This week, I found myself challenged—and, it pains me to admit, triggered—by an artist I really respect. Adena Walker has been doing a lot of brave work that most people on the Internet are not ready to hear. Unlike some podcast hosts and writers for New York magazine, she is not afraid to say that Donald Trump is a fascist.
And I applaud the courage it took for her to get her latest essay on NJBs (Nice Jewish Boys) published, at a time when such opinions are suppressed. “With the recent exposure of sexism and harassment in general,” she writes, “it’s time to recognize this discrepancy: When men call themselves ‘boys,’ they’re not accepting responsibilities for their actions. They’re creating a ‘boys’ club in which they can behave in ways that may be inappropriate because, as boys, why, they just don’t know any better.”
But Adena lost me when she went on to ask: “Do women need to be the inspiration to help a boy become a man?”
As a trans-ally, who has studied allyship from both an anti-colonial and queer-positive perspective, I have to ask my sister: What? Why would we ever want to help boys become MEN? Have you been paying attention to the news? To the #MeToo movement? Who does she think is doing all the harassing and the raping and the groping? Who starts all the wars? Instead of raising boys to be men, let’s raise boys to be people.
The Torah is just another word for patriarchy. There, I said it. Mainstream synagogues don’t want to hear the truth. But I will no longer be silenced. The Bible is sexist garbage. #MeToo for Sarah, Leah, Haggar and all sisters who had to endure ancient times. What does HaShem do to women who stand up for themselves? He turns them into pillars of salt. And believe it sisters. God isn’t one of us. He is a He. #MeToo.
Just look at Joshua. He had his whole army circumcised before invading Canaan. Where were the women? Why weren’t they circumcised?
As a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, Friends of Al-Aqsa, and a follower of the American Friends Service Committee Twitter account, I am appalled that the Israeli government has decided to ban members of these organizations from entering the country on the grounds that they support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is justice. It is patently undemocratic for a so-called democracy to ban organizations promoted to its destruction. And isn’t it Israel’s JOB to welcome ALL JEWS to Israel, including those like me who proclaim that there shouldn’t be such a thing as Israel to begin with but who want to go there anyway? How can we prove Israel shouldn’t exist if Israel doesn’t allow us to visit? This is just like Haman trying to kill the Jews of Persia. Which reminds me: Readers should come to the rally next week outside the US Embassy to the UN, where I’ll be speaking out against the ongoing neocon attempts to destabilize Iran. Hands off, Nikki Haley!
Can people of color really be anti-Semitic? I started thinking about this when I got sucked into an internet rabbit hole of Hezbollah music videos. They definitely were saying some pretty anti-Semitic shit. Like that Jews were apes and pigs. Not OK. But Hezbollah is up against Israel and Bibi NetanWARhu.
Now, I know the Likudnik media is going to read that last paragraph and say “Hannah Virtuestein doesn’t care about anti-Semitism!” You will read this in Tablet or the newly awful New York Times op-ed page next week. But this is what the establishment doesn’t understand. We are threatened right here at home by White Male Christian anti-Semites (WMCAS). Steve Bannon anyone? Ring a bell? And remember, he almost had his finger on the nuclear button with his WMCAS boss, Donald Trump!
No, Human Rights Campaign, “we” are NOT all Carson Jones! Last week, this photo of Democratic Senator Doug Jones’ gay son giving Mike Pence side-eye at his dad’s swearing-in ceremony was all the rage among the WGMoP (White Gay Men of Privilege) on Instagram.
“Dear White People: Stop Turning Yourselves into Heroes” wrote Philip Henry for Conde Nast’s new LGGBDTT2SIQQAAPP site, Them. Tell it Philip! Though not one of them, my LGGBDTT2SIQQAAPP friends tell me that white gay cisgender men did nothing for the LGGBDTT2SIQQAAPP movement. “By next week you’ll be saying that Carson Jones threw the first brick at Stonewall,” Philip writes. Ha! Of course, it was Angela Davis who did that.
Has anybody noticed the Tanakh is really gendered? There are literally no trans people in the Bible. It’s as if they didn’t exist back then. Hashem is a He. Children are named for their fathers.
Why aren’t we teaching the Koran in our day schools? I am not saying we read from it during services, (that’s a decision for local congregations), but our children need to live in a world that loves and supports their Muslim brothers, especially at our own financial expense. As the Talmud teaches: Listening is healing.
I identify as a journalist, an activist and a comedian. She/her.
Many people think I am a typical progressive Brooklynite Bernie-Sis. But I have a pretty reactionary side too. I’m not ready to go public with this, but—since I know I cannot fully love and accept others until I fully love and accept myself—I will admit this here: I don’t like Vegans. I am not judging them. I don’t eat animal protein myself, but I do make one exception: cheesecake. How could you live in a world without cheesecake? Also, what do vegan lifestyles do for Palestine, really? Or supporting prison reform? I don’t get it.
What Being Woke Means To Me
Being woke means never settling for anything less than revolutionary love.
Being woke means saying something when you hear racism.
Being woke means using social media to confront and eliminate all the hate in the world.
I am calling for a fatwa upon Asmi Fathelbab, the infidel who worked for Linda Sarsour at the Arab American Association and is accusing Sister Linda of having ignored her complains of sexual harassment by a male colleague. (Before the Hasbara-niks raise a stink, let me remind them Sister Linda is a Semite and thus cannot be an anti-Semite. The real anti-Semites are the people smearing Linda’s good name, like Bari Weiss and Jamie Kirchick). Asmi Fathelbab says that when she complained to Linda about a male colleague’s inappropriate behavior, Linda told her “something like that doesn’t happen to someone who looks like you,” and that, if Fathelbab went public with her accusations, “I will never work in New York City ever again for as long as she lives.”
My readers know that I am a steadfast supporter of #MeToo. But here’s what else they should know: Sister Linda believes passionately in social justice and loves the Jewish people. As a woman of color in hijab standing up to the fascist Donald Trump and the racist Israeli state, Linda’s priority cannot be policing the locker room talk of her male colleagues-in-struggle. Asmi Fathelbab’s accusations are also incredibly Orientalist. She is hyper-sexualizing Muslim men thru her imperialist deployment of the Western gaze. Sometimes, when a Muslim man pins you up against a wall and stalks you on the way home from work, what he’s really saying is: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be free.” #IstandwithLinda.