On Friday, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), immediately preceding chair of the Democratic National Committee, took to the pages of USA Today to excoriate the Washington Women’s March and explain why she will not be joining marchers this year.
Wasserman Schultz explained that her decision had to do with the Women’s March’s refusal to repudiate and distance itself from those peddling anti-Semitism:
Today, sadly, I must walk away from the national Women’s March organization, and specifically its leadership.
While I still firmly believe in its values and mission, I cannot associate with the national march’s leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.
Instead, this weekend, I will join a movement of women around the nation who are participating in local marches that have distanced themselves from those national Women’s March leaders who still ally with bigotry.
Wasserman Schultz is one of the most prominent Jewish Democrats in the country. She was the first Jewish U.S. House representative elected from Florida and, as the preceding chair of the Democratic National Committee, was the public face of the Democratic Party for over five years — including most of the 2016 election.
Wasserman Schultz’s repudiation of the Women’s March comes three days after the Democratic National Committee pulled its own institutional support.
Wasserman Schultz continued:
Since that first march, I witnessed a disturbing spike in hatred aimed at Jewish homes, schools and synagogues in my own community. And with anti-Semitism and white nationalism apparently on the upswing in America and globally, the associations that [Linda] Sarsour, [Carmen] Perez and [Tamika] Mallory have had with Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan have been most troubling.
NOI has been deemed a hate organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mallory’s attendance at NOI’s annual Saviour’s Day event last year was especially alarming.
It was there that Farrakhan said Jews were “the mother and father of apartheid,” and claimed that Jewish people are responsible for “degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men.”
The 2019 Women’s March takes place this Saturday, January 19. The initial march took place on January 21, 2017, the day following President Trump’s inauguration, in which somewhere between 3.3 million and 4.6 million marchers participated across the nation. However, since then, March leaders Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez have continually been dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism.
Tablet recently published a lengthy exposé on the extent to which anti-Semitism has been inherent since the Women’s March’s initial formation. Sarsour is a longtime foe of Israel, once tweeting that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.” Mallory has consistently defended her close association with longtime anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, and is also a vociferous opponent of Israel:
Wasserman Schultz concluded her op-ed:
Faced with two choices, staying silent while refusing to join the national march, or speaking out, I choose to speak out. Women have been forced to stay silent for too long, and we must demand the same principles from our movement as we do from our society.
We must fight oppression and bigotry in all its forms. Otherwise, what — or who — are we marching for?