Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour out at Women's March following allegations of anti-Semitism

Co-chair Bob Bland also departed Women's March organization as it shakes up leadership ahead of 2020 election

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published September 17, 2019 11:54AM (EDT)

Co-presidents of the 2019 Women's March, Linda Sarsour, left, and Tamika Mallory, center, join other demonstrators on Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Co-presidents of the 2019 Women's March, Linda Sarsour, left, and Tamika Mallory, center, join other demonstrators on Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, two inaugural members of the Women's March organization who have faced charges of anti-Semitism, stepped down from the organization's board in July.

Co-chair Bob Bland also departed the organization as it shakes up its leadership ahead of the 2020 presidential election, according to the Washington Post.

Both Mallory and Sarsour have been accused on various occasions of using the Women's March as a platform for statements or attitudes their critics have claimed were hostile to Jews. It is unclear whether those accusations played a role in their departures from the organization.

Mallory has been criticized for her ties to the Nation of Islam and its anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan, including an occasion when she attended an event where Farrakhan made anti-Semitic remarks. Sarsour has also made remarks about Israel that have drawn criticism, as when she claimed that Zionism and feminism were incompatible. She has also supported the BDS movement and its boycott of Israel, seen by some as motivated by a desire to delegitimize the Jewish state.

The 16-member board of the Women's March, which includes three Jewish women, has also included Zahra Billoo, a controversial figure who heads the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. According to the Forward, Billoo has posted tweets claiming that "apartheid Israel kills children as a hobby" and that "Zionism is a very real threat to our national security."

Perceived anti-Semitism has received increased attention in recent years in the U.S. amid controversial remarks from both sides of the political aisle. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was criticized for tweeting in January that supporters of a bill permitting state and local governments to ban contracts with BDS supporters "forgot what country they represent." Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., claimed on Twitter a month later that backers of that bill were "all about the Benjamins baby." Both tweets were denounced for playing on anti-Semitic stereotypes that American Jews have dual loyalties and that Jewish people are associated with money.

Last month, President Donald Trump alleged that the Democratic Party is anti-Israel, going on to say, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." He later added, "If you vote for a Democrat, you're being disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel. Only weak people would say anything other than that."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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