Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) rushed to the defense of a woman voted on to and then promptly voted off of the Women’s March board this week, calling the campaign to fire Zahra Billoo, who is accused of making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements, a product of “Islamophobia.”
Last week, the Women’s March made headlines for cutting ties with three embattled founding members of its board — Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Bob Bland — all of whom were accused of making anti-Semitic remarks or supporting anti-Semitic statements within the March’s leadership, forging and maintaining ties between the Women’s March and the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, and, as was revealed in a New York Times expose last year, making life uncomfortable for Jewish women in the March’s upper eschelons.
Bland was with the Women’s March from the beginning and is widely regarded as instrumental in the March’s initial success. Sarsour and Mallory joined the board after the March had been founded, but quickly took to defining the March’s public face. Sarsour is a longtime supporter of the anti-Semitic “boycott, divest, and sanction” movement and has made plenty of questionable public statements about Israel. Mallory is closely connected to the Nation of Islam and its virulently anti-Semitic preacher, Louis Farrakhan, and repeatedly refused to distance herself from his anti-Jewish statements and beliefs.
Last week, the March, facing declining membership and embarrasingly low turnout for its last several national events, cut ties with the three women, adding in a statement that the trio are moving on to other things.
“Bland and Mallory, who served as co-presidents of the organization, will be formally replaced when the new board convenes for its first meeting this month,” the organization said, adding that they plan to “transition ‘onto other projects focused on advocacy within their respective organizations.'”
Unfortunately, the move did little to cleanse the organization of anti-Semitism. They quickly picked up Zahra Billoo, the leader of San Francisco’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and herself a noted anti-Israel activist and supporter of BDS.
After Billoo’s commentary came to light — commentary that included claims that Israel “commits war crimes as a hobby” and “kills children as a hobby” — she was also booted from the Women’s March board. She took to Twitter to denouce the move as driven by “Islamophobia” in a 25-plus-tweet social media tantrum.
Her ouster, she claimed, was “driven by people who oppose me and my work challenging the occupation of Palestine, our country’s perpetuation of unjust and endless wars, and law enforcement operations targeting the American Muslim community.”
Always one to rush to the defense of a fellow anti-Israel activist, Tlaib voiced her own concerns about the Women’s March’s Islamophobia on Saturday. Quote-tweeting Billoo, Tlaib claimed, “we have the truth on our side.”
“#FreePalestine always sis! They won’t silence us for speaking out against human rights violations. They will lie, smear our names and call us anti this and that, but we always be pro- humanity & we have the truth on our side. Stay strong @ZahraBilloo,” Tlaib tweeted.
Rashida Tlaib is, of course, no stranger to anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments. She’s been repeatedly accused of espousing anti-Semitic sentiments and openly supports the BDS movement. She’s also rushed to the defense of others who share her beliefs, including notorious Palestinian activist Abbas Hamideh, who worked on Tlaib’s campaign and attended exclusive events to mark her inauguration.