Saturday, July 26, 2014

No, Supporting Hamas is Not 'Feminist'

Phyllis Chesler

It was only a matter of time. Today, Ali Abunimah's Electronic Intifada published a piece titled "Ending Zionism is a feminist issue."
I would say just the opposite is true: "Supporting Zionism is a feminist issue."
Today must be the day assigned to organize feminists for Hamas in Gaza. Another such article also just appeared—just as I was writing about Electronic Intifada's offering.
Zionism is a liberation movement of oppressed and persecuted Jews-- but it is so much more than that. Israel is a Western-style democracy in which free speech, freedom of inquiry, freedom of conscience, as well as women's and gay rights movements flourish. Both women and Arabs hold seats in Parliament, government, city councils, and the Israeli Supreme Court. Israel also tolerates a large and very vocal left, dissident movement which wields power in the universities, the media, and in not-for profit and human rights groups.

Israel is not perfect—which country is?—but it is head and shoulders above all its neighbors in terms of human rights and the protection of other religions, such as Christianity and Islam. The Ba'hai, forced out of Iran, found safe haven in Israel. The Bahai, a relatively new religion, believe that a series of "divine messengers" have come to teach about the oneness of God in order to "advance human society," including Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and the most recent--Bahá'u'lláh.
No one in Israel is forced to remain in one religion by the state, nor are they threatened with a death sentence for converting to another religion. This is routinely the case in Palestine and in all Muslim countries today.
In terms of scientific achievement, literacy rates, and humanitarian and medical contributions to humanity, Israel may be unparalleled among nations. Even now, in the midst of yet another war of self-defense, Israeli doctors treat Palestinians who may indeed have been wounded by Hamas rockets, either accidentally or on purpose, as well as by Israeli fire.
Let's compare this picture to that of "Palestine." Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank believe in and practices the forcible veiling of women, polygamy, and arranged child marriage, the persecution of Palestinian gays (who seek and receive asylum in Israel), the routine beating of daughters and wives on the West Bank and in Gaza, and in the honor killing of women. I have worked with Israelis who rescue Palestinian girls and women from being killed by their families.
In "Palestine," suspected dissidents are tortured and murdered. They do not run the universities or the media as they do in Israel.
Hamas, aka the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, expects civilians to act as human shields. Israel defends its civilians and, in reality, tries very hard to avoid any and all civilian casualties. Hamas maximizes its own civilian casualties by storing its weaponry in private homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques as well as beneath each city in a vast network of underground tunnels. Hamas is currently driving up the civilian casualty count for mere propaganda reasons as it forbids people to leave their homes after Israel has warned them to do so. It has also refused to build bomb shelters for its people and chose to use all the cement delivered to build tunnels for their fighters and weapons.
The Electronic Intifada piece claims that women and children are being killed disproportionately and that this amounts to a "genocide."
This is a Big Lie. What is "disproportionate" is that Hamas allows an all-too-willing media to show only the same images of Palestinian women and children being rushed to hospitals. There is an utter absence of images of male combatants, dressed strategically as civilians, in action, wounded, captured, or dead.
From all reliable accounts, the largest number of Palestinian casualties in this "Protective Edge" campaign, are men between the ages of 18-28 (fighting age) and not women and children.
"Genocide" is what the Arabs did to the Jews among them, forcing them all to flee to Israel or to the West. "Ethnic cleansing" is what Hamas and Hamas's global supporters wish to do to the Jews who live in the West Bank. Radical Islam, not Judaism, is the largest practitioner of gender and religious apartheid. In America, established as a Christian nation, many religions are tolerated. In Saudi Arabia, Judaism and Christianity are not tolerated, nor are they tolerated in most Muslim country today. In fact, they are under savage siege.
The article goes on to claim that the Israeli "war" on Gaza has resulted in "miscarriages, pre-term labor, and stillbirths." How would one know this? No data is provided. One might suggest that living above tunnels loaded with rockets, missiles, and guns, surrounded by gangs of serious goons, coupled with constant harassment by Palestinian men might also result in such tragedies.
The article charges Israel-only with "militarism" which is a form of "hyper-masculinity" and this, by definition, persecutes women.
Surely, the article jests. Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram are also beyond "militaristic." What Muslims are doing to Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, and Afghanistan is grotesque, surreal, and far worse than anything Israeli troops have ever done in their various wars of self-defense.
I understand that this article was distributed widely across the internet.
I stand against it. It is a disgusting piece of desperate trivia.

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