “Women’s March USA does not constitute an inclusive alliance.”

The foundation, which develops ideas and policies for the Social Democratic Party, which is part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, was planning to present the award to the Women’s March on Monday. Among the criteria for the award is the “commitment to a strong, active and inclusive civil society.”

However, “an organization that may support feminism, but discriminates against Jews and Zionists and denies Israel’s right to exist should not be honored by a democratic foundation that advocates diversity and speaks out against discrimination,” the letter argued.

“Since its inception in 2017, Women’s March USA has attracted media attention due to the antisemitism of its board members and chair women,” the letter continued. “Linda Sarsour, a member of the board and former president of Women’s March USA, is notorious for her propagation of antisemitism toward Israel. This transpired not only through her statement from March 2017 claiming that feminists could not be Zionists simultaneously and that Zionists were Nazis, but also through her demonization and delegitimization of Israel, as well as the application of a double standard. She also calls herself a ‘very staunch supporter of the BDS movement.’ These forms of antisemitism were also visible at the Berlin Women’s March in January 2018. The organizers did not show any attempt of critique or disassociation.”

In addition, the letter added, “Sarsour, Carmen Perez [another board member of Women’s March USA], and Tamika D. Mallory [co-chairwoman of Women’s March USA who is to receive the FES Human Rights Award], have attracted attention due to their long-standing support of the notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan, who, among other things, called Adolf Hitler a ‘very great man’ while recently comparing Jews to termites.”

The working group, comprised of graduate students associated with the foundation, called on FES “to distance themselves from the Women’s March USA and to revoke the award immediately; to adopt the antisemitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance; to check future projects, award recipients and any activities concerning antisemitism – with the help of experts in this field; and to oppose any form of antisemitism both within the FES [Friedrich Ebert Foundation] and externally.”

The action by the working group follows last week’s statement by actress and activist Alyssa Milano when she said she would not speak at the next Women’s March as long as its leaders defend “bigotry or anti-Semitism.”

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