Washington state’s Women’s March chapter has decided to close due to leaders at the national level expressing anti-Semitic views and associating with anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan. From The Spokesman-Review:

Angie Beem, a Spokane Valley resident who served as board president of Women’s March Washington, announced the dissolution of the state group on Facebook on Thursday, citing the national organization’s ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Beem, who helped organize the march in Spokane in 2017 and made an unsuccessful bid for Spokane Valley City Council that fall, said in an interview Friday the decision to disband wasn’t easy.

“It’s heartbreaking. Whenever you create something that literally changed your life, it’s really hard to walk away from it,” Beem said.

Local organizers knew the state organization was considering disbanding after planned marches in January, said Lori Feagan, an organizer with Spokane Women’s March. But they were unaware a public announcement would be made this week, she said.

“We are independent,” Feagan said. “We don’t have any financial backing (from) the state or national organization.”

In November, the local group put out a statement denouncing anti-Semitism, transphobia and any groups supporting those prejudices.

Beem lashed out at the four leaders: Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour. She described their behavior as “fame-hungry” and expressed concern over the way those four handle finances at the national level.

It’s about damn time people are paying attention. We have always shown the times when leaders Sarsour and Mallory spew their anti-Semitic rhetoric and propping up scumbags like Farrakhan.

In fact, it looks like members of the chapter have problems with the leaders because Beem said she’s “not getting a lot of pushback,” which has come as a surprise to her.

It wasn’t until Tablet magazine published its investigation into the Women’s March and exposed the anti-Semitic vibes inside of it.

Beem spoke to Tablet for its article and mentioned her chapter will dissolve on January 3:

“The vice president of our chapter is Jewish,” Beem said. “She gave them that first opportunity to apologize and admit and say ‘we screwed up’ but they didn’t, so she was done.” After this year’s march, Beem said, “we are dissolving the organization.”

She also told Tablet what went down when reports came out in March that Mallory attended a Nation of Islam event:

“Many of us were upset,” Beem told Tablet. “She is the face of a women’s march, and our mission and values are equality and inclusion. To openly praise someone like this went against everything we were supposed to stand by.” Beem described a sense of awkwardness as Mallory went on to defend Farrakhan to over 40 women on the call. And she wasn’t alone, Beem said; Perez and Bland jumped in to defend him as well. “They said to us: ‘You know, he has done some great things for people of color.’ They didn’t denounce anything he said, they only did that recently. Some state people supported them and some who were very brave stood up to them. One woman said something like, ‘Just because somebody does one good thing doesn’t mean they are excused for everything else.’ They said, ‘We hear you.’ But then they refused to do anything about it.”

A few weeks later, in an email dated March 29 between Beem and Mrinalini Chakraborty, who at the time was the Women’s March national head of field operations & strategy, Beem wrote that the Washington state chapter was taking heat for the current controversy and that it would be best if at least two of the co-chairs were removed. “This particular issue has been hard for many of us and believe me, we are working internally to put in better systems in place so that this doesn’t happen in the future,” Chakraborty replied, according to an email seen by Tablet. “People have been hurt and we need to heal before we can move forward. However, I do think that it’s important we don’t talk about ‘removing people from leadership.’” Chakraborty did not respond to a request for comment.

Throughout the year, as more evidence of anti-Semitism inside the Women’s March has come out, the group has bled members and people who work for the organization.

Back in November, the Critique of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Studies, the think tank for the German social democratic party took back its Human Rights Award from the Women’s March:

“We believe that the Women’s March USA does not meet the criteria of this award, as its organizers have repeatedly attracted attention through antisemitic statements, the trivialization of antisemitism and the exclusion of Zionists and Jews since Women’s March USA’s establishment in 2017. Women’s March USA does not constitute an inclusive alliance,” wrote members of the scholarship working group, called Critique of Anti-Semitism and Jewish Studies, from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in a public letter.

Here is a video from the Women’s March in January 2017 in Olympia, WA:

 
 
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