Two opposing revolutionary streams are locked in a death struggle, and nowhere is this struggle more palpable than in the Jewish State. One stream is intrinsically Jewish: it was created by Jews, for Jews, and is about Jews. Its relationship with Jewish religion can be described as both close and troubled. The other stream opposes Jewish religion and nationalism – and arguably, all religion and nationalism – but boasts an inordinately large proportion of Jews among its founders, leaders and activists.
The first stream is Zionism, a movement that despised what it saw as the bookish, emasculated Diaspora Jew, and believed in the rebirth of the Jew as a manly type who holds both plow and sword in his hands – “a Jewishness of muscle,” in the words of Zionist founder Max Nordau at the Second Zionist Congress. The second is Marxism in its ultimate form: pacifist gender feminism. [Note: I use the term “gender feminism” as defined by Christina Hoff Sommers in Who Stole Feminism?, and as opposed to what she calls “equity feminism.”
The first movement, while dominated by secular Jews, walked in the path of ancient Jewish religion in virtually sanctifying the concepts of nation, land and military might. Zionism always believed in the essential power of the sword – and as long as Zionism dominated the Israeli psyche, the tiny Jewish state’s army defeated and deterred surrounding Arab armies in a series of valiantly fought wars and anti-terrorist operations, earning the fear and respect of its neighbors. Old-style Zionism has weakened considerably in the past 25 years, but is now making a grassroots comeback, shoulder-to-shoulder with a new brand of religious Zionism that is more intellectual, communicative and confident than it was in the past.
The other movement is an internationalist stream that can be described as a confluence of several rivulets that have been flowing next to each other, blending into each other and growing out of each other for almost a century. A partial and imperfect breakdown of these streams would include:
(1) the defeatism of pro-Soviet women’s pacifist groups that operated in the West in the first half of the 20th century,
(2) the nascent gender feminism that developed within the American Communist party and its environs in the first half of the the 20th century (or “Popular Front feminism,” as the term is used by Daniel Horowitz in Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique),
(3) feminism and gender experimentation within the socialist world, as manifested in the celebration of International Women’s Day and the communal sexual and family practices of the early kibbutzim, and
The confluence of these streams appears to be best exemplified in the 95-year old pacifist Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which specializes in sophisticated techniques of manipulation of language and images, and engages in politicking in the United Nations and individual member countries. The cooperation between organizations like WILPF and the New Israel Fund (NIF) – a highly controversial fund with a dominantly gender-feminist pacifist character – has made it possible for the international gender feminist pacifist establishment to confuse and bully the Israeli public into its current sad and emasculated state.