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I don’t understand

I don’t understand

Let me start by saying that I am a woman, a Jew, and a New Yorker, so I don’t have a good opinion of radical fundamentalist Islamists.

In my mind, the enslavement and mutilation of women that is institutionalized under radical, fundamentalist Islam is one of the greatest human rights crimes in history, alongside the slaughters of the Holocaust and Rwanda, and African slavery. It isn’t okay to maim and oppress women just because an interpretation of some holy book says it is. I have some strong feelings about the institutionalized misogyny of orthodox Judaism and the Roman Catholic church, also. Not okay.

So I am already biased. I stood on top of my husband’s parents’ building on west 66th street on September 11, 2001 and watched the column of black and brown smoke that was once the World Trade centers. I knew people who survived, had friends who barely missed being down there because they stayed with their kids in class on that first week of school, and knew of students who lost parents at my children’s school.

So I have some questions about why the world is blaming Israel for the Gaza war. If Mexico were continually lobbing missiles at the US, would we stand for it? If a group of Basque Separatists were firing rockets at France all the time, literally thousands of rockets, would France really say, “Oh, gee, merci beaucoup?” What if Turkey faced a daily ration of rockets from Cyprus?

Or is there just a subtext of anti-Semitism in all this nasty world criticism? Is it just that Israel isn’t supposed to defend itself?

Why isn’t the world more critical of Hamas for using ordinary people as human shields? Why is that okay, but it’s not okay for Israel to put an end to continual bombardment and threat?

If Hamas doesn’t want the war, it seems to me, they are in a position to stop it: by not firing missiles at Israel. If Hamas doesn’t want ordinary people to be hurt–and it is deeply painful to see all the images of bloody children and wailing women that the world press delights in running–then why doesn’t Hamas stop using civilian locations as military positions?

Hamas bears the responsibility for this war: Hamas has relentlessly baited and attacked Israel and then done the sleaziest trick imaginable by hiding behind innocent children and women. Hamas does not have a right to fire rockets at Israel, just like Mexico doesn’t have the right to do that to the US, Spain doesn’t have the right to do that to France, and Cyprus doesn’t have the right to do that to Turkey.

I have dared to voice a criticism against radical Islamism. Because radical, fundamentalist Islamists are the bullies of the world, I have to wonder, am I safe for daring to ask these questions? Look what was done to Theo Van Gogh.

And for those who will probably want to label me as rascist, I would ask you to read Irshad Manji’s essay in Newsweek (“Special Edition Issues 2009”)  about helping the Muslim world by giving micro-loans to Muslim women to start businesses. I support this and would agree to a special tax–say everyone in the US making over $20,000 pays between $20 and $200 for a special fund just for this purpose alone. Empower the women, and the religion will take on a more tolerant, modern-age-friendly shape: a shape that we can all live with in peace.

It isn’t women who promote constant firing at another country.

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