Re: The 'Palestinization' Of Lesbian Activism, Phyllis Chesler, March 22.
Phyllis Chesler's toxic views are out of step with the gains made by the Palestinian-led International Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and solidarity campaigns and actions taking place around the globe.
Ms. Chesler speaks from a place of entitlement embedded in Zionist ideology. She writes that, "Jewish lesbian feminists . are more concerned with the rights of a country that does not exist, Palestine, than with the rights of real Muslim women who are forced to veil themselves."
This is double-edged racism. With one hand she proclaims there is no Palestine (and we can therefore assume that there are no Palestinians); with the other hand she touts the anti-feminist line that Muslim women have no voice, no agency and no power to choose. Her statement that she has "seen these North American lesbian 'queers' at university-based Israel Apartheid Week events" exposes her lesbophobic discomfort with the power of lesbian and queer activism.Calling people who blow up city buses and disembowel a Jewish family "freedom fighters" bespeaks a pathology that defies comprehension. That the ones affixing this label are themselves Jewish is as revolting as it is tragic.
Ms. Chesler asks: "Why are so many 'Jewish lesbian feminists' in solidarity with the Free Palestine movement?" She provides an explanation, with a quote from Jews Against the Occupation-NYC: "The demonization and dehumanization of Palestinians under occupation resonates loudly for queers, as do other forms of racism and militarism." Ms. Chesler herself adds, "They do not view Palestinians as 'terrorists' but as freedom-fighters."
She's got that right.
Sue Goldstein, Deb Mandell, Naomi Binder Wall, Toronto.
Update: All three chicks belong to Jewish Women to End the Occupation, and Deb is a member of Dykes and Trans People for Palestine, which I nominate as the most bonkers name for an organization ever--and my new personal fave. (Here's a bit of DTPP's manifesto from its facebook page: "As queers, we recognize that homophobia exists in Israel, Palestine, and across all borders. But queer Palestinians face the additional challenge of living under occupation, subject to Israeli state violence and control. There is no pride in apartheid." Well, actually, there is pride in apartheid since there's a p, an r, an i, a d, and an e in it. How queer is that?)
Update: Have you heard about my new anti-BDS organization--Jewesses Opposed to the Obsessive Occupation Preoccupation (JOOOP)?