Monday, October 10, 2011

Pro-Israel, Pro-Feminist

I’m on EMILY’s List’s emailing list, so I get all of their emails to support certain feminist candidates. (It does bother me that they’ll only look at Democrat women, though. Can’t you at least consider going past party lines?) A while ago, I received information about Kate Marshall (D-NV), who at the time was running for Congress in a special election. (She lost.)

Since the info was from EMILY’s List, I knew Marshall had to champion women’s causes, but I didn’t know about her position on Israel. I procrastinated looking it up until recently, when I found that she released a really beautiful statement supporting Israel with the following at the end:

Background: Israel has been in the news lately, and will be even more in the news with Beck’s “Rally to Restore Courage” in Jerusalem. In an R district, it will be useful to express support for Israel and demonstrate some foreign policy prowess while it is a timely topic - especially for people who are likely paying attention to Beck’s event.

Yeah. I think that speaks for itself. Don’t you love politicians that campaign as a certain platform just to garner votes, and then God knows what they’ll do once they’re in office?

I was prepared to write an article in total support of Marshall, but once I found out that she’s not a reliable friend of Israel, it complicates things. This is where the whole “are you a Jew or are you a feminist?” comes in.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I’m a Femidox Jew, an Orthodox feminist whose identity is made up of those two parts. (And for all you Frum Satire fans, yes, I did take the term Femidox (fifth to last) from him.) I’m Orthodox, I’m feminist. They’re equal parts of my identity.

So do I support Kate Marshall, the pro-woman anti-Israel candidate? No. Do I support Tammy Baldwin, who is endorsed by J Street (an anti-Israel group that claims to be otherwise) and has voted against Israel? No. I cannot stand behind any politician that is not completely, totally, and absolutely a friend of Israel. It’s my homeland, and I need to know that it will not be in danger. (As Aviva Cantor said at the Women’s Liberation and Jewish Identity Conference, if the authorities came for you because you’re a Jew, would your neighbors hide you? What do you do if they don’t and you don’t have Israel? Unfortunately, we already know the answer - six million died as a result.)

On the flip side, do I support Faceless Candidate X who supports Israel with his or her entire heart, but is pro-life? No. The “fem” in Femidox won’t let me do that.

In Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America, Letty Cottin Pogrebin (the Jewish feminist founder of Ms. Magazine) mentions that she went to an identity conference once, where there were signs like “woman” and “Jew” to stand beneath. At the time she chose to identify as a woman, but she says that “after 1975, I would not have been so sure.” I feel like I’m almost her opposite: a few years ago, I would have immediately gone to “Jew,” but now I’d have to stand under both. Because that’s who I am: a Femidox Jew.

It can get tiresome to juggle around two identities all the time, but hey, I never said my life was easy.

About the picture I included with this post: it was a flag flown by a Holocaust survivor when the UN announced the creation of the state of Israel.

Don't forget that today is the last day to submit for the Star of Davida Essay Contest! If you need a few more days, the deadline's not written in stone, but please email me at to inform me that your entry will be late.

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