The College Democrats of America (CDA) has been rocked by public accusations of bigotry against its leadership and calls for members to step down.
Nourhan Mesbah, the group’s vice president, is undergoing impeachment proceedings after a tweet she posted at age 13 was shared by the CDA Jewish Caucus, Politico reported. “I blame this debate on the yahood,” Mesbah tweeted during a 2016 presidential debate. “Yahood” is an Arabic word used as a slur against Jews, Politico wrote.
Mesbah apologized for the tweet, reportedly saying “my comment was in no way rooted in malice or anti-semitism, especially as a 13-year old, relatively new immigrant from North Africa, with a different regional dialectic linguist comprehension … while I take responsibility for my actions, I am hurt by the Islamophobia and xenophobia that continues to unfold.”
Jeremy Ward, IDEA director at CDA, launched an investigation into Mesbah for “Antisemitism, Islamophobia, Racism and Anti-black rhetoric” in September, announcing the investigation on social media and hosting a town hall about the matter.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations published a letter on Nov. 10 in support of Mesbah calling for CDA to investigate complaints of anti-Muslim bigotry.
The CDA censured Mesbah and required her to “undergo training about cultural sensitivity and antisemitism,” which she has not yet done, according to Politico.
While some CDA officers criticized Mesbah, others viewed the investigation of her as a witch-hunt.
“Elements within our organization about an election they lost. Elements within our organization do not want to see a young, Muslim woman represent Democrats nationally,” said Justin Hartley, president of Tulane College Democrats, according to Politico.
Mesbah’s predecessor, Tasneem Ahmad Al-Michael, resigned after it became publicly known that he used racial slurs on Twitter, “I’m part of the ‘From the river to the sea’ group,” a reference to calls for the elimination of Israel, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Race-based infighting and accusations of racism are nothing new to CDA. In June 2020, CDA’s former communications director posted his resignation letter on Twitter, saying “the current way our organization operates is not welcoming for BIPOC and excludes students like me.”
In the fallout from the letter’s publication, the CDA president stepped down and was replaced by the letter’s author, The New York Times reported.
Politico reported that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is considering disaffiliation with the organization. The DNC and CDA did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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