Perhaps it is because growing up I had seen Jewish American women need an armed escort out of the UN Women’s Conference in Mexico, or having lived through the time when feminist groups, as far back as the sexual revolution, aligned themselves with Soviet inspired antisemites, that I am not pained, hurt or anguished by the open Judeaphobia of the Women’s March organizers. US feminism and progressive party politics have been overrun with antisemites since the 1960s. So this latest feminist mutation masquerading as an egalitarian movement is actually more in character with how the feminist movement developed than revisionist historians would have you believe. I suppose that is why I always referred to myself as a women’s rights activists, and not a feminist. And yes, we should recapture the word “feminist,” turning it back into the inclusive, truly egalitarian, humanity loving, movement that it was always meant to be.
Some of the more poignant essays that I read as a Jewish American teenager were from Jewish American women who lamented that they were being forced by their feminist colleagues to choose between their emancipation as a woman and their emancipation as a Jew. They of course, refused to choose, much like today’s modern progressive activists. In truth for anyone who wants to listen and learn, feminism and Zionism are not only compatible, but they are complimentary.
Antisemitism is nothing new in the feminist movement. During the late 1060s and early 70s, Jew-hatred became synonymous with the radical chic of the movement. Antisemitism, dressed up as antiZionism, became the calling card of every political movement of the counter culture. The leftwing 70s proSoviet comrade embraced Black September, the IRA, the Red Brigade, Baader Minhoff, and the Japanese Red Army. Leila Khaled and Angela Davis, were, and are their heroines (now with a little Tamimi of one stripe, or another thrown in).
They railed against the male dominated western democratic systems, yet turned a blind eye to the evils that were perpetrated against women throughout the third world, just like they do today. FGM, forced marriage and honor murders are nothing new to discuss. Rape as a weapon in society and denigration of women permeates the third world. Yet these tortures were just as ignored then as they are today by the leaders of western feminist movements. We did not see one modern feminist led protest on behalf of the Yazidi women, nor have we ever seen a feminist led protest against the horrors of Venezuela. How many western feminist leaders lead protests against the Assad genocide? How many western feminist leaders have led protests on behalf of the Rohingya or the Uyghurs? None. Then as now, these western feminist leaders engage in selection denunciation, the promotion of scapegoating conspiracism. If the demon is not the all consuming, all controlling sinister Jew (globalist, capitalist), it is instead the all consuming, all controlling sinister Jewish State. Sadly, radical chic of the modern era has not changed since its inception- no Jews, no news.
You know that old saying, that everything old is new again, so it is with Jew hatred in progressive spaces. I suppose that is why, unlike so many of the young active brilliant Jewish women in our world today I am not looking for an apology from the Judeaphobic leaders of the progressive world. (By the way, the one you did get only added insult to the injury.) In fact, I am not the least bit surprised that Jews who are proud of their heritage, young Jewish women who demand equal rights among the nations, who stand up for themselves, are rejected, vilified and excoriated for not denouncing, in some form of a show trial reminiscent of a Gulag, the Jewish side of their humanity.
I am not pained. I am not hurt. I am not sad. I am not even angry. I am disgusted by the antisemitic leaders of the modern women’s march and movement.
We need to hold them to account. As they are being done, but not enough. We need to show them up for who they are. As is being done, but not enough. We need to demand a reckoning and if it means a public shaming of these justice usurpers, then so be it. As is being done, but not enough. We need to hold their allies, who turn a blind eye to the hatred being fostered as a progressive ideal. As is being done, but not enough.
It is important to ramp up the truth about the hatred in open progressive spaces. But, please stop saying that they have caused us pain. These malevolent women know they have hurt Jewish progressives. They.Do.Not.Care. In fact, the insulting way in which they reacted to being challenged for their bigotry only shows that in truth they actually revel in the harm that they do. It gives them a sense of superiority, and self-righteous indignation. For like the malignant abuser, they see themselves as the original victims of their own brutality. You, who talk of being harmed by antisemitic progressives, give these abusers power over our past, our present, and our children’s future.
Jewish feminist progressives need to take back their movement and demand from those who are supposed to care about equality among peoples, equality for Jews as well. We need to ask ourselves:
Why are we letting the haters decide the agenda?
Why are we letting progressive politicians play both sides of the fence?
Why are we making excuses for our fellow Jews who are going along to get along?
Why are we letting your friends say “but there are other issues at hand…” or there are two sides to every story? No there is not.
But mostly in the guise of self-care, we need to ask ourselves why are we letting these abusive women cause us unmitigated pain? No matter how hard you fight, if you let haters live rent free in your heart and mind, then the abusers have won.
Time to say STOP. Stand your ground. Go on the offensive. Years ago when Jewish Americans were not wanted in the circles of power, we created a parallel world. We did not wallow in our pain. We did not tell the world we were hurt. We did not even seek an apology. We told the powers that be to take a hike. We need to do the same again.
It’s time to regain our power.
It’s time to lead, and not react.
It’s time to stop begging others for what is rightfully ours-our humanity.
it is time to stop begging others for what is rightfully ours-our equality.
It is time to stop begging others for what is rightfully ours-our civil rights.
It’s time to stop begging others for what is rightfully ours-the right to define the term “Jewish-Zionist-Feminist.”