Bella Out, Landa Stays

When former Rep. Bella Abzug was fired by President Carter from her job of Co-Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee for Women, 25 of that Committee’s 40 members resigned in solidarity with her.

“We regret the necessity to resign but we see no alternative,” their joint statement read, in part. “We believe that all women and men of like mind will refuse to participate in an advisory committee in which disagreement with the President and legitimate criticism are not acceptable.”

One of the Committee members who chose not to resign was Esther R. Landa, President of the National Council of Jewish Women. In the March/April, 1979 issue of the NCJW Journal, Landa justified her stand as follows:

“A recent incident …. has caused turmoil among those groups fighting for women’s rights. The controversy centered on the National Advisory Committee for Women, on which I serve. The question remains in my mind, whether this action and its implications are enough to justify scuttling the one official instrument which the President created to hear the views of women.

“Until it becomes evident that the committee cannot function effectively at all I have opted to remain on the committee and try to work from within ….”

Need More Lilith?

Sign up now for a weekly batch of Jewish feminist essays, news, events--and incredible stories and poems from 40 years of Lilith.