“The Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik has fired back at a recent claim by Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour that Zionism and feminism are contradictory ideals.
Ms. Bialik wrote a piece Wednesday saying the political left “should reexamine the microscope they use to look at Israel” and stop blaming all of Zionism for the bad policies “made by a few people.”
Palestinian feminist/activist Linda Sarsour says you can’t be a Zionist *and* a feminist. I disagree, here’s why: https://t.co/by5lFooAlB— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) March 16, 2017
“Zionism is the belief in the right of the Jewish people to have an autonomous state in Israel. I am a Zionist,” the actress wrote on her website groknation.com. “Feminism is the belief that a woman-driven movement can bring about race, class and gender equality and that women deserve all of the rights and privileges afforded to men. I am a feminist.
“Accusing Zionism of being incompatible with feminism is exceptionally short-sighted,” she continued. “It smarts of a broad-stroke bias against the entire Jewish people for the violations that occur in a state that was founded on the principles of Zionism. That’s not good. Bad things happen when we paint with such a broad brush. It’s bigotry.”
Ms. Bialik wrote the post in response to Ms. Sarsour, who is Muslim, after she told The Nation in a recent interview that American women shouldn’t call themselves feminists if they don’t support Palestinians.
“You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it,” Ms. Sarsour said.
Ms. Bialik said Israel and the people who support a Jewish state are being held to an unfair standard.
“The question is this: Many countries — many Muslim countries, in fact — perpetrate atrocities against women which include: female genital mutilation, forced marriages, child brides, systematic abuse of women by the justice system, revenge rape and honor killing,” she wrote. “Why is Israel held to a standard none of these other countries — whose offenses are, arguably more extreme — are held to? And why is belief in the State of Israel something that should exclude women — or men, for that matter — from identifying as feminists?
“As a feminist Zionist, I can’t believe I am being asked to choose or even defend my religious, historical and cultural identity,” she wrote.
“Ultimately, for a feminist activist — or any activist — to place the blame for policies made by a few people on the entire entity of Zionism and all who are committed to the idea of a Jewish state is irresponsible,” Ms. Bialik argued. “It’s disgusting, it’s insulting, and it’s wrong. It creates fragmentation in a movement that needs cohesion, needs to stand together for equality, domestically and internationally.”
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