A New York Times staff editor writes the feminist Women’s March campaign has become an example of “when progressives embrace hate.”
Opinion section staff editor Bari Weiss wrote Tuesday that while she considers herself to have been a supporter of the Women’s March, it turns out there is “a lot” not to like about its leaders, “arguably the most prominent feminists in the country,” who also “have some chilling ideas and associations.”
“Far from erecting the big tent so many had hoped for, the movement they lead has embraced decidedly illiberal causes and cultivated a radical tenor that seems determined to alienate all but the most woke,” Weiss asserts.
She notes Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour – “this ‘homegirl in a hijab’ … has a history of disturbing views.”
There are comments on her Twitter feed of the anti-Zionist sort: “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” she wrote in 2012. And, oddly, given her status as a major feminist organizer, there are more than a few that seem to make common cause with anti-feminists, like this from 2015: “You’ll know when you’re living under Shariah law if suddenly all your loans and credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.
Ms. Sarsour and her defenders have dismissed all of this as a smear campaign coordinated by the far right and motivated by Islamophobia. Plus, they’ve argued, many of these tweets were written five years ago! Ancient history.
Weiss observes, however – as did CNN’s Jake Tapper – that Sarsour has been spewing hate as recently as July 16, when the Women’s March tweeted a birthday greeting to revolutionary #AssataShakur, aka Joanne Chesimard, “a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.”
— Women's March (@womensmarch) July 16, 2017
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 18, 2017
Subsequent to Sarsour’s reply to Tapper that he was now aligning with the “alt-right” against her, Weiss asks, “Since when did criticizing a domestic terrorist become a signal issue of the far right? Last I checked, that position was a matter of basic decency and patriotism.”
She continues that Women’s March leader and black activist Tamika Mallory is not only an admirer of Assata Shakur, but is also a fan of Fidel Castro – who gave Shakur a safe haven in Cuba.
Similarly, Mallory and her colleague Carmen Perez are devotees of Louis Farrakhan, Weiss writes, who is “notorious for his anti-Semitic comments.”
The editor observes:
What is Mr. Farrakhan’s truth? Readers born after 1980 will probably have little idea, since he has largely remained out of the headlines since the Million Man March he organized in 1995. But his views, which this editorial page has called “twisted,” remain as appalling as ever.
“And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” he warned Jews in a speech at a Nation of Islam gathering in Madison Square Garden in 1985. Five years later, he remained unreformed: “The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters.” Or this metaphor, directed at Jews: “You have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.” He called Hitler “a very great man” on national television. Judaism, he insists, is a “gutter religion.”
Weiss points out some of Farrakhan’s other views that still are managing to endear him to progressive Women’s March-ers:
Feminists will find little to cheer in his 1950s views of gender: “Your professional lives can’t satisfy your soul like a good, loving man.” Recently he told Jay-Z that he should make Beyoncé put on some clothes. He also opposes gay marriage.
“Resist Trump” Women’s March supporters are likely to get their dander up when Weiss takes them to task, likening their antics to those of the “populist, racist alt-right that helped deliver Mr. Trump the White House and are now hollowing out the Republican Party.”
She acknowledges that, for her views, she will likely be “tarred as Islamophobic,” “alt-right,” or some equally heinous label by Women’s March supporters.
“But what I stand against is embracing terrorists, disdaining independent feminist voices, hating on democracies and celebrating dictatorships,” Weiss asserts. “If that puts me beyond the pale of the progressive feminist movement in America right now, so be it.”