NGO rescinds award to U.S. Women's March due to antisemitism

Social democrats accused US Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour of antisemitism.

WOMEN’S MARCH organizers Carmen Perez, Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour take the stage during a protest called March for Racial Justice in New York City. (Reuters) (photo credit: REUTERS)
WOMEN’S MARCH organizers Carmen Perez, Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour take the stage during a protest called March for Racial Justice in New York City. (Reuters)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - The think tank for the German social democratic party withdrew its Human Rights Award to the Women’s March USA in Washington, DC, on Thursday because doctoral students associated with the foundation accused the organizers of the march of hardcore antisemitism and support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting the Jewish state.
“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. Women’s March USA does not constitute an inclusive alliance,” wrote members of the scholarship working group, called Critique of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Studies, from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in a public letter.
The foundation, which generates ideas and policies for the Social Democratic Party, a governing party in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government, was slated to present its Human Rights Award to the Women’s March USA on November 12. According to the foundation award’s mission statement, it honors a “commitment to a strong, active and inclusive civil society.”
“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 young academics added in their letter.
The letter stated that “Since its inception in 2017, Women’s March USA has attracted media attention due to the antisemitism of its board members and chair women. 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.”
The graduate student academics said Sarsour “also spreads antisemitic conspiracy theories that resemble the classic antisemitic trope of blood libel. In September 2018, for instance, she claimed that when US police officers shoot unarmed black people, Jewish persons responsible would lurk in the background.”
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation said it will investigate the allegations of antisemitism leveled against the Women’s March, according to German media reports.
According to the open letter, “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.”
As a result of the alleged antisemitism of the organizers of the Women’s March, the Friedrich Ebert graduate school academics called on the foundation “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 German daily Frankfruter Rundschau reported on Saturday that a spokeswoman for the Women’s March said the organizers “reject every form of antisemitism.”
The US-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender magazine The Advocate wrote on Friday that “Will & Grace star Debra Messing is the latest to speak out against the Women’s March and the fact that its leaders, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland, refuse to distance themselves from the vitriolic antisemitic, homophobic, and transphobic Louis Farrakhan.”