My Zionist Feminist Connection
Picture if you will a little American girl in the 1970s singing along to Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" on the radio. To this day whenever I hear this mantra to the power of women I sing along at the top of my lungs. I can't help myself.
Now picture that same little American girl growing up in a staunchly pro Israel home. Was there a disconnect? No, not at all. That girl being raised on the prowess of tennis great Billie Jean King and the roar of Helen Reddy took exceptional pride in the role of women in Israel. During those years not only were women serving alongside men in the Israel Defense Forces but their Prime Minister was a woman, the incredible Golda Meir. While the United States only had it first serious female presidential candidate last year, decades ago Golda Meir demonstrated to girls and women everywhere that we truly could run the world.
As a young woman I took every women’s rights class in college I could find and joined with family and friends as we marched on Washington to protect the gains women had made.
I have created a life in line with the feminist principle that women should be able to make choices and have it all. My husband and I are raising 2 wonderful daughters, who as the saying goes, are more interested in breaking the glass ceiling than fitting into the glass slipper.
I serve as the North America Director of the Israel Forever Foundation. My career choice makes perfect sense because Israel has a solid history of promoting women as active members of society. Women in Israel continue to serve alongside men even in combat units and as Air Force pilots. They hold top positions in every sector of society including the Knesset, Supreme Court, and world renowned Start-Up Nation companies .
Last fall when the very controversial Linda Sarsour started speaking on behalf of the women's movement in the US I was concerned. Who was she to try to speak for me? A few days ago when she used this platform to speak out against Israel in saying that feminism and Zionism were incompatible, my concern grew to full on fury.
She promotes Sharia law while reviling Zionism? This is the stuff Rod Serling warned us about in his 1960s show The Twilight Zone. I have watched the reruns enough to know when hypocrisy is being shoved down my throat.
The women of Israel have worked hard, side by side with the men to rebuild our homeland to become a place where everyone around the world benefits. Whether it's the life-saving medical contributions, the science-fiction style tech that has revolutionized how we connect with each other, the high level approach to security that helps keep us all safe, or the humanitarian care to countries in crises, Israel gives so much to the world and many women are at the forefront of those efforts.
In attacking Zionism, Linda Sarsour is engaging in the age old ugliness of anti-Semitism. Please understand that she's also participating in the very essence of anti-feminist behavior. To attack Zionism is to attack all the women who have, and continue to, work hard to make the world a better place for their loved ones and for the global family.
I for one continue to stand strong as a Zionist Feminist. I know with every fiber of my being that strong women build strong societies. I hope you will join me in demanding a better spokesperson for the cause. A spokesperson who can speak truth to power and honor the legacy of all the women, Jewish and non-Jewish who bravely fought hard so that we all have a voice.