The “Women’s March” has a deep history of anti-Semitism of its own making. The New York Times touched upon some of those points in an article about “Russian troll factories” which “put a sustained effort into discrediting the movement by circulating damning, often fabricated narratives around Ms. [Linda] Sarsour.” The article focused on the fuel which amplified her extremist anti-Zionist views which rocked the message of the movement.
The article stated that fractures in society, distrust in institutions and Sarsour’s dabbling in anti-Semitism were already present, and that the Russian bots added fuel to the fire by exaggerating Sarsour’s statements on social media. The Times even touched upon the anti-Semitic charges against other members of the Women’s March movement who support the notorious anti-Semite Rev. Louis Farrakhan.
But the article made the anti-Semitism embedded in the Women’s March appear minor; a couple of discrete and misunderstood comments by the founders, which were inflamed by a foreign government. In doing so, it absolved the organization for repeatedly inciting Jew hatred.
That’s the wrong conclusion.
Just a few months after the large January 2017 march in Washington, D.C., the city of Chicago held a rally where Jewish marchers carrying a rainbow flag with the Jewish star in the middle were asked to leave because the organizers said they “repeatedly expressed support for Zionism.” One of the people who was asked to leave told the Windy City Times that she was made to feel that “as a Jew, I am not welcome here.”
In June 2019, the Washington, D.C. march followed suit and prohibited marchers from carrying flags with the Jewish star on it. Organizers said “The DC Dyke March is a pro-Muslim and pro-Palestinian space…We do ask that participants not bring pro-Israel paraphernalia in solidarity with our queer Palestinian friends.” Several Jewish groups including A Wider Bridge, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and Zioness wrote a joint statement that “We come together to strongly condemn the leadership of the DC Dyke March for their decision to ban the Jewish Star of David on a pride flag and Israeli iconography.”
The repeated banning of Jewish pride at the marches stems from Linda Sarsour’s “activism,” as the Times calls it. She’s tweeted “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.” She equated the belief that Jews should be free of anti-Semitism as self-governing people in their ancestral home as the equivalent to being a Nazi, with “We will not be silenced by Blue Lives Matter, by white supremacists, by neo-Nazis, or right-wing Zionists.” She’s said that feminism and Zionism are incompatible.
Those are Sarsour’s words, repeated again and again, specifically meant to instill the discredited noxious “Zionism is Racism” libel into the fabric of the Women’s March movement.
The Times neglected to tell its readers that when Sarsour and her colleagues stepped down from their leadership positions of the organization, other anti-Semites took their place, like CAIR’s Zahara Billoo. She was in kindred spirit of Sarsour, having tweeted the grotesque “Israel is an apartheid, racist, terrorist state and it commits war crimes as a hobby.” An obvious choice to lead the Women’s March if it is hell bent on advancing anti-Semitism.
Billoo also offered this bit of advice for Muslims some time after leaving the Women’s March board, that Jews are the enemy: “Know your enemies, and I’m not going to sugar-coat that. They are your enemies. There are organizations and infrastructure out there who are working to harm you. Make no mistake of it. They would sell you down the line if they could, and they very often do behind your back. I mean the Zionist organizations, I mean the foreign policy organizations that say they’re not Zionists but want a two-state solution. I’m not a Palestinian myself but it’s my understanding that that is laughable. So know your enemies.” Billoo listed some of them: “We need to pay attention to the Anti-Defamation League. We need to pay attention to the Jewish Federation. We need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues. We need to pay attention to the Hillel chapters on our campuses. Because just because they’re your friend today, doesn’t mean that they have your back when it comes to human rights. So oppose the vehement fascists but oppose the polite Zionists too. They are not your friends.“
It could very well be that Russia added some fuel to the Linda Sarsour story, but the anti-Semitic toxicity prevalent among the group’s founders was their own. The insidious jihad fomented by the alt-left activists was a deliberate feature of their own making. Russia may have helped fan the flames, but the inferno of hatred came from within the movement itself.