Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Who belongs at the International Women's Strike tomorrow?

Does Feminism Have Room for Zionists? By EMILY SHIRE
.... For my part, I am troubled by the portion of the International Women’s Strike platform that calls for a “decolonization of Palestine” as part of “the beating heart of this new feminist movement.” The platform also states: “We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine.” 
Implying that mass incarceration is analogous to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is analogous to Donald Trump’s desire to build a wall along the Mexican border is simplistic at best. 
But my prime concern is not that people hold this view of Israel. Rather, I find it troubling that embracing such a view is considered an essential part of an event that is supposed to unite feminists. I am happy to debate Middle East politics or listen to critiques of Israeli policies. But why should criticism of Israel be key to feminism in 2017? 
One of the organizers behind the March 8 strikes should also be concerning to Zionist feminists. 
The strike was announced in an op-ed at The Guardian, with eight signatories, including Rasmea Yousef Odeh. Today, Ms. Odeh is considered an immigrants’ and women’s rights activist, but before taking on these roles, she was convicted for her involvement in a 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two Hebrew University students and an attempted bombing of the British consulate. 
While the fairness of Ms. Odeh’s conviction is debated, the fact that she was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was categorized as a terrorist organization by the State Department, is not. The Anti-Defamation League referred to Ms. Odeh as a terrorist and raised concern that in recent years, “activism has been a tool for the legitimization of Rasmea Odeh, despite her criminal record in Israel.”

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