News & Politics

Women's March Founder Calls on Sarsour and Others to Step Down, Citing Anti-Semitism

Women's March Founder Calls on Sarsour and Others to Step Down, Citing Anti-Semitism
Carmen Perez, left, Bob Bland, Tamika D. Mallory and Linda Sarsour attend the TIME 100 Gala on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Two years after it was formed, one of the founders of the left-wing “Women’s March” has finally had enough of her problematic liberal counterparts.

Teresa Shook, a retired lawyer who came up with the idea for a pro-woman march on Facebook the day after the 2016 election, is calling on co-founders Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland to step down from the organization because of their anti-Semitism and anti-gay rhetoric.

“As Founder of the Women’s March, my original vision and intent was to show the capacity of human beings to stand in solidarity and love against the hateful rhetoric that had become a part of the political landscape in the U.S. and around the world,” Shook wrote in a statement on her personal Facebook page Monday.  “I wanted us to prove that the majority of us are decent people who want a world that is fair, just and inclusive of Women and All people. We proved that on January 21, 2017 (and in the U.S. this past midterm with a diverse electorate).”

Shook wrote that the four organizers had “steered the Movement away from its true course” and that she had waited in vain for them to “right the ship.”

“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,” she continued.

I call for the current Co-Chairs to step down and to let others lead who can restore faith in the Movement and its original intent. I stand in Solidarity with all the Sister March Organizations, to bring the Movement back to its authentic purpose. As Women’s March founder, I am stepping up to bring focus back to the Unity Principles on which our movement began, and with the support of all of those who marched and have continued to march, I pledge to support grassroots, decentralized leadership promoting a safe, worldwide community devoid of hate speech, bigotry and racism.

It’s nice that Shook finally called on the co-chairs to step down, but what took her so long?

There were warning signs — bright, flashing warning lights that were, in fact, hard to miss.

Sarsour’s pro-Sharia law, anti-Israel stances were well known in January 2017. Conservatives also pointed to her egregious 2011 tweet in which she threatened to assault and remove the genitals of Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali because they “don’t deserve to be women.” How “pro-woman” is that?

In July 2017,  the Women’s March proudly celebrated the birthday of the “revolutionary” Assata Shakur, who was convicted for murdering state trooper Werner Foerster in 1979.

Appalled, CNN reporter Jake Tapper tweeted in response that “Shakur is a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba” and condemned the “ugly sentiments” in the tweet. “Any progressives out there condemning this?” he asked.

Sarsour tweeted back that Tapper “joins the ranks of the alt-right to target me online. Welcome to the party.”

Because to disagree with Sarsour is to “join the ranks of the alt-right,” according to Sarsour.

During an “anti-Semitism” event at the New School in New York City in November 2017, Sarsour proudly claimed to be “a very staunch supporter of the BDS movement” (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) and blamed the “Jewish media” for the controversial reputation she and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have.

During an Islamic Society of North America conference in September 2018, Sarsour declared that American Muslims “are complicit in the occupation of Palestinians, in the murder of Palestinian protesters” if they’re not actively promoting the Palestinian cause.

“If you’re on the side of the oppressor, or you’re defending the oppressor, or you’re actually trying to humanize the oppressor, then that’s a problem,” Sarsour said.

Tamika Mallory is a regular attendee at the Nation of Islam’s annual “Saviour’s Day” event and has repeatedly and lavishly praised Farrakhan on social media. In his most recent Saviour’s Day speech, Farrakhan said that “Jews control the media, Hollywood, the FBI, most of Europe, and Mexico.” He also said the “white people running Mexico are Mexican Jews.”

Mallory defended Farrakhan, saying that she has “been going to this event regularly for over 30 years.”

“White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through,” he said at the Feb. 2018 speech.

Actress and liberal activist Alyssa Milano last month called out Mallory and the Women’s March for not disavowing Farrakhan in strong terms.

“Any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed,” Milano told The Advocate, noting that she won’t speak at the next Women’s March if asked. “I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately.”

Just last week Sarsour was condemned for comments she made in support of Minnesota Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar.

Sarsour said that criticism of Omar’s support for BDS is led by “folks who masquerade as progressives but always choose their allegiance to Israel over their commitment to democracy and free speech.”

The American Jewish Committee, one of the oldest Jewish advocacy groups in America, accused Sarsour of anti-Semitism.

“Accusing Jews of dual loyalty is one of the oldest and most pernicious antisemitic tropes. No surprise to see it coming from @LSarsour. How long will progressive leaders continue to look the other way in the face of this hate?” the organization tweeted on Friday.

The Women’s March responded to Shook’s post with a statement of their own on the Women’s March Facebook page, thanking Shook for her “contribution to our movement,” but scolding her for “weighing in irresponsibly.”

We are imperfect. We don’t know everything and we have caused harm. At times we have responded with hurt. But we are committed to learning. We will continue to work through the good and the bad, the impact and the harm — of building an intersectional movement that our daughters, and our daughters’ daughters can be proud of.

We are grateful for people who HAVE been with us for the past two years, wrestling with the challenges and opportunities of what we are trying to build. Our ongoing work speaks for itself. That’s our focus, not armchair critiques from those who want to take credit for our labor.

The statement was signed by Bob Bland, Carmen Perez-Jordan, Linda Sarsour, Tamika D. Mallory, and the Women’s March team.