Palestine, gender ideology and censorship
Gearóid Ó Loingsigh
23 January 2024
Jewish socialist Ann Menasche.
Israel has murdered tens of thousands of Palestinians. It is proceeding with a genocide, the first one to be live streamed before our eyes. There are those Zionists, some of whom claim to be feminists but donít apply the protection of women from violence to Palestinians who have sided with the genocidal maniacs in Tel Aviv. There are other feminists who have taken a stand with the Palestinians. For those of us with some sense of ethics and decency, opposing Israeli mass murder is the only ethical option.
You would think though, that for those who claim to be opposed to the genocide that this is the primordial issue. It is so important that it is up there with climate change, though it is far more immediate and even Greta Thurnberg has taken time out in her speeches to mention the plight of Palestinians. But you would be wrong. There are those liberals who think there is one issue that trumps it all.
Ann Menasche is a long-time socialist activist, now in her seventies. She is Jewish and has been involved in various peace campaigns over the years. She was also a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, a membership-based organisation that seeks to reach out to Jews in the USA on the issue of Palestine. Most though, not all of its members are also Jewish. She was one of the organisers of a protest that JVP was organising in San Diego, California and was in charge of the media work for it. Then someone decided to complain about her views on womenís spaces, womenís rights, the rights of lesbians and accused her of transphobia. She had previously been sacked from her job because she said abortion is a womenís issue. Someone complained to JVP about Ann and she was told not to attend the event and they even went as far as to change the venue at the last moment, so as Ann couldnít go. Nor could many others and the media didnít attend either. But it doesnít matter, because affirming a manís right to use a female space is obviously more important than stopping a genocide.
Ann was told not to attend in order to guarantee the safety of trans people. She is in her seventies and stands at five feet nothing. She is hardly a towering physical menace to anyone. So, what type of threat did she represent? Ann puts it thus ďIt is really the thinking of witch trials. Itís like the Salem witch trials in which spectral evidence was introduced, which was basically that the thoughts of the women could cause harm to the person they were possessing or harassing spiritually. Just having my opinions in a crowd of 100 people would harm them.Ē
This is fantasy land and was coupled with strong arm Stalinist tactics removing her from public mailing lists, which anyone can sign up to. Ann was convened to a private meeting on signal, that the members were not informed about and told that she would have to apologise for her past and make amends, though repair was the word used. What she had broken was not clear. This idea of publicly recanting your past, in this case on issues that Ann says she has never brought up in the context of her activity in JVP is so extreme that there was a time you wouldnít have seen the likes of it outside of North Korea, so much so that Kim might now be taking notes on how to do it. Now however, such censorship is common amongst liberals, particularly on the trans issue, where menís rights take precedence over womenís rights but even over a genocide in which thousands of Palestinian women and children are being murdered. She was told she would have to publicly apologise and affirm trans rights i.e. a manís right to pretend he is a woman and thus access womenís spaces as if he truly were a woman.
This is not limited to the USA or JVP. In Ireland, politicians who jumped on the trans bandwagon tried to sabotage a pro-Palestinian meeting in north Dublin because of one of the organiserís views describing her as far right, when in fact she has been a lifelong socialist feminist.
In response to this Ann organised a public open letter to JVP signed by various people on the left in the USA (http://oc-drl.site/Menasche%20open%20letter.html). Amongst the signatories is the renowned journalist Chris Hedges and peace activist Cindy Sheehan whose son was killed in Iraq. The letter points out that others who might not hold pro trans views are not excluded. There are many in the Muslim community who would not be on board with this and indeed in the Jewish Hassidic community, which is quite large in parts of the USA, holds very reactionary views on women in general and gays as well, so it is safe to say they would take a dim view of trans. It is only those on the left who get challenged in these campaigns.
It is the most reactionary of ideas, that everyone is welcome to a campaign, regardless of political persuasion, except socialist feminists who refuse to bow the knee to a menís rights movement. It also shows how reactionary the trans movement is, that they would rather sabotage a campaign against genocide than tolerate those who disagree with them. This is the first time Ann has ever being expelled from a peace movement in her lifetime, a dubious record for the trans lobby.
JVP can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org should you want to register your protest at the disgraceful treatment of Ann.