It is feeling lonely here. Israelis are being attacked in the international arena for defending ourselves against the thousands of rockets (as of today, almost 4,000) launched by Hamas in Gaza.
I’m rather used to the attacks. I even help Israeli diplomats with talking points. I advise them how to refute the arguments, how to use personalized stories to creative a different narrative.
So, I’m going to get personal. These past two weeks have seen sleepless nights, wandering in and out of my reinforced room to the wails of sirens and texting to children who live in the South of Israel and along the Gaza border to make sure they were alright.
As I mentioned, attacks on us for protecting ourselves against Hamas terrorism is not new. What is new, and truly unnerved me was to see the videos from London and Los Angeles of the purely Anti-Semitic and in the case of London, misogynist, attacks as well. In Los Angeles, a group of Jewish diners were physically assaulted by a group of young men waving Palestinian flags — after asking if they were Jews. (Good they checked first.) Then they pummeled the young Jewish men. All of this under the guise of Palestinians protesting the conflict.
In London, a group of young men in a truck waving Palestinian flags shouted Anti-Semitic obscenities in a largely Jewish area, including, “rape their daughters”. British officials quickly condemned the event. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it “shameful racism” and stated that there was no place for “anti-Antisemitism in our society”. The head of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer, was the only one I found who added “misogynist” to the list. “Utterly disgusting. Antisemitism, misogyny and hate have no place on our streets or in our society. There must be consequences.” Thank you for that.
In the meantime, I have been scouring the internet looking for feminist groups to condemn such clear acts of violence against women. Not a peep. Crickets.
I have been a proud feminist since the late 70s. I joined the Women’s Caucus at the University of Rochester where I learned that I had no limits, no one could oppress me and that all men are potential rapists. (Sorry Gil, my friend who reminds me of this until today). So, you can understand my consternation when I saw women’s movements in the US in recent years buying into the intersectionality of aligning themselves with the Palestinian cause.
In 2015, the National Women’s Studies Association voted to back the BDS movement against Israel. Apparently, only 35% of their members voted. One member stated “As feminist scholars, activists, teachers and public intellectuals we recognize the interconnectedness of systemic forms of oppression. In the spirit of this intersectional perspective, we cannot overlook the injustice and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated against Palestinians and other Arabs in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, . . .”
Then, I have a question. Do you mean the abuse and violence against women by other Palestinians in Gaza? Because, Amnesty International, yes, you heard it right, has published their 2020 report of Human Rights Abuses in Gaza, stating that “Women and girls faced discrimination in law and practice and were inadequately protected against sexual and other gender-based violence, including so-called honour killings.”
So, back to London. When a group of men scream, “Rape their daughters”, referring to Jewish women, are we part of the intersectionality? Do our vaginas not bleed? Is my vagina any less worth defending because I am an American, Israeli Jew?
I want my bra back.