Donna Schatz

Women for Gaza

I caught her clip and was taken aback. From a Zoom meet of women’s rights advocates against genocide, a Palestinian film director I’d worked, wined and dined with, described Gaza now although not there. I found out the following.

This is not a war against Hamas as the world claims. It is a genocide against the women and children of Gaza. Examples are given, wild statistics presented. No sources are named but tallies come from Hamas-controlled entities including the Gaza Ministry of Health.

I gape at her “facts,” down to the rate every hour, every two hours, the same bad thing happens. It’s clockwork. She reels off numbers and percentages. She knows how many women have mental problems — a whopping 90%. A rounded figure has gone mad. She knows Israel targets women and children and has another big percentage for that claim, courtesy no doubt of Hamas, provider of data to the UN and media.

She goes on. The world has joined in. They’re coming from Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Ukraine (even), “you name it,” mercenaries all.

The women against genocide eat it up. I check them out. Apparently the Palestinian question is “the most pressing issue of our times.” According to this mix of mostly European and Middle East women, Israel and the West must be condemned for their brutality, cruelty, propaganda and lies. To add insult to injury,  protests are banned and dissent silenced throughout the West. Have they stepped outside?

The conference statement is translated into seven languages, endorsed by a heady list of women — Australians, North and South Americans too. They’ve been fighting to stop domestic violence, honor killings and Sharia courts, as well as helping free the women of Iran and Afghanistan. In normal times I’d cheer them on, though wary — the women of Gaza, covered and cloaked, ruled by an Islamic fundamentalist regime, didn’t get a nod til now. The Israeli women brutalized, killed and kidnapped by men whose charter actually advocates genocide are no concern to these women against genocide.  Their humanity is selective.

I should be used to this stuff by now but am not. The director concludes. Israel is not just occupying Palestine, she wraps up after her five minutes, but it’s occupying the whole world. I shake my head at her delusions, theirs too, and the antisemitic trope she’s resorted to. The barrier-breaking woman I knew supported two states, filmed with Israelis and Jews, showed her work in Tel Aviv. It’s a letdown too that she’s now joined the lump women and children together crowd.

Finally I write. Her Facebook post after the hostage rescue is beyond the pale although maybe old hat by now.  She’s upset saving four “Israeli criminals” cost the lives of “innocent Palestinians.”

Why criminals, I ask. I get scolded for ignoring her during “eight months of genocide.” (contacting her would have posed a challenge — she was praising the terrorists on Oct. 7) then get my answer. Those hostages are not innocent, they are all “Zionist soldiers so they r criminals.”

I stop. I know online will go nowhere. I hope we talk one day.

About the Author
Donna Schatz is an Israeli-American photographer, documentary producer and former TV camerawoman who worked in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon as well as Bosnia and the US.
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