In Major Blow, Democratic National Committee Withdraws Women’s March Sponsorship

Democratic Jewish leader welcomed decision to 'take a principled stand against anti-Semitism' ■ National Organization for Women also disappeared from new list of sponsors

File photo: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi marches in the Women's March as they walk to the White House in Washington, January 20, 2018.
Cliff Owen/AP

The Democratic National Committee has joined the list of organizations who have broken with the national Women’s March group following controversy regarding the affiliation of the group’s co-chairs with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and charges of anti-Semitism within the group.

A leader of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which defines itself as "the voice of Jewish Democrats and socially-progressive, pro-Israel values" said Tuesday in a statement she welcomed the move, but that her group continued to encourage participation in marches that were not directly affiliated with the embattled Women’s March.

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"JDCA supports the objectives of the Women's March and stands with sister marches across the country this weekend,” said Halie Soifer, JDCA executive director “At the same time, we welcome the DNC, SPLC, Emily's List, and other organizations' decision to not sponsor and participate in the Women’s March and take a principled stand against anti-Semitism."

When the list of sponsors for the 2019 national Women’s March was published over the weekend, it became apparent that numerous organizations who had joined the March in its first two years, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and Emily’s List had chosen not to partner with the group, following controversy over the refusal of three of the March’s co-chairs to clearly denounce Rev. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam and his anti-Semitic and homophobic positions and charges of hostility to Jewish women within the group.

Between Sunday and Tuesday, additional sponsors, including the DNC along with the National Organization for Women who had appeared on the list of sponsors, were gone. NAACP was removed from the list early Tuesday, but reappeared later the same day. 

On Monday, pressed by co-host Meghan McCain Monday on the television show “The View,” co-chair Tamika Mallory once again declined to explicitly condemn Farrakhan’s statements on Jews, saying only that Farrakhan’s words were "not my language. It’s not the way that I speak, it’s not how I organize."

Also Monday, in what appeared part of the effort to stem the tide of opposition to the national organization, it was announced that the group had included three Jewish women to a new 32 member steering committee. The Jewish members are transgender rights activist Abby Stein, Union for Reform Judaism former staffer April Baskin and Jewish diversity activist Yavilah McCoy.

Stein, a formerly Hasidic transgender woman, has worked to raise awareness for transgender people as well as those leaving Haredi Orthodox Judaism. Baskin is the former Vice President of Audacious Hospitality for the Union for Reform Judaism and is a former president of the Jewish Multiracial Network. McCoy is the founder of Ayecha, a Jewish nonprofit that advocates for Jews of color.