NCJW USA has been considering its participation in the Women’s March, planned for January 19, 2019, in Washington D.C. and in cities around the world. This statement by Beatrice Kahn, President, and Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO, sets out our U.S. affiliate’s considered opinion on this controversial organization and event.
“It’s an exciting time for women and we at NCJW are thrilled to be a part of it. At the same time, there have been increasing reports of anti-Semitism at the helm of one of the giants in the women’s movement: the Women’s March. The National Council of Jewish Women is alarmed about these reports and has decided that it is not supporting the Women’s March. Individual Jewish women will be marching in DC, but not on behalf of NCJW. We have encouraged our local members and sections to decide whether or not to endorse their local marches as they deem appropriate.
Notwithstanding the remarks of its leaders, the Women’s March movement and, specifically, the Unity Principles of the Women’s March organization, which NCJW were instrumental in helping to draft, both in 2017 and 2019, are in complete alignment with NCJW’s Principles and Resolutions. Every change we have recommended has been adopted, including adding the names of Jewish women to the list of feminist leaders (Bella Abzug and Hannah G. Solomon) and adding “Jewish women” as a vulnerable population in 2019.
Most recently, in order to assert our unequivocal opposition to anti-Semitism and raise awareness about it, NCJW has been working with Women’s March leaders and staff to ensure that the March agenda and principles include an explicit rejection of anti-Semitism. These changes have only come about because we have played an important advisory role.
While we will not tolerate anti-Semitism, we are also deeply disturbed that the infighting in the Women’s March movement is empowering those who revel in the thought that a powerful, seamless movement of women leading social change might break apart. It is our hope that when the March is over, NCJW can help bring people together across race, religion, class and gender lines to forge a coalition of powerful voices who speak out for the progressive values that we have long espoused.”