Sunday, September 05, 2010
The History and Psychological Roots of Anti-Semitism Among Feminists, Their Gradual Palestinianization and Stalinization
Excerpts from a speech by long-time feminist Phyllis Chesler
Are women racists? We might as well ask: Are women human beings? But are women also anti-Semites? Are educated women, human right activists, feminists, lesbian feminists, Jewish lesbian feminists anti-Semites too?
Hell yes. Neither education, talent, ambition, privilege—nor vulnerability, pariah status, or a sense of grievance—seems to inoculate people against the virulent virus of anti-Semitism.
Thus, I have lived to see the day when feminists—most, but not all of whom, are women—seem to care more about the alleged “occupation” of a country which does not exist (Palestine) than they care about the real Islamist occupation of women in “Palestine.” American and European feminists are postcolonial, postmodern, anti-interventionists; in the name of “political correctness,” “cultural relativism,” and “cultural sensitivity,” they no longer believe in men and women’s universal human rights and no longer take a stand against apartheid—at least not when it is practiced by Muslims.
Instead, many feminists scapegoat Israel as an apartheid state and refuse to understand that Islam is the largest practitioner of gender and religious apartheid in the world.
Anti-racism, not anti-Semitism, is the feminist priority—except where Israel is concerned. To such feminists, Zionism still equals racism. They do not understand that precisely the opposite is true: Anti-Zionism equals racism. And that it is the new anti-Semitism—that and its Islamic version.
For the last decade, Jewish and non-Jewish feminists have marched in pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel rallies, signed newspaper ads and petitions to divest from and boycott Israel—yes, even gay and lesbian feminists who would be tortured to death in Muslim countries, did so.
These professed “humanitarians”—who carry on about the recent Turkish assassination flotilla—do not take as strong a stand against stoning or forced face-veiling. Some feminists think it’s “liberating” or even the ultimate feminist choice. Most feminists do not take a stand against forced marriage, child marriage, first cousin marriage, polygamy, and honor-related violence, included honor killing. They fear that doing so might be seen as “racist” or as culturally insensitive.
Like Stalinists, they saved their fire to protest Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, former President George Bush, and American and Israeli military “occupation” of Muslim lands. If challenged, they turn stone-faced and accuse their challenger of racism and of McCarthyism. Thereafter, they slander and shun you.
In the last twenty to thirty years, many feminists misapplied hard-won feminist concepts in the service of demonizing Judaism and Israel. For example, in 1988, I persuaded my friend, famed anti-pornography and anti-prostitution activist, Andrea Dworkin, to join me on her first-ever trip to Israel.
In 1990, in her novel Mercy, she compared the Jewish God to a Nazi without mercy. And, in a 2002 work of non-fiction, Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women’s Liberation, she compared the Jewish state to a “pimp” and a “John” and viewed the Palestinians as their “prostitutes.” Truly, I have no comment but, at the time, I did publish a short one in the Jewish media.
In 2002, at a feminist conference at the state university at New Paltz, Dr. Ruchama Marton, an Israeli Jewish psychiatrist, likened Israelis to “batterers” in a marriage. Guess who is the “battered wife?” None other than the Palestinians. Are the Israelis and Palestinians married? Is the feminist view of marriage that it is like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Why was only Israel and Palestine discussed at a conference which was advertised as a conference about “Women, War, and Peace”?
The academic postcolonial literature is infected by an across-the-board view of Palestinians as the symbol of all things noble and the Jews and Israelis as symbols of evil.
Women’s Studies programs offer a steady stream of anti-Israel speakers. At the University of California, for example, moderate Muslims, ex-Muslims, anti-Islamist Muslims, and pro-Israel Muslims are never invited or funded, and Women’s Studies professors do not attend their very rare lectures.
From 1980 to 2010, feminist left organizations and leaders, both male and female, did not condemn the Palestinian Arab Muslim plane hijackings and homicidal bombings of Israeli civilians. Instead, they glamorized the terrorists, marched wearing kaffiyehs, signed petitions to boycott and divest in Israel. They did not offer to ride the buses in Israel in 2002 as “human shields.”
Feminist writers and activists persistently demonized Israel and glorified Palestinian terrorists. British journalist and feminist Jan Goodwin did so in her 1995 book Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil on the Islamic World, as did feminist activist, Ms. magazine editor and writer Robin Morgan in her 1989 book The Demon Lover, two books which the authors updated after 9/11. Both authors blamed the suffering of Palestinian women, children, and men on the Israeli occupation, not on Islamic misogyny or Arab tribal customs.
The Betrayal of the Ideologues
The American and European Left and feminist and gay movements have made a marriage in Hell with Islamist terrorists. The same Left that has still never expressed any guilt over their devotion to communist dictators who murdered one hundred million of their own people in the service of a Great Idea, have now fatefully joined the world Jihadic chorus in calling for the end to “racist” Zionism and to the Jewish Apartheid and “Nazi” state.
These westerners share an extraordinary psychological rage which requires a scapegoat and cleaning messianic promises, a refusal to look within, an overwhelming need for group approval, an inability or refusal to think as independent individuals, an adolescent in-your-face rebelliousness towards certain authorities—coupled with an adolescent, slavish adoration of other authorities, a desire for cathartic violence, for the ecstasy of mob action, and the most uncanny and frightening ability to scapegoat Jews precisely because leftists have not been able to achieve their desired New World Order. If some ideal can’t be achieved, then the Jews must pay.
In 2007, a Jewish Israeli feminist researcher at Hebrew University, doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, blamed Israeli soldiers because they refused to rape Arab and Palestinian women; she claimed this constituted “racism” against Palestinians.
Earlier this year, 2010, a team of researchers led by a female Harvard social scientist blamed Israel in the pages of The Lancet, a British medical journal, for an increase in Palestinian wife-battering in Gaza and on the West Bank. The researchers did not even consider the role that radical Islamification might play in the oppression of women or the fact that Gaza is ruled by terrorist gangsters and this might cause an escalation of violence towards women. Honor killings (and a relevant, recent study actually existed) were not included in their measures of violence against Palestinian women. Why? Because that cannot be blamed on Israel or on the West.
Some academics and activists are merely opportunists. Anti-Zionism (which is one of the things that is “new” about anti-Semitism, something I identified in 2002-2003—that plus the Islamification of anti-Semitism) is seen as a necessary ideology in order to succeed as professors, authors, journalists—and in a wide variety of other professions.
Some academics and activists are not capable of original thinking and simply follow the herd. They are dreadful conformists. They have literally been indoctrinated to believe that America and Israel are evil and are the cause of world suffering. They want to abolish world suffering by abolishing Israel.
Some academics and activists are nostalgic for the 1960s and are still so furious at America that they want the barbarians to bring down Wall Street in a way they themselves never could. They believe they alone will be spared as America and Europe goes down because they are “politically correct.” They do not believe the barbarians will come for them.
They are also slumming, erotically thrilled by contact with real outlaws, real killers, Really Bad Men. Look: Male serial killers have no end of fans, including marriage proposals after they have been jailed.
Some academics and activists—and here I am thinking especially about Jewish feminists and lesbians—believe that they will lose their pariah status if they scapegoat Jews, indeed, if they are the first to do so. This alone will allow them to live. This is what makes them tough and trendy “radicals.”
Such feminists, leftists, and gay liberationists have not thought through what their lives might be like under Islamic rule.
How Political Correctness Destroys the Brain
Political Correctness is often viewed as just a nuisance regarding choice of words or telling “offensive” jokes. Wrong. It is a mental condition that debilitates our genetically wired ability to defend ourselves. As a long-time student of this disorder, let me explain its character, how it renders us defenseless and offer suggestions on fighting back.
Political Correctness (PC) is the subordination of truth, often forcefully, to political ideology. PC vigorously converts “ought” into “is” even if nearly everyone knows that “ought” is not “is.” As Larry Summers discovered, if feminist doctrine insists that women and men have innate equal mathematical talent, then this is a “scientific fact” despite all contrary objective evidence. PC turns lies into truths, for example, the perpetrator becomes the victim, to advance an ideology or religious doctrine.
PC can be summarized by its Five Commandments.
First, Thou Shalt Not Offend. This is the preeminent value even if human life is at stake. If a visiting friend wants to visit a black neighborhood with a sky-high crime rate, you give no warning since broaching “black crime” offends blacks, even if no blacks are present.
Second, Thou Shalt Not Even Think Offensive Thoughts. Entertaining “bad” thoughts even subconsciously, is impermissible. In the PC world, “bad thoughts” inevitably leads to “bad behavior” and even unexpressed thoughts can harm, e.g., a male math teacher may unwittingly ignore female students due to unconscious stereotypes about their innumeracy and thus discourage them from obtaining a Ph.D. in math.
Third, Thou shalt purge Society of Evil Thoughts. Purification must be 100%. PC mirrors epidemiology—just one case of smallpox can spread and kill everyone, so one hate crime in an otherwise peaceful society requires immediate action.
Fourth, Thou Shalt Be Thine Own Censor. Utopia arrives when offensive thoughts never enter the brain, and this requires constant self-imposed vigilance. In the meantime, expelling “dangerous thoughts” requires sensitivity training and censoring materials potentially promoting bad thinking. In a phrase, willful blindness.
Five, Thou Shalt Reward the Offended by Taking from Sinners. Today’s political landscape overflows with hyper-sensitive advocacy groups. To offend them, no matter how true the offending remark, will instigate immediate cries for restitution. In universities, for example, broaching a hate fact must be ameliorated with more jobs and programs for the offended group (often called “justice”).
Clearly, PC runs contrary to human nature. Homo Sapiens has survived for over 180,000 years only by confronting harsh reality. PC turns off our hard-wired early-warning radar. Cavemen did not send Cavewomen into battle since admitting male superiority in fighting might offend sensitive women. If they did, the tribe quickly exited the gene pool. Ditto for the ancients who welcomed violence-prone strangers to promote diversity—very few of their offspring live to tell the tale. The survival instinct is often disguised with hypocrisy—white liberals will always be PC on race until their children are bused to a largely black school, then junior is enrolled in a private, nearly all-white school. Worse, achieving “offensive free” brains will inevitably lead to totalitarianism since mild measures like voluntary sensitivity training will be replaced by more Draconian Communist-style brainwashing. In any case, one way or another, PC is antithetical to America as we know it.
PC has become the weapon of choice among gold medal winners in today’s victimhood Olympics. It is just so easy and the PC attack—your words are harmful, insensitive, you are a bigot—can effectively kill bad news messengers and cover the accuser’s own evil. It also can pay-off handsomely. As per Commandment Five, let an FBI agent criticize a Muslim proven group’s terrorist ties, and the predictable outrage will be, “This is dangerous hate, so let us run paid seminars for FBI agents to prevent similar future “hateful” outbursts (and, left unsaid, learn the identities of FBI agents).
PC is an intellectual equivalent of AIDS. It invades the brain, eats out its natural immunity system against legitimate threats and the helpless victim quickly succumbs. And all the while the victim feels great about being caring, tolerant and virtuous. At the national level, this is painless suicide. Hard to imagine a more potent weapon to defeat one’s enemies.
PC cannot be defeated by marshalling sound evidence, no matter how compelling. Forget about “dialogue,” even if “meaningful.” The PC crowd are masters of duplicitous rebuttal—opponent’s facts are “only” dangerous stereotypes, somewhere in the universe exists a contrary fact, the objectionable fact is uncertain (the term, “controversial” often signifies this rejoinder), and, for the academically inclined, all truth is socially constructed so my “truth” is as valid as yours. Particularly popular is that while admitting your fact may technically be true, its expression will cause terrible harm, even violence, and so it is best suppressed. For the PC-infected, what is to be gained by publishing statistics on IQ by immigrant group or the proportion of boys and girls who score above 750 on the math SAT?
The only solution is a blunt public commitment to truth-telling regardless of inflicting discomfort. The doctor visit model is the appropriate approach—don’t mince words when explaining where that nasty rash was acquired. Leave white lies for friends. Admittedly, this is difficult since frankness often risks being ostracized, hostile stares and rebukes about being “harmful” and “insensitive.” But, when the topic is important, just treat this “you-are-offensive” rebuke as a sign that complainers suffer a medical disorder. Their half-eaten brain renders them unable to recognize the truth. PC is a hallucinogenic disorder, a throwback to the 1960s when people fried their brains with LSD.
There is some good news here. The PC folk are cowardly bullies, far more bark than bite, whose key ability is to sense fear in those who might express a plain-to-see truth. PC intimidation is the weapon of choice among the weak. Larry Summers’ feminist attackers had a weak hand and thus had no other choice that to cry “male chauvinist.” That blatantly false epitaph far outshined conducting serious research on male/female cognitive differences (and research might have confirmed Larry’s speculations).
Second, expressing a forbidden but widely recognized truth will embolden like-minded thinkers. PC succeeds when heretics feel isolated. If a second person chimes in, other will join, and soon there is a chorus. Look at the “unexpected” opposition to the ground zero mosque—it only took a few to marshal widespread outrage. Being first, admittedly, requires courage but, on the plus side, stepping forward often brings accolades. I myself have often been told, “Thank goodness you spoke the truth, and now we can all say it though, of course, we may just quote you to be on the safe side.”
Remember, there is no reason to offend needlessly, but we have survived both individually and as a nation by confronting harsh realities. Every person alive today had ancestors who abhorred PC. Let’s hope that 180,000 years of human survival skills have not vanished. When push comes to shove, trust your instinct s about the bad guys.
Some inconvenient history
Will Bunch's CNN.com tirade earlier this week against television host Glenn Beck and David Barton -- the founder and president of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that emphasizes history's "moral, religious and constitutional heritage" -- for allegedly creating "pseudo history" reveals more about Mr. Bunch than it does about what Mr. Beck and Mr. Barton are presenting.
Mr. Bunch seems, above all, to be annoyed that many people are no longer staying on the liberal plantation of secularized American history. He offers little in the way of examples of error, just differences of opinion, such as his own assertion about "the much-debunked idea that America's creation was rooted in Christianity."
Much debunked? That would have been news to many of the Founding Fathers, whose biblical understanding of man as created in the image of God informed their insistence in the Declaration of Independence that people have "unalienable rights" to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This was tempered by the biblically informed idea that man is prone to sin. In the Federalist Papers, No. 51, for example, James Madison wrote, "But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary."
Therefore, any government formed by men needs checks and balances to avoid tyranny. On a more elementary level, the signers of the Declaration and the Constitution were mostly Christian. You can look it up.
Bunch complains that, "In April, Barton told Beck's 3 million TV viewers that 'we use the Ten Commandments as basis of civil law and the Western world [and it] has been for 2,000 years.' "
Glenn Beck rewrites civil rights history
Perhaps this is why the Ten Commandments numerals are represented at the bottom of a door to the U.S. Supreme Court courtroom and why Moses, revered as the lawgiver to Jews in the Hebrew bible, and Christians in the New Testament, appears holding two tablets elsewhere in the Supreme Court building.
He appears between the Chinese philosopher Confucius and Solon, the Athenian statesman -- at the center of a frieze of historic lawgivers on the building's East Pediment. Moses is also among an array of lawgiver figures depicted over the Court's chamber.
Tellingly, Mr. Bunch does not dispute the accuracy of the quotes that Mr. Barton cites that spell out a Christian understanding of law and man among some of the Founding Fathers.
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, written 37 years after the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote: "The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young gentlemen could Unite. ... And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: ... Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System."
John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, wrote in a letter to a friend, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
Mr. Bunch further complains that Barton "gives less than short shrift to the real achievement of the Founders in separating church and state."
I would argue that their real achievement was elsewhere. Their real achievement was far larger: creation of a unique, limited government with protections for the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly and protection of property rights, without which no freedom exists. The result was the most prosperous and freest nation in history.
And property rights are endorsed throughout the Bible.
The "wall of separation between church & state," by the way, is not in the Constitution. It's from a letter from President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptists, who were concerned that the national government would favor one Christian denomination over others. But Mr. Jefferson's phrase has become a sacred totem used by activist judges to drive Christian symbols from the public square.
The real reason that Mr. Bunch is so exercised is that the truth about America's Christian founding is getting out, despite media hostility, politically correct schoolbooks and rising intolerance toward any public expression of faith -- unless it advances leftist goals.
America is a unique beacon of freedom precisely because of its founders' Christian perspective, which has protected the right of conscience and thus freedom of religion for Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and nonbelievers. Try to identify another nation on Earth that similarly advanced individual rights without being influenced by Christianity.
Beck and Barton are striking what Abraham Lincoln described in a different context as the "mystic chords of memory." It makes perfect sense that many Americans are tuning in.
Mothers’ Intuition Trumps Feminist Ideology
Belying the image of the “liberated” working mother, a recent National Review Online commentary cites research by Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, showing that, for the vast majority married moms, the workplace is not the top choice of where they want to spend their days.
In reviewing data from the 2000 National Survey of Marriage and Family Life, Wilcox found that only 18 percent of married women with children said they would prefer to work full-time, in contrast to 46 percent who would prefer to work part-time and 36 percent who said that they would prefer to stay at home. In addition, among married moms who were working full-time, nearly 75 percent said they would rather work fewer hours or not at all.
A bevy of sociological studies show that the mother’s intuition regarding what is best for her children is on the mark. Research throughout the last two decades reveals that children who attend day care centers are more likely to exhibit problem behavior and poor social skills than those being cared for by their parents. Furthermore, the children’s problem behavior is more pronounced the younger they are when they enter day care and the more hours they spend in center care each week.
The association between hours in day care and behavioral problems is prevalent regardless of socioeconomic status. And, sadly, the effects of time spent in day care centers can be long-term, with problem behavior extending even to middle-school years.
Research also indicates that the link between day care center attendance and problem behavior might be traced to an insecure mother–child attachment associated with extended hours in non-maternal care.
In addition to these socio-emotional difficulties are the health risks and propensity to infections and illness that numerous studies have found to be associated with day care center attendance.
In sum, years of research underscore the importance of mothers’ instinctive desire to be with their children: Mother’s intuition trumps the feminist icon. Taxpayers and policymakers should work to promote policies that would enable moms to make the choice to stay at home and care for their children.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.