Women's March Organizers Accused of Anti-Semitism to Visit College Campuses Next Month

Speakers have 'history of anti-Zionist comments and celebration of self-proclaimed anti-Semites'

Linda Sarsour / Getty Images
September 30, 2017

Women's March co-organizers who have been accused of anti-Semitism are scheduled to appear at two college campuses next month.

Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland will be heading first to Johns Hopkins University, to open the Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, a 50-year-old celebrated student organization.

The Oct. 2 panel discussion at Johns Hopkins will be followed up by an Oct. 11 appearance, sans Bland, at the University of South Florida.

The topic at USF will be "intersectionality and divestment," according to the announcement from USF Divest, an anti-Israel coalition of students and faculty.

The leaders of the Jewish Student Association at Johns Hopkins, Aaron Pultman and Serena Frechter, co-wrote an open letter expressing their respect for free speech, but noting that "these women hold some views that we … find deeply disturbing."

"[They] have a history of anti-Zionist comments and celebration of self-proclaimed anti-Semites. Some of them deride Zionism as inherently oppressive and declare that one cannot be a Zionist while supporting equality in the U.S., directly excluding many members of our community from their fight for equality," wrote Pultman and Frechter. "Their claims transcend what is considered acceptable discourse. Furthermore, as Jews we are especially troubled by their embrace of leaders such as Louis Farrakhan, an avowed anti-Semite. We believe that praising Hitler and peddling in conspiracy should disqualify someone from being touted as an inspiration."

As the leader of the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan "has built a legacy of divisiveness as the leading anti-Semite in America," according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). He has called Adolf Hitler "a very great man," and has often commented on Jewish "control" of U.S. power structures.

The Women's March activists have expressed their love and support for Farrakhan on social media.

Additionally, Mallory eulogized brutal Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, writing, "Your legacy lives on!"; Sarsour has a well-documented track record of inflammatory remarks about reformers of Islam and Zionists, including comparing the latter to white supremacists, and has supported Palestinian terrorists who murdered Jews; and Perez has written of her "love" for a Black Panther convicted of the attempted murder of six police officers.

Dan Krasnove, co-president of student group Bulls for Israel at USF, told the Washington Free Beacon, "It's disappointing that these are who people choose to invite."

Krasnove said he will attend and listen to what the Women's March leaders have to say, and will then "respectfully challenge during a question and answer period any false comments" about Israel.

He noted such an event so early in the semester, paired with increased social media activity by Students for Justice in Palestine, likely points to anti-Israel students' intentions to increase their efforts on campus this year.

Rachel Biderman, programming chair of the MSE Symposium, told the Free Beacon, "We do not endorse any views of our speakers, but instead seek to create a platform and forum for the free exchange of ideas. We believe that as prominent leaders of our generation, the Women’s March organizers have important ideas to discuss."

Women's March organizers are looking toward the Women's Convention, a weekend of "intersectional movement building to continue the preparation going into the 2018 midterm elections," according to the site.

The convention is scheduled to take place at the Cobo Center in Detroit from Oct. 27-29.

Update October 2, 9:16 a.m.: This post has been updated with comment from the programming chair of the MSE Symposium.