A column published by the Los Angeles Times Friday is getting all the wrong attention for its main argument that anti-Semites can play a valuable role in the purportedly tolerant women’s movement.
“Can you admire Louis Farrakhan and still advance the cause of women? Maybe so. Life is full of contradictions,” reads the headline.
In the column, Robin Abcarian defends organizers of the progressive Women’s March on Washington who reportedly praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan last March during a conference call with leaders of the Women’s March state chapters.
Column: Can you admire an anti-Semite and advance the cause of women? Maybe so. Life is full of contradictions https://t.co/lTtuEpVrqZ
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 5, 2019
Farrakhan is known for his vitriolic comments toward Jewish people and the LGBT community. In a speech delivered back in October, he referred to Jews as “termites.”
Abcarian argues, however, that those who stand by Farrakhan and his bigoted rhetoric can still have a place in the modern feminist movement.
“Personally, I find Farrakhan’s world view vile,” she writes. “Yet, I think it is possible to be repulsed by his hateful rhetoric about white people, especially Jews, and still appreciate some of the empowerment work that he has done in the black community, including leading the 1995 Million Man March to promote African American family unity.”
To defend the seeming hypocrisy of the “tolerant” Women’s March leaders supporting a man who unapologetically promotes intolerance, Abcarian explains that many who voted for Donald Trump happily “overlook” his alleged racism and dubious sexual history.
She concludes by claiming that the reports of anti-Semitism among Women’s March leaders are essentially irrelevant because they succeeded in their ultimate goal of rallying thousands to protest “the malign policies of President Trump.”
“While organizers of the Women’s March battled over who said what to whom about Jewish people when, and the merits of a noted anti-Semite, American women stood up by the millions and changed the country,” she writes.
Many took issue with Abcarian’s flippant dismissal of anti-Semitism as the lesser of two evils (the main evil being President Trump).
Hitler was great for Germany’s economy, so should you overlook that too? Because “life is full of contradictions”. NO. You cannot advocate for equality while simultaneously overlooking evil.
— Rebecca (@bekyboo) January 5, 2019
“Hitler was great for Germany’s economy, so should you overlook that too? Because ‘life is full of contradictions,’” one Twitter user wrote. “NO. You cannot advocate for equality while simultaneously overlooking evil.”
“Only if you get tacit approval of bigotry from major newspapers,” wrote another.
“Clearly, this article condones Antisemitism instead of rejecting it,” another user wrote.
No, I'm going to say no to this one.
— Technoviking (@DasTechnoviking) January 6, 2019
Are you guys publishing stuff from Keith Ellison’s staffers again?
— Steve Hornbeck (@SteveHornbeck1) January 5, 2019
Trying to save the womens march are we?
— Alex Spagnuolo ?️ (@alex_spagnuolo) January 5, 2019
Replace "anti-Semite" with "anti-Muslim" and see if this piece gets published. https://t.co/gnqQgmLgTc
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) January 5, 2019
Abcarian’s critics seem to grasp a fundamental truth that was clearly lost on the author: Racism is never compatible with tolerance, and any movement that claims “inclusivity” while standing up for bigoted bullies is neither inclusive nor tolerant.