A German NGO has cancelled plans to honor the organizers of the “Women’s March” protest movement in the US, citing allegations of anti-Semitism after organizers refused to distance themselves from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and a Palestinian Arab terrorist responsible for the deaths of Israelis in a bombing attack in Jerusalem.
Last week, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) – an NGO affiliated with Germany’s left-of-center Social Democratic Party – announced that it had cancelled an award planned for the Women’s March.
“The FES announces that the Human Rights Award scheduled for November 12th, 2018 has been cancelled,” FES tweeted last week. “We will examine the allegations,” FES continued, referring to accusations of anti-Semitism aimed at the Women’s March organizers.
According to WDR, the FES later purged all references to the planned award for the Women’s March on its website.
The announcement came following the publication of an open letter penned by former and current students in FES scholarship programs. The letter protested FES’ choice of the Women’s March, saying they were “repeatedly struck by the anti-Semitic statements and attempts to minimize anti-Semitism” by the organizers of the march.
“We believe that the Women’s March USA does not meet the criteria of this award, since its organizers have, since the 2017 Women’s March, repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements… and excluded Jews and Zionists.”
The letter pointed to Women’s March board members Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, and their refusal to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, despite his long history of making anti-Semitic comments.
In 1984, Farrakhan compared himself favorably to Adolf Hitler and derided Judaism as a “gutter religion”. In subsequent statements, the Nation of Islam leader has condemned Jews as “Satanists”, and in October compared Jews to termites. Last week, Farrakhan led a chant of “Death to Israel, Death to America” during a visit to Tehran.
“Even after Mallory was repeatedly asked in March of this year to distance herself from the anti-Semitic statements by Farrakhan, she refused,” the letter continued, referring to Mallory’s refusal to condemn comments by the Nation of Islam leader at the Saviour’s Day event in Chicago in February.
Mallory sparked an outcry at the time when she posed for a photo with Farrakhan after the speech, during which Farrakhan had declared that “Jews are my enemy”.
The letter also cited Sarsour’s appearance on stage with Rasmea Odeh, a former terrorist from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was involved in the murder of two Israeli Jews in a bombing in Jerusalem.
The cancellation comes on the heels of actress Alyssa Milano’s decision not to participate in next year’s Women’s March.
“Any time that there is any bigotry or anti-Semitism in that respect, it needs to be called out and addressed. I’m disappointed in the leadership of the Women’s March that they haven’t done it adequately,” Milano said.