As I turned a corner during a walk with my dog one morning, she suddenly stood
on her hind legs and placed her paws lovingly on the chest of an elderly man
before I could stop her.
“She just loves humanity!” I apologized, while
pulling my dog off him. He looked at me without smiling, and said, in a heavy
German-Jewish accent, “Oh, it’s very easy to love humanity; it’s loving people
Exactly. This is why people organize themselves into
small groups, such as family, tribe or community, rather than into a greater
The “nation” seems to be the widest circle individuals are
able to belong to and identify with. As Jews, we sometimes have the sense that
we are all one big family. For other peoples, questions such as, “Where are you
from?” “Where did you go to school?” and “Where do you work?” mostly serve to
assess social or economic status. For Jews, these questions are a means to
discovering whether you have any mutual acquaintances connecting you to each
other in a sort of “familial” tie.
I chose the word “familial” because
family is our natural point of reference. Family is where we develop our ability
to love, to give to and identify with others, to be compassionate and dedicated.
It is the sense of family that is carried beyond into wider spheres, be they
neighborhoods, communities, cities or nations.
AN ANTHROPOLOGIST once
told me about research he was conducting on an African tribe suffering through
war and severe deprivation. Its social fabric had all but
The anthropologist witnessed an incident in which tribe
members were abusing and mocking a boy while others watched from the sidelines,
laughing in delight, and even occasionally participating in the abuse. Among
those watching was the boy’s mother, who not only did not come to his defense,
but actually laughed heartily at his humiliation.
commented that when a society deteriorates to the point where there is a lack of
compassion even between mother and child, it can no longer be saved, because, as
he explained, the glue that keeps groups intact, those crucial emotional
connections between close family members, is no longer there. These primary
connections are the basis of one’s ability to feel commitment (to develop a
conscience, if you will) toward others: first toward family, later towards close
group members and eventually toward people outside these circles.
people do create ties also to those with similar interests, be it sports,
professional activities, volunteering or politics, such ties are usually not as
deep or strong as those we have with family members and close friends.
the 20th century, we witnessed communist regimes deliberately destroying the
emotional and moral glue necessary for maintaining the group and allowing the
individual to identify with it. The communists invested enormous effort in
disassociating peoples from family, community and town, directing them to
identify instead with the “working class” and the “Party.” As a result, we saw
children informing on their parents, who were then summarily sent off to the
Gulag and its “reeducation” camps, or citizens instigating the arrest of their
brothers, teachers and neighbors and receiving apartments or higher paying jobs
Fracturing the bonds between natural group members and
replacing them with artificial connections such as political party or social
class not only destroys society’s basic internal structure, but also impairs
individuals’ capacity to feel love and compassion and develop a sense of
In their stead, a blind willingness to obey the “ruler,”
whether party, movement, or an elite group determining the public agenda, is
USING METHODS similar to those of the communists, contemporary
“elite” groups in Israel attempt to govern our thinking, utilizing modern-day
feminists, who, following communism’s fall from grace, now in large measure
determine our current public discourse. Like the communists, modern feminist
movements aim to unravel the natural bonds between family members, friends,
colleagues, members of local communities and the citizens of the nation which
binds society together.
They now seek to replace it not with a new
“class” or party, but with the female gender as a whole. At the same time,
feminism also exhorts us to disassociate ourselves from the members of the
opposite sex. This deliberate effort at gender separation causes constant
divisiveness, which feeds an ongoing struggle between the sexes, thus creating a
permanent state of revolution.
In this way feminism, like communism
before it, tries to undermine the sense of social identification and belonging
to the fundamental, natural groups which are the building blocks of human
compassion and morality. Unlike organizations or movements that promote women’s
status within traditional frameworks, feminism expects that just because I’m a
woman, I will identify more closely with some anonymous female in China than,
let’s say, my employer, who had the misfortune of being born male and who
happens to serve occasionally in the armed forces, protecting my
Additionally, feminism expects me to identify more strongly with a
Palestinian woman who might send her son to kill her daughter for “desecrating”
family honor than with my husband, who by definition is a chauvinist male.
Similarly, it demands that I identify even with that same Palestinian woman’s
female neighbor, who might encourage her sons and daughters to become “martyrs”
by blowing themselves up and killing members of my own family, town, or
This sort of identification with our gender “sisters” exacts a
high moral cost, as by shifting our natural identification, we lose our ability
to discern right from wrong, real from false, and just from unjust. The
resulting confusion is fertile ground for feminist leaders to direct us to the
“correct” solutions to life’s various dilemmas.
THUS, IF violence or a
sexual offense is committed by a Jewish man against a woman, the feminists
rightly demand that full justice be done. But there are exceptions to this
feminist rule, such as when an Arab man attacks a woman because she’s Jewish.
This sort of crime is automatically elevated to the realm of legitimate national
struggle and, if the Jewish woman happens to be a settler, regarded as highly
How else can we explain the deathly silence of women’s movements
at such widespread criminal acts? Given the choice between national
identification and gender identification, most professional feminists identify
with the Palestinian national movement.
Yet the solutions they come up
with can be most convoluted.
For example, if an Israeli soldier were to
rape a Palestinian woman, the feminists’ approach is clear; we would hear about
it endlessly, literally everywhere, under the rubric of gender solidarity. But
what’s to be done about the fact that Israeli soldiers don’t rape Palestinian
women? Well, it seems there is an ingenious feminist solution to this particular
dilemma: Jewish racism, which, according to one Israeli feminist scholar who
authored a research paper on the subject in 2007, makes Israeli soldiers see
Arab women as too inferior to be worth raping.
Before the feminists
succeed in confusing us completely and convincing us it is indeed easy to love
humanity, or at least its feminine half, it’s worthwhile reminding ourselves
that the men, who are all defined by feminism as potential chauvinist criminals,
are our fathers, brothers and sons, and may well be risking their lives so that
we can live here. To this we should say: feminism or not, identifying with our
enemies, including its women, is not an option.This article is based on
a lecture that was given at the Nationalist Driven Sex Crimes Conference held at
the Jabotinsky House in Tel Aviv on November 22, 2009. The writer is editor of
the online Hebrew weekly magazine Maraah.(magazine.co.il)
Translated by Hannah