One of the leaders of the Women's March is coming to UNC Asheville, where she'll deliver the keynote speech during an annual tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
But the appearance by Tamika Mallory has drawn criticism because of reports that she - and other Women's March leaders - have permitted and participated in anti-Semitism.
From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
UNC Asheville leaders defended the decision to book Women's March co-president Tamika Mallory for a speaking engagement this month, saying the university rejects anti-Semitism but stands for "free speech and open dialogue."
Mallory and other leaders of Women’s March Inc. have been criticized in the past year for failing to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has been widely reviled for anti-Semitic remarks.
Mallory, who is scheduled to deliver a keynote address for UNCA's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week later this month, remains a subject of vitriol after attending the Nation of Islam’s Saviour’s Day in 2018 during which Farrakhan made numerous anti-Semitic and homophobic comments.
Mallory called Mr. Farrakhan “the GOAT,” or “greatest of all time,” in a social media post from 2017. She has since said that she does not subscribe to Farrakhan's views about Jewish people.
The Women's March first occurred in 2017 as a protest against President Donald Trump. Mallory's public support for Farrakhan - who has a decades-long history of anti-Semitic rhetoric - came that same year.
Mallory has since tried to distance herself from Farrakhan's bigotry, telling the NY Times:
Ms. Mallory and Ms. Perez say they categorically condemn anti-Semitism, and that when they asked Ms. Wruble to leave the group, it had nothing to do with her being Jewish. But they acknowledged that the role of Jewish women was discussed in that first meeting.
“Since that conversation, we’ve all learned a lot about how while white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy, ALL Jews are targeted by it,” Ms. Mallory said in a statement to The New York Times.
The allegations of anti-Semitism are particularly painful because Women’s March organizers made a commitment from the beginning to work across racial and religious lines, and to be led by what they considered the most “marginalized” women.
Now Women’s March activists are grappling with how they treat Jews — and whether they should be counted as privileged white Americans or “marginalized” minorities, especially in the aftermath of the October mass shooting in Pittsburgh, when 11 people were gunned down at their synagogue.
This NY Times story came on the heels of a much-larger expose written in Tablet - outlining how Mallory attacked a fellow Women's March leader after the big march:
At the end of January, according to multiple sources, there was an official debriefing at Mallory’s apartment. In attendance were Mallory, Evvie Harmon, Breanne Butler, Vanessa Wruble, Cassady Fendlay, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour. They should have been basking in the afterglow of their massive success, but—according to Harmon—the air was thick with conflict. “We sat in that room for hours,” Harmon told Tablet recently. “Tamika told us that the problem was that there were five white women in the room and only three women of color, and that she didn’t trust white women. Especially white women from the South. At that point, I kind of tuned out because I was so used to hearing this type of talk from Tamika. But then I noticed the energy in the room changed. I suddenly realized that Tamika and Carmen were facing Vanessa, who was sitting on a couch, and berating her—but it wasn’t about her being white. It was about her being Jewish. ‘Your people this, your people that.’ I was raised in the South and the language that was used is language that I’m very used to hearing in rural South Carolina. Just instead of against black people, against Jewish people. They even said to her ‘your people hold all the wealth.’ You could hear a pin drop. It was awful.”
Reached by Tablet, Wruble declined to comment on the incident. Multiple other sources confirm that soon after, Wruble was no longer affiliated with the Women’s March Inc.—as the nascent group was starting to be known.
All of this is conflicts with what Mallory told Tablet -- specifically that she never talked about Jews:
To this day, Mallory and Bland deny any such statements were ever uttered, either at the first meeting or at Mallory’s apartment. “There was a particular conversation around how white women had centered themselves—and also around the dynamics of racial justice and why it was essential that racial justice be a part of the women’s rights conversation,” remembered Bland. But she and Mallory insisted it never had anything to do with Jews. “Carmen and I were very clear at that [first] meeting that we would not take on roles as workers or staff, but that we had to be in a leadership position in order for us to engage in the march,” Mallory told Tablet, in an interview last week, adding that they had been particularly sensitive to the fact that they had been invited to the meeting by white women, and wanted to be sure they weren’t about to enter into an unfair arrangement. “Other than that, there was no particular conversation about Jewish women, or any particular group of people.”
So, Mallory says there was never any discussion about Jews during the post-March meeting, but "since that conversation, we’ve all learned a lot about how while white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy, ALL Jews are targeted by it."
If Jews were not part of the original conversation, Mallory's statement makes no sense.
And keep in mind, this is just Tamika Mallory. One of the other leaders of the Women's March was Linda Sarsour - who has a far more outrageous history of anti-Semitism.
This story has gotten a lot of attention in Jewish and conservative media over the past year, so it's good to see legacy media taking an interest. But I doubt this kind of behavior will lead to any sort of public shaming or cancellation of appearances.
Indeed, UNC Asheville's decision is a good example of how progressives are quite willing to forgive excesses of their own in the Great American Culture War.
As such, the test of free speech is not Mallory's speech at UNC Asheville. The real test would be if a conservative gets booked to speak.
Pete's Prep Sheet: Monday, Jan. 7, 2019
- The US Supreme Court says it will hear oral arguments in two cases that could fundamentally change the American election system. The black-robed lawyers will decide whether there's a way to determine whether elected representatives paid too much attention to partisan advantage when drawing district lines.
- A.P. Dillon has an update on the latest from the completely-messed-up NC 9th Congressional District race - where the guy who won amid allegations of fraud is now suing after not being seated.
- Andy Jackson at Civitas has an informative piece on how ballot harvesting operations function, and what could be done to address the problem.
- Meanwhile, there are all sorts of questions being asked about the former NC Board of Elections Chairman's contacts with a fellow Democrat who worked with the man at the center of the ballot harvesting operation in Bladen County. Brant Clifton at the Daily Haymaker also notes - this same former Chairman was "chairing an investigation into campaign dealings in his home county involving a political machine he has long defended and supported."