(March 23, 2021 / JNS) In 2017, Nancy Kaufman, the CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, signed on to a letter defending Linda Sarsour against charges of anti-Semitism, that blared, “We will not stand by as Sarsour is falsely maligned, harassed and smeared.”
The Sarsour letter was organized by the Soros group Bend the Arc, and the other signatories came from a range of anti-Israel groups, including J Street, If Not Now and T’ruah. Those are some of the same groups with which NCJW joined in the so-called Hatikvah slate endorsed by Peter Beinart, who has backed BDS and wrote a New York Times column declaring, “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State.”
Now Sheila Katz, the current CEO of the NCJW, has popped up to defend Kristen Clarke against charges of anti-Semitism. Clarke, Biden’s pick to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, has an ugly history dating back to the 1990s, when she took part in an event with Tony Martin, author of The Jewish Onslaught.
The Black Students Association, headed by Clarke, had invited Martin to participate, despite an anti-Semitic history that began when he was promoting The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, the Nation of Islam’s version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
In The Jewish Onslaught, Martin wrote that, “Minister Farrakhan is one of African America’s most popular and respected leaders” and that “he has been the butt of every vile epithet that the Jewish spokespeople could conjure up.”
Martin ranted about the “continuing Jewish onslaught against the entire Black nation,” the “last three decades of Jewish assaults on Black progress,” and reprinted a letter that claimed that the “Jews passing themselves off as descendants of the biblical Hebrews as one of the biggest frauds in history.”
Beyond the anti-Semitism, Martin followed the black supremacist line, talking up Marcus Garvey, an admirer of Hitler’s and denouncing the NAACP as “assimilationists.”
The Harvard Crimson noted that “Martin devoted much of his hour-long address to what he alleged was a Jewish ‘tradition’ of persecuting blacks.”
Kristen Clarke defended Martin’s anti-Semitic rants by claiming that, “Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact.”
A letter to the Harvard Crimson describes Martin being introduced by Clarke, before going on to rant about “the Jewish tradition and the Jewish people,” and claiming that the “so-called sages” of the Jewish people were “the earliest racists of recorded history.”
Martin praised Clarke for inviting him. Clarke had introduced Martin, and defended his anti-Semitism after the speech. None of this is seriously in dispute, but like Raphael Warnock, Clarke is the pick of Biden’s political allies, which means that the nomination will move forward anyway.
“I’m a pretty good judge of what an anti-Semite is, and I do not believe she is an anti-Semite,” insisted Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Would Garland or the Democrats put forward a nominee who had invited David Duke to speak at her college?
There’s no obvious sign that Clarke has jettisoned the ugly attitudes of her Harvard days. Garland, like other Bidenites, doesn’t care. And Clarke’s allies are happy to defend her.
NCJW’s Katz awkwardly describes The Jewish Onslaught as a “book about the controversy that many at [Martin’s] college [Wellesely] labeled anti-Semitic.”
The CEO of a group with “Jewish” in its name can’t bring herself to label a book titled The Jewish Onslaught as anti-Semitic, and misleadingly describes Martin’s anti-Semitic rant as “an academic event” in which Clarke had “participated.”
The NCJW boss concludes this defense of a bigot by complaining about the “disappointing silence from many Jewish organizations that claim they are committed to civil rights and yet have failed to publicly support Clarke.” Nothing says civil rights like supporting anti-Semites.
With the exception of the Zionist Organization of America, few Jewish groups have indeed taken a stand against Clarke or any of Biden’s other deeply disturbing appointees
“Ms. Clarke’s longstanding and recent promotion of antisemitism and racism disqualifies her to head a government office entrusted with combating these scourges,” said ZOA President Morton Klein in a statement.
No wonder that NCJW filed a complaint against ZOA in 2018. In 2020, former NCJW CEO Kaufman, who had stood with anti-Semites against Jews, claimed to be “appalled and outraged by the bigotry and hatred expressed and promoted by Morton Klein” and demanded ZOA’s expulsion for its willingness to call out anti-Semitism in the Black Lives Matter movement.
And that’s why the National Council of Jewish Women continues to support anti-Semites.
After the former CEO had defended Sarsour, Sheila Katz appeared in a “faith vote” video that also featured Sarsour. When the furor broke over the Women’s March, whose leaders, including Tamika Mallory and Sarsour, were in trouble over anti-Semitism, Kaufman declared that her organization’s agenda, “is in complete alignment with the national policy agenda of the Women’s March and the Women’s March movement.”
“I have 60 chapters across the country. And they’re reading about Louis Farrakhan, who, you know, hates Jews and is anti-Semitic, and why is the Women’s March supporting Louis Farrakhan. And you’re trying to message this and have conversations. It isn’t easy,” Kaufman later whined at a discussion with Sarsour and Mallory.
There’s no leftist anti-Semite that the National Council of Jewish Women won’t defend.
The NCJW had issued a press release blasting the Jewish state for denying entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
Beth Gendler, the head of NCJW-Minnesota, which had previously offered Omar a platform, defended her anti-Semitic comments and argued that she didn’t believe Omar was anti-Semitic.
“She listens to us, and has been a really important partner of ours,” Gendler argued. “Have some of the things she said been anti-Semitic or played into anti-Semitic tropes? Yeah, sure, anti-Semitism is in the air we breathe. Is some of the backlash because she’s a black immigrant woman wearing a hijab? I would hazard to say yes.”
The NCJW is quick to dismiss anti-Semitism by its allies while accusing Jewish critics of racism for noticing the anti-Semitism.
The CEOs and local heads of the NCJW have followed the same pattern when excusing their anti-Semitic allies, whether it’s Sarsour, Mallory, Omar and now, Clarke.
Despite its ugly history of defending anti-Semites, many American Jews still view the NJCW as one of the country’s old, bland Jewish organizations, even if they’re vague on what it does.
In some ways, the NJCW is no different from a lot of the alphabet soup of Jewish organizations that exist for little reason other than the familiar diet of salaries, egos and liberal politics. But the NCJW was always radical, back to its founder, Hannah G. Solomon, who mingled a contempt for Judaism and Israel with the anti-war politics of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, whose chapters would eventually be taken over by the Communists.
In her autobiography, Solomon cheerfully marveled at her visit to Stalin’s USSR, praising Soviet Communism as the “Great Experiment” of a “mild and kindly people,” while claiming that Jews were being treated well, at a time when they were being murdered and tortured by the regime.
Solomon visited the Anti-Religious Gallery, and crowed that “hundreds of children” were “being taught Communism and a contempt for old superstitions.” Those “superstitions” included Judaism, which was being violently suppressed with beatings, bullets and gulags.
But the NCJW founder noted the “revolutionary treatment of prisoners” in the “criminal colony.”
The National Council of Jewish Women did not begin defending leftist anti-Semites last year or last decade. It was acting as a shameless apologist for them since at least the Stalin era.
Its founder also despised the idea of a Jewish state.
The NCJW did not take a sudden turn for the worse. It did not switch from liberalism to leftism; it was always leftist. Its impassioned defenses of Sarsour, Omar and Clarke are a continuation of Solomon’s cheerful visit to the USSR to witness Stalin’s “great experiment” in political terror.
Not everyone associated with the NCJW is aware of or understands what the group is, and as it continues to act as an apologist for anti-Semites, it’s important to begin to change all that.
The NCJW is as radical and as anti-Israel as any of the groups it aligns with and defends. And its defense of Kristen Clarke’s anti-Semitism ought to be viewed, instead, as an indictment.
The NCJW has defended Stalin, Sarsour, Omar and Clarke against charges of anti-Semitism.
When the NCJW claims that a leftist isn’t anti-Semitic, the safe assumption is that he/she is.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.
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