Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Sunday blamed "wicked Jews" for trying to use him to criticize Women's March leadership and "break up the women’s movement."
Farrakhan, who has a long history of anti-Semitism and ties with Women's March organizers Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez, spoke at his movement's Saviours’ Day conference in Chicago. He accused Jews of trying to put a wedge between him and some of the Women's March organizers because of their praise and association with him.
"The most beautiful sight that I could lay eyes on [was] when I saw, the day after Trump was elected, women from all over the world were standing in solidarity, and a black woman is the initiator of it," said Farrakhan, referring to Mallory.
"The wicked Jews want to use me to break up the women’s movement," Farrakhan said. "It ain’t about Farrakhan; it’s about women all over the world [who] have the power to change the world."
Later in his lengthy speech, Farrakhan asked the audience to applaud for "my poor little sister, Tamika" and appeared to imply that his critics used him to go after the Women's March organizers, CNS News reported.
"Tamika, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, our sister with the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter – the women shook the world the day after President Trump was elected," he said.
"The women organized, and all over the world women rose up and men in government got shook. Because when women rise, change is going to come," he continued. "So when they saw that Tamika had helped bring that about, they came after her."
As of early last month, over 300 organizations have withdrawn their sponsorship of the Women's March amidst controversy over the ties of the group's co-chairs to Farrakhan and allegations of anti-Semitism. Organizations that have rescinded their support include AFL-CIO, NARAL, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, NRDC, OXFAM, Greenpeace, Amnesty, Southern Poverty Law Center, and EMILY’s List.
Teresa Shook, the founder of the Women's March, called out leaders Bob Bland, Mallory, Sarsour, and Perez in a November Facebook post saying they have "steered the Movement away from its true course."
"I have waited, hoping they would right the ship. But they have not. In opposition to our Unity Principles, they have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs," Shook said.