(January 14, 2019 / JNS) The Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City announced last week it has disassociated from the Women’s March amid accusations of anti-Semitism against a few of the movement’s leaders such as their association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Instead, it will join the 2019 Women’s March on NYC under the auspices of the Women’s March Alliance, which has no relationship to the Women’s March Inc.
“We are not disassociating from the original goals of Women’s March,” said the synagogue’s senior rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “To the contrary, we are joining other progressive organizations that have also been critical of Women’s March Inc. and share the same concerns we have: that its current leadership has distorted the values and thwarted the goals articulated on that amazing January day in 2017.”
“As early as 2017, we heard rumblings of troubling accusations of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism within and amongst the leadership of the Washington march. At the time, we pushed our discomfort aside in deference to what we considered the bigger issues threatening our country,” he added. “But now, in the aftermath of Pittsburgh and mindful of the surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the past two years, anti-Semitism can no longer be a narrow concern. If you tolerate or are sympathetic to those who are prejudiced against Jews, we cannot stand with you. If you deny Israel’s right to exist, we cannot stand with you.”
In recent months, a number of prominent Jewish groups and activists have disavowed the Women’s March leadership over concerns regarding anti-Semitism.
Samantha Natov , associate rabbi of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, echoed Hirsch: “The Women’s March movement has accomplished so much and inspired women worldwide, but we are deeply concerned about the anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism connected to the Women’s March Inc. organizers, and feel it is our duty to speak out. We are grateful that there are alternatives to Women’s March Inc. that empower us to continue to fight for women’s rights, gender equality and the other issues so dear to us by supporting organizations that more closely reflect our core values.”
The Women’s March on NYC is scheduled for Jan. 19.