Can a pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist be a feminist? Linda Sarsour says “yes”, I say “hell, no!”

An article in The Nation from March 13 includes an interview with the odious and overrated Linda Sarsour; the title of the piece is “Can you be a Zionist Feminist? Linda Sarsour Says No.” As you may recall, Sarsour, a Palestinian-American hijabi who was one if the heads of the anti-Trump Women’s March, is strongly anti-Zionist and pro-BDS, and has had some harsh things to say about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

In the interview, author Collier Meyerson questions Sarsour closely about the title issue, asking her why it’s incumbent for a feminist to be anti-Zionist (remember that anti-Zionism denies Jews the right to have a homeland). It’s always puzzled me how a hijab-wearing woman who demonizes Israel and strongly praises both Palestine and sharia law can call herself a feminist. After all, sharia law is strongly anti-women, and is largely designed to keep them in their place as per Islamic law. (That law, of course, varies from place to place.)

Likewise, Palestine is no place for liberated women—not to mention gays or nonbelievers. Finally, the hijab itself is a symbol of oppression, and its wearing appears to be mandatory in Gaza (see the Wikipedia article on “Islamism in the Gaza Strip“).

If you do a Google image search of “women Gaza strip”, you get images like these (these are the first six; if you do the search you’ll see why I stopped before #7!). There’s nary an uncovered head to be seen:

 

The interview is amusing for observing Sarsour twist and turn to show why it’s IMPERATIVE for a feminist to be anti-Zionist. Her point seems to be that Israel has made the women in Palestine poor and oppressed. She doesn’t mention that most of the oppression comes not from Israel, but from their fellow Palestinians as well as the Arab countries that won’t help them out of their poverty. Here are some of her quotes:

When you talk about feminism you’re talking about the rights of all women and their families to live in dignity, peace, and security. It’s about giving women access to health care and other basic rights. And Israel is a country that continues to occupy territories in Palestine, has people under siege at checkpoints—we have women who have babies on checkpoints because they’re not able to get to hospitals [in time]. It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, “Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?” There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it.

As we’ll see below, by Sarsour’s own lights, there’s no room in feminism for women who support Palestine. And if you stand up for the rights of all women, you should be a much stronger critic of Palestine (or Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Iraq, and so on) than you are of Israel.

Now why is support of BDS (the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that aims at eliminating the Israeli nation) also imperative for feminists? Sarsour responds, but not convincingly:

 What’s interesting here is that feminism is a movement and BDS is a tactic.. . . that’s the reason why BDS makes sense within the feminist movement, or really within any social justice movement, be it climate justice or racial justice, or the Palestinian solidarity movement. For example, in the racial-justice movement people have said that we need to divest from private prisons, right? In the climate-justice movement, we need to divest from fossil fuels and companies profiting off of the destruction of our planet. We need to take our money out of banks that are profiting off the Dakota Access Pipeline. [Similarly,] BDS is a tactic and feminism is a movement. And BDS can be used in the feminist movement to demand change and demand more rights for women. BDS has been used as a tactic to raise awareness for Palestinian people, including women and their children.

The real reason Sarsour supports BDS has nothing to do with feminism: she just hates Israel and wants to punish its people. If she really wanted a tactic to promote feminism, she’d be boycotting every country that uses Islam to oppress women, including those named above. You can make the argument that BDS is a tactic to force Israel to a two-state solution (though I’m pretty sure that’s not its goal), but to say that its goal is getting more rights for women is totally misdirected. If the Israeli state disappeared and was replaced by a Muslim country having the gender laws of Palestine, women’s rights would plummet.

Finally, her ultimate hypocrisy:

 I would say that anyone who wants to call themselves an activist cannot be selective. 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. It’s all connected. Whether you’re talking about Palestinian women, Mexican women, women in Brazil, China, or women in Saudi Arabia—this feminist movement is an international global movement.

But Sarsour is being selective, for she fails to call out the pervasive oppression and misogyny placed upon women by Muslim countries and Islam itself. If you weighed the benefits to women of getting rid of Israel on the one hand, and getting rid of Islam on the other, well, there’s no doubt which would be more salubrious. You will never see Sarsour campaigning against Saudi Arabia or Iran, even though women suffer the deprivation of liberty and opportunity in those countries for reasons far beyond the presence and policies of Israel. Here’s a list of what women face in Gaza:

  • Effective sharia law, which includes
  • mandatory hijabs
  • sharia courts, in which a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s.
  • segregation from men in many places, and
  • illegality of male teachers for female students, depriving women of some good teachers
  • Other stuff includes inability to participate in some sports,
  • The pervasiveness of legal polygamy and child marriage (often younger than even Palestinian law allows)
  • No mixed bathing!
  • Ubiquitous teaching in school of gender stereotypes, with women’s place being in the home
  • Honor killings (mostly of women, of course)
  • Signature of a man required to get passports and other documents
  • Requirement that all women must carry ID cards specifying the relationship of a man with whom they’re walking in public
  • Severe gender imbalance in divorce issues: men can get a divorce for any reason, women have far more severe requirements
  • Punishments for adultery are more severe for women than for men
  • Much sexual violence inflicted on women, often by relatives
  • Curtailed inheritance rights for women, so that women get only half as much as men (e.g., if a woman has a sister and a brother, each woman gets a quarter of the inheritance, while the brother gets half)

None of this is the case (or as severe, for stuff like sexual violence) in the Israel so demonized by Sarsour. Is there any doubt that Palestine oppresses its own women far more than Israel does to its women or to Palestinian women? If Israel disappeared, women in Palestine would not be much freer, as they’d still be subject to the draconian and anti-female laws and customs of Palestinian Islam. So why does Sarsour demonize Israel as opposed to getting her own house in order?

You know the answer.

h/t: Malgorzata

91 Comments

  1. DrBrydon
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    All that intersectionality means is that it’s not enough to agree on one issue, you have to be in lockstep on ALL issues. No more alliances of the moment, just conformity, and woe betide those who deviate. It should worry people what a state founded on Social Justice principles would mean for regular justice.

  2. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    There is no doubt Palestinian women are far more brutalized by their own men than Israel. Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim women living in Israel have the best human rights of any woman in the Middle East.

    When it comes to the treatment of women, almost all women in the Middle East would be better off if their countries adopted the laws of Israel.

    I support a two-state solution to the problem of Israel vs Palestine. However, that would do little or nothing for Palestinian women. Getting rid of Israel, which is a goal of the BDS movement that Sarsour supports, would do even less for women. It would destroy the lives of all women living there, or do Israeli women somehow not count in Sarsour’s mind?

    • BJ
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      “…or do Israeli women somehow not count in Sarsour’s mind?”

      I’m quite certain they do not. They’re Jews and, even worse in her mind, Israeli Jews.

      Though I’m sure she would want the non-Jewish Israelis to be protected when the great war on Jews and Israel she likely wishes for comes.

  3. Phil Rounds
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    “Punishments for adultery are more severe for men than women”
    Don’t you mean the opposite?

  4. Eric Grobler
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I am so tired of the term “Feminism” which by its binary nature leads to muddled ideas and emotions.
    What happened to humanism?

    • Filippo
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you that “humanism” ought to have always obtained. Since it didn’t, would you say that “masculinism” reasonably describes the attitude and world view (which was so pervasive that apparently no one felt the need to give it that or any other name) which obtained over the centuries until women finally got tired of it and stood their ground under the moniker of “feminism,” whoever presumed to impose that label and whatever its subsequent excesses?

  5. Malgorzata
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    There are many lies in Linda Sarsour’s statements. One of them, about women having their babies at the checkpoints because they cannot reach hospitals, reminded me about a film made by Pierre Rehov, a French filmmaker, a Jew expelled with his family from Algeria when he was a child, and fluent in Arabic. He went to Jenin to make a documentary film without admitting to anybody that he was a Jew and that he understood Arabic. In one of the scenes a doctor instructs a new mother in a hospital to tell this Frenchman that she was stopped on the way and was forced to give birth in the car just with the help of her husband. Both the woman and her husband protested, saying that they were in hospital in time and the baby was born there. But the doctor more or less gave them orders to lie.

    In reality, no matter how unpleasant and boorish Israeli soldiers can be (as any person with a bit of power – see Jerry’s reports about his encounters with TSA people), they are trained to respond to any medical emergency. There are many reports about Israeli soldiers escorting Palestinian pregnant women to hospitals, helping Palestinian victims of road accidents, saving sick Palestinian babies, etc. If the situation is urgent enough they order a helicopter to collect the patient.
    Tragic stories about poor Palestinian women giving birth on the road before a checkpoint are urban legends. Of course, there could be a situation when the labour went so quickly that a woman didn’t come to the hospital in time (not so long time ago such a situation happened in Poland and the baby was born in the car – and there are no Israeli checkpoints in Poland!)

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:23 am | Permalink

      Why should Palestinian women need to leave Gaza to get into Israel to deliver their babies in the first place? Here’s why: When Israel ethnically cleansed its own Jewish citizens from the Gaza Strip, in a vain attempt to satisfy and mollify Palestinians, it left behinds houses, businesses, farms/greenhouses, and hospitals which had been built by the “settlers” for local use.

      Hamas used the basement levels of the hospital, built to protect patients and staff in case of terrorist rocket fire, to hide their leadership and lock out the patients and staff. They used the patients and staff on the hospital floors above ground as human shields. The UN was notified (as though it wasn’t already aware and supportive of this human rights violation). I am not aware that anything was done — except the Goldstone report blaming Israel for civilian deaths where civilians were deliberately used as human shields by Hamas.

      Yep, if I were a Palestinian woman living in Gaza, I’d run to Israel for hospital care, too.

  6. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Re the slightly click-baity headline, doesn’t Zionism substantially overlap with ultra-orthodox Judaism? (I’m sure to be corrected if I’m worng). To that extent, any feminist should reject Zionism just as much as Islam, surely.

    cr

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      You are wrong. Zionism was the idea of building an independent state for Jews in the one place on Earth where they were independent and from which they were forcibly expelled. Now, when such a state exists, Zionist means support for the right of Jews to have this state and to defend it. Nothing more. There are ultra-ortodox Zionists, atheist Zionists, agnostic Zionists, Jewish, Polish, Arab, Indian etc. etc. Zionists with different religious affiliations or without any at all.

      • Dave
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Some of the most hardline Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects are fiercely anti-Zionist, on the grounds that only the Messiah can establish a Jewish state, and since he hasn’t shown up yet, the current state of Israel is a blasphemous abomination. Sects such as the Naturei Karta regularly take part in pro-Palestinian rallies, and seem as keen to see Israel destroyed as the rest of the “anti-Zionist” crowd.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        I’m curious why the specific strip of land was selected by Zionists for the state of Israel, and what the justification is for “returning” to it after hundreds of years of displacement? From what little I know of international law or custom, where lands have been lost for a long time(or even not so long), the current occupants are allowed to stay rather than remove them as it is bound to cause more violence. The boundaries of most countries and in particular Middle Eastern counties have moved constantly throughout history. The rule seems to be, keep it as-is for the sake of peace in the world. Israel seems to be an exception.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:53 am | Permalink

          Zionism takes it’s name from Mount Zion in Jerusalem and from the name “Zion” itself which is another name for the city Jerusalem. The idea was mainly to have a state on the territory of today’s Israel and West Bank (which until 1950s was universally called Judea and Samaria – a craddle of the Jewish nation). Now, as usually with Jews, the situation is more complicated than “where lands have been lost for a long time(or even not so long), the current occupants are allowed to stay”. After Romans came and renamed the country Syria-Paleastina not all Jew wer expelled. Quite a lot managed to stay. Subsequent invadors tried to expell them, Jews from Diaspora returned and this went on for centuries. In the meantime dispersed Jews all over the world kept the idea of return to their homeland alive, their holidays were attuned to the seasons of Middle East and not, say, Russia or South America, they repeated incessantly “next year in Jerusalem”. And in Jerusalem, Hebron and other places in todays Israel/West Bank Jews lived continually for centuries. From about middle of 19th century Jews were in majority in Jerusalem. At the same time, during all those centuries, there was never any kind of state there, it was always a province of one or another empire, the last one for some 500 years, Ottoman Empire. Arab population of this territory was not treated as separate or different from other Arabs and didn’t feel separate either. Asked who they are, they answered “Arabs” not Palestinians – this name came to be used by them and for them in 1960s. Besides, Zionists didn’t intend to expell existing Arab population. What they imagined was that as Jews return from the exile the situation which was in Jerusalem – Jewish majority – will repeat itself through the land. Arab population of this territory, which was never in history an independednt and selfgoverning entity would have equal citizens right in a country will Jewish majority.
          You used words “strip of land” – yes, it is a tiny strip of land, about 1% of the territory of all 22 Arab states.

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:37 am | Permalink

          “From what little I know of international law or custom, where lands have been lost for a long time(or even not so long), the current occupants are allowed to stay rather than remove them as it is bound to cause more violence.”

          Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, was not Jewish, however he did tour the land and write about it, noting how barren it was of people, apparently because it so lacked land worthy of farming, able to support even a bit of population. Water — sweet and not salty — was especially hard to find. I just learned that even underground aquifers in the Negev, which is by far the largest chuck of land in Israel, is salty.

          As Jews moved in from Europe and began farming, they learned that planting trees with deep tap roots helps keep moisture in the arid soil. There was an issue with malaria, where swamps existed, and planting trees in those swamps helped dry them out, controlling the mosquito population.

          Few mention this, anymore, but a lot of brave, young adult Jews died, over this time, from malaria, dehydration, starvation, and other preventable diseases. Those who survived, continued, and more came.

          I consider these brave souls the REAL social justice warriors. They lands they settled were bought and paid for with donated monies. As they succeeded in creating sustainable farms, Arabs moved in! That’s where a huge part of the “Palestinian” population came from — other places that didn’t succeed but saw success and moved there. How did they hear of it? Bedouins, most likely, staying on the move and carrying the news.

          Mark Twain wasn’t the only one to see this. Since then, however, it’s been hidden from view. There are thousands more Muslims in the world than Jews, thousands more available to troll the internet in antizionist/antisemitic attacks. The bravest and most honest ones speak the truth, risking life and limb as much as any homosexual, transsexual or atheist. The safest Muslim voices are those coming from inside Israel, speaking up on their own. They could relax in the relative ease of their freedom, as citizens of an open democracy, but they so love their country — THEIR country of ISRAEL — that they feel compelled to speak out.

          • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:44 am | Permalink

            Best to clarify: My description, above, regards areas outside Jerusalem. Jerusalem is just one city in an entire country that had been run down by successive invaders.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 4:18 am | Permalink

          Thanks for the history. It seems that regardless of how and why Israel was formed, the fact remains that it is currently an accepted nation and has been since the end of WW2. I can see why many Palestinians would be anti-Zionists, but Israel is a de facto nation and deserves to exist. Let’s hope that the next effort at peace-making succeeds.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      If I remember correctly Zionism was largely founded by secular Jews like the Hungarian Theodor Herzl and I think the orthodox types like Kook was in the minority – perhaps someone can elaborate/correct me but I think secular jews have always dominated Zionism and of course the state of Israel itself.

      And as Dave mentioned many Ultra-Orthodox Jews are infact vehemently anti-zionist.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink

        Jewish survivors of the Holocaust also included many atheists, unable to continue to believe in God anymore, if they had been able to, previously. Israel did not turn them away. They were Jews, belief or no belief.

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:52 am | Permalink

          Time for a joke — from a Chabad rabbi on Rosh Hashanah, nine days before Yom Kippur, the Day of Repentence. (Not long before this, I told the rabbie I couldn’t believe, anymore. His response was to tell me I was still welcome in the congregation and at his home, where he and his family host so many, so often, for meals.) Here’s the joke:

          The observant Jew prays, “Shema, Yisroel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai ehod.” (“Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord, our G-d, the Lord is One!”)

          The agnostic Jew prays, “Shema, Yisroel: I dunno… Eloheinu? I dunno… ehod.”

          And the atheist Jew prays, “Shema, Yisroel: I deny Eloheinu! I deny ehod!”

          I loved this! It means the Jew who questions and even the Jew who vehemently doesn’t believe are both welcome in the Jewish community.

          Match that, Sarsour!!!!

          • BJ
            Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            Haha, excellent! We might also ask when people hold Israel to standards they apply to no other nation, “why is this country different from all other countries?”

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        I have read somewhere (maybe in Bernard Lewis) that the decisive event for Zionism was the Dreifus affair. After that, many Jews realized that as a minority they would always be in danger to be targeted; if they wanted to be safe, they needed their own nation-state.

        As a supporter of the right of Israel to exist, I identify myself as a Zionist, though I am not a Jew.

    • BJ
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      “Re the slightly click-baity headline, doesn’t Zionism substantially overlap with ultra-orthodox Judaism?”

      No, it absolutely does not. In fact, there are several significant ultra-orthodox groups that expressly oppose the existence of the state of Israel.

      • Adam M.
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Well, substantial overlap isn’t complete overlap.

  7. Tom
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Since Messianism was the major reason that led to the violent end of Judea I think there could be some confusion here.
    If I remember rightly the ruler of the world prophesied as coming from the east, “the Messiah” turned out to be Titus Flavius Vespasianus, not that it matters anymore to all those believers that died having been so egregiously misled.

  8. Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    There are a number of good points made in this posting. But, the heading needs to be made more precise. Precision regarding these important debates is becoming more and more important.
    “Can a pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist be a feminist…hell no!, can be corrected.
    (1) Palestinian (same as “Arab”) is not a religion. Arab people have different assessments of Sharia law, and women’s rights, especially if they are Jewish or Christian Arab, or if they have no religion at all. Clearly, many Palestinian Arabs (even Muslim Palestinians) support the rights of women, and might even consider themselves “feminist.”
    (2) Being pro-Palestinian means different things, also including supporting the right of Israel to exist, even as a Jewish state. It is clear that many Palestinians themselves support this alternative (not publicly) as part of an agreement for the recognition of a state of their own on the West Bank.
    (3) Likewise, “anti-Zionist” means different things. Many people, including supporters of Israel, do not identify as Zionist, but nevertheless might stand in favor of the defense of the state of Israel. Among these, supporting women’s rights or being “feminist” is not a contradiction at all.

    • Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Since you believe precision is important, may I ask whether by the term “many” (Palestinian Arabs) do you mean:

      * more than, say, four people, or do you mean

      *a majority of Palestinian Arabs, or do you you mean

      * what repeated survey statistics show a decidedly small minority of Palestinian people actually believe about the rights of women and the right of the State of Israel to exist?

      And, it seems pretty clear to me, at least, that the term “anti-Zionist” is not synonymous with believing Israel should or has a right to exist, it means precisely and universally the opposite.

      Indeed, you can be pretty darn sure that whenever you see someone using the terms “Zionist” or “Zionism”, you are dealing with a rank anti-Semite in exactly the same way that when you see someone using the term “Darwinist” or “Darwinism”, you are dealing with a creationist.

      • Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know of a survey of Palestinians on the question of women’s rights. But I think there are more than four who support women’s rights. In fact I suspect that there are many more than four (just a hunch). Regarding the idea of supporting the right of Israel to exist, I never said a majority, but I think there are many Palestinians who (privately) “support this alternative.” In a recent survey that I read about, approximately 40% percent said that they favor a two-state solution. Maybe it’s a lot less, say 30 or 25%. That is an important fact to take into account if you care about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
        Correct: “anti-Zionist is not synonymous with believing Israel should or has a right to exist.” But this is a simple point of logic: many supporters of Israel, including citizens of Israel, do not identify as Zionist, and many even consider themselves to be “anti-Zionist” (as I pointed out “anti-Zionist” means different things, historically and even today).
        Yes, Gingerbaker is correct, sad to say: today, very often when you come across a person who calls himself “anti-Zionist,” you are dealing with a rank anti-Semite. The term is code in many circles (especially in the “Left”) for anti-Israel, or even anti-Jewish. But, it only takes paying a little attention to what they say they stand for (e.g. many members of BDS who use the code word “anti-Zionist” ) to figure out which is which.

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:57 am | Permalink

          Please cite your sources, if you must continue to insist on “many.” Hunches are merely a case of you projecting onto others of a different culture what you believe they must believe.

          • Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            Despite serious violation of women’s rights in the West Bank (we can set aside for now the state of widespread subjugation of women in Gaza), it appears that there is greater awareness and activity in favor of women’s rights in the West Bank than in many Muslim-majority countries. To start with, 50,000 of Palestinians are not Muslim, and on personal status matters, are not subject to Sharia law. Beyond this minority, there is reason to believe that there is more an a handful of women and men who are concerned with issues of women’s rights. Take the example of the public campaign against honor killing: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/honor-killings-rise-in-palestinian-territories-sparking-backlash/2014/03/02/1392d144-940c-11e3-9e13-770265cf4962_story.html?utm_term=.cd643cdf7167,
            unthinkable in Gaza, for example. You don’t have to agree with the overall political approach (anti-Israeli) of the Jerusalem Center for Women https://www.j-c-w.org/
            or of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid to recognize that there exist more than a handful of persons in the West Bank who support women’s rights, and are active in promoting them, phenomenon related to the historically high female participation in university level education (today higher than for men, as is the case in many western countries). See reports on the US Department of State website for background: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/nea/220358.htm
            It’s important to stay away from exaggeration and hyperbole when discussing these complex issues.

            • rickflick
              Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

              I find it astonishing that any culture would have a need for a campaign against honor killing. Other countries have campaigns against unneutered pets or littering.

              • Norbert Francis
                Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

                I think we agree on this point. It is astonishing.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

                Excellent point!

            • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

              Ah, yes, the U.S. State Department. According to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., it was the antisemitic culture inside the United States’ own State Department which blocked Jewish refugees of Europe from coming to the United States while allowing other refugees in.

              And just last week, the Trump administration killed the State Department desk overseeing and addressing worldwide antisemitism.

              It’s happening, again. Antisemitism is growing. And anti-zionism is just another BS name for it, meant to undermine any and everything Jewish.

              Perhaps, being Jewish, I’ve been more tuned into to history as it has unfolded over the past six decades, on top of the history that was before my time. And, perhaps, the propagandists are simply winning by dumbing down their audiences.

              Here, try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K6-cEAJZlE. It’s post-WWII U.S. Goverment efforts to prevent exactly the sort of thing you are promulgating. And it’s actually worthy of watching.

              • Norbert Francis
                Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

                I think docatheist and I agree and have on a number of points in common:
                (1) opposition to the unjustified elimination by Trump of the State Department’s office on combating anti-Semitism, just last week: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.797506
                (2) The shameful record, before and all during WWII, on the part of the United States and its allies in turning back refugees from Europe trying to escape Nazi persecution. There are many responsible parties in the current Mideast conflict.
                (3) Great video from 1947 (now timely again); everyone should watch it.
                (4) By miracle also, many in my family escaped from Eastern Europe alive (reason why I am), and some didn’t.
                But I don’t get the connection between the above and what I am allegedly “promulgating.” It’s a matter of fact, and of plain logic, that opposition to Zionism doesn’t equal anti-Semitism. That fact that enemies of Israel try to conflate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism does not make them equal. By the same token, among defenders of Israel are many people (among them citizens) who are not supporters of Zionism.

              • Posted July 4, 2017 at 1:55 am | Permalink

                Perhaps Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s explanation of Muslim antisemitism as it relates to antizionism will help you.

                She was a panelist on Bill Maher’s show, a few years ago, and said that the Koran [however it is read and interpreted] allows coexistence between Muslims and Dhimmis. Dhimmis are “Peoples of the Book”, specifically Jews and Christians. The rationale is that Islam built on Judaism and Christianity, so Jews and Christians believe in the same God, so they are not infidels. [Infidels, on the other hand, are to be converted or killed.]

                The Koran does NOT, however, permit Dhimmis to be treated as equals. They must be disadvantaged through extra/excessive taxes, curfews, and other restrictions.

                For Israel to be a Jewish nation is to give Jews equality with Muslims on a national scale. This is intolerable, so Israel must be destroyed, [and the uppity Jews in Israel must be punished/killed to make sure it doesn’t happen, again.]

                The parts in brackets are my additions, though perhaps Ayaan said these things, too.

                Now, how does anyone fight this logic? Egypt and Jordan made peace treaties with Israel. Egypt got peace, because they couldn’t afford anymore war, and they got the Sinai peninsula back, BUT they did not want the Gaza Strip! Jordan got peace and did not want/require Judea and Sumaria (the West Bank, as they called it).

                Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and many, many more (Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and even ISIS) can afford to continue, especially when all it takes is propaganda, provocations (i.e., rockets and tunnels from Gaza and knife-welding lone wolf types). The “Palestinians” are priceless, in this effort. Keep them poor, while their leaders become multi-billionaires living in the UAE, and let the poor Palestinians fear uprisings against their militarized leaders, and they will spill their frustrations out on the Jews of Israel. Who can blame them, when they, too, are fed a steady diet of “blame the Jews and blame Israel” — especially when it’s in the Koran.

    • BJ
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      “Likewise, ‘anti-Zionist’ means different things. Many people, including supporters of Israel, do not identify as Zionist, but nevertheless might stand in favor of the defense of the state of Israel. Among these, supporting women’s rights or being ‘feminist’ is not a contradiction at all.”

      Your last line here is true, but only because the modern feminist movement no longer cares about any women oppressed in the Muslim world and suffering under Muslim theocracy (actually, I should say that the movement as a whole emphatically opposes anyone who tries to point out such oppression), and that’s because they now find it more important to protect the reputation of Islam than to free the hundreds of million women who suffer under its oppression throughout the world.

      I am careful to say things like
      “the movement as a whole” because I know there are still some feminists willing to stand against this oppression — some even on this very site — and I applaud them for standing up to the movement at large on this issue.

      • Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Sad to say, I think the estimate of BJ about the majority of feminists today is correct, as they have turned a blind eye to oppression of women under Sharia law. Yes, I agree, we should applaud those feminists, and others who are truly concerned about women’s rights, who have not caved into to now fashionable mantra of “anti-western” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) ideology.

        • Norbert Francis
          Posted July 4, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          I think we agree here about Ayaan Hirsi Ali as well. She is a courageous spokesperson for human rights. Too bad that many people in the US misunderstand the point she is making, stupidly accusing her of so-called “Islamophobia.” It is in fact shameful and unacceptable how she has been singled out for slander by apologists of extremism and religious fundamentalism. Apology for extremism and fundamentalism is found in strange places, such as in the Southern Poverty Law Center which actively participates in the slander. Perhaps it isn’t that strange, and that we shouldn’t be surprised.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Sarsour should try an experiment. Live as she does now in an Islamic state like Palestine or Saudi Arabia then in Israel. See which one treats her more fairly. She’d be lucky not to be beaten for having a whisp of hair showing from under her hijab in Saudi Arabia. She’s a blowhard and no feminist.

    • Carey Haug
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      She seems to take for granted the privileges women enjoy in the US. She seems free to go out on her own without the supervision of a male relative. I often wonder how sincere she is in her belief that Women are treated fairly under Sharia law. Perhaps she is so brainwashed by her religion she suffers from severe cognitive dissonance. On the other hand, maybe she is quite aware that she is lying in order to promote her religion.

      • Craw
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        She is completely aware she is lying. That is evident when she gets evasive.

  10. Ken
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    There’s plenty of valid criticism of the BDS movement, even from people like Chomsky on the left, but I’ve never heard they have a stated aim of “eliminating the Israeli nation”.

    • biz
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Actually they have a partially stated aim of the elimination of the Israeli nation.

      The BDS platform technically calls for boycotts of Israel until all “refugees” from 1948 are resettled within Israel. Since the UN has a ridiculous definition of ‘refugee’ for this conflict only, such as stating that refugee status can be passed down uninterrupted for unlimited generations, there are now something like 8 million “Palestinian” “refugees” (all of these terms are Orwellian). So the goal of BDS is to settle 8 million Arab Muslims in Israel, which of course would make it no longer a Jewish-majority state. The Jews would then suffer the same fate as every other religious and ethnic minority in the Arab-Muslim world, and indeed the same fate the Jews of Arab countries suffered just a generation ago – mass expulsion and genocide.

      So yes, the goal of BDS is clearly the elimination of Jews from the Middle East. They are implicit about this in their official platform and explicit about this in many clips that you can find online.

    • Craw
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Right you are. Killing Jews was not the publicly stated aim of The SS. Fleecing investors was not the publicly stated aim of Enron. And destroying Israel is not the publicly stated aim of BDS.

    • Adam M.
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      The BDS movement isn’t uniform. I think Malgorzata showed some documentation of some of the founders privately saying that they want to destroy Israel, and some of them care about the “refugee” (right of return) issue, but I think the great majority of BDS supporters simply want to pressure Israel into removing the settlements and/or trying harder to make peace.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        You are making an assertion with no concrete evidence. I do claim that BDS was started with one of the motivations being to eliminate the state of Israel. Do you have any evidence that the “great majority of BDS supporters” would be happy with the continuation of Israel as part of a two-state solution, and with no “right of return” that would destroy Israel? Or is that just your gut feeling? I don’t have any date on what BDS supporters want, but i know that some of them, and that means the founders, had a design to eliminate the state. The slogan, “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” which one hears frequently at such rallies, is an explicit call for the elimination of Israel.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Why must all the pressure be on Israel? If BDS were legitimate, it would hit both sides.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        They’d better pressure the Palestinians to make peace, because it is they who are making war.

      • BJ
        Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        “… I think the great majority of BDS supporters simply want to pressure Israel into removing the settlements and/or trying harder to make peace.”

        The settlements are so small and take up so little land as a whole that they are practically non-existent. Moreover, as Malgorzata has noted previously, they are in places that were previously part supposed to remain part of Israel. Not to mention Israel has, for years, been dismantling illegal settlements (something Palestinian authorities would never do in their position).

        You think the BDS movement wants Israel to “try harder” to make peace? What else are they supposed to do? They have repeatedly sat down at the table across from people whose stated aim is to kill all Jews and destroy the state of Israel, and yet Israel has continue throughout the decades to attempt some kind of compromise. The Palestinian leaders aren’t interested in compromise — no matter what they might say, everything they say before and after they’re at the negotiating table suggests that the only idea they find acceptable is the complete dismantling of Israel and, at the very least, expulsion of every single Jew from the area (if not simply outright death for them).

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      To me, this is obvious. Right now, their Web site refers to the founding of the State of Israel as Nakba, “the Catastrophe”. If someone uses calls your birth “Catastrophe”, I guess you’d be worried.

  11. Posted July 2, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    When I ask my friends that still support Trump why, invariably one of the reasons given is that people like Sarsour wield too much influence over the Democratic party.

    • Craw
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I predicted on this site that she will be given a safe seat by the Democrat party in the next election. She will be lionized by Warren and other left leaning women in the party.

  12. Posted July 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Is there anything under her hijab?

    Thanks Malgorzata and Dave I learnt something useful.
    .

    • Craw
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      She is emphatically not an idiot. She is a shrewd manipulator of memes and marketing. Coyne calls her arguments unpersuasive. I think she persuades many — more alas than our host does. Her influence is growing. She is *winning*.

      • Carey Haug
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        I hope you are mistaken, but fear that you are not. She is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Her values are antithetical both to our Constitution and to the human rights movement.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        If what you say is true, i would not know, it is alarming.
        I cannot fathom this women’s disconnect with the misogynistic oppressive sharia laws of Islam which seems so obvious and her cherry picked feminism.
        So, not an idiot to you but still an airhead to me.

  13. Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Well said!

    The question isn’t whether a pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist such as Sarsour can be a feminist.

    The most interesting question is why some people listen to her and buy her crappy distorted views.

  14. BJ
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Sarsour has succeeded in infiltrating the feminist and regressive movement because they allow people like her to do so, and now is going about her real goal of spreading her pro-Islam, anti-western and anti-Israel poison to its followers.

    And most of them will eat it up happily. Once enough do (and its probable enough already have), politicians and media on the left will not be able to speak out against her for fear of backlash, and it will provide yet another bit of excellent ammunition for the right to use.

    The left continues to destroy itself from the inside out by accepting people like Sarsour as spokespeople and champions of their new brand of justice. This saddens me more and more every day.

  15. Diane G.
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    sub

  16. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    ” … remember that anti-Zionism denies Jews the right to have a homeland … ”

    Erm, that’s not what anti-zionism is about at all.

    I doubt you’d find many people actively against the jews having a homeland.

    Anti-zionism is against the modern re-definition of zionism (sometimes called reformed zionism) which is about the alliance of the west with Israel specifically as an anti arab, anti palestine movement and the constant building of settlements on land that was not agreed to in 1948.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid your definition doesn’t describe reality. No new settlement was build for nearly 25 years – the first time just now the government gave permission for a new settlement for people forcibly evicted from an illegal settlement where they lived for quite a number of years. The settlments are mainly in the blocks adjacent to the Green line which, according to all previous negotiations with Palestinians were suppose to stay in Israel. All settlements take some 2% of the whole area of the West Bank. Anti-Zionists regard Jerusalem as half belonging to Palestinians, demand division of the city which was never divided in its over 3000 history except for 19-years long illegal occupation by Jordan which expelled all Jews from occupied part of the city, demolished 55 synagogues there and destroyed big parts of Jewish cementary on the Mount of Olives. Why aggressive war, ethnic cleansing and demolishing of the culture of other people should be reworded by dividing the city again is beyond my comprehension.
      Israeli authorities are demolishing Jewish illegal settlements. Except for fringe groups there is no “anti-Palestinian” movement. The peace proposals were presented by Netanyahu and rejected by Abbas.
      Sometimes I’ve heard that refusal to allow the descendants of Palestinian refugees from 1948 to “return” and settle in Israel as “anti-Palestinian”. If Jews do not want to be once again a persecuted minority in a country, as they were for 2000 in Arab countries they cannot allow 4-6 million people, who were born outside Israel (often their parents were also born outside Israel) to come to Israel. Well, maybe you call it anti_palestinian. But how do you call the policy of Arab League and Arab countries which since 1948 are keeping these people and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in camps, refuse them citizenship and many civil rights? How do you call Palestinian Authority which is keeping such people in camps in the area they have full authority over and could’ve resettle them many times over? Who is anti-Palestinian? Or, maybe Hamas, stealing international aid and spending it on arms and tunnel building instead of houses, schools and hospitals?

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        “Or, maybe Hamas, stealing international aid and spending it on arms and tunnel building instead of houses, schools and hospitals?”

        Compared to the 4 billion per year that is spent on Israeli arms by the US alone, that is nothing.

        The cheering of the israeli people when bombs were dropped on Palestinian children what is what broke the camel’s back for me.

        The Jews have been put upon for centuries, but they mustn’t become the perpetrators themselves.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          The difference between defence and aggression should be obvious, the more so that it is not only Hamas which has very aggressive intentions towards Israel.

          Taking behavior of a few jerks and generalizing it on the whole nation doesn’t sound good. So how do you react to Palestinian Authority which pays jailed murderers and their families according to scale: the more Jews killed the higher payment, and is raising monuments to “Jew-killers” (the newest one to a murderer who killed 22 Jews, mostly children). And these are not actions of few individual, private scoundrels but of the official authorities.

          • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

            Surely the “aggressive” move was to un-house 100s of 1000s of people in 1948, women and children included, and decant them to the desert to make way for people who, on the whole, already had homes, just not homes in “their homeland”.

            • biz
              Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

              Are you playing dumb or do you actually not know any history?

              The Arabs started that war with the stated intent to “drive the Jews into the sea” after Israel accepted the UN partition plan. Wars create refugees, and rather than resettle their fellow Arabs, the Arab countries decided to instead keep them in camps and convinced the UN to make refugee status inheritable, in this one case only out of all the conflicts in the world.

              Then, equal in number to the Arab refugees created by the Arab invasion of Israel in 1948, were the Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Arab and Muslim countries after 1948. Israel decided to make them citizens and boom, whaddaya know, not refugees anymore.

              The “Palestinian” refugee problem is solely the fault of Arab regimes, and certainly not the fault of Israel which was invaded and didn’t want that war to begin with.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

                Ah, you’re a revisionist.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

                Ah, you are deliberately projecting, with your name-calling. It seems clearer and clearer that either you lack insight or your inaccurate remarks are deliberate. My guess is the latter.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

                Stop with the “revisionist” labeling. If you want to make an argument, make one, but don’t smear other commenters with labels.

            • Malgorzata
              Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

              You really should read some history before pronouncing such things. Nobody “un-housed” thousands of people. Had Arabs agreed to U.N’s partition proposal (which Jews agreed to) there would be no Arab refugees. But Arab countries attacked Israel the day after it was established, encouraged the civilian Arab population to get out of harm’s way so that armies could finish of the Jews and promised them return in two weeks and part of the spoils. Besides, more Jews were expelled or escaped from Arab countries (well over 800,000) than Arabs, who escaped (and in a few instances, when they continued to fight, were expelled) from the teritory of today’s Israel.

              And, pray, do you regard camps for Displaced Persons (the remnants who survived Nazi concentration camps) ‘homes, just not “homes in their homeland”‘?

              Nobody in Europe and America wants to be called an “antisemite”. But I have a nasty feeling that they are gladly outsourcing their antisemitism to Arab world. The prove for it is their deep empathy for Palestinians, but not for Palestinians suffering in Lebanese or Syrian campa, no. Only for those who meet with problems when killing Jews.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

                “Had Arabs agreed to U.N’s partition proposal (which Jews agreed to) there would be no Arab refugees. ”

                Why should the arabs have agreed? They were already living there?

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

                Quite a lot of Jews were also already living there. And there were about 900.000 Jews living in Arab countries. Only a handful is left there (in Egypt there are seven old women left). 20% of Israel’s population are Arabs.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

                And so were the Jews.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

                “Quite a lot of Jews were also already living there”

                Are you actually defending forcefully displacing large numbers of a population with “well, some of them were jewish so it’s ok”???

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

                No, I’m saying there was no forceful displacing 1948 except for Jordanians expelling all Jews (whom they didn’t manage to kill) from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (later renamed by Jordan “West Bank”).

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

                Are you actually suggesting that everyone believe the lies and propaganda you are trying to seed, here?

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

                Oh come off it. Of course arabs were displaced from the are in 1948. It was called the nakba.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

                Really, the name nakba came a bit later. In the beginning all Arab refugees blamed Arab armies which came and promised plenty of spoils – all the property of the dead Jews. Armies (especially Egyptian and Iraqi) encouraged civilian Arabs to move and let them operate freely. Don’t you read anything except Arab and Sovjet propaganda? Yes, it was a great tragedy: the Arab armies didn’t manage to exterminate the Jews as they were sure they would. And Arab civilians paid the price.
                You seem to try to disprove the assertion you made in your initial comment: that an anti-Zionist is not against the state of Israel.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

                +1

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

                Another propaganda bit of word play from late in the game, and you want us to believe that because a name was eventually given to a propagandized story that makes it real?

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

                Very often, when I hear people from Europe and U.S., commiserating with Arabs on “Nakba Day”, I wonder whether they would also commiserate with Germans on May 9, “Catastrophe Day”, when Germany was definitely defeated after IIWW. After all, they were crushed, the country was in ruins, they lost a huge chunk of their territory and millions of Germans were forcibly expelled from their homes. Let’s compare this with Arabs:
                Aggressive war? Yes in both cases (the difference being that one country, Germany, invaded several countries, while here one country, Israel WAS INVADED by several countries).
                The “Final Solution” of the “Jewish Problem”? Yes, in both cases.
                Defeat? Yes in both cases (the difference being that several countries defeated on country, Germany, and that one country, Israel defeated several countries.

              • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

                So true!

            • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

              Wow, that’s right up there with the world being flat. What a shame, lack of real knowledge is so prevalent.

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          1. Jews do not cheer at civilian causualties, even those of their enemies. This is ingrained in the Passover seder, during rememberance — with sadness — of the loss of the first born children of the Egyptians.
          2. You suggests original “perpetrators” can continue, so they get a pass, but victims of perpetrators, i.e., Jews, must remain victims in order to live up to a higher standard. That is prejudice on many levels.
          3. Palestinians should stop teaching preschoolers to murder Jews in order to get into Heaven. That child abuse from “perpetrators” is clearly designed to grow more perpetrators. When will you call this out?

    • biz
      Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      “I doubt you’d find many people actively against the jews having a homeland.”

      Possibly the most transparently false statement posted on the entire internet today.

      Among those officially opposed to Israel being a Jewish homeland are/were 1) almost the entire political class of the Arab and Muslim world, with a few notable exceptions, as manifest by e.g. the ~50 countries that have refused diplomatic relations with Israel from the start and refer to it to this day as “the Zionist entity,” 2) the UN itself for the ~20 year period where the “Zionism is racism” resolution was in effect, 3) all left wing European parliamentary parties, 4) the American far left, including but by no means restricted to, the Nation Magazine, Z Magazine, the Green Party, organizations that have signed on to the BDS movement (various churches, etc), Max Blumenthal and anyone who has favorably reviewed his anti-Zionist (real definition, not your fake definition) manifestos, 5) elements of the European and American far right which speak of living under a “Zionist occupied government,” etc.

      That right there is hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      FYI, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) were stolen by Jordan in 1948, in a war in which Israel was completely on the defense. Israel won the land back in a later defensive war.

      And those of us old enough to have been around in the 1960s and 1970s will recall issues of the region being called the Arab-Israeli conflict. In that turn of phrase, Israel was named last because it was recognized as the underdog.

      Arafat used propaganda techniques to relabel the situation. He was effective. Hence the current claim of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There were no “Palestinians” before that, only Arabs.

      Old issues of daily newspapers will prove this.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      In my experience, this is exactly what anti-Zionism is about, and there are many people actively against the Jews having a homeland. Many non-Jews think that the destruction of Israel is a small price to pay for the world peace.

      Israel cannot help being anti-Palestine, with the constant shelling, bombing, gun and knife attacks and kidnappings coming from the Palestinian territories. If our neighbor Serbia were firing rockets at us, we’d be anti-Serbian.

  17. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    The “I [heart] IDF” butt shot has moved up to #5 in the search now.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      And it was all about the Gaza “strip”, too. 🙂


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