A past SlutWalk in Chicago. Photo: Chicago SlutWalk Facebook.
In an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Friday, activist Amanda Berman discussed her new progressive Zionist organization Zioness and its plans to march in this weekend’s feminist SlutWalk in Chicago.
According to Berman, Zioness was organized in response to the recent scandal in which Jewish activists were ejected from the Chicago Dyke March for carrying rainbow flags emblazoned with the Star of David, as well as claims made by anti-Israel Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour that Zionists cannot be feminists.
Zioness hopes to combat this exclusionary tendency by being unapologetically Zionist and progressive.
“It’s been a longtime coming for the community,” Berman said, “for Zionists who feel deeply about social justice issues, who have always been on the frontlines of every social justice movement. And now we’re being excluded from all sorts of different civil rights issues because of who we are and our ethnic identities.”
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She added that the June 24 Dyke March incident was “a watershed moment.”
“I think it was the first moment for a lot of people, not necessarily for me, but for a lot of people, where it was unequivocally antisemitic,” she said. “These were women who identified as queer who wanted to participate in a march to represent themselves and their identities, and they were kicked out for carrying a flag with a Jewish star. It opened up a lot of people’s eyes and it pushed a thing that was happening a lot already into the public consciousness and there was more of an opportunity to take action.”
Berman believes that Sarsour’s comments only enhanced progressive Zionists’ sense of discrimination because of “all the people who support her claims. It was really disheartening to see how many people respond positively to that message, that Zionists can’t be feminists.”
When asked whether she sees this discrimination as fundamentally racist or political, Berman replied, “I think a lot of people don’t know the difference. And I think a lot of people unfortunately don’t know what Zionism is. They don’t know what it means. They don’t understand that it has nothing to do with the policies or the politicians of a foreign government. It is the civil rights movement and the self-determination movement of the Jewish people.”
Jews, she added, need to actively assert their Zionism, because “for us to seize that history within our own community and to use it to help others to fight for civil rights or social justice and human dignity for every human being is totally consistent. And people just don’t understand that. I think we have to work on our messaging in our community, and that’s part of what the Zioness movement is about. It’s to challenge the narrative that we can’t participate in these types of movements because of who we are. We can, we should, and it’s a totally natural alliance.”
Berman said that she did not know how many people would march with Zioness at the SlutWalk on Saturday, but noted, “All I can tell you is that there’s been unbelievable enthusiasm, overwhelming really. We’ve been responding to messages and questions non-stop. Who will show up, I don’t know. I hope, I believe that it will be a lot of people but we’ll see what happens.”
One worry, of course, is that confrontations with anti-Israel activists will occur at the event. Berman was unequivocal on the issue, saying, “We are hoping to not have confrontation. We’re going to the march in solidarity, we’re coming as friends, and we’re coming because we care deeply about the issues that underlie the SlutWalk. We care about victim-blaming and slut-shaming and women’s empowerment and patriarchy and we want to have the opportunity to march for what we believe is right and just. And we hope we’ll be accepted there.”
In a press statement announcing the launch of Zioness, the group stated, “The organizers of the Zioness Movement are currently working to build coalitions of Zionists to support other progressive causes across the country.”
Asked if such coalitions are forming, Berman said, “It’s already happening. I can’t give you too many details, but as I said there’s been just so much excitement and enthusiasm around this already. We only launched on Tuesday and we’re speaking to a lot of different Jewish groups, institutional groups, individuals, leaders, rabbis… People who truly identify as progressives who care about these issues that we’re trying to address and accomplish together, and we want to join a broader coalition and then take this further.”
Berman added that the social media response has been particularly positive. “We’re having people say, ‘Come to the SlutWalk in LA in October, come bring this to San Francisco, we need a Zioness movement in New York,’ so I have a lot of faith that this is going to go far,” she said.
Rabbi Karyn Kedar — senior rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, Illinois and a lifelong civil rights activist — commented on Zioness’ efforts, saying, “I thought we had fought this battle. As a rabbi, I have spent years on the frontlines, among the crowds, and behind the scenes defending the rights and dignity of the marginalized in our society. And here we are again — attacked, excluded and ostracized by the very people we see as our partners. Make no mistake, anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism, and like all hate, must not be tolerated.”
SlutWalk is a feminist march against sexual violence. Recently, the organizers adopted the Dyke March’s policies banning Jewish symbols, but then relented in the face of intense criticism and apologized. However, as Zioness noted, “It also precluded nationalist symbols from being displayed at the march, including Israeli flags. In subsequent social media postings, SlutWalk organizers made clear that they view Palestinian flags as a symbol of ‘resistance’ and not nationalism.”
Iraqi Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, May 17, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Alaa al-Marjani / File.
Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday that Jews could return to Iraq if they “demonstrated loyalty,” the Hebrew news site Walla reported.
The 44-year-old Sadr heads the Saairun coalition, which won the most seats in the Iraqi parliamentary election last month.
His comment on Jews came in response to a question asked by a supporter, the Walla report said.
In the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Sadr’s Mahdi Army targeted American troops.
Iran’s base in southern Syria, as photographed by satellite imagery, in October 2017. (Screenshot)
An Arabic news source reported on the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Russia concerning the Iranian military presence in Syria, stating that Russia has agreed to “a green light” for Israeli military strikes against Iranian military target.
Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman is currently in negotiations with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow concerning the Iranian military presence in Southern Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin are also in telephone contact over the matter.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
“Paranoia predisposed him to believe in nefarious, hidden forces driving events,” the New York Times writes of Trump. “Political opportunism informed his promotion of conspiracy theories.”
But that could just as easily apply to the New York Times.
The Jewish community is in danger and so is the Free World as we know it. THE CONFLICT BEYOND ADVOCACY
The Jewish community is in danger and so is the Free World as we know it.
Reprinted from IsraelNationalNews.com.
Who would have believed that within certain communities, there could be more supporters of the radical Arab Palestinian agenda than supporters of the free, democratic and altruistic State of Israel. The relentless Arab Palestinian deceitful and well-organized propaganda, with the irrational support of many in the Western Media, may be a part of this transition.
The Democratic Party in the USA used to be a staunch supporter of the just cause of the State of Israel, but a recent Pew Research Center report showed a dangerous shift in this attitude. Within the more radical liberal branch of the Democratic party, about 38% will be anti-Israeli while the supporters of Israel will be only about 26%. When you look at the overall numbers as they relate to the Democratic party, you find that about 31% will be anti-Israeli and only 33% will be pro-Israel. On the other hand, within the Republican party, about 74% will be pro-Israel.
Yahya Sinwar, the leader of the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza, speaks during a protest east of Khan Yunis, April 16, 2018.
Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, recently gave interviews to Al Jazeera and Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, which is close to Hezbollah, to boast about his movement’s achievements in the wake of the recent border fence demonstrations and the Great Return March. In the interviews, on May 16 and 21, respectively, Sinwar also threatened that if Hamas is forced into another round of fighting with Israel, its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades will have a few surprises in store for the “Zionist enemy
“The Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over.” The Arvut, Baal HaSulam
The Trump-Kim summit generated a renewed sense of hope along with questions about the future. Will we witness a new and peaceful North Korea? Will Trump’s deal-making skills become instrumental in promoting world peace? And specifically among Israel analysts: Will Trump be able to make a deal to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
On May 22, Susanna Maria Feldman went missing. It was the day after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot which celebrates G-d’s revelation of the Ten Commandments to Moses and a nation of freed slaves.
The fifth commandment is, “Honor thy father and mother.” The sixth is, “Thou shalt not murder.”
And in the German city of Mainz, whose Jewish community dates back to Roman times, a worried mother waited for the worst. Susanna had gone off with her friends. They came home. And she didn’t.
What can one learn from the controversy? Basically, that it is safer to be a member of Hamas than to be gay. Palestinian leaders would much rather see young Palestinians trying to kill Israelis than talk about gays in their own society. In the world of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, there is no room for comedy or satire.
On June 8, an estimated 250,000 people attended the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Tourists from all around the world came to Israel to watch and participate in the event. The theme of this year’s event is “The Community Makes History” — a reference to the LGBT community in Israel.
Fifty one years have passed since the Six Day War, fifty one years during which Israel has advanced on every front, in economics, technology, its society (it switched from a socialist to a nationalist regime) and, most significantly, in its geo-political situation: Two Arab countries bordering Israel, Jordan and Egypt, signed peace treaties with the Jewish State, and a number of Arab states have relations with Israel behind the scenes. Israel is an honored member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its per capita GNP approaches $40,000 per annum.
The anti-Israel boycott is despicable. In the past, the Jews were boycotted by the unenlightened. Today, the unenlightened are not alone. They’re in a coalition with the pseudo-enlightened.
Jibril Rajoub, the man who announced that if he had an atom bomb he would drop it on Israel, won a huge victory, because the game against Argentina was supposed to be the jewel in the crown. It was supposed to join the Eurovision win in proving that Israel doesn’t have to give a damn about the rest of the world. But no, it does.
We must admit that Rajoub is not the only one who defeated Israel. Israel defeated itself. Because when you do things to spite other, you end up paying the price. And we’re paying it.