Posted in: Letters To Readers
Published on May 08, 2012 by Phyllis Chesler
An Open Letter to My Readers
I miss writing to you and I miss commenting on the events of the day on a bi-weekly basis. Instead, I have generated more than 50,000 words for my new book.
But believe me: I have "what to say" as my grandmother and aunts might have put it.
But first, please read this analysis of what Prime Minister Netanyahu has just accomplished, here characterized as one of the "most significant political maneuvers in recent memory and probably in the history of Israeli politics.
Now, here's my own roundup of the last few weeks.
Women are having acid thrown in their faces in Yemen if they refuse to veil or are not properly enough veiled.
The Egyptian brothers are preparing a law that will allow girls to be married at fourteen. Oh yes, the brothers also repealed the law against polygamy and woman's right to divorce.
At least 40% of Iraqi women in Kurdistan have been genitally mutilated. According Rend al-Rahim, former Iraqi Ambassador to America: "The retreat in women's rights has to do with the resurgence of patriarchal narrowly conservative social mores….Sharia is a convenient peg for the deeper instinct of male dominance in Iraq."
Does anyone out there still believe that the Arab "Spring" is good for Muslim women or for Muslim progressives and intellectuals—or, for that matter, good for Christians, Israel, and America?
Well, Tom Friedman did and still does but now, sometimes, he doesn't; grim progress of sorts. Even he has been dragged into reason, against his will by reality; he even wrote that such a "Spring" is more "complex" than he'd originally envisioned and may take time to "evolve."
They are headed back to the 14th century but yes, it may take them some time to get there.
Does anyone out there really believe that Jewish Israel persecutes other religions, especially Christians?
Bob Simon of Sixty Minutes sure does. He did an entire program on this very subject. The man is blind, deaf, and obviously dumb (as in truly stupid). Simon does not see that churches are being torched and Christians murdered by murderous Muslim mobs all over the Islamic world—but, he has concluded that Christians are fleeing the Holy Land, (not true, by the way), due to Israeli Jewish oppression. His program was merely further propaganda for "Palestinians."
The man remains on board and has issued no apology.
Liberal and Holocaust-survivor Jews continue to fund the ADL, the organization that is always wrong and always behind the times.
When I first read Abe Foxman's 2003 book on anti-Semitism, I could not believe my eyes. How could someone who manages to bilk the Jewish world of 50-70 million dollars each and every year not understand that the most lethal anti-Semitism of our era is coming to us from the Islamic world and that the Western intelligentsia, the "left," is conspiring with it? Nevertheless, Foxman continues to see right wing Christian Nazis under every bed.
Now, the indefatigable Charles Jacobs, the founder of the American Anti-Slavery Group and the President of Americans for Peace and Tolerance, presented this truth in a devastatingly simple way. Jacobs looked at the subject matter of ADL press releases and found that 37.8% concerned traditional anti-Semitism; 30.5% concerned social justice issues; 24% concerned Israel and the Middle East; and 2.6% concerned Islamic extremism and Arab anti-Semitism; 5% concerned terrorism.
In the shadow of Iranian genocidal anti-Semitic threats and a rise in global anti-Semitism, this is not good enough. In fact, it is dangerously suicidal.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar visited me when he was in NYC. Refreshingly, he does not believe that Israel is Iran's "first target" and that the Arab Sunni states are both more frightened of Iran's aggressive designs on the region and less able to defend themselves than Israel is. The entire world is Iran's first target, not Israel. "Why should Israel have to do the heavy lifting and save the world?"
Oh, have I got things to say about the upcoming American election—but that will have to wait for a proper piece.
Oh yes—I saw two operas, both disappointing, both featuring the most distinguished operatic divas. Both Manon with Anna Netrebko and Traviata with Natalie Dessay were tarted up, modernized, ripped from their historical centuries and rendered heartlessly contemporary. The pornographic poses, which I have seen at the Met before, (in Lola and Carmen for example), are heartbreaking and unnecessary. I never thought I'd say this but here goes: Bring back the Zeffirelli sets, I promise I will still keep coming to see the same old wonderful sets.
I attended a book launch and lecture at Brandeis House for a new book by my friend and colleague, Helene Aylon. The book is titled: Whatever is Contained Must Be Released and it is the Memoir of an Orthodox Jewish girl who grows up to become a major feminist artist. I am so glad for Helene's success. Her reading was utterly charming, whispered, magical, whimsical and funny. Three pieces by Helene hang in my home and in my writing studio. Go—Helene! And thank you, Shulamith Reinharz, for encouraging me to come.
I will keep writing. I will post some articles of course. I even plan to leave town for a mini-vacation very soon since my wrist is quite beyond battered.
Next month, on June 11th, in the evening, I will be speaking together with author Talia Carner, at the 92nd Y, about "Women's Self-Expression in Religious Society," and at a veteran feminist event which will honor Kate Millett at the Judson Memorial Church on June 24th in the afternoon. Both events are in New York City.
My third study on honor killing will be out in Middle East Quarterly in June, in the summer issue.
I hope to begin a new study sometime soon.
See you soon, in my next article.
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