Disagreements vs. Dealbreakers

It is not unusual for me to work together with people with whom I disagree on a variety of issues in order to promote a common goal. I learned long ago that if I’m looking for political candidates, organizations, or movements that perfectly reflect my opinions and beliefs, I would never be able to vote, write a check, or participate in any political, social, religious, or charitable event. I normally live by the principle that if we agree on 75 percent of the issues, then we can work together.

So why was it that, when I read in The New York Times that, “Smaller Crowds Turn Out for Third Annual Women’s March Events”, I wasn’t really unhappy? Why don’t I support The Women’s March when, in fact, I agree with most of what it stands for, from abolishing gender inequity to promoting anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans?

When it comes to any kind of relationship, we need to be able to distinguish between disagreements and dealbreakers. We can work out disagreements, or respectfully agree to disagree, but sometimes we must choose to step away from the relationship. And this, for me, is the case of The Women’s March. 

Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women’s March, tweeted that “Nothing is creepier than Zionism”, echoing the groundless and vicious view equating Zionism to racism. This opinion is not simply a criticism of Israel, which is legitimate, but a clear anti-Zionist sentiment with which I cannot find any common ground.  

Tamika Mallory, another co-chair of The March, posted a photo on Instagram of herself and Louis Farrakhan, one of the biggest anti-semites and homophobes in our country, calling him the “GOAT” which stands for “Greatest Of All Time”. Not just Jews, but anyone who cares for truth and justice, must disassociate themselves from any organization headed by a person who is an admirer of a man who calls us “Satanic Jews”, and blames us for having “infected the whole world with poison and deceit.” He goes as far as calling Jews “termites”, a term taken from Nazi propaganda. 

I’m writing these words on Martin Luther King Day, as I’m reminded of the overwhelming support the American-Jewish community gave to the Civil Rights Movement. Our commitment to being champions of social justice has not diminished since the 1960s. But when organizations like The Women’s March demand of us to strip ourselves of our Jewish identity and denounce our love for Israel, we ought to sever the relationships with them and find other venues to fight for the same values we’ve maintained for over three millennia.