How Anti-Semitism Infiltrated the Women’s March

Dec. 12 2018

In the past few months, the anti-Trump women’s march movement has been subject to increasing scrutiny due to the connections of three of its long-time co-chairs—Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez—to Louis Farrakhan. The scrutiny first led the organization to distance itself somewhat from Sarsour, who has a history of particularly sordid statements about Jews, Israel, and other topics. In a careful investigation of the organizing body behind the march and the origins of what is now Women’s March, Inc., Leah McSweeney and Jacob Siegel have found that all three were connected to each other prior to November 2016, and were brought in to insure racial diversity among the nascent movement’s organizers. Moreover, write McSweeney and Siegel, anti-Semitism was a problem from the march organizers’ very first meeting on November 12, 2016, at which Perez and Mallory were present:

[A]s the women were opening up about their backgrounds, . . . Perez and Mallory 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. These are canards popularized by The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, a book published by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam—“the bible of the new anti-Semitism,” according to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. . . .

[Not long thereafter], questions also began to emerge about the ideological values upon which the movement was being built. On January 12, 2017, the women’s march made public its Unity Principles, which asserted: “We must create a society in which women, in particular women—in particular Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and queer and trans women—are free . . . ”. Numerous observers noted the absence of “Jewish” from the list. . . .

[Following the initial 2017 march], there was an official debriefing at Mallory’s apartment. In attendance were Mallory, Perez, Evvie Harmon, Breanne Butler, Vanessa Wruble, Cassady Fendlay, and Sarsour. They should have been basking in the afterglow of their massive success, but—according to Harmon—the air was thick with conflict. “We sat in that room for hours,” Harmon told Tablet recently. “Tamika told us that the problem was that there were five white women in the room and only three women of color, and that she didn’t trust white women. . . . At that point, I kind of tuned out because I was so used to hearing this type of talk from Tamika.

“But then I noticed the energy in the room changed. I suddenly realized that Tamika and Carmen were facing Vanessa [Wruble], 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 [about blacks] in rural South Carolina. [Except it was here being used about] Jewish people. They even said to [Wruble], ‘your people hold all the wealth.’ You could hear a pin drop. It was awful.”

Mercy Morganfield, a life-long activist who was involved with the march from its early days, but has since broken with the organization and spoken forcefully about its ties to Farrakhan and his supporters, put it succinctly in an interview: “they have been in bed with the Nation of Islam since day one.”

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Linda Sarsour, Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam, Politics & Current Affairs, Women's March

The Syrian Civil War May Be Coming to an End, but Three New Wars Are Rising There

March 26 2019

With both Islamic State and the major insurgent forces largely defeated, Syria now stands divided into three parts. Some 60 percent of the country, in the west and south, is in the hands of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Another 30 percent, in the northeast, is in the hands of the mostly Kurdish, and American-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The final 10 percent, in the northwest, is held by Sunni jihadists, some affiliated with al-Qaeda, under Turkish protection. But, writes Jonathan Spyer, the situation is far from stable. Kurds, likely linked to the SDF, have been waging an insurgency in the Turkish areas, and that’s only one of the problems:

The U.S.- and SDF-controlled area east of the Euphrates is also witnessing the stirrings of internal insurgency directed from outside. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “236 [SDF] fighters, civilians, oil workers, and officials” have been killed since August 2018 in incidents unrelated to the frontline conflict against Islamic State. . . . The SDF blames Turkey for these actions, and for earlier killings such as that of a prominent local Kurdish official. . . . There are other plausible suspects within Syria, however, including the Assad regime (or its Iranian allies) or Islamic State, all of which are enemies of the U.S.-supported Kurds.

The area controlled by the regime is by far the most secure of Syria’s three separate regions. [But, for instance, in] the restive Daraa province in the southwest, [there has been] a renewed small-scale insurgency against the Assad regime. . . .

As Islamic State’s caliphate disappears from Syria’s map, the country is settling into a twilight reality of de-facto division, in which a variety of low-burning insurgencies continue to claim lives. Open warfare in Syria is largely over. Peace, however, will remain a distant hope.

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More about: ISIS, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war, Turkey