Jewish women, in particular, fled the organization en masse after its former co-chairs were accused of making anti-Semitic remarks and aligning themselves with the Nation of Islam and its longtime leader, Louis Farrakhan.
Calls for board members to resign were met with little response. Guila Franklin Siegel, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said the inaction was disrespectful to Jewish women who were concerned about the direction of the group.
“It was such a sad thing to see a movement that had started off with such promise get bogged down because of such problematic leadership,” she said. “The fact that it took so long to make that corrective change was very energy-sapping, very aggravating, and it took a lot out of the movement. Clearly, they’re in a rebuilding mode now.”
In September, the organization announced it had added several Jewish women, one of them a woman of color, to its expanded 16-member board of directors, as well as members of the LGBTQ community. When one new appointee was found to have compared Israel to the Islamic State on Twitter, she was promptly asked to resign.