Linda Sarsour, a co-organiser of yesterday’s US-wide Women’s March - the protest in support of equality, tolerance and women’s rights that emerged in reaction to the inauguration of President Donald Trump - used the event to back a boycott of Israel.
Ms Sarsour said in a speech to demonstrators in Washington DC that she defended “freedom of speech and the constitutional right to boycott, divestment, and sanctions in these United States of America".
Ms Sarsour, together with another Women’s March organiser, Tamika Mallory, have been criticised over their association with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the “Nation of Islam” hate group and a vocal antisemite who compared Jewish people to termites.
In an interview with PBS released on Thursday, Ms Mallory refused to say if she thought Israel had the right to exist, or if Jews were indigenous there.
She told host Margaret Hoover: “The Palestinians are native to the land. There are people who have a number of sort of ideologies around why the Jewish people feel this should be their land.”
She added: “I have said many times that I feel everyone has a right to exist. I just don’t feel that anyone has a right to exist at the disposal of another group.”
While many Jewish groups and individuals said they would not attend the march, some did, including New York-based Abby Stein, a transgender Jewish woman and ordained rabbi.
Ms Stein gave a speech saying she was there with her “Jewish family” and that “some in the media are trying to divide us.”