Bari Weiss is a staff editor in the opinion section at the New York Times. Like many women, she was initially enthused by the Women's March movement which began after President Donald Trump's inauguration. Since then she has, for many good reasons, become disillusioned.
She detailed that disillusionment in a Tuesday op-ed which clearly runs against the grain at the Times, and received predictable, name-calling blowback from a Women's March leader who pretended that they and their movement are non-violent. It isn't, and they aren't.
Though Weiss's column really should be read in its entirety, here are the key paragraphs which direct personal criticism at three of the movement's four primary leaders (bolds are mine):
When Progressives Embrace Hate
... 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.
... Start with Ms. Sarsour ...
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 ... 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.
... 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.
... 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.
... (Farrakhan's) views, which this editorial page has called “twisted,” remain as appalling as ever.
Weiss went on to assert that "what I stand against is embracing terrorists, disdaining independent feminist voices, hating on democracies and celebrating dictatorships."
She predicted that she would soon be smeared as "alt-right." She was correct. It only took a couple of days.
Exhibiting all too typical cowardice, the three women whom Weiss specifically criticized delegated the task to Bland, whose letter to the editor was published on Thursday:
From a Women’s March Leader: ‘We Need to Stand United’
... Ms. Weiss is endorsing a sensational alt-right attack that aims to discredit the Women’s March movement and its leaders and to derail the progress we have made since January.
Her article is a distraction at a critical moment when rights are being stripped from vulnerable communities every day.
... I stand in solidarity with my fellow organizers Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory.
We are a movement grounded in love for all people, but especially for the vulnerable, the oppressed and the marginalized.
For now, critics like Ms. Weiss are just critics from their seats. Until they get up, listen and do the work to understand those whose feelings have been shaped by injustices, they will remain apologists for the status quo, racist ideology and the white nationalist patriarchy.
Bland's letter would melt any hypocrisy meter applied to it. It message: Shut up, show up, and do what you're told.
Anyone who dares to criticize the despicable resumés, horrid actions, and outrageous statements of Women's March leaders is "alt-right" and one of many "apologists for the status quo, racist ideology and the white nationalist patriarchy." So much for "love of all people."
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Women's March leaders apparently still believe it's the 1960s, which the national establishment press's tight control of what was allowed to become news prevented most Americans from learning just how violent and ugly the anti-Vietnam War protest movement and the Black Power movement, to name just two, really were.
It's 2017, and though the reporters at Weiss's paper and at other establishment press outlets regularly whitewash the truth about the Women's March and other leftist movements, the truth is out there. Enough Americans who also happen to be voters are learning it.
Women who might otherwise have marched in naive lockstep with the Women's March are reaching the same conclusion Bari Weiss did at the end of her column, namely that if her discomfort with the movement and its leaders "puts me beyond the pale of the progressive feminist movement in America right now, so be it."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.