What an extraordinary week it’s been. The Zioness community showed up across the country to stand proudly and unequivocally to advance social justice as progressives, Jews and Zionists. From Seattle to San Jose, from Minneapolis to Boston, from New York to Austin, our Zioness communities stood together and marched together in allyship with marginalized communities.
Our teach-ins in Los Angeles, DC and New York City gathered committed, diverse progressive activists for long overdue conversations about what real solidarity and allyship looks like in social justice spaces. These were the beginnings of a powerful, long-term conversation, and Zioness could not be more proud to lead the way.
Our community showed that we are comfortable being uncomfortable. We know that democracy only works when we show up for each other, even when it is hard. Yet, we also believe that speaking truth to power begins by speaking truth.
This weekend, we also saw how much work we have left to do to fight bigotry and intolerance in progressive spaces.
Women’s March Inc. and their associates have taken every chance to try to divide women. They set up a competing “march” in New York City. They perpetuated modern blood libels by claiming that the Jewish community is “waging war” on the African American community. They mocked Democratic Jewish leaders for their decision not to participate in their march in Washington. They used their media platform to attempt to erase Jewish indigeneity to the land of Israel.
This is not progressive or inclusive. This does not reflect the values of the progressive or the Jewish community. These self-appointed leaders are intentionally communicating to all Jews that we cannot be allies or receive allyship in this moment unless we allow ourselves and our struggles to be defined and imposed by others.
And even in spaces like the Women’s March Los Angeles, that we were sure modeled true inclusivity, our Zioness community was deeply hurt by the words of inflammatory speakers, who used their air time to attack our Zionist values. Many of our faith leaders and representatives felt forced to leave. We have reminded leaders of WMLA that a women’s movement without Jews is a women’s movement that will fail.
No other community is subjected to the same treatment––and the Jewish community will no longer allow ourselves to be subjected to it, either. Zioness is empowering and activating our community by rejecting the litmus tests imposed on us and refusing to be ostracized from the movements that we’ve led from their inception. We will continue our fight for a more equal America by standing alongside the many incredible and sincere progressive leaders who have stood with us.
Our work will continue to challenge this narrative. Will continue to show up and speak out. We will be at the table, working to advance social, racial, economic and gender justice at America––and we will continue to reject the suggestion that anyone else can speak for us.
With love and solidarity,
Zionesses at Local Women's Marches Last Weekend
In Case You Missed It: Zioness Teach-ins
Click below to watch. For the full list of panelists, see below.
Los Angeles Teach-In
Washington DC Teach-In
New York City Teach-In
Los Angeles Panelists:
1. California Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel, Vice-Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus;
2. Women’s March LA Founder, Emiliana Guereca;
3. Zioness Board Member and first gay or lesbian rabbi to head the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbi Denise Eger;
4. Zioness Board Member and immediate past chair of the LA Homelessness Commission, Rabbi Noah Farkas;
5. California Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and pastor at McCarty Memorial Church in Los Angeles, Pastor Eddie Anderson;
6. Founder of the Jewish Center for Justice, Rabbi Joel Simonds;
7. ADL's Senior Investigative Research at the Center for Extremism, Joanna Mendelson; and
8. Managing Director of JQ International, Arya Marvazy.
Washington DC Panelists:
1. Barry Karas, Former Board of Directors, Human Rights Campaign;
2. former President of the DC Women's March chapter, Mercy Morganfield;
3. former Human Rights Campaign President and Executive Director, Elizabeth Birch;
4. Executive Director of A Wider Bridge, Tyler Gregory;
5. Associate Director of JCRC of Greater Washington, Guila Franklin Siegel;
6. Zioness Board Member and former White House Communications Director, Ann Lewis; and
7. Zioness Board Member and Tablet Magazine Contributing Editor, Carly Pildis.
New York City Panelists:
1. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney;
2. Special Counsel & Director of Immigration Affairs, NYS Department of State, Jenifer Rajkumar;
3. New York City Council-member, Ritchie Torres
4. Founder, Women’s March Alliance (New York Women’s March), Katherine Siemoinko; Board Member,
5. Women’s March Alliance (New York Women’s March), Freedom Shannon;
6. National Co-Chair of Rabbis Against Gun Violence; Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin;
7. Founder of SMART Academia, Mohammed Rashid;
8. Program Director, Women in Faith Fellowship at JCRC-NY, Rabbi Melinda Zalma
9. Executive Director, A Wider Bridge, Tyler Gregory; and
10. Deputy Director, and Anti-Defamation League of New York/New Jersey, Melanie Robbins.
Giving to Zioness
Our community has a long road ahead. Our teach-ins sparked an open conversation about the existence of anti-Semitism in social justice spaces. Our presence at the Women’s Marches across the country showed that this conversation will be ongoing and difficult—but critically important.
Organizations including Women’s March Inc. will continue to try to divide us by exploiting differences within our diverse community of Zionist Jews and allies. We will not let them succeed.
We hope you will commit to supporting the Zioness community with a donation. Whether it’s $18, $180 or $1,800, your contribution will empower Jewish and Zionist leaders to continue our fight for equality in America, while driving the anti-Semitism out from within.
Help Zioness continue to empower and activate our community by rejecting the litmus tests imposed on us and refusing to be ostracized from the movements that we’ve led from their inception. Support us in our fight for a more equal America by standing alongside the many incredible and sincere progressive leaders who have stood with us.
Together, we can ensure that America is a place where we can be devoted to justice and equality without checking our Zionism at the door; where we can commit to the fight for self-determination for all people––including ourselves.
Click here to donate now!