Since the Women’s March was founded in 2017 before President Donald Trump had actually done anything, praise has been heaped upon it merely for existing and being made up of women. But now that the anti-Semitic beliefs of some of the group’s founders are finally starting to get recognition, some of those who formerly praised the organization are now pulling back.
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES, because in German it’s known as Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung), a German think tank for its social democratic party, was slated to award the Women’s March with its Human Rights Award on November 12, but has now withdrawn the group’s nomination, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Members from one of FES’s working groups, Critique of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Studies, penned a public letter denouncing the Women’s March’s anti-Semitism and support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
“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,” the members wrote.
The scholars and alumni of FES called on the organization “(1) to distance themselves from the Women's March USA and to revoke the award immediately, (2) to adopt the antisemitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, (3) to check future projects, award recipients and any activities concerning antisemitism – with the help of experts in this field [and] (4) to oppose any form of antisemitism both within the FES and externally.”
The antisemitism definition from the IHRA states that it “is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
This can be expressed through language, writing, images, and actions, as well as Israel-related hostility.
The members then lay out some examples of anti-Semitism from Women’s March board member Linda Sarsour, who said feminists could not also be Zionists and that Zionists were Nazis. Sarsour also supports the BDS movement and has called Israel an apartheid state. Sarsour, along with Carmen Perez and Tamika D. Mallory, have also supported anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who has compared Jews to termites.
The FES members say that the Women’s March is not inclusive as it excludes Jews.
“Just as important the struggle for feminism still is, so is the fight against other forms of discrimination, as well as to work inclusively and to not exclude Jews,” the members wrote.
“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 group concluded.
If one tries to bring up the website for the organization’s 2018 Human Rights Award, they are met with a “404 – Page not found” error. The Jerusalem Post also reports that FES is investigating the allegations of anti-Semitism against the Women’s March.