(August 16, 2018 / JNS) The Women’s March For All (WMFA), an offshoot of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, has called on the Democratic National Committee to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
The liberal women’s group launched an online petition last week that has gotten 360 signatures as of press time. As to whether that number can grab the DNC’s attention, WMFA founder Nisi Jacobs, who took part in drafting the petition, told JNS that it’s simply too early. Jacobs is an activist and musician in New York City.
WMFA is an offshoot of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, led by Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez. These controversial leaders have come under fire for praising National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who organized the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C., and is known for anti-Semitic and other bigoted statements made over decades.
The WMFA call is similar to the one toward the Labour Party in the United Kingdom, which has only adopted part of the IHRA’s definition.
“We have seen an upsurge in antisemitism making its way into the Democratic [P]arty,” the petition reads. “Often cloaked as anti-Zionism, antisemitism has now become a serious problem in liberal movements worldwide, including the National Democratic Party in Canada and the Labour Party in the UK.”
The petition continues, “We have seen examples of this ilk creeping into the Democratic Party, with candidates like Ilhan Omar, Maria Estrada, Leslie Cockburn, Kyrsten Sinema, Thomas Lopez-Pierre, Julia Salazar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the latter two belonging to the Democratic Socialists of America organization that has singled out Israel on their platform by promoting its destruction.”
Omar, a Somalian woman who immigrated to the United States from a refugee camp in Kenya, is running for the congressional seat of Rep. Keith Ellison, Deputy Chairman of the DNC, who has been associated with Farrakhan. In 2012, she tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evils of Israel.”
Last May, in response to a user who criticized the band Maroon 5 for featuring Omar in a music video, Omar said, “Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews. You are a hateful sad man, I pray to Allah you get the help you need and find happiness.”
‘We’ll find out who our allies are’
Estrada, a candidate for a House seat in California, said “Democrats turn a blind eye to the genocide against Palestinians and justify it by bringing up the Holocaust. … Anyone who believes they are one of ‘God’s chosen people’ automatically feels superior and justified in all they do.”
Cockburn wrote a book in the 1990s that a New York Times reviewer said suggests that Israel is “somewhere behind just about everything that ails us.”
Arizona Congresswoman Sinema has an extensive history of anti-Israel activity stemming from at least the early 2000s, when “she organized for the Arizona Alliance for Peace and Justice, a group whose members have denounced Israel’s ‘disproportionate’ use of ‘violence and oppression,’ ” according to The Washington Free Beacon.
The frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for the Senate from Arizona was a spokesperson for Women in Black, an anti-war group that was founded in part to support Palestinians during the first intifada in Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Lopez-Pierre, who unsuccessfully ran last year for a New York City Council seat, has blamed Jews for economic development in Upper Manhattan. “We shall rise up against greedy Jewish landlords in New York City! If our political leaders fail to protect us, we shall sacrifice blood to save our communities from the evils of gentrification,” he told supporters.
Salazar, who is running for New York’s State Senate, was involved in the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic group Jewish Voices for Peace, which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS. She has also written for anti-Israel websites like Mondoweiss.
Perhaps the most well-known on the candidate list is Ocasio-Cortez, whose anti-Israel past includes a tweet on May 14 that said Israel was committing a “massacre” in Gaza, referring to the deaths of 62 Palestinian rioters massed along the Israel-Gaza border, most of whom were later identified to be members of the Hamas terror organization.
The WMFA petition mentions that the U.K. Labour Party’s problem with anti-Semitism has been “left unchecked for years, and it has now come to an ugly crescendo and will likely cause the party to split.”
“The Democratic Party is certainly heading in the direction of U.K. Labour and this petition is an attempt to mitigate any more movement in that direction,” Jacobs told JNS. “We do not see the need to establish another party because the Democratic Party is still mostly pro-Israel and cognizant of and rejects anti-Semitism. The anti-Israel element is still a marginal fringe.”
“Our actions and strategy are still being developed,” she added.
But allying with Democrats like Alan Dershowitz is not part of their strategy, Jacobs noted, due to his “defense of Trump.”
“We’ll find out who our allies are based on response to this petition,” said Jacobs.
The WMFA has attracted attention to its opposition of anti-Semitism in left-wing initiatives, in addition to its fundraiser for the Occupy Lafayette Park protests outside the White House last July, which raised more than $13,000.