This particular argument in Mondoweiss and all of the comments referred to, both in the article itself and in the comments section above are conspicuous in the absence of the voices of Palestinian women. They are mentioned but their voices are absent. This is characteristic of any such debate. Opening myself to the criticism of being “antisemitic’ (as does any substantive criticism of Zionism), we are left with Jews debating Jews about feminism.
This didn’t begin “…since the Women’s Day Strike of March 8 issued its platform”. Keith F. Feldman in his “A Shadow over Palestine, The Imperial Life of Race in America” (University of Minnesota Press 2015) devoted an entire chapter to the chasm between Zionism and feminism. Letty Cottin Pogrebin defended Zionism vis-à-vis feminism in “Anti-Semitism in the Women’s Movement” (Ms. Magazine, June, 1982), a response to the 1980 Copenhagen UN Mid-Decade Conference on Women which included in its official report a paragraph on the “…struggle to eliminate imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, Zionism, racism, racial discrimination, apartheid, hegemonism, and foreign occupation, domination, and oppression.”. The entire chapter 5, indeed throughout his entire book, Feldman expands on the relationship between race in America and Palestinians under the hegemonic influence of Zionism.
Israel has been successful in setting the agenda for the debate around Zionism, Israel, Palestine, and American response. It is more than simple “gatekeeping”. Their success in channeling criticism through Jewish and Jewish dominated institutions such as JVP and USCPR whose resources dominate the field, and their ability to select straw men (and women) for the expenditure of time and energy, is only equaled by their success in giving legitimacy to impotent, easily manipulated compradors selected as representatives to pursue their goals.
Palestinian voices become filtered or misinterpreted by those inimical to their interests. Jewish exceptionalism is given greater credibility in Palestinian matters, similar to that given Christian exceptionalism in Islamic debate. We all become complicit by acquiescing to this path rather than pursuing the effort needed to elicit and defend the right of Palestinians to determine their own anti-colonialist strategies.