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For a long time now, Israel’s reputation has taken a real beating among American liberals and leftists. Many American Jewish (liberal) organizations have either agreed with the criticism or have been afraid to challenge such groups with whom they agree on other important issues.
Something’s changed. In an effort to educate American feminists about women in Israel, the American Jewish Congress wished to place an understated ad in Ms. magazine featuring photos of three Israeli women: Dorit Beinish, the president of the Israeli Supreme Court; Tzipi Livni, vice prime minister and minister of foreign affairs; and Dalia Itzik, the speaker of the Knesset. The ad simply said: “This is Israel.”
Ms. magazine refused to run the ad. (As someone who’s been wrestling with anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism among feminists since the early 1970’s, I can’t say I was surprised, though I certainly was disgusted.) Ms. said accepting the ad would cause a firestorm among its readers. It said it did not want to be seen as favoring one political party over another and that two of the Israeli women belonged to the same party. And it said it was about to feature an interview with Tzipi Livni.
Ms. was always hard to keep going. In order to keep it afloat, Gloria Steinem had to devote almost all her time to fundraising. Editors had to threaten to sue for medical benefits and writers had to threaten lawsuits because they had not been paid. Despite appearances, it was always a shoestring operation. But it had a good run.
Over time, Ms. got smaller and less influential – something all too typical in the magazine business. But it continued to enjoy considerable “girlish” acclaim and a nearly spotless reputation – at least among its followers, if not its opponents. And every major liberal Jewish organization viewed its aims as similar to that of the magazine’s.
The honeymoon lasted far too long and it is rather late in the day for the question of where feminism really stands on the question of Israel and Palestine to surface. Well, better late than never. This was bound to happen. It was only a question of when.
I was at the first meeting in Brenda Feigen Fasteau’s Tudor City apartment that led to the founding of Ms. magazine in 1972. The magazine excerpted and praised many of my early books, including Women and Madness; About Men; and With Child: A Diary of Motherhood. We share a history (I know where many of the bodies are buried, and, guys, wait your turn; before we get to you, there are lots of feminist corpses piled high here.)
In the mid-1970’s I personally lobbied for Ms. magazine signatures on petitions criticizing the UN’s infamous Zionism equals Racism resolution. I usually failed but sometimes succeeded. I led a delegation to Israel that included the late Jack Newfield and the late Ellen Willis – both of whom returned to write more positive pieces about Israel and Judaism. (Ellen also broke with Ms., but that’s another story.)
Every feminist who has ever met Gloria Steinem is instinctively protective of her; they jockey to stay on her good side and thereby gain or maintain entrance to her royal circle. Make no mistake: she wields real power. Many feminists believe that her recent op-ed piece in The New York Times directly contributed to Hillary’s win in New Hampshire. Gloria is and always has been a Democratic Party operative.
Few feminists would dare to publicly disagree with her – doing so would constitute a real risk to their personal and professional standings. I am talking about feminists who are the presidents of state supreme courts, professors, judges, governors, senators, representatives, state public officials and well-meaning, completely innocent civilians who view her as their inspiration and as a combination of Jackie Kennedy, Rosa Parks and Mary Poppins.
Until now, every single liberal Jewish organization, including the American Jewish Congress, would never, ever have disagreed with her. She is the media-appointed icon for women’s rights in America. (This is what once embittered more radical grassroots feminist groups).
She is also a bankable commodity for any organization and politician. People will still pay money to hear her speak or to dine with her.
About the Author: Dr. Phyllis Chesler is a professor emerita of psychology, a Middle East Forum fellow, and the author of fifteen books including “Women and Madness” (1972), “The New Anti-Semitism” (2003), and her latest, “An American Bride in Kabul” (2013). Her articles are archived at www.phyllis-chesler.com.
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But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.
One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.
While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.
We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .
Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.
The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?
The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.
There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”
Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.
Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?
Few of the volunteers were experienced sailors, (Greenfield had been in the Merchant Marine). Few were Zionists.
My good colleague Kay is wrong about the early demise of conspiracy theories and blood libels against the Jews.
“I am surprised those Zionists are not outside protesting,” says one woman.
“Miral” is a film that has garnered an inordinate amount of media attention. In interviews, the director, Julian Schnabel, defends his right to tell the Palestinian “narrative” for what he claims is the first time. He seems not to know that many others before him have specialized in this particular line of work.
Our beloved, miraculous Jewish state is under siege.
It was assumed that the ceaseless persecution of the Jews in exile would cease once we again had our own sovereign homeland, our own army, navy, and air force.
In 1947-1948 I lived in Boro Park where, against parental and rabbinic advice, I joined a Zionist group. By 1950 I was packing machine-gun parts for Israel in a home not far from the Young Israel. But what I did as a child does not compare to what my friend and colleague David Gutmann did for love of Zion at that very time on the dangerous open seas.
Reality has become somewhat Scandinavian. It grows dark early and it is bitterly cold here in New York City and over a good portion of our fair land. Our Prince of Peace (The Norwegian Nobel, not the noble variety) is not yet asking whether “to be or not to be.” Perhaps he is not entirely convinced that “that is the question.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/ms-magazines-msogyny-toward-israel/2008/01/16/
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