Women's March vote off new board member Zahra Billoo over tweets about Israel and Zionism

She called Zionism 'racism' and said 'blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist'


A newly appointed board member of the Women’s March has been voted off it just days after her new role was announced, after tweets promoting extreme anti-Zionism and conspiracy theories were revealed.

Zahra Billoo, a lawyer and executive director of CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations) in San Francisco, tweets included: “Zionism is the violent ideology responsible for the genocide and displacement of indigenous Palestinians and the destruction of Palestinian land.”

She described Zionism as “racism”, and wrote in 2015: “I’m more afraid of racist Zionists who support Apartheid Israel than of the mentally Ill young people the #FBI recruits to join ISIS.”

The previous year, she tweeted: “Blaming Hamas for firing rockets at [Apartheid] Israel is like blaming a woman for punching her rapist.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American antisemitism watchdog, had called on the Women's March to "condemn the statements and sentiments" of Ms Billoo, describing her "long history of deeply offensive and antisemitic statements.

"Fair criticism of any government and its policies, including Israel, is an important aspect of democracy. But outright rejecting Jewish nationhood and singling out solely the Jewish state with inflammatory and virulent rhetoric is antisemitic, plain and simple."

In a Twitter thread she sent after she was removed, Ms Billoo claimed to have been the subject of “an Islamophobic smear campaign led by the usual antagonists, who have long targeted me, my colleagues, and anyone else who dares speak out in support of Palestinian human rights and the right to self-determination.”

Regarding the Women’s March, she said: “To see and experience its new leaders caving to right-wing pressure, and casting aside a woman of colour, a Muslim woman, a long-time advocate within the organization, without the willingness to make any efforts to learn and grow, breaks my heart.”

Ms Billoo was appointed by the Women’s March as one of the replacements for three of its longtime leaders, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland.

Ms Sarsour and Ms Mallory had been criticised for their association with a notorious antisemite, Louis Farrakhan, whom they repeatedly refused to distance themselves from.

 The Women’s March had insisted that Ms Sarsour and Ms Mallory were only leaving because their terms were up.

“The organization has not cut ties with the three departing board members; their terms have ended”, a statement by the group said.

“As with any organization that has a governing board, there are set term limits imposed upon its members.”

But another new member of the Women's March board, Charlene Carruthers, also appears to be a suppporter of Mr Farrakhan, who regularly makes antisemitic and homophobic remarks.

She tweeted about him in 2010: "Farrakhan took a particular approach. I respect that and I think he was being wise and selfless."

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