Good for Mayim Bialik, who is hardly a Conservative, but she sees through the hateful rhetoric of Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour
A recent series of articles about Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour startled many in feminist and Jewish circles, me being one of them. In these articles, Sarsour states that feminism and Zionism are incompatible.
Sarsour said, “There is no country in this world that is immune to violating human rights. You can’t be a feminist in the United States and stand up for the rights of the American woman and then say that you don’t want to stand up for the rights of Palestinian women in Palestine.” (Check out this interview with Sarsour in The Nation.)
Zionism is the belief in the right of the Jewish people to have an autonomous state in Israel. I am a Zionist. Feminism is the belief that a woman-driven movement can bring about race, class and gender equality and that women deserve all of the rights and privileges afforded to men. I am a feminist. There are Zionists who are critical of certain Israeli policies and those who are not; there are Zionists who are anti-occupation and there are Zionists who are pro-settlement; and there are Zionists who fall between these extremes. The definitions of Zionism and feminism are not in conflict with each other. At all.
I would say that it depends on your definition of Feminism. Many Feminists today are for more invested in far-left ideology than in honoring or protecting women and women’s rights. In fact it might be argued that the Left has hijacked Feminism to push Leftist agendas rather than to fight for freedom for women.Bialik does not strike me as one of those “Feminists”. In other words she seems reasonable on the subject of Israel, where as Sarsour is rabidly anti-Israel. Here is more of Bialik
Are there things that happen in Israel and the Palestinian territories which cause pain and suffering to women? Absolutely. And being a Zionist doesn’t mean a definitional indifference to this suffering, especially of Palestinian women and children. The question is this: Many countries – many Muslim countries, in fact – perpetrate atrocities against women which include: female genital mutilation, forced marriages, child brides, systematic abuse of women by the justice system, revenge rape and honor killing. Why is Israel held to a standard none of these other countries – whose offenses are, arguably more extreme – are held to? And why is belief in the State of Israel something that should exclude women – or men, for that matter – from identifying as feminists?
Go read it all, it will give you some hope about having reasonable dialogues with Liberals.