As long as the leaders of the Women’s March, scheduled to take place Saturday, don’t disassociate themselves from bigots who espouse anti-Semitism and other bigotry, “I cannot stand alongside it,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (D-Fla.), former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wrote in an op-ed published Friday in USA Today.
Wasserman-Schultz recalled that she was “electrified” by the “promise” of the initial Women’s March two years ago.
However, now, she “must walk away from the national Women’s March organization, and specifically its leadership.”
First, the congresswoman noted that she is not alone in distancing herself from the national movement on account of its “leaders who still ally with bigotry.”
She recalled that in November, Teresa Shook, who founded the movement with a viral Facebook post, called on the march’s current leadership — Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory — to resign because “they have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform.”
Wasserman-Schultz explained further that with the recent increase in reports of anti-Semitic incidents, the continued association of Perez, Sarsour, and Mallory with Nations of Islam leader Rev. Louis Farrakhan “have been most troubling.”
“NOI has been deemed a hate organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Wasserman-Schultz asserted. She added, “Mallory’s attendance at NOI’s annual Saviour’s Day event last year was especially alarming.”
The former DNC chair noted that with Farrakhan’s long history of anti-Semitism — calling Hitler a great man, comparing Jews to termites, and referring to “the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan” — “it should not be difficult to condemn this hate speech and the person who constantly voices it.”
Mallory, Wasserman-Schultz observed, has repeatedly failed to denounce Farrakhan and this week simply dodged a direct request to condemn him.
She also noted that Sarsour accused Jews of dual loyalty, saying that her critics chose “allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.”
Until the Women’s March’s leaders “cut ties” with those who engage in anti-Semitism and hate speech, Wasserman-Schultz wrote that she “cannot stand” with them.
She recalled that two years ago, “We marched to raise our voices against hate and discrimination. We did not march to help promote it.”
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