The Women’s March openly embraced the anti-Semitism it has been repeatedly accused of Saturday, with leaders openly embracing the Boycott-Divestment-Sanction movement from the Women’s March podium, and issuing a new manifesto, released to coincide with the Washington, D.C., signature event, excoriating Congress and state legislators for condemning the BDS movement.
The 71-page “Women’s Agenda,” released Saturday, includes specific references to the BDS movement, and takes a stand against anti-BDS bills, The Washington Times reports.
The “Agenda” called the anti-BDS bills, which seek to prohibit government agencies from contracting with any entity that openly embraces the BDS movement or deliberately boycotts the State of Israel, “[o]ne of the biggest threats to speech today.”
“Whether it’s the attempts to create federal or state laws banning political boycotts or criticism of Israel (including the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions tactic), targeting environmental protest or preventing students and faculty on college campuses from expressing their views or engaging in peaceable assembly, the silencing of one side of the debate is precisely what our First Amendment protects against,” the Agenda reads.
The document did, however, pay lip service to the March’s Jewish members for the first time in its history, adding “Jewish women” to their list of “disenfranchised” female populations.
“We must create a society in which all women — including Black women, Indigenous women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Jewish women, Muslim women, Sikh women, Latinx women, Asian and Pacific Islander women, lesbian, bi, queer and trans women — are free and able to care for and nurture themselves and their families,” the preamble to “Women’s Agenda” says, according to the Times.
Critics of the March, many of whom have distanced themselves from the central Women’s March leadership, say that such statements simply aren’t enough, particularly given that Women’s March leaders have refused to distance themselves from open anti-Semitism, are reported to have confronted and taunted Jewish women involved with the group in the March’s formative days, and have — even as recently as Friday of last week — refused to condemn Nation of Islam and its openly anti-Semitic leader, Louis Farrakhan.
Linda Sarsour, one of the accused leaders, claimed on Saturday that the March had distanced itself from Farrakhan, but did not provide evidence of when or where.
“We unequivocally have rejected the comments made by [Farrakhan] and on Jewish communities. We have said multiple times on our statements at womensmarch.com, we unequivocally denounce transphobia and ask people to ask us directly and read our statements and understand we have been doing this work before there was a Women’s March,” Sarsour told CNN.
A cursory search reveals no such unequivocal denial. In fact, the Women’s March appears to have routinely gone out of its way to not address Farrakhan specifically. When asked about the Nation of Islam leader, March organizers have either refused to comment on the matter or, in the case of Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory, have defended past affiliations.
Sarsour was one of the leaders who openly defended BDS at Saturday’s March, telling the (shockingly meager) crowd that, “[a]nything from Medicare for all, to ending the war in Yemen, to standing up for free speech and our constitutional right to Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions in these United States of America.”