Women’s March Taps Troubling Figure in Wake of Antisemitism Issues
The Washington Post reported something that looked like good news. Three board members at the national Women’s March who were involved in a series of antisemitic incidents are out. A diverse group of 16 people, including three Jews, will replace them.
But some of those new board members raise additional questions about the Women’s March, and seem to reinforce the previous concern that the march is not a welcoming place for women who support the State of Israel.
For example, Zahra Billoo is one of the new March leaders. The Post quoted her talking about the challenge the March faces “being able to harness our biggest strength and turn that energy into action” before the 2020 election.
But Billoo, who runs the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) San Francisco office, matches — and perhaps even surpasses — outgoing board member Linda Sarsour’s hatred for Israel and those who support it. Billoo at least is candid enough to admit the problems she has with the existence of a Jewish state. She repeatedly has compared Israeli soldiers to ISIS terrorists. Being pro-Israel, she has written, is tantamount to being “pro-terror, pro-violence, pro-land theft, and pro-apartheid.”
Criticizing Israeli leaders, or government policies, is not antisemitic. But rejecting even the idea of the state’s existence is. It’s a view shared by the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and at least 25 other nations.
Much of the Women’s March’s troubles stemmed from the inability of outgoing leaders Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Bob Bland to condemn the Nation of Islam’s antisemitic leader Louis Farrakhan. As a result, the movement lost key donors and sponsors prior to January’s national march.
Yet over the years, Billoo has touted Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. She featured a Nation of Islam video on her blog in 2010. Seven months earlier, she felt compelled to share with her Twitter followers that she was “watching [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan church speech, while at the gym.”
Touting Billoo’s appointment to the board while Sarsour leaves would be like a company saying, “Harvey Weinstein has left our board. Here’s our new member, Jeffrey Epstein.”
Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing, and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit organization that serves one of the world’s largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.