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Posted in: Islamic Gender & Religious Apartheid, Feminism

Published on Jun 10, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Published by Pajamas Media

Women's rights activists put Israel-bashing before their cause

'Tis true: No good deed goes unpunished. But it's also true that those who perform good deeds are not that easily stopped.

Most bloggers are pleased when another blogger links to their site. It means that their information will reach more readers. Being linked to is usually viewed as an honor: The blogger's work has been recognized as valuable.

However, this is not true for the website known as "Women Living Under Muslim Laws" (WLUML). Apparently, they want their information made available only to those who march, lock-step along with them on other, ostensibly unrelated, subjects. WLUML does not want to be "tainted" by any affiliation with a website, (in this case, mine), a site that also links to the work of…certain people.

I have just launched a new and streamlined website at www.phyllis-chesler.com and thus, I've begun to systematically link to other websites. Since I have also just published one of the first academic studies of honor killings in the West, and in the distinguished journal Middle East Quarterly, I decided to link to other websites that are also concerned with the plight of Muslim women.

I wrote to each such group telling them that I would be linking to their website. I did not vet these sites in terms of their overall political positions. (Yes, I was tempted to do so, but I resisted that temptation. Accurate information about Islamic gender apartheid, including honor killings and what we may do to prevent them or to prosecute such dishonorable murderers, is information that is too important to remain hostage to any one ideology or political party.)

Today, I received two emails from an Elly Kilroy on behalf of WLUML, asking me to "please immediately remove the link to Women Living Under Muslim Laws from your list of recommended websites; we do not want to be associated with you in any way." The email reads as follows:

Dear Phyllis,

Please could you remove the link to Women Living under Muslim Laws from your list of Recommended Websites; we are more than uncomfortable about being in the same list as names such as Daniel Pipes, Melanie Phillips and Internet Haganah to name just a few.

We are an international solidarity network committed to human rights, and our natural allies on issues related to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory would be feminist, progressive groups such as Women in Black (http://www.womeninblack.org.uk/), the Coalition of Women for Peace (http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english) and the New Profile Movement (http://www.newprofile.org/english/) who are working for a peaceful end to the occupation and siege on Gaza, as well as women's rights, rather than keeping company with those supporting increased militarization and sowing hatred against Arabs/Muslims.


Women Living Under Muslim Laws
International Coordination Office

How different is this behavior from that of an Arab diplomat who refuses to shake hands with an Israeli diplomat or who walk out of a United Nations meeting when an Israeli diplomat mounts the podium? Why is Kilroy's UK-based office refusing to be associated with known Zionists – even when those very Zionists, (myself and Daniel Pipes), are doing work that is entirely relevant to Muslim women? Isn't this a little like damning Israelis as Satanic but still continuing to use Israeli medical and scientific discoveries to save and improve their lives?

They proudly cite their affiliations with other peace-oriented womens' groups, including Women in Black. I doubt that Women in Black, a group which I once, long, long ago, supported, are actually studying honor killings or other aspects of Islamic gender apartheid. They are a street demonstration group, always at the ready to demonstrate when Israel is to be maligned and Palestinian terrorists are to be glorified. Kilroy writes about "ending the seige on Gaza." Does she mean ending the seige against women in Gaza which Hamas launched? The seige of ever-more forced veilings and honor murders of women in Gaza? Alas, Kilroy is not referring to that seige at all.

In fact, WMUML's behavior and way of thinking is precisely what I documented at length in The Death of Feminism. What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom. To my enormous sorrow, I was forced to conclude that feminist academic and activist groups, much like other "progressive" groups, have been completely "Palestinianized" and are now less concerned with sexism than with racism and/or with alleged "Islamophobia." Feminist groups are also more concerned with blaming America first and Israel second – and only with that particular banner held high will they dare to cautiously address women's rights and survival.

Please understand: American and Israeli foreign policies have absolutely nothing to do with honor killings, polygamy, arranged marriage to a first cousin, mandatory veiling, stonings to death for alleged adultery, female genital mutilation or any other aspect of Shari'a law or of pre-Islamic tribal culture.

What is really going on here? Well, I wonder how many American philanthropic foundations, owned and staffed by Democratic Party operatives, actually fund and otherwise facilitate WLUML's various projects? I see some familiar names on their various pages….

Oh, what's a girl to do? My resident website genius informs me that I can link to whomever I wish, with or without their approval. There is no law that prevents my doing so.

Gentle Reader: What shall I do? Keep linking to WLUML on the offchance that although they have a left, "politically correct" point of view that their information may nevertheless be useful? Or should I cut the connection?

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