Women’s March leaders Tamikah Mallory and Carmen Perez endorsed an infamous anti-Semitic trope during the group’s first meeting in November 2016, according to a wide-ranging report published by Tablet on Tuesday
Mallory and Perez “asserted that Jewish people bore a special collective responsibility as exploiters of black and brown people — and even, according to a close secondhand source, claimed that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade,” the report says.
Mallory and Perez, who were invited to join the Women’s March soon after Trump’s election because the movement’s white founders felt they needed greater diversity among their leadership, deny discussing Jewish people in any capacity during the meeting in question.
As the report notes, the thoroughly debunked notion that Jewish people organized and profited from American chattel slavery was popularized by the Nation of Islam’s book, The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, which casts Jews as a historic oppressor of black people.
The Women’s March co-chairs, who, according to the report, cynically co-opted a grassroots movement to unify liberal women into a singular voting bloc, have repeatedly faced public criticism for their ties to the Nation of Islam and its founder, Louis Farrakhan.
Mallory and co-chair Linda Sarsour have routinely celebrated Farrakhan — a virulent anti-Semite who has argued in favor of traditional gender roles for women — and have attended speeches in which he railed against Jews for oppressing black people.
The co-chairs’ embrace of Farrakhan and their use of Nation of Islam members for security resulted in the splintering of the movement as numerous state chapters disaffiliated with the national organization.
“You are part of a national movement that is about the equality of women and you are sitting in the front row listening to a man say women belong in the kitchen and you’re nodding your head saying amen! I told them over and over again: It’s fine to be religious, but there is no place for religion in its radical forms inside of a national women’s movement with so many types of women,” former Women’s March communications official Mercy Morganfield said of Mallory’s attendance at, and social-media praise for, Farrakhan’s anti-semitic Saviour’s Day address in Chicago earlier this year. “It spoke to their inexperience and inability to hold this at a national stage. That is judgment, and you can’t teach judgment.”