Women's March co-president Tamika Mallory refused to say Thursday that Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign country.
During an interview on "Firing Line" with Margaret Hoover, Mallory struggled to defend her views on Israeli and Palestinian claims to a homeland.
Recent Stories in Issues
Mallory had an opportunity in the interview to combat accusations of anti-Semitism she and fellow march leaders have faced. Rather than ease the worries of American Jews otherwise inclined to support the Women's March, Mallory focused on the right of Palestinians to the disputed territory, noting the difficulties they face.
In response, Hoover asked if she would say the same of Jews. "Do you feel that the Jewish people are native as well?" she asked.
"I understand the history, that there are people who have a number of sort of ideologies around why the Jewish people feel this should be their land," Mallory said, not answering the question. "I'm not Jewish, so for me to speak to that is not fair."
"Is it your view that Israel has a right to exist as a nation?" Hoover asked.
"I've said many times that I feel everyone has a right to exist," Mallory said, a line she came back to repeatedly.
"I just don't feel that anyone has a right to exist at the disposal of another," Mallory added.
Hoover attempted to get an answer to the question of Israel's right to exist, asking if her guest's prior comments included Israelis, but Mallory wouldn't go any further than her generalities.
"I believe that all people have a right to exist and that Palestinians are also suffering with a great crisis, and there are Jewish scholars that will say the same," Mallory said.
"I'm done talking about this," she said. "You can move on."
Mallory and her fellow march leaders face accusations of anti-Semitism and have been criticized for maintaining ties with Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Islam. The Anti-Defamation League describes the NOI as having "a consistent record of anti-Semitism" since the 1930s. Farrakhan has called Jews "termites" and Adolf Hitler a "great man."
Mallory was asked about her endorsement of Farrakhan in a separate interview earlier this week and refused to condemn him. She attended a NOI event last March at which Farrakhan made some of his widely condemned comments. Despite calls to separate herself from him, she called Farrakhan the "GOAT" (greatest of all time), and has defended him on multiple occasions.
At a 2016 leadership meeting for the march, Mallory and fellow march leader Carmen Perez "allegedly first asserted that Jewish people bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people—and even, according to a close secondhand source, claimed that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade," Tablet magazine reported in December.
March leader Linda Sarsour has also maintained ties to Farrakhan, repeatedly declining to condemn the NOI leader. She also has ties to unindicted terror co-conspirators and publicly expressed a wish to "take away" the vaginas of insufficiently progressive women.
Earlier Thursday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) announced in an op-ed she would no longer be participating in the national Women's March. Wasserman Schultz is Jewish and a vocal supporter of Israel in the Congress.
Mallory remains at the helm of the Women's March, which will hold its annual rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.