Just two days after being named to the national board of the Women’s March, Zahra Billoo, a Bay area civil rights activist and Muslim leader, has been removed from the board over Tweets criticizing Israel in what she calls an “Islamophobic smear campaign.”
The Women’s March announced its decision via Twitter on the morning of September 19:
“Zahra Billoo has been removed from board membership effective immediately,” the organization tweeted Thursday morning. “We found some of her public statements incompatible with the values and mission of the organization. Women’s March will continue to build an inclusive and effective movement that holds space for all women.”
Billoo was quick to respond, alleging in her own tweets that her dismissal was the result of scheming by her enemies, according to the San Francisco Chronicle:
“In a lengthy Twitter thread, Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Bay Area chapter, said the decision followed an ‘Islamophobic smear campaign’ largely led by ‘people who oppose me and my work challenging the occupation of Palestine, our country’s perpetuation of unjust and endless wars, and law enforcement operations targeting the American Muslim community.’”
In her Twitter thread, Billoo described herself as writing “passionately,” though, in a statement calling for her dismissal prior to Thursday’s announcement, the Anti-Defamation League labeled her tweets incendiary:
“She has lifted up statements that defend the terror organization Hamas’ intentional targeting of rockets to murder Israeli Jewish civilians, and has done so under the guise of someone working for peace,” their statement read, in part.
The Chronicle unearthed tweets in which Billoo compared the Israeli military to the Islamic state, “Both are murderous, war crime committing, terrorist entities,” one tweet read, along with another from 2015 that said, “I’m more afraid of racist Zionists who support Apartheid Israel than of the mentally ill young people the #FBI recruits to join ISIS.”
Billoo’s appointment to the Women’s March board came as part of a broader attempt by the organization to diversify after three of its co-chairs, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Bob Bland, stepped down also amid allegations of antisemitism.