….Donald Trump’s election was a watershed moment. Even those like me, who had previously pulled levers for candidates of both parties, felt that Mr. Trump had not only violated all sense of common decency, but, alarmingly, that he seemed to have no idea that there even existed such an unspoken code of civility and dignity. Now was the time to build a broad coalition to resist the genital-grabber with the nuclear codes.
The Women’s March moved me. O.K., so Madonna and Ashley Judd said some nutty things. But every movement has its excesses, I reasoned. Mr. Trump had campaigned on attacking the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. Now was the time to put aside petty differences and secondary issues to oppose his presidency.
That’s certainly what the leaders of the Democratic Party, who applauded the march, told us. Senator Charles Schumer called the protest “part of the grand American tradition.” The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, offered her congratulations to the march’s “courageous organizers” and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gushed about them in Time, where they were among the top 100 most influential people of 2017. “The Women’s March was the most inspiring and transformational moment I’ve ever witnessed in politics,” she wrote. “And it happened because four extraordinary women — Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour — had the courage to take on something big, important and urgent, and never gave up.”
The image of this fearsome foursome, echoed in more than a few flattering profiles, was as seductive as a Benetton ad. There was Tamika Mallory, a young black activist who was crowned the “Sojourner Truth of our time” by Jet magazine and “a leader of tomorrow” by Valerie Jarrett. Carmen Perez, a Mexican-American and a veteran political organizer, was named one of Fortune’s Top 50 World Leaders. Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing Palestinian-American and the former head of the Arab-American Association of New York, had been recognized as a “champion of change” by the Obama White House. And Bob Bland, the fashion designer behind the “Nasty Women” T-shirts, was the white mother who came up with the idea of the march in the first place.
What wasn’t to like?
A lot, as it turns out. The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, 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.
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.
But just last month, Ms. Sarsour proved that her past is prologue. On July 16, the official Twitter feed of the Women’s March offered warm wishes to Assata Shakur. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!” read the tweet, which featured a “#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor” — a pink and purple Pop Art-style portrait of Ms. Shakur, better known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.
Like many others, CNN’s Jake Tapper noticed the outrageous tweet. “Shakur is a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba,” he tweeted, going on to mention Ms. Sarsour’s troubling past statements. “Any progressives out there condemning this?” he asked.
What’s more distressing is that Ms. Sarsour is not the only leader of the women’s movement who harbors such alarming ideas. Largely overlooked have been the similarly outrageous statements of the march’s other organizers.
Ms. Mallory, in addition to applauding Assata Shakur as a feminist emblem, also admires Fidel Castro, who sheltered Ms. Shakur in Cuba. She put up a flurry of posts when Mr. Castro died last year. “R.I.P. Comandante! Your legacy lives on!” she wrote in one. She does not have similar respect for American police officers. “When you throw a brick in a pile of hogs, the one that hollers is the one you hit,” she posted on Nov. 20.
Ms. Perez also expressed her admiration for a Black Panther convicted of trying to kill six police officers: “Love learning from and sharing space with Baba Sekou Odinga.”
But the public figure both women regularly fawn over is Louis Farrakhan.
On May 11, Ms. Mallory posted a photo with her arm around Mr. Farrakhan, the 84-year-old Nation of Islam leader notorious for his anti-Semitic comments, on Twitter and Instagram. “Thank God this man is still alive and doing well,” she wrote. It is one of several videos and photos and quotes that Ms. Mallory has posted of Mr. Farrakhan.
Ms. Perez is also a big fan. In the fall, she posted a photo in which she holds hands with Mr. Farrakhan, writing, “There are many times when I sit with elders or inspirational individuals where I think, ‘I just wish I could package this and share this moment with others.’ ” She’s also promoted video of Mr. Farrakhan “dropping knowledge” and another in which he says he is “speaking truth to power.”
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.”
In one of the several widely available YouTube videos he’s made about the Jews, he told black Americans that “the control of the Synagogue of Satan over our people must be exposed.” He adds: “These satanic ones have not only controlled hip-hop but they control, according to their own words, the very messages that are brought to the public.” He goes on to offer a truly remarkable analysis of the hip-hop industry in which “intelligent” rappers are rejected by the “satanic minds” who insist that they “want filth” and encourage “vulgarity” and “savagery.” This is the first 10 minutes of an hour.
Mr. Farrakhan is also an unapologetic racist. He insists that whites are a “race of devils” and that “white people deserve to die.”……….
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