Zioness Statement on Women’s March, Inc.’s Removal of Zahra Billoo from its Leadership Committee
Zioness is fighting for an American feminist movement and a broader progressive movement that is inclusive of American Jews. Today is a victory in that fight.
After years of pain, anger, dialogue and action from American Jewish women and our allies, expressing our grief over Women’s March, Inc’s apparent, deeply engrained institutional antisemitism, we were disheartened and outraged to see Zahra Billoo appointed to the organization’s Leadership Committee. Zahra Billoo has repeatedly and viscerally attacked American Jews as Zionists, and––most importantly for those who care about the integrity of the American feminist movement––she refuses dialogue and interfaith work with the Jewish community and has even attacked Muslim Americans who participate in it. This behavior is antithetical to the progressive movement, especially intersectional, solidarity-based activism, which demands that we not leave any group behind.
While Ms. Billoo should never have been appointed, we applaud the Women’s March, Inc. leadership for voting to remove her. After years of waffling and empty statements in response to the Jewish community’s attempts to communicate our pain and alienation, this swift, decisive action is welcomed. Action matters. While, in many cases, dialogue and evolution would be preferred to dismissal, explicit, unapologetic antisemitism must be met with consequences, no matter where, when, or from whom it manifests.
We are proud of Jewish women for their resilience and refusal to give up or cede the feminist movement to outright bigotry. We are grateful to Women’s March, Inc’s leadership for doing what needed to be done. Antisemitism is the core organizing principle of white nationalism; until all progressive leaders recognize and actively combat this phenomenon, all our marginalized communities will be less safe.
Zioness exists to unify and amplify the voice of the vast majority of American Jews, especially women, who identify overwhelmingly as both unabashedly progressive and unapologetically Zionist. When we stand up for all our values, refuse to check any piece of our identities at the door, and reject false choices, we move forward with strength and purpose. While there will be many more challenges ahead, today exemplifies what we can accomplish when we remain true to all of our authentic selves.
At a time when the fight for abortion rights is at a tipping point; LGBTQ women, and especially transgender women of color, are under attack; and accused rapists sit on the Supreme Court and sleep in the White House, we need an indivisible, effective feminist movement that can punch back and stand up for all women. It finally feels like we’re on our way there.
Zahra Billoo wrote last night that the Women’s March is no longer the organization she was once proud of, and that it had changed. We hope that––just this once––she is right.