In Boycotting Israel, Professors of Women’s Studies Betray Women in Muslim Lands

Two weeks ago, the National Women’s Studies Association voted to boycott the Jewish state. In doing so, writes Phyllis Chesler, its members displayed moral blindness not only about the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also about the systemic and often brutal mistreatment of women in numerous places where they have few if any rights:

The association doesn’t condemn, for example, the atrocities being practiced by Hamas, Islamic State, Boko Haram, and the Taliban against Muslim women, children, and dissidents, or against Christian, Yazidi, and Kurdish women. . . .

This women’s studies group isn’t [protesting] the honor killings among Arabs in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and among Muslims in the West. They aren’t condemning the forced veiling of women in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, or the forced wearing of the hijab and heavy coverings in Iran and Nigeria.

The association doesn’t focus on the pervasive nature of female genital mutilation in Egypt or on the increase in child marriage across the Arab and Muslim world. There’s little mention of the terrible fate of women—even royalty—who dare to choose their own husbands.

Israel may not be flawless—what society is?—but it’s still a modern democracy that protects the religious rights of all its minorities. . . . [A]ccording to the Israeli feminist lawyer Frances Raday, Israel’s Declaration of Independence was one of the “earliest constitutional documents in the world to include sex as a group classification within a guarantee of equality in social and political rights.”

Read more at New York Post

More about: Academic Boycotts, BDS, Feminism, Israel & Zionism, Women in Islam


Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy