We are thrilled and grateful that Women's March, Inc. has finally taken steps to combat antisemitism within its ranks. After our statement earlier this week, with sentiments shared by many activists and allies in the progressive movement, this morning WM announced that they have removed Zahra Billoo from their national board.
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.
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.
Read the rest of our statement below as well as other exciting announcements and upcoming events!
Also in this newsletter:
An opportunity to participate in a candidate engagement training with our new Director of Grassroots Organizing Carly Pildis on Wednesday, Sept. 25
Our thoughts on Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders bringing Linda Sarsour into his campaign in an official capacity and on changes to the Women's March leadership
Upcoming events including a symposium in NYC on issues affecting the LGBTQ communities of North America and Israel, a reception for LGBTQ Zionesses and allies in DC, a young adult summit on combatting gun violence hosted by Not My Generation and an NYC shoe drive put on by Youth Bridge New York
A fun, comprehensive Rosh Hashahah booklet from our very own amazing board member Archie Gottesman of JewBelong
With love and solidarity,
Grassroots Training: Candidate Engagement
Wednesday at 9 pm EST via Facebook Live
Zioness is thrilled to announce our first training with Carly Pildis, our new Director of Grassroots Organizing.
Join us Wednesday, September 25th, for a training on Candidate Engagement ahead of the Presidential primary season. Carly has engaged and educated candidates in three electoral cycles and worked for the Obama Campaign in 2012 — so she knows how to get candidates to make commitments and talk about the issues you care about! Carly will train you to engage with candidates in person and demand change.
Join her via Facebook Live on the Zioness Facebook page on Wednesday, September 25th, at 9 pm EST (6 pm PST).
An Attack on Zioness Is an Attack on True, Needed Supporters of Israel
by Benjamin Kerstein, correspondent for The Algemeiner
"[Zioness's] purpose, in other words, is to challenge anti-Zionism and antisemitism on the left, and to promote both progressive and Zionist values without compromising on either one.
They seek to fight antisemitism as if there were no Trump, and fight Trump as if there were no antisemitism. In this, it is fair to say, they have been largely successful.
In spite of this, however, there are those who see Zioness’ progressivism as in itself antithetical to Zionist values, which they identify wholly with the political right, and find their opposition to Trump offensive given his pro-Israel policies."
JewBelong: "Rosh Haggadah"
We love this quirky, modern, comprehensive guide to Rosh Hashaha created by our talented board member, Archie Gottesman at JewBelong. JewBelong's Rosh Haggadah is designed to help you get the most out of the holiday!
Click here to download the booklet for free.
Recap and Reflection
This morning we reflected on the Women's March decision to vote Zahra Billoo off of their national board:
"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.
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.
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.
Read our full statement here
We also spoke out about Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders bringing Linda Sarsour into his campaign in an official capacity:
"Our country is broken, and the Jewish community is one of many that is constantly attacked and exploited as a political weapon. Instead of recognizing the pervasiveness of this problem, Sanders has elevated an individual who has done so much to alienate American Jews from our natural ideological home, demonized the very vast majority of us who believe in our own liberation in the form of Zionism, and proudly celebrated one of America's most notorious antisemitic figures, Reverend Louis Farrakhan.
There are extraordinary activists from every corner of this great country who represent the full diversity of the progressive community. There are leaders who work to unite—to bridge the seemingly chasmic but nevertheless artificial divides between all of our marginalized groups. There are endless options for campaign surrogates who will make American Jews proud of our roots and our historic leadership in the progressive movement. Linda Sarsour is not one of them. Bernie Sanders should know better and must do better."
Read our full statement here
Zioness staff Amanda and Carly were honored to join the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, UJA-Federation of New York and dozens of other Jewish organizations for a conference on Criminal Justice Reform this past weekend. Zioness is deeply committed to anti-racism work and, as was reiterated throughout the powerful day, criminal justice reform is central to that fight.
We learned from Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (an extraordinary Zioness!), activists including Vidal Guzman (JustLeadershipUSA) and Topeka K Sam (Ladies of Hope Ministry), philanthropists and community leaders Daniel Loeb, Jason Flom, Menachem Creditor, and many others. We were deeply moved by the stories of formerly incarcerated individuals who are now working to reform the broken system for those still stuck in it. We came in ready to learn and walked out ready to act.
To that end, Zioness commits to taking the following actions over the coming months, and we hope you will join us.
Shoe Drive at Youth Bridge New York
Drop off: 225 W 34th Street, Suite 1607
New York City, New York
Now - end of October
JCRC-NY’s YouthBridge Fellowship, which brings together about 30 diverse teenagers from over a dozen different communities each year for leadership training, conflict resolution, and mentoring, is working with Out My Closet to host a shoe drive for LGBTQ youth.
NYC Zionesses: We are proud to spread the word about this drive and hope you pass this along to anyone who know who might be interested!
New York-Israel LGBTQ Symposium
Sunday, Sept. 22, from 10:30 am to 5 pm
New York City
Zioness is proud to co-sponsor A Wider Bridge's inaugural New York-Israel LGBTQ Symposium, featuring a panel discussion between LGBTQ leaders in New York and Israel.
This unique opportunity will allow us to discuss different issues affecting the LGBTQ communities of North America and Israel on topics ranging from transgender equality, religious inclusion, youth and health. A Wider Bridge is bringing 14 CEOs from Israel’s LGBTQ organizations for an 8-day mission to the US as a part of our brand new “Reverse Mission” initiative, which seeks to bring Israeli LGBTQ influencers on Leadership Missions to America.
The event will be held at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, located at 334 Amsterdam Avenue.
RSVP here before Sept. 12. Tickets are $36 or $18 for young professionals (under 35).
Washington-Israel LGBTQ & Allies Reception
Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 7 pm to 10 pm
Zioness is proud to co-sponsor A Wider Bridge's Washington-Israel LGBTQ & Allies Reception.
This is a chance to meet the leaders of Israeli LGBTQ organization! A Wider Bridge is bringing 14 CEOs from Israel’s LGBTQ organizations for an 8-day mission to the US as a part of our brand new “Reverse Mission” initiative, which seeks to bring Israeli LGBTQ influencers on Leadership Missions to America.
The event will be held at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, located at 223 Pennsylvania SE Avenue.
RSVP here before Sept. 12. Tickets are $18.
Not My Generation Young Adult Summit
Friday-Sunday, Nov. 8-10
Check out the below information about the Not My Generation Summit to combat gun violence coming up in November. Not My Generation is founded and run by the most inspiring college-age Zioness, and we are thrilled to support it.
Are you 18-25 years old (or do you have a child this age) and interested in engaging in localized, intersectional gun violence prevention organizing with diverse activists from across the country? If so, take a look at the work Not My Generation is doing!
Not My Generation is committed to engaging diverse communities in the issues that impact them directly. Members of the Zioness community know that white supremacy and gun violence are serious threats to Jewish Americans and Not My Generation wants that perspective represented in their upcoming summit.
Their summit for young adults against gun violence will be held in Washington DC from November 8th-10th, 2019. It will engage 18-25-year-old activists, allowing them to utilize the brainpower, expertise, and energy of an intersectional network of gun violence prevention organizers in order to tackle the unique issues they face in their home communities. The event will provide attendees with the opportunity to connect, learn, plan, ask questions, strategize, build trust, establish accountability, and be inspired by one another. By building coalitions that reach across lines of difference and transcend both organizational spheres and identity politics, we will actively work toward creating unity within — and harnessing the collective power of — the wider gun violence prevention movement.
Click here to apply. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the organizers at NotMyGenerationEvent@gmail.com.