Phyllis Chesler exposes leftists’ hypocrisy when it comes to Islam.
“It is important to understand that it is not only feminists who demonize Israel. They are merely part of a global phenomenon in which the world media, academics, government leaders and human rights organizations drive this madness.”
Prof. Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies. She lives in New York City. She is the best-selling author of 16 books including “The New Anti-Semitism” (2003, 2015), “The Death of Feminism” (2005) and “American Bride in Kabul” (2013) which won a National Jewish Book Award. Her latest book is “Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews, 2003-2015” (2016).
“In 2003, after a rather successful lecture about a feminist topic to an African-American feminist audience at a free-standing conference at Barnard, I was asked –completely off-topic– where I stood on the issue of the women of ‘Palestine.’ I responded: ‘I think you are asking me where I stand on the issue of apartheid and I oppose it. Islam is the largest practitioner of gender and religious apartheid in the world.’
“I began talking about forced veiling, arranged marriage, polygamy, honor-based violence and honor killing. A near-riot broke out. I was hustled out for my safety. These feminists did not care about ‘Palestine’ but about demonizing Israel. As women of color they identified with Arabs whom they thought were all people of color. They ignored the existence of Arab Jews or Jews of color. Neither had they any idea of the anti-black prejudice and history of slavery that characterizes Arab and Muslim history.
“By the mid- to late 1980s, feminists began to speak — like many others — more about colonialism than about women’s rights. Under the evil spell of Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Jacques Lacan and so on, they became cultural relativists and abandoned their original belief in universal human rights. They became more concerned with racism than with sexism. They became more obsessed with the occupation of a country, ‘Palestine’ — that has never existed — than they were with the occupation of women’s bodies in the Muslim world. Faux anti-racism trumped real anti-sexism every time.
“Major feminist organizations, such as The National Women’s Studies Association have had plenary panels about ‘Palestine’ and have voted to boycott Israel–not Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, or ISIS. Feminists at Brandeis University were the force behind withdrawing an offer to honor Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an anti-Islamist ex-Muslim dissident. She is a dark-skinned African, yet her critique of Islamic practices is seen as a ‘racist,’ rather than as a theological or feminist critique.
“Once people, including feminists, are infected with a fake but lethal narrative, reason alone cannot prevail. They fear that by criticizing barbaric behavior when committed by formerly colonized men of color, especially Arabs, in particular ‘Palestinians,’ they themselves will be demonized as racist ‘Islamophobes.’
“I have stood against anti-Israeli petitions and boycotts from the mid-1970s on, but am a lone voice– in terms of Second Wave feminist pioneers. Younger pro-Israel activists, however, may also hold feminist values.
“It gives me no pleasure to critique feminist leaders of my generation. Once we did hold certain beliefs in common about women’s rights and the universality of human rights. However, classical liberals have increasingly become totalitarian-like leftists. Those who were in favor of free speech and academic freedom now condone hate speech, blood libels and junk social science.
“Feminists who once understood that sexist images have a profound effect upon living beings, refuse to view the incitement against Israel as being related to anti-Semitism, or a world Intifada against the Jewish state as constituting racism. The burden of telling the truth is too punitive for many who will be unfunded, un-invited, shunned, censored, and effectively written out of intellectual and feminist history.
“Unbelievably, institutional, academic, and activist feminism today stands with Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, not with Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and Hindus who are being massacred by Muslims—or with the women who are being kidnapped into sex slavery by ISIS and Boko Haram.
“Having lived in Afghanistan I was both an eyewitness and a survivor of the gender apartheid that is indigenous to many tribal cultures. Barbaric customs including the savage subordination of women, have not been caused by Western imperialism or colonialism. They preceded the rise of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Boko Haram, and ISIS.
“Most Western thinkers do not comprehend that Islam has a long history of slavery, anti-black racism, religious apartheid, gender apartheid, colonialism, imperialism and conversion via the sword. They also do not realize that Muslims have been persecuting Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Ba’hai—and the ‘wrong’ kind of Muslims—for fourteen centuries. This understanding should be easy to achieve given our daily, horrendous headlines. But no one wants to be the first to say: ‘The Emperor has no clothes.’”