I am a Progressive. I am Queer. I am a Zionist. I am a unicorn in most liberal circles because of my gender presentation and my politics, but I am used to walking my own path. I love Israel, I love the Israeli soul and spirit. Since October 7th, I have longed to be in Israel and have felt a pull towards the beautiful country I visited in 2017 as an LGBTQ Mission leader with A Wider Bridge.
I am haunted by images of crying children and ravaged homes, in Israel and Gaza. The images and videos of teenagers dancing one minute and laying broken, bloodied, and battered the next is an assault on humanity. There have been reports of Hamas snipers shooting Palestinians trying to flee the war zone and acquire humanitarian aid. But when you try saying that to a progressive who has called Israel an apartheid State, they will demand receipts and call you a liar. It’s almost like a sickness, it is a sickness. One can cry for innocent Palestinians being killed in the crossfire and can also cry for the innocent lives lost on that Black Saturday. But here’s the crux: many on the Left don’t think Israelis are innocent. The far Left never will. Much like Hamas declaring all non-Muslims infidels and justifying their murderous rampage as divinely ordained law, the far left has fallen for the propaganda hook, line, and sinker that Israel has only itself to blame for the carnage. What kind of upside down world are we in where abducted babies and grandmothers are not allowed to be grieved for? Other self named anti-Zionists have shouted in unabashed relief all their Jew hating beliefs because now they can, without consequence. Harvard showed us that. It’s all about ‘context.’ You can’t contextualize Shani Louk’s twisted and broken dead body in the back of a truck being paraded through the streets of Gaza City, or can you and have you?
The horrors of that day and the ensuing trauma haunt me night and day, much like the images and stories of survivors from the Nazi Holocaust. Women and children are still being held hostage, in dark tunnels, subjected to torture and abuse. News is coming out from survivors about the mass rape and torture that was coordinated and executed. Bodies found reveal heinous and terrible truths, faces contorted in agony because their final living moments were spent being subjected to horrifying torture.
Hamas refuses any ceasefire proposal. They refuse to surrender. They refuse to release the hostages or allow the Red Cross to see them. But still thousands march around the world chanting ‘from the river to the sea’ without hesitation, not knowing, or rather, not caring that this means no Israel, no Israelis, total Jewish erasure, and gives Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad credibility and oxygen as they subject Palestinians and Lebanese civilians to martial law, where gay people are thrown from rooftops and where collaborators with the infidels are hung upside down and gutted in full public view. Look up Ahmad Abu Marhia and what happened to him. A modern day progressive yearns for medieval totalitarianism? Sick and twisted Daddy issues? I am not licensed to practice but there must be something fundamentally amiss in the psyche of feminists who denounce far right evangelical Christians who seek to gut abortion rights and safe medical access for but fawn over masked rapists who seek to subjugate women in the worst possible way. Because the hate of the Jewish State supersedes a cry for justice when it comes to Israeli women.
I have been a longtime activist, my activism was galvanized during the AIDS years in the late 80’s. I have supported and marched for sex worker rights, cannabis legalization, LGBTQ rights, BLM, Marriage Equality; I have protested against the Muslim ban, and supported countless other causes that promote freedom, equality, and worker’s rights. My professional life has included various positions including a Executive Director of an LGBTQ Community Center in the SF Bay Area. My activism is in perfect harmony with my love for Israel, the only democracy surrounded by authoritarian, theocratic, and oppressive regimes and monarchies. A country built with the spirit of the kibbutzim and reawakening the ancestral Jewish homeland where Jews lived in Jerusalem long before Islam or Christianity began will never be defeated. Because Jews have nowhere else to go. Nowhere else is safe. For thousands of years, many regimes and empires have tried to destroy Israel. We are the people of the book, of the word and Israel exists so that no Jew ever has to live in fear again. You can sit on the beach near Jaffa and hear the Muslim call to prayer. This is Israel.
While in Israel six years ago, I attended the grand opening party of the Haifa LGBT community center and visited Jerusalem Open House where I met an elderly gay male couple who survived Nazi Germany together. Israel is over 50% non-white and Muslims, Druze, Christians, secular Jews, and religious Jews all serve in the military together. There are over 2 million Arabs living in Israel. If you boycott Israel and her people without knowing anything about the reality of Israel or denying the reality of Israeli society then you join the ranks of the KKK in your ideology. Hatred of the Jews makes strange bedfellows indeed.
Progressives won’t publicly condemn Hamas. They say they are anti-Zionist and not anti-Jewish, even as they gather to protest Jewish events and target Jews on city streets and college campuses.
Mass rape is not an act of resistance, it’s an act of war. It’s a war crime.
Not long ago there were mass protests marching on Washington DC with pink hats. The Women’s March momentum was propelled by the refusal to accept a President who stood diametrically opposed to feminist ideals. Now these same marchers have traded their pink hats for Keffiyehs and Palestinian flags. The irony and insidiousness of this reality is indicative of either a rampant ignorance of the facts or a callous acceptance of Jew hatred to a degree we haven’t seen in a long time.
You can support Palestinians and their right to self determination and you can loudly demand that terrorists release hostages and stop firing rockets towards Israeli citizens. You won’t lose your liberal cred for doing so, but when you don’t condemn rapists and murderers, you have lost your moral compass. The Left won’t because they don’t want to. A group calling themselves Queer Artists for Palestine have signed a public letter condemning Israel and proudly declaring they are boycotting Israel and everything Israeli. Not one of them have condemned a radical totalitarian and dystopian terrorist group that makes Margaret Atwood’s Gilead look like Club Med. Cries of Pink Washing are laughable if you completely white-wash with complicit support or justification of a terrorist group who raped, tortured, and murdered in cold blood while filming the whole thing, You parrot propaganda slogans without knowing the true history of the region, and more awful than ignorance is the willful perpetuation of revisionist history and the denial of 4,000 years of history.
Progressive anti-Zionist activists have lost their credibility to proselytize against Isreal after October 7th. You can be against the government, you can be against politicians, but to be against a people, a culture, rich with ancient history and multiculturalism with a desire to live in peace and prosperity is similar to the evil dogma spewed by White Supremacists and virulent Jew haters. All masks are off.
I have been horrified and heartbroken to see longtime allies who I have been in the trenches with on social justice issues and political causes all of the sudden declare that they are against an entire country and an entire people while perpetuating ancient blood libels. Some of the Israelis murdered on October 7th were some of the most adamant peace activists who spent their time driving Palestinians to medical appointments and who supported women’s rights in Palestine. Vivian Silver, a resident of Kibbutz Be’eri was a longtime peace and women’s rights activist. Militants murdered her in cold blood and it took weeks to identify her charred remains in the ashes of her home after the massacre. The worst of the women hating patriarchy desecrated the best of the feminists among us. And still you march and still you chant.
My Jewish Grandmother warned me about this moment in history, when the radical left and the radical right agree on one thing. The Jews. My Grandmother survived Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. Some of my other relatives were not as lucky. They were murdered in the Sobibor death camp and died in the rat infested, cholera ridden Nexon camp in the idyllic south of France, courtesy of the Nazi sympathizing Vichy government. It’s not hard for me to imagine who among my extended network would turn my name in to the Gestapo for a few extra dollars.
October 7th was a planned genocide. This is a fact and the proper use of the word. Captured militants have admitted as much while being interrogated. Radical Islamic militants did not shout Colonizer or Apartheid on the footage from October 7th. They shouted God is Great in Arabic over and over again, and laughed, yes they laughed with glee as they murdered babies in cold blood and bound a mother and daughter together, dumped gasoline on them and burned them alive reducing them to an unrecognizable black mass. The murderers and rapists had no shame. This was a holocaust and yes it’s the proper use of the word.
Jackie Bruckman, December 2023