Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of sixteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has written four studies about honor killing, Her latest books are An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) and Living History: On The Front Lines for Israel and the Jews.Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com
On July 31, 2014, the Institute of Women's Studies at Birzeit University put out "an urgent call" to condemn Israel, Israeli scholars, and the Israeli culture of "rape," "misogyny," "sexism," "genocide," and "ethnic cleansing."
That's not all. The Institute also condemned one unnamed member of the Israeli Parliament who has allegedly called for "the killing of all Palestinian women"; another Israeli academic who has allegedly called for the "raping of Palestinian women;" and a Rabbi who has allegedly "call(ed) for mass murder of Palestinians while taking their foreskins as trophies."
Birzeit University is a Palestinian academic institution located in the "West Bank"-- specifically, in the town of Bir Zeit. The message has made it far beyond Palestine, however. American and European listserv groups are circulating this filth, which is how it came into my possession.
The Birzeit women, intoxicated by their own rhetoric and on quite a metaphoric high horse-- perhaps with a real as well as metaphoric Hamas gun to their heads, too-- do not mention the Palestinian culture (in both Gaza and on the "West Bank") of forced veiling, child marriage, child rape, polygamy, honor killing, and normalized daughter- and wife-beating. Nor do they mention Hamas's culture of Jihad, human sacrifice, or Hamas's use of their own civilian human shields for propaganda purposes.
With the mention of "human trophies," it becomes clear that the Birzeit feminists are scapegoating Jewish Israelis for the considerable crimes of Islamist groups such as ISIS, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, and Hamas, etc., who actually do commit barbaric, grisly murders. They be-head, crucify, castrate, rape-to-death, burn alive, and torture their victims in other unspeakable ways—and they mount heads on poles or play football with them.
Only Palestinian Arabs lynch, and then smear themselves with the blood and gleefully hold up their blood smeared palms and faces. Here I am thinking about the lynching of the two IDF reservists in Ramallah in 2000 by Palestinians. They dismembered them. And danced for joy.
However, important though this all may be, (and it is very important to me), are these really the central concerns of Birzeit's Women's Studies Institute? Especially at this time? Where is their concern for the medical, food, and housing needs of the women and children who have been betrayed and abandoned by the Hamas leadership? Or, for that matter, of the millions of women and children who have been raped, forced into sex slavery, displaced, impoverished, exiled, and slaughtered by the Muslim-on-Muslim violence that is currently raging in the Arab Middle East?
I guess this is far less relevant than the global feminist obsession with Israeli evil. I have been writing about the tragic Stalinization, Palestinianization, and the Said-ization of Women's Studies since 2004. I published a book about this in 2005: The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Womens' Freedom.
Rather than focusing on Islamic gender and religious apartheid (for that is what it is), the feminist academy claims, falsely, that Israel is the only and primary apartheid Nazi nation state; that Israel, not Islamist Jihadist groups such as Hamas, is an aggressive ethnic cleanser, colonialist, imperialist, and so on.
Funny thing. The entire Arab world is now "judenrein." It is soon going to be "cleansed" of its Christians as well. Hamas, Fatah, the Palestinian Authority, backed by world public opinion, wants to ethnically cleanse the "West Bank" of Jews as well.
The fact that Israel has 1.4 million "Palestinian" Arab citizens, both Muslim and Christian, does not register with such closed minds.
The Institute of Women's Studies at Birzeit calls upon "all scholars of the world, all women's organizations, all who fight for freedom and justice to take a clear stand against this racist state's continuous war crimes….we call upon you to: Boycott all Israeli academic institutions; mainstream the culture of resistance; denounce the Zionist scholars that disseminated the severe sexist comments and racist and orientalist view of Palestinians….Counter colonialism with anti-colonial reasoning because the colonial view and sexism are only manifestations of colonialism."
Colonialism=sexism. Alright. Do these Birzeit scholars and their ardent global supporters understand that Islam has a long and bloody history of colonialism, imperialism, gender apartheid, religious apartheid, slavery, and conversion by the sword? Do they understand that if colonialism=sexism, then this is true for Muslim countries and culturesl?
I guess not.
Further, this Institute is attacking a serious and feminist Israeli scholar (whom they dare not name, but they do link to a potentially libelous article about him which was published in alternativenews.org)
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a leading Arabist and scholar of gender dynamics, never, ever recommended that Palestinian women—or that any women-- be raped. Quite the contrary.
What he said—because he and I have discussed this--was like this: In a shame and honor culture (Arab and Muslim and tribal), for example, in Pakistan: if the Pakistani Secret Service has a suspected terrorist and a ticking bomb, the way that Pakistani Muslims get a Pakistani or Afghan Muslim suspect to talk is by bringing his mother and his sisters into the room, undressing them, and, if he is still silent, beginning to rape each one.
Kedar is on record strongly opposing shame and honor barbarism. But, he is "telling it like it is" when describing the Arab world.
Remember the Israeli feminist M.A. dissertation which won a prize because she argued that Israelis are "racists" because the IDF does not rape Palestinian women in custody or in general? Here is what Tal Nitzan wrote:
"In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done." Israel is never allowed to win.
I mourn the death of real feminism. I am outraged that Western feminists sound exactly like their Birzeit counterparts. I am heartbroken that Israeli feminists on the left share the Birzeit point of view.
'Tis the world turned upside down.