Conversation with Bob Bland, Women’s March Co-Chair: Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism, Feminism, and More (Episode 21)

The regular news coverage hasn’t been kind, as some Women’s March co-chairs have made headlines for comments many have understood to be antisemitic. From Linda Sarsour’s interview in The Nation suggesting that supporting Israel isn’t compatible with feminism to Tamika Mallory’s association with Louis Farrakhan (who called Jews “termites” at a recent speech), there has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Women’s March and antisemitism.

Bob Bland, speaking at the Women’s March End Family Detention rally, Washington DC 

Holy Madness sat down with Bob Bland, Women’s March co-chair.
Before she became a Co-Chair of the Women’s March, Bob worked full-time as a fashion designer, and she’s a wife and mother of two girls, and she’s an old friend of Meir-Simchah (a.k.a. Seth Panzer) from back in high school. In this episode, we pick up where the news coverage leaves off to meet Bob Bland, the real, live person.

We ask her the hard questions about antisemitism, anti-Zionism, hating Jews, hating Israel. In typical Holy Madness fashion, we also find out about the spiritual journey of Bob Bland – her faith, what she believes in and cares about, and how she’s been learning and growing.

There’s a fascinating segue into education and ideology, particularly in terms of history. We ask her about the role of faith in social activism and social justice. This leads to a conversation about Donald Trump that’s remarkably short and constructive. (Accidentally proving this is possible…and worth trying.) There’s a deep look at feminism, too. And we talk about the inner work and interpersonal work needed to move forward together. We also find out about what Bob Bland has done with kevlar.

After Bob mentions she is loathe to comment on issues she’s never experienced, Meir-Simchah volunteers to put together a Women’s March visit to Israel. (Y’all are welcome!) A short but penetrating question – who is the judge of what is social justice – is asked. And we pledge to keep the conversation going, bridging between Jews and non-Jews, Israel and America, Zion, and Washington, right and left, hawk and dove.

If this podcast episode doesn’t challenge some of your assumptions and give you some food for thought, you may just not have a pulse. Share, subscribe, and let’s do this together.

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(Outro music: “A Gentle Touch” by Marty Newman.)

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