“War is a gender thing” Part II

“War is a gender thing” Part II

Leah Shakdiel, the first woman to serve on a regional religious council in Israel, is a well-known Orthodox advocate for women’s rights within Judaism, as well as a dedicated Zionist peace activist. She was featured prominently in Lilly Rivlin’s film, “Can You Hear Me?”

One less predictable and more complex reaction to this war is in today’s [Fri., Aug. 4] Haaretz weekly supplement, p. 20, by Salmann Matzalha…. He analyzes the present intra-Muslim competition between Sunni and Shiite extremists as to who can be more violent in fighting the non-Muslim world, and how our corner of the world fits into this.

I have offended some of my best friends by expressing my reservations regarding what I call “the automatic Left” in Israel (and Palestine, and the wide world out there), which I define as “the Left that blames *only* Israel, and *all* the time, *only* Israel.” I have also stated that if feminist critique of war is automatically identified with that sort of reaction, it is not good for the feminist claim that women have added value to the anti-war and pro-peace much needed work, because it only makes feminism/women irrelevant to any serious peace process.

BTW, I have had the “honor” of displeasing colleagues at work in various jobs I have held over the years, by claiming that if feminist style in management is identified with “a mess” and “general inefficiency, just because it’s “informal,” it’s a misreading of feminist claims against patriarchal hierarchies.

Let’s stay away from oversimplifications please. Yes all wars are macho and this one too, yes women suffer more because they are victimized in the front and back home and excluded from decision making, but none of this is an excuse for not going into the complexities of every single war anew.

Iran’s present regime and Hezbollah rank no 1 on the “evil scale” here. Yes I am all for replacing the stupid illusion that war can provide us security, with the realization that only the political process will do this, and I am all for driving home the idea that it is not possible to conduct any war without killing and maiming and destroying innocent lives, but I think we do need a language that will differentiate between wilful killing of innocents (Hezbollah, suicide bombers, 9/11, etc, and yes there were Israelis who did the same, such as Baruch Goldstein), and the irresponsible unethical conduct of military actions (some of Israel’s actions in all its wars).

If we use the words “war crimes” for the second kind, then we have no more words for the first kind, and the result of course is that we don’t mention them at all, or that we tolerate the pathological reaction of Palestinians who support Hezbollah [actions or intentions], as they supported Saddam Hussein at the time, as if THOSE genocidal war crimes have anything whatsoever to do with the JUSTIFIED struggle of Palestinians for a state of their own.

One side effect of this “automatic Leftism” is that instead of helping the Palestinians get there it actually sets them back because it blurs their issue and sends it back to the back burner. In my opinion all this has a lot to do with the fact that we Israeli Jews don’t use the self appellation, “Jews,” often enough, as if we have internalized the Palestinian lie that Israel is a colonialist fiction and we are only here to steal their land, but that’s a whole other chapter in my politics, there is no Israel unless we admit that we are here as Jews, in a state that is both a safe haven for Jews in their historical ancient homeland, and a modern democracy for all its citizens.

By | 2006-08-11T12:48:00-04:00 August 11th, 2006|Blog|0 Comments

Leave A Comment