From Wonder Woman to wondering women

Read all about Wonder Woman on Israelink right here:

Wonder Woman and wondering women

Wonder Woman is exactly that. She stands for justice and truth, compassion and kindness. Wonder Woman is so fabulous, even her accessories are indestructible and face it, who doesn’t love fashion that has truth wielding super powers?

It seems quite fitting that the bodacious Gal Gadot, one of the best Israeli exports since Waze and Mobileye, fills this iconic role. Beautiful, with Amazonian proportions and a deep love of her home country, Israel, Gadot is the perfect choice. While there are some who have sour grapes (yes you, BDS!) it hasn’t stopped her meteoric rise to the top and record-breaking box office takings. Talk about girl power in a rocking outfit!

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Our gal, Gal in action

Wonder Woman has super human strength, longevity and mind blowing reflexes – well, what do you expect from someone who served in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces)!  She is a celebration of feminism and femininity and we Israelis are kvelling, we are so proud of our gal, Gal.

A neighbourhood of no’s

Women’s rights in the rest of the Middle East are not as wonder-ful. Often relegated to second class status, our sisters in our very volatile neighbourhood do not enjoy as many rights as their Israeli sisters do. Israel’s detractors (yes, you again BDS!) would have you believe that women in minority communities in Israel are oppressed and subject to racially discriminating laws. This is so untrue, in fact, the Israeli Justice Ministry just swore in its first Qadi, a female sharia judge.

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Adv. Hana Khatib sworn in as first Qadi by President Rivlin 

For most women who live in the region, the Middle East is just a neighbourhood of no’s. No rights to vote, own property or business, no rights to as lucrative an education as their male counterparts, no rights to the freedom of expression or sexual orientation. In Saudi Arabia, where women’s rights are at an all-time low, women are not even allowed to drive or go anywhere without a chaperone. In many countries women have to cover their faces as well as their bodies and the effective message is that they have been silenced. In some instances women are subject to the most inhumane torture, female genital mutilation, for fear that she may enjoy sexual pleasure.

Where women have been raped or fallen in love with someone who is not their chose match, they are often blamed and face honour killings, a hideous phenomenon which has left many dead or severely disfigured as a result of these heinous acts of retribution that seldom, if ever goes punished.

While women around the world celebrated International Woman’s Day on the 8th of March, Palestinian women in Hamas governed Gaza were prohibited from enjoying similar festivities.  Hamas did this without a giving a reason and the territory continues to become more and more “conservative” and have imposed a strict dress code on women and banned them from smoking in cafes.

Unorthodox treatment

It is not just Muslim women who suffer from inequality. Christian women have been raped and sold into slavery or killed as the Islamic State continues its march of destruction through the neighbourhood.  Very little has entered the global consciousness about the situation facing Middle Eastern Christian women. There have been no marches, no protests and no vigils.

In some ultra-Orthodox sects in the Jewish community, women are also discriminated against. The horrendous trend of spitting on little girls who are not dressed “modest enough” or the relegation of women to sitting at the back of the bus has raised the ire of many women in Israel. While we enjoy considerably more rights than our sisters in the rest of our Middle Eastern neighbourhood, like many western women we continue to fight for the improvement of the status of women in areas like salary suffrage and employment equity.

The difference is that we can – we have a voice and nobody is scuppering to silence us.

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Blazing a trail

In fact, Israel can boast about remarkable strides in women’s equality. We can lay claim to one of the first female Prime Ministers in Golda Meir, Nobel Prize winners in science and other fields, Arab women who serve in the diplomatic corps, who are beauty queens and even win cooking competitions like Masterchef. In Israel, women can be pilots, pioneers, entrepreneurs and home executives, ballerinas and superheroes. They can be anything they want to be. We can blaze a trail for our sisters across the region. Nobody is stopping us.

It is only fitting that we add Gal Gadot, to the pantheon of Israeli Wonder Women.

Sara Zoabi shares her love for Israel

The pursuit of justice and equal rights for women in the Middle East requires super human effort and dedication. It requires giving the voiceless a voice, uplifting the downtrodden and advocating for the powerless. Women in the Middle East have been wondering for a long time – who speaks on their behalf?

Perhaps Wonder Woman, with her dedication to the pursuit of justice and her exceptional longevity is the super hero women in the region have been waiting for. Some might say it is a Herculean task. I say it is a job perfect for Wonder Woman.

Boycotts, shmoycotts – who are the real losers?

This article is currently featured on Israelink; Read it here:

Boycotts shmoycotts on Israelink

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and sanctions) movement sure is noisy. While lacking cerebral substance, they understand the veracity of symbolism and language that is provocative, emotive and emotional. They understand that gratuitous use of the word Apartheid is guaranteed to get an emotional reaction from people.

I use the word gratuitous intentionally because BDS have no respect or understanding of the crime that was Apartheid and the trauma of its victims. To them it is simply evocative, sexy packaging that can be used to market their agenda and make it appealing to the masses who are concerned about human rights.

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If you wrap up hatred and sell it in an emotional package, then surely you must be on the side of good, right?

Wrong. There is a more nefarious agenda at play here and it is time to expose it.

A wolfish agenda in sheep’s clothing

Why is BDS so hell bent on this accusation? The motivation is simple. They want to paint Israel with the same colours as that of Apartheid South Africa and their rationale is that dish out the same treatment, then you can change the political status quo. Sounds simple doesn’t it. Except that in this case, changing the status quo in Israeli politics is not the end game result that detractors hope to achieve. In this case, questioning Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state is up for debate. Anti-Israelists will passionately argue that this treatment worked for South Africa but fail to realise that the South African paradigm is not one solution fits all.

The question we have to ask ourselves is who really stands to lose in a boycott of Israel.

BDS would have you believe that boycotts and sanctions contributed to the downfall of Apartheid in South Africa and that the same kind of well strategized campaign can do the same to change Israeli policies. There are very clear differences – in Apartheid South Africa, the minority white population had dominion over the majority black population and eventually, it was the citizens of the country who spoke out overwhelmingly in a referendum that the time had long passed to do away with this heinous regime.

Israelis and Palestinians are far more complicated. We desire a divorce from each other – hopefully as amicable as possible because we each have our own desires of national aspiration. It is extremely presumptuous for South Africans to impose their solution on to one of the most difficult political conflicts in history.

Did boycotts and sanctions contribute to the fall of Apartheid?

The idea of boycotts and sanctions was debated in the 1960’s but only really gained traction in the 1980’s. In November 1962, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 1761, a non-binding resolution establishing the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid and called for imposing economic and other sanctions on South Africa. All Western nations were unhappy with the call for sanctions and as a result boycotted the committee.

Fast forward to the 1980’s and the height of the regime and it can be said that while sanctions did have an effect on the economy, the credit for ending Apartheid for once and for all has to go to Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk who took great, sometimes unpopular risks, to ensure a better future for South Africans based of the democratic principles of equality and justice for all.

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FW De Klerk and Nelson Mandela

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far, far more complex.  Nobody questioned South Africa’s right to exist as a nation state and the fact that BDS’s endgame is “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” means that we are dealing with a movement that does not seek democratic principles but rather the destruction of one of the main players – Israel.

Who stands to lose the most?

It is very easy for activists on both sides to play armchair politician but the impact is on the citizens. Palestinians stand to lose a lot more than Israeli’s in a boycott.  While the impact on Israelis is largely psychological and the economy continues to grow, Palestinians are impacted the most by this campaign. You would think that BDS would care that this is affecting the very people they purport to help, but they don’t. They prefer to demolish bridges rather than build them.

Human rights activist explains how the BDS movement and their boycott campaigns affects ordinary Palestinians in this video clip:

Bassem Eid demolishes BDS

If BDS really cared about the Palestinians, they would advocate that they become a second Singapore or start-up nation like their neighbour and do away with the murderous incitement and genocidal wishes.

Peace will be built from the ground up. It will start with individuals and communities, business people and investors. Boycotts only create barriers to this and discourage positive discours.

While the situation in the Middle East is not an easy one to fix, and Lord knows many have tried, perhaps the best way forward is to proceed with cautious hope and not to cry boycott at the drop of a hat.

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Palestinian and Israeli workers at the SodaStream Factory

Mandela, Barghouti and the theft of a narrative

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Barghouti is NO Mandela

One of the questions I am often asked in lectures or interviews is where is the Palestinian and Israeli De Klerk and Mandela when it comes to ending the nearly 70 year conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Where is the Middle Eastern equivalent of brave leaders willing to make uncomfortable sacrifices, to the detriment of support from their constituencies in order to forge peace?

More often than not, this opens up debate about what could be done and what kinds of concessions need to be made in order to achieve peace. While the South African experience is not a “one size fits all” solution, it is clear that in order to achieve peace, both sides will have to commit to negotiations and make painful sacrifices.

South Africa seems to hold a special place of both fascination and significance when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from both a positive and negative perspective and very often the South African narrative is used by Israel’s detractors to suit their more nefarious agendas. The theft of the South African narratives and many of its symbols and icons is a ploy used by the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement to treat Israel like a pariah and call into question her legitimacy as a sovereign state. The latest is the hijacking of the status of iconic human rights activist and anti- Apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela by arch-terrorist and Palestinian prisoner, Marwan Barghouti.

Nelson Mandela once famously declared that “if you want to make peace with your enemy you have to work. Then your enemy becomes your partner”.

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Marwan Barghouti is hoping to position himself as the “Palestinian Mandela” and a possible successor to President Mahmoud Abbas.

Who exactly is Marwan Barghouti?

Marwan Barghouti is a former leader of Tanzim, the armed wing of Fatah, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, both terror organisations responsible for the murder of many Israeli civilians. Barghouti is serving time for the planning and directing of the murders of 5 Israelis.

Some have opined that in the early days of the struggle, Mandela advocated terrorism but the fundamental difference was that the ANC adopted a policy of sabotage, while Barghouti is on record as saying, “the time when only we sacrifice victims is past. We must take revenge. We must kill Israelis. Yes. We have bullets. We have rifles, and they will be aimed at the occupation.”

Mandela, who is a symbol of reconciliation, would never have countenanced such appalling actions.

Barghouti, who is entitled to a salary and could earn up to 12,000 NIS a month (about R45,000) because murder is not above his pay grade, has initiated a hunger strike.

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Now many would wonder, why would Palestinian prisoners participate in such a strike because they do receive regular visits from family as well as the Red Cross, access to medical care, education, religious rights and meetingswith attorneys as well as a multitude of other comforts. They can even watch TV although I am sure they would not be supporting Israel at the great superbowl of singing contests, Eurovision.

One would think that there is some great inalienable right that they are striking for. A strike that is garnering similar solidarity initiatives, such as the one supported by a whole bunch of South African politicians, celebrities and ne’er do gooders.  No ladies and gentlemen, the prisoners are striking for…..“Access to satellite channels tailored to the needs of prisoners.”*

No wonder Barghouti was so stressed he felt compelled to sneak into the lavatory of his cell for a chocolate and tortilla break on two occasions!

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With all the controversy and hullaballoo surrounding the strikes one would think that the voices of the truly downtrodden in our region would be heard.

If Barghouti was a fraction of the man he seeks to position himself as he would strike. He would starve for the rights of women in the Middle East, and bring attention to the scourge of honour killings, genital mutilation and second class citizen status of our sisters. He would strike for attention to be brought to the persecution of Christians and Gays, the lack of freedom of expression and the right of a free press. He would draw attention to the treatment of political opposition. If Barghouti gave a damn he would follow in the footsteps of Madiba who was a passionate advocate for education and use his voice to end the flagrant child abuse that passes for schooling in the territories.

He would be a wise leader, not a jailhouse fool.

In the quest for the Palestinian Mandela, one thing is for sure, it sure ain’t Marwan Barghouti!

*Reference NGO Monitor

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Talking Tachlis: Yom Hashoa edition: Interview with Rabbi Lau

World WIZO commemorates Yom Hashoa with a special edition of Talking Tachlis. In this episode, we have a conversation with World WIZO Chairperson, Prof. Rivka Lazovsky and our special guest, Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi and child survivor of Buchenwald Concentration camp.

This was a profoundly emotional interview for me (we had to stop filming so I could dry my tears and pull myself together)  and such an honour to meet Rabbi Lau, a real treasure.

During this emotional and moving interview, you will the laughter of Israeli children and we could not help but be moved by the triumphant sounds of happy children, free to play and laugh in their schoolyard after hearing about the darkest chapter in our history.

The interview is in Hebrew with English subtitles.

May the memories of all who perished be blessed.

Rabbi Lau interview

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Redi and Roro: The Return Match

This article is currently published on IsraeLink:

IsraeLink

Journalists have an ethical imperative to report the news based on facts. The following exchange was motivated by a radio broadcast by well- known 702 host, Redi Tlhabi’s excoriating the leader of the opposition,  the Democratic Alliance’s, Mmusi Maimane. Listen here:

https://omny.fm/shows/afternoon-drive-702/mmusi-maimane-s-trip-to-israel

Rolene Marks letter to Redi Tlhabi:

http://www.news24.com/Columnists/GuestColumn/a-letter-to-redi-tlhabi-on-israel-20170119-2

Redi Tlhabi’s response:

http://m.news24.com/news24/Columnists/GuestColumn/redi-tlhabi-on-israel-maimane-and-unfair-criticism-20170123

Tlhabi’s response contained many factual errors which cannot be left unchallenged. To do so would be to allow dangerous misinformation to flourish at a time when comparisons between Israel and Apartheid South Africa often lead to intimidation and sometimes violence against Jews.

Dear Redi

Thank you for replying to me. While I would love to sit down face to face to chat, I am happy that we have opened up a dialogue on a very contentious issue, one that is highly emotionally charged for many South Africans.

I am also glad that you raised the issue of bullying. We in the media occupy a bully pulpit, it is often very hard for disempowered members of the public to argue and disagree with us, when they do, we should welcome this, this is a fundamental principal of democracy. You have always asked your listeners and readers to engage with you and you must, in turn, be willing to accept the criticism as much as you give it, without feeling bullied. To disagree with you is not to bully you, unless a double standard is applied.

The anti-Israel propogandists often send abusive mails and threats to me. I have been called everything from “Occupier Barbie” to being told “Hitler should have finished me off” and that there was “a gas chamber waiting for you”. Luckily, I am able to shrug it off. My people have been subject to abuse, racism and oppression for so long, this is not new to us. The fact that your letters implies that Jews are not the indigenous population of the land of Israel raises deep concerns for me and clearly alarm bells over your understanding of the past 3 000 years of history.

The fact that I live in a free, democratic and non-racist society where all citizens of Israel vote freely and equally in a democratic state appears not to fit into your narrative. Your assumptions about Israel, its ideology and practice are so far from the reality, that I invite you to come see for yourself rather than adopt the jaundiced views of the most well-funded propaganda machine in the world. As journalists, we have a moral responsibility to report the news based on facts rather than the alternative facts that appear to have permeated our society of late.

I want to explain to you, why to many, your views represent a double standard, that opens you to the criticism you have received.

The thrust of your argument appears to be that Israel traded and cooperated with the old Apartheid regime and must therefore be subject to special scrutiny and criticism for its “current actions”.

While Israel’s cooperation with the Apartheid regime is a cause of much embarrassment to me as both a South African and an Israeli, Israel’s role in not standing up to Apartheid is insignificant in comparison to those countries with whom you appear to have no problem. Israel’s total amount of trade with the then Apartheid government was a mere $200m dollars per annum compared to U.S.A. – $3.4 billion, Japan – $2.9 billion, Germany- $2.8 billion, U.K. – $2.6 billion etc.

It was the oil tankers from Iran and Saudi Arabia which kept the wheels of apartheid oiled. Arab oil exports to South Africa totaled more than $3 billion per year and, if that supply had been cut off, would have ended apartheid in the 1960’s. The Saudi and Iranian human rights records are abysmal and constitute some of the worst human rights violators in the world today. Nonetheless South African government officials often visit both of these countries, yet you have failed to ever raise any issues of concern about them. So the question to be raised is whether a double standard is applied by yourself?

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Image courtesy of Spotlighting

France supplied Apartheid South Africa with weapons, nuclear material and financial aid, Switzerland the USA and Britain funded the Apartheid regime, Germany supported the racist regime in extensive trade. I include a few of the thousands of examples that can be sited:

  • Royal Dutch/Shell’s subsidiary, Shell South Africa, was involved in extensive operations in the petroleum, mining and chemical industries of South Africa and Namibia, with an estimated turnover of more than US$2 billion in South Africa in 1989.
  • In 1962 Britain’s ICI and South Africa’s De Beers each put £5 million into AECI (African Explosives and Chemicals Industries) to set up three new plants producing tear gas, ammunition for small arms, anti-tank and aircraft rockets.
  • British Leyland’s South African subsidiary supplied Land Rovers that were used by the South African police against students in the 1976 Soweto uprising.

The human rights records of all of these nations in Iraq, Libya, Syria have resulted in many hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. Once again, South African government officials often visit, yet you remain silent and raise no issues of concern? One has to ask if a special standard is applied to the Jewish State and why?

It appears that your perspective has little to do with a historical relationship between Israel and South Africa. It also looks as if not to be based on human rights. When our leaders visit Russia, perpetrator of some of the greatest crimes against humanity in modern times in places like Syria and Chechnya and which has recently occupied parts of the Ukraine, you have never raised any issue of concern.

When the ANC hosted internationally criticized Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in South Africa, a man responsible for attempted genocide against the Jewish people – you failed to raise your voice.

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President Jacob Zuma and Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal

And therein lies the rub of why you have opened yourself up to so much criticism from such a broad range of South African society. If your views on human rights were consistent, you would have no criticism. But when a special standard is applied to Jews and the Jewish state, you lead people to ask some very troubling questions.

I would love to welcome you here in Israel to see for yourself and understand the remarkable, vibrant, troubled, free, complex and conflictual society in which I live. You and all people are always welcome.

A noble intersection – where Zionism and Feminism meet.

This article currently appears on Israelink:

Noble Intersection – Israelink

Linda Sarsour would appear to be a rising star of feminist causes. She organizes rallies, cleans up cemeteries and protests at every conceivable opportunity. She is a veritable pin up for girl power.

In the last few days, Sarsour has made sweeping comments that Zionism and feminism simply do not go together.

“It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, ‘Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it,” Sarsour said.

Comments like this are fast alienating Jewish, Zionist women from participating in the growing feminist movement in the USA.

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Feminism is very much a part of the fabric of Zionism and the story of the modern state of Israel and as a Zionist, feminist woman I am free to pretty much say what I want – unlike my Palestinian sisters.

Feminism predates the modern state of Israel and weaves through Jewish history with feminist heroines like Yael and Devorah and they have continued the tradition of strong, outspoken women in modern times. Zionists wrote the book on feminism. Literally! Have you read the bible? Some pretty strong women in there!

Zionist women are the ultimate feminist rebels, pioneers and trailblazers.  Before the formal establishment of Israel, women were establishing the systems and institutions that would improve life for her citizens.  While the men jaw jawed and talked politics, women were busy on the ground.

I am a proud volunteer member of WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organisation), holding the position of Executive member in charge of Public Diplomacy. WIZO was founded in 1920 and a little known fact is that the organization was at the forefront of the suffragette movement that took place in Europe at the time.  The struggle for political suffrage for women is regarded as first wave of feminism.

Our history is proud and noble and our women have worked hard for the improvement of the status of women both in Israel and globally. We have representatives on various UN bodies that lobby for the rights of women and children and amongst our many achievements have been programmes that help women in minority communities, some who have even run for office. WIZO formed a party and ran for Knesset in Israel’s first elections in 1949, receiving 1.2% of the vote and winning one seat and was represented by Rachel Cohen-Kagan, chairwoman of WIZO at the time and a signatory to our Declaration of Independence.

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WIZO’s Rachel Kagan signs the Declaration of Independence

Women’s rights in Israel are amongst the most progressive in the world and it would be remiss of me to not mention the iconic Golda Meir, one of the first female Prime Ministers in the world.  A powerful leader and orator, Meir was one of the first to recognize how Israel can help impoverished countries in Africa and this was very much in line with the father of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl’s, vision that he wrote in his manifesto.

Zionist women are free to criticize any policy that we may disagree with because an Israel that stands up to the tenets of Zionism is what we strive for.

Israel is a vibrant and flawed democracy just like any other country and women are very much a part of the fabric that has and continues to build the country every day. We are pioneers in many fields. We are trailblazers in business, politics, volunteer organisations, the arts and sciences and so much more.  We are religious and secular and everything in between. We are warriors and defenders of our country on land, sea, air and airwaves and we are homemakers, entrepreneurs and creative genii.  We are changing the political landscape and we represent over 80 different ethnicities. We can vote, drive, and own property and business. We can make decisions that govern our bodies and our communities and and lobby vociferously for continued improvement.

It is not just in Israel where Zionist women are trailblazers. It was a Zionist, feminist woman, Helen Suzman, who sat in parliament as the lone voice fighting against the Apartheid government in South Africa.

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Helen Suzman and Nelson Mandela

Well Linda, if you are really concerned about the rights of Palestinian women you would be holding the leadership accountable at every possible turn. You would be demonstrating your outrage about domestic  violence and honour killings, gender Apartheid which prohibits women from owning property or businesses,  driving, voting and pursuing careers of their choice. You would march against underage brides forced to marry men before they reach puberty. You would be outraged about genital mutilation, genocide of Christians and the unspeakable torture women are enduring in the Middle East under ISIS.

Thank you Linda Sarsour for exposing what we know for sure – BDS is becoming more and more irrelevant as governments and institutions continue to pass legislation to block or ban them so they have to hijack other cause to remain relevant. This is known as “intersectionality”. You are supporter of this movement that operates under the false pretens of “human rights” but is continuously exposed for the rabid anti-Semitism they extol.

Well Ms Sarsour, we Zionist women are happy to meet you at any intersection. Standing up for the rights of women regardless of religion or political leanings is what feminism is all about.

Stop pointing your finger at Israel and Zionists and use your considerable platform to give a voice to our suffering sisters.  Help those women who you accuse us of discriminating against. They are far more deserving of your attention than we are.

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They call me Occupier Barbie

They call me Occupier Barbie. This is not because of any political opinions or leanings but because I am Jewish. I am viewed as a de facto “occupier” not because I live in any disputed area but because I live in Israel, the Jewish State, which some see as being illegally occupied as they venomously chant  “from the river to the sea”. Historical facts seem to play no role.

Occupier Barbie is not the only derogatory name I have been called. It is just the most creative. Some of the others are so repugnant, that I don’t want to repeat them in polite company. So why am I bringing this up again? The answer is simple – because as long as this ugly hatred rears its head I will show up to use my voice against it. It is critical that we start to use our voices as often and as loud as possible.

Anti-Semitism, long referred to as the oldest hatred, is spreading like a cancer throughout the world. We have seen it resurface in Europe just decades after the darkest moment in human history, the Holocaust. We must remember that the gas chambers of Auschwitz was built on words, they did not simply appear in a vacuum.

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Now this disease has spread to the USA where to date there have been multiple waves of threats against various Jewish Community Centres , graves have been desecrated in cemeteries and property defaced with swastikas and other horrific graffiti.  It seems that even the Jewish dead are not allowed peace.  Anti-Semitism has been roundly condemned by the US government but it has yet to reach the level of consciousness in the media or popular culture that other issues such as the immigration ban or infamous “Pussy Marches” have had. Yes I said the “P”word but how you interpret it is up to where your mind is at. Weren’t you thinking of a hat…..?

While many of my feminist sisters marched for equal rights and equality, notably missing was a sign that said “Jewish rights are human rights”. The march was even organized by arch anti-Zionist, Linda Sarsour, who demanded to “free Palestine”.  She also used an image of Anne Frank to make this point and appropriating a picture of a victim of the Holocaust and using it to support an organization like BDS whose endgame is the destruction of the State of Israel is a new kind of low.

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Linda Sarsour hijacks the Women’s March in the most appalling way.

Sarsour attempted a mea culpa by raising money to repair damaged gravestones that had been desecrated by flagrant anti-Semites. Occupier Barbie is not convinced – I detect a lack of authenticity. It felt a lot like well-planned media grandstanding.  What I do appreciate is the effort from Muslim veteran who offered to stand guard at Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. I tweeted each one my sincere gratitude. Every single one of them responded positively.

I have to say I am more than perturbed by the silence of the most high profile voices – celebrities. We cannot undervalue the power of their reach through social media and other outlets and we know that they LOVE a good cause and lately every opportunity to speak out at any given moment. Award season has been filled with righteous political speeches but when it comes to anti-Semitism, there is not a sound from the pulpits. Nada. Crickets.

While we know that the ACLU ribbon fabulously accessorizes the right frock and Louboutins, it means nothing if you don’t speak truth to power.

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More than a fashion statement?

I would love for them to put their money where the ribbon is and visit a campus and speak to the Jewish students, especially during the course of this month when the dreaded festival of hate, Israel Apartheid Week makes its annual appearance.

Last week it surfaced on the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) campus in Johannesburg. In the face of horrendous hatred and anti-Semitism Pro-Israel students gave us all a masterclass in dignity, class and courage under fire. They refused to be bullied or intimidated and stood up at every turn. They held us up on their mighty shoulders and inspired this blog. They showed us what the collective can accomplish, especially in the face of global silence.

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Iron like lions in Zion! Pro-Israel students on Wits Campus don’t take the “die in” lying down…..

They call me Occupier Barbie.  I refused to be embarrassed or cowered, instead  I am going to own it because I know who I am and what I stand for and invite you to stand with me, name calling and all!

They call me a Zionist apologist and make no mistake, I do not apologise for being a proud Zionist.

I am not naive or stupid. I am well aware of the serious threats and consequences of hate. I live with it every day and have cried countless tears over all those we have lost as a result of incitement and terrorism. I am well aware of loss. Those that seek to destroy us first do so by making us doubt who we are, by instilling fear and dread.

When we stand firm in our conviction, when we show up strong in our identity, they cannot shake our foundations, they cannot sow seeds of doubt. They cannot defeat us.

I am Occupier Barbie and I make no apologies for standing strong, for standing tall, for standing for what is true. Am Yisrael Chai!