Two leaders of the Women's March shared anti-Semitic conspiracy theories at the first meeting of the organization's leadership in November 2016, according to others present at the meeting.
Tamika Mallory and 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 reports. Tablet noted that these theories are "canards popularized by The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews, a book published by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam."
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Mallory denied making the comments.
After the Women's March protested in Washington, D.C. in 2017, Mallory hosted a "debriefing" at her apartment. Women's March co-founder Evvie Harmon described an incident which took place during the meeting:
I suddenly realized that Tamika and Carmen were facing Vanessa [Wruble, a co-founder], who was sitting on a couch, and berating her—but it wasn’t about her being white. It was about her being Jewish. ‘Your people this, your people that.’ I was raised in the South and the language that was used is language that I’m very used to hearing in rural South Carolina. Just instead of against black people, against Jewish people. They even said to her ‘your people hold all the wealth.’ You could hear a pin drop. It was awful.
Mercy Morganfield, a former spokeswoman for the Women's March, told Tablet that Nation of Islam members acted as security and drivers for the co-founders.
"Bob [Bland, a co-chair] called me secretly and said, ‘Mercy, they have been in bed with the Nation of Islam since day one: They do all of our security,’" Morganfield said.
The first time the leadership of the Women’s March met in November 2016, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez shared anti-Semitic conspiracy theories with the entire leadership of the movement https://t.co/1E6G6NkyHS pic.twitter.com/iROZOWOBDG
— Evan Siegfried (@evansiegfried) December 11, 2018
Last month, the woman who started the first Facebook group of what became the Women's March, Teresa Shook, called on its current leaders to step down for permitting racist, anti-Semitic rhetoric.
"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 wrote in a Facebook post.
Sarsour released a statement saying the organization "should have been faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism," but the same week she also complained in her open letter about being forced to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Earlier this year, Mallory attended Farrakhan's annual Saviours' Day address, during which he attacked "that Satanic Jew," called Jews "the mother and father of apartheid," and declared that "when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door."
In October, Farrakhan compared Jews to termites.
In 2015, Perez posted a photo of her and Mallory holding hands with Farrakhan at an event in Chicago, describing the evening as "unforgettable."