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No, you cannot admire a virulent anti-Semite and expect to be an effective leader of the Women's March

No, you cannot admire a virulent anti-Semite and expect to be an effective leader of the Women's March
Attendees gather in front of the White House during the Women's March in Washington on Jan. 20, 2018. (Washington Post / Getty Images)

To the editor: In explaining the anti-Semitic actions of the national Women’s March leadership, columnist Robin Abcarian holds them to an astonishingly low standard. Jewish women, and all women marching for their rights, deserve better.

Credible feminist leaders cannot simultaneously praise the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, who has called Jews “termites” and Hitler a “great man,” while calling for unity among women against those who oppress them. Why should Jews be asked to check their identities and values at the door to join their movement? Would that same demand be made of any other minority?

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The Chicago, Denver, New Orleans and Washington state Women’s March chapters have recently either dissolved or completely distanced themselves from the national leadership. Women’s March founder Teresa Shook is right: The movement needs new leadership.

Saba Soomekh, Los Angeles

The writer is assistant director for intercommunity affairs for the American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Office.

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To the editor: Can you ever admire anti-Semites or their followers if they do some good works? In other words, can you take away the rights of one group so that another group may benefit?

Life may be full of contradictions, so yes, maybe you can admire an anti-Semite, Abcarian reasons.

But just as you cannot admire Hitler (who may have stabilized Germany after social and fiscal chaos but had 6 million Jews and others murdered) or President Trump (who may have pleased a small segment of the Jewish population by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but reacted unacceptably to the hate and violence in Charlottesville, Va.), you cannot admire Farrakhan.

Can you ever admire an anti-Semite? This is a shocking question raised by a respected journalist that has a most definitive answer: No, you cannot.

Marcia Kahan Rosenthal, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Abcarian appallingly gives a pass to Farrakhan and the Women’s March organizers who have refused to disavow their support for him.

Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic and homophobic hate rhetoric have been a staple of his for years. Yet one of the Women’s March leaders has gone so far as to call Farrakhan, a demagogue who has expressed his admiration of Hitler, “GOAT” (greatest of all time).

Abcarian asks: “How about all those Trump admirers who overlook his constant and casual expressions of racism?”

How about those in the Women’s March who overlook the bigotry expressed by some of its organizers and supporters? Are Trump’s supporters and Abcarian looking at opposite sides of the same coin?

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Harold N. Bass, Porter Ranch

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook.

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