The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a leading left-wing German think tank, has called off its plans to honor the Woman’s March USA over allegations of antisemitism. Two leaders of the group, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, have not shied away from displaying their affection for notorious anti-Semite and racist Louis Farrakhan.

The foundation, affiliated to Germany’s ruling Social Democratic party, rescinded the award after weeks of protests from academics and researchers associated with the state-funded organisation, German newspapers report.

“After careful consideration, the executive board has decided to cancel the award ceremony and the let the issue be examined by an independent entity,” the foundation declared on its website.

Earlier the Berlin-based watchdog group, Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism (JFDA), had published an open letter signed by several current and former research follows of the Ebert Foundation, citing  antisemitic tendencies displayed by the leading activists of the Woman’s March.

Established in early 2017, the Woman’s March caught global headlines for organizing a worldwide protest shortly after the  inauguration of President Donald Trump. The group has organised “Women’s Marches” in several cities outside the United States, including Berlin.

German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported the cancellation of the award ceremony last week:

It was expected to be a big celebration coming Monday: Friedrich Ebert Foundation affiliated to the Social Democratic party, had invited the Women’s March USA to receive its human rights award. The entertainer Gayle Tufts was going to oversee the dance and music performances for the cultural event, [Germany’s] Family Affairs Minister Franziska Giffey of the Social Democratic party was to present the laudation. However, five days before the event the Friedrich Ebert Foundation called off the award ceremony on Twitter.

Accusations of antisemitism have been made against the organizers of the Women’s March. Besides the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism (JFDA), current and past [research] fellows of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation had protested and written a declaration published on the JFDA’s website mentioning that the organizers of the 2017 Women’s March in the United States had come to [public] attention for making “repeated antisemitic remarks.”

Linda Sarsour, the board member and former president of the Women’s March USA, had repeatedly promulgated antisemitism aimed at Israel. The JFDA described her as “very committed supporter” of anti-Israel boycott movement (BDS). [These] forms of antisemitism also came to fore in the Berlin Women’s March organised in January 2018, without the spokespersons of the group distancing themselves. The deceleration said: “A project that promotes feminism — but at the same time discriminates against Jews and Zionists, and denies Israel’s right to exist — cannot be honored by a democratic foundation that speaks against discrimination. [Translation by the author]

Benjamin Weinthal, noted journalist and research fellow for the DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), broke the story in the Jerusalem Post.

The open letter published by the German watchdog JFDA also condemned the leading organizers of the Women’s March for their ties to the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made antisemitic remarks. In late February, the group’s national co-chair Tamika Mallory attended an event where Farrakhan ranted against the Jews for being “the mother and father of apartheid” and accused them of inducing homosexuality in black men through narcotics.

Mallory, a long-time Farrakhan supporter, is on record calling him a “GOAT,” abbreviation for “greatest of all time.” Sarsour came to the defense of Mallory for refusing to distance herself from Farrakhan’s racist and antisemitic rhetoric. “I stand with Tamika Mallory,” Sarsour declared on Facebook, “I will not sit back while a strong, bold, unapologetic, committed Black woman who risks her life every day to speak truth to power and organize and mobilize movements is questioned, berated and abused.”

The JFDA’s letter specifically pointed to Sarsour for spreading “antisemitic conspiracy theories that resemble the classic antisemitic trope of blood libel. In September 2018, for instance, she claimed that when US police officers shoot unarmed black people, Jewish persons responsible would lurk in the background.”

The claims made by Sarsour are similar to the ones made by the anti-Zionist, non-Jewish group “Jewish Voice for Peace”, or JVP. The group recently rolled out a campaign to blame Israel and Jewish organizations for law enforcement related problems in minority neighborhoods across the United States.

Video: Women’s March leader Sarsour calls for ‘jihad’ in the U.S.

[Cover image via YouTube]