So there was a hell of a piece in tablet magazine this week about antisemitism in the womens’ march movement. I was highly skeptical when I started reading it. But unfortunately I think they’re on to something.
Tablet leaned on multiple sources to document incidents that any reasonable person would label as antisemitic within the march’s national “leadership,” so much as the organization had any national leadership. One incident in particular focused on two of the march’s founding members attacking another one (who was Jewish) over “her people” hoarding all their wealth and presumably controlling society or whatever. This was swept under the rug, though I would argue unintentionally so, by the growing current that transformed the womens’ march from a single moment of protest into a national brand.
Tablet details another incident, March 11th of this year, when one of the march’s organizers showered Louis Farrakhan with praise. Farrakhan, of course, is the head of Nation of Islam. Let me be exceptionally clear about this: The Nation of Islam is a hate group. The SPLC defines it as a hate group and notes that it is very good at raising money, something it turned out the women’s march was also very good at.
Tablet takes a deep dive into how the women’s march raised money and what sort of questionable ethics were involved. Part of this, in my opinion, can be blamed on how fast the movement grew and the relative inexperience of the activists in fundraising law. The rules on coordination between 501c3 and c4 groups and campaigns are really complicated, and I’m not sure that the women at the head of the movement can be condemned as criminals for a misstep in that area.
But what they can be condemned for is their continued reliance on Farrakhan. One thing Tablet demonostatss beyond doubt is that the women’s march raised a lot of money that simply could not be accounted for via individual donations. Money that was given to them by organizations Farrakhan supported by speaking at their rallies and making donations in the name of the Nation if Islam.
There is also something particularly disturbing in the way the women’s march activists pushed back on these allegations. If you scroll down to the bottom of the aforementioned tablet article or a number of other articles on this subject, you’ll notice that there are a lot of corrections on minor details, like exsctly how much the activists drew from donor funds as a salary (which I’m not necessarily knocking, btw, as long as donors are told up front about it it’s perfectly ethical to draw a modest salary for what amounts to more than a full time job). But what stands out is what’s absent from the corrections. There is no dispute, apparently, from these activists that they attended rallied held by Farrakhan, that they listened to him while he told his audience, as he does regularly, that Jews are the spawn of of Satan, and that they either agreed or did not feel disgusted enough to leave. That is unacceptable for two reasons. The first is the obvious, but the second is that the women’s march cashed in on the “resistance” thing after Trump was elected. Millions of people donated to what they thought was a genuine progressive resistance. As it turns out, they were also doing something else without knowing it: creating a mouthpiece for hate.