Attacks on Gaza

I was going to post today about how I got the Wii Fitness for Christmas and what my thoughts were.

But today, the only thing I can think about and post about is what is happening in the Gaza strip right now.

Two days after Christmas, the Israeli government began military strikes against Gaza. Children were heading home from school, university students were waiting for the bus to pick them up, fathers were sending their children out on errands.

And then the strikes began and Gaza was blown to shreds.

And of course, that video was released the day that the bombings began, so the casualty count is off–the latest count put the dead at 310, well over 700 wounded and several key institutions (including the Islamic University) as destroyed ( All these people dead, all these institutions destroyed–so that we can all feel good about three Hamas officers being killed (

Now, we all know that there’s a long history of conflict in the region. And I encourage you to do some research on how colonization has been normalized and justified through the extended manipulation of the Holocaust and Holocaust survivors (see Norman Finkelstein and Edward Said for great introductions). But I don’t want to get into historical perspectives at the moment, because what usually happens is discussions spiral out of control and a game of finger pointing over ‘whose fault this is’ begins.

What I want to do is point to Safa, a young woman in Gaza City ( Read her eye witness testimony:

I’ve never seen anything like this. It all happened so fast but the amount of death and destruction is inconceivable, even to me and I’m in the middle of it and a few hours have already passed. I think 15 locations were hit during the air raid on Gaza City. [some Israelis sources said 150 targets were struck] The images are probably not broadcast in US media. There are piles and piles of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you look at them you can see that a few of the young men are still alive, someone lifts a hand here, and another raise his head there. They probably died within moments because their bodies are burned, most have lost limbs, some have their guts hanging out and they’re all lying in pools of blood. Outside my home, (which is close to the universities) a bomb fell on a large group of young men, university students, they’d been warned not to stand in groups, it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. This was about 3 hours ago 7 were killed, 4 students and 3 of our neighbors kids, teenagers who were from the same family (Rayes) and were best friends. As I’m writing this I heard a funeral procession go by outside, I looked out the window and it was the 3 Rayes boys, They spent all their time together when they were alive, and now their sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14 year old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn’t spoken a word since.
A little further down the street about an hour earlier 3 girls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a bomb fell. The girls bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.

These are just a couple of images that I’ve witnessed. In all the locations people are going through the dead terrified of recognizing a family member among them. The city is in a state of alarm, panic and confusion, cell phones aren’t working, hospitals and morgues are backed up and some of the dead are still lying in the streets with their families gathered around them, kissing their faces, holding on to them. Outside the destroyed buildings old men are kneeling on the floor weeping. Their slim hopes of finding their sons still alive vanished after taking one look at what had become of their office buildings.

At least 160 people dead in today’s air raid. That means 160 funeral processions, a few today, most of them tomorrow probably. To think that yesterday these families were worried about food and heat and electricity. At this point I think they -actually all of us- would gladly have Hamas sign off every last basic right we’ve been calling for the last few months forever if it could have stopped this from ever having happened.

The bombing was very close to my home. Most of my extended family live in the area. My family is ok, but 2 of my uncles’ homes were damaged, another relative was injured.
I don’t know why I’m sending this. It doesn’t even begin to tell the story on any level. Just flashes of thing that happened today that are going through my head.

And now tell me: whose voice are feminists accountable to? The Bush administration, who tells us this is all Hamas’s fault? Hamas, who continue to put their own needs above the people they are supposed to be advocating for? The Israeli administration, who sends bombs and devastation along with starvation and slow death (

Or maybe feminists have no choice but to be accountable to the thousands of women like Safa. Palestinian women living under a horrific siege in which they are witnessing their children starving to death, being blown to shreds, or encouraged to join violent resistance.

How much do we think that these women can take before they finally break? Do we want them to break? What kind of feminists are we if we say yes?

Yes, the situation is complicated and fraught with emotion. But my suggestion is to search for the voices of women, for the organizations where women, and specifically Palestinian women, are leaders and speakers. Search for those places, and when you find them, remember that the question is not “whose fault is this,” but how can we act as true allies to women who are witnessing and being subjected to nationalistic (i.e. male centered and dominated) violence.

In that light, I offer the following (via: :

Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action. The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as it “called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it.”

The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine ( provides the framework for this. Now is the time to channel our raw emotions into a long-term commitment to make sure we do not wake up to “another Gaza” ever again.

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25 Comments Have Been Posted

Not the right place.

I am really disappointed to see this on the Bitch blog. This has nothing to do with pop-culture and connecting it to feminism is a bit of stretch. I see that it's possible (connecting anything to feminism is possible..) but it seems like Bitchs blog has been exploited so you, La Macha, could post your personal, very biased, borderline anti-Semitic views.

i disagree; war VERY MUCH

i disagree; war VERY MUCH connected to pop culture and feminism in many ways, and as an american jew, i didn't see anything borderline anti-Semitic in La Macha's post.

This has nothing to do with

<i>This has nothing to do with pop-culture and connecting it to feminism is a bit of stretch.</i>
So women that are in the crossfire, are not in power, and are attacked because of what nationalist (very masculine) organizations are doing has no relation to the need to empower women of that region? We should just let patriarchal organizations decide what is right, even if it means that Israel thinks it has carte blanche to attack.

This isn't biased or very anti-Semitic. La Macha is speaking a truth here, that within its appropriate historical context, is wrong, not just on the side of Israel, but all around. The problem I see is that whenever we oppose Israel, we're being anti-Semitic. So when we oppose a nation's actions, we're being racist. That's fallacious at best, dangerous at worst. The nation of Israel has taken significant steps over the last decade to degrade any potential for a peace process, and has acted without significant checks because we're afraid and want to protect a class of people. The time has come to make Israel accountable.

I guess la Macha Should Have Posted about the Wii Fit

How is women and children in the middle of a colonial war not a feminist issue? No wonder I have a hard time claiming feminism as a label when so many are willing to ignore when certain women are targeted or deemed more important than others.

And where exactly is the anti-Semitism?


i guess if it's not happening in the U.S., it's not a feminist issue because feminism=US. thats how it goes right?

Logical Error

I fail to understand how La Macha's post is anti-Semitic, borderline or otherwise. The bombing did occur, that's a simple fact. Israel's Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, has already admitted culpability (he identifies the attack as a "mistake") and the 15 casualties (9 of them children) certainly are completely and irretrievably dead. La Macha's report was one half sorrow, one half informative. The only political messages I read into it was the need for peace and the need for that peace to take priority over concerns of the consumerist nature (i.e. the Wii Fit). Extrapolating anti-Semitic views from La Macha's post makes about as much sense as extrapolating an anti-peace message from your own reply.

Why be annonymous?

Anonymous said:

"but it seems like Bitchs blog has been exploited so you, La Macha, could post your personal, very biased, borderline anti-Semitic views."

Being a critic of Israel's policy towards the Occupied Territories (military checkpoints, the Wall, economic sanctions, etc...) is NOT being anti-Semitic. It seems that anytime anyone from the Left, middle (or even) the Right is critical of any portion of Israel's actions towards Palestinians that the charge of anti-Semitism is thrown out in an attempt to de-value or cast doubt upon valid critiques.

I do not hate Palestinians, I do not hate Israelis. I do not hate others for having different religious views than I do, and I do not hate them for how they look, speak, act, work, love or hate. What I hate is fifty-plus years of a brutal military occupation that has forced millions of Palestinians off of their land (and they cannot return), made people live their lives in a constant state of fear, and have global outrage silenced under a veil of "anti-Semitism."

This is not a one-sided argument; there is violence being committed by both sides, and neither is "right." However, I am a firm believer that we cannot hold the oppressed on the same level as the oppressor. The "force" exerted by the various militias or by Hamas militants cannot come close being compared to the amount of force and violence that can (and is) exerted by Israel under the guise of "protection."

Violence begets violence, this is not a question about whether or not Hamas is "right" or "wrong," or if Israel is "right" or "wrong." Ignoring the historical context of the oppression and colonization that has gone on in the Occupied Territories and the devastating effects that the continued (illegal) occupation is having, while casting blame on dissenting opinions as "anti-Semitic" does not bring progress; rather, it keeps the situation as volitile, dangerous, and disgusting as it is.

This IS the place to discuss things like this. This IS the place to connect various issues to the historical contexts and to highlight the biases and racism that is sometimes right under the surface of Western feminists. This IS the place for honest commentary about our reactions to events. This IS NOT the place to be annonymous.

Right. I'm sick of

Right. I'm sick of opposition to Israeli govt decisions being construed the same as opposition to decisions of the Bush administration.... or for that matter, the same as opposition to decisions of the Pope. To express "anti-Semitic" sentiments, there must be some hatred or opposition to those of Semitic decent... which opposition to a governing body's decisions is opposition to a government, not a race.
Furthermore anon, this isn't in the magazine, it's a news blurb on the website. Oh, yeah... and what about free speech and the freedom of the press?
The biggest difference between second and third wave is concern for other groups than just middle to upper class heterosexual white women. I don't see how it doesn't concern Bitch.
Like it or not, the victims here are all involved, including those Palestinian civilians La Macha is defending.

I agree completely, except

I agree completely, except for the feminist issue bit. Charging that Israel only exists because of the manipulation of the Holocaust and Holocaust survivors is anti-Israel and borderline anti-Semitic. And to mention Norman Finkelstein as a voice of reason? You have got to be kidding me. I am very upset by Israel's actions as an American Jew and as someone who lived in Israel for a year. I can disagree with Israel WITHOUT blaming the manipulation of the Holocaust. I can disagree with the government and mourn the loss of Palestinian life without connecting this to the Holocaust. This post would have spoken to me, and probably offended people less, if it was framed in a different way. This makes me not want to read any more posts from Bitch.

Thank you for the post. It

Thank you for the post. It seems to me very strange that some people do not see how a massacre of non-combatants is connected to feminism; well, I hope that is just because those people have not thought about it too much, and if they try and read at least the citation you give of the eye-witness and imagine what it feels like to see that near your home, they would understand that the connection is most direct.

I agree with you that what one should do is to search for the voices of women (as well as, possibly, reasonable men - I hope there are some out there), but I do not see exactly that in what you cite in the end of the post. Boycott etc. may be good, but people who are advertising it seem to keep silent about the other side of the conflict, and they also do not seem as much women-friendly, frankly. At least no more that than, say, the Israelian army. What Israel is doing now to civilians is terrifying and dishonorable. But it is hard to agree with the people from the other side, as they do not seem to understand that some people in the Palestine are not just victims. There are lots of guys with guns.

I cannot see how peace and decent life for everyone can be achieved unless both sides clearly see that violence cannot be permitted to anyone. And I am sad, very very sad, because at the moment I do not see the voices that would sound like that.

I think this sort of article

I think this sort of article is much more central to feminism than - say - the big Twilight debate. Thank you.

This is a small start, of course...

...but here are a few action alerts that have hit my inbox today:

<a href=" Democrats of America: Stop the Gaza Massacre--Enforce the Law</a>

<a href="">J Street: Stop the violence in Gaza </a>

And, to echo what everyone else has said above, how is was NOT a feminist issue?


how is war NOT a feminist issue?

Duh, me.

Sadly this is what happens

Sadly this is what happens when a nation with limited fire power attacks a nation with vastly superior fire power. And why focus only on the women of the gaze strip? Were no lives lost when missiles were launched into Israel? Isn't this way the cease-fire was put into affect? Something Palestine violated, and with that violation came a very excessive counterattack.


I am not disappointed at all. I am relieved to see this on this blog. I was unable to support Hillary Clinton for President after she voted against outlawing the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas. The reason why is, for me, war is always a feminist issue.

Where there is war, women grieve for their dead children. Where this is war, women are victims of sexual terrorism. Where there is war, women suffer, first, most, and always.

A feminist must always reach her hand out, across all borders, to all women who are victims of any war.

The Holocaust stuff is unnecessary

While war is a feminist issue, and Israel's actions are indeed 100% reprehensible, it's unfortunate that leftists always have to veer towards sympathy for holocaust deniers and their cronies with dubious agendas to justify their critique of Israel. It undermines their case.

One can argue that the holocaust was a unique, horrible genocide, that the holocaust and israel are psychically connected for many diaspora Jews, AND that Israel's policies are abhorrent without being inconsistent. By complaining about the "exploitation" of the Holocaust (really, is it appropriate to complain about any genocide being exploited by being written about and memorialized? slavery? darfur?) this poster and others on the left alienate their Jewish allies who are themselves sharp critics of Israel, but who understand the existence of Israel in the context of their people's millenia-long history of oppression/being singled out for murder which reached a climax in the holocaust and continues today (see: Mumbai).

An expose of Finkelstein:

It's like people on the left are far more comfortable seeing Jews as aggressors and thugs and want to sweep our history of being racially othered and mistreated under the rug because it doesn't fit their thesis. But life, and history, are complex, and don't always adhere to straightforward theses.

I've taken my time

I've taken my time responding to this thread because I didn't want to engage anybody in a hostile or defensive way. This issue is *incredibly* important to me as I know people and families in Palestine and I simply can NOT tolerate anybody justifying their murder for any reason whatsoever.

That being said, thank you everybody for your comments--I especially appreciate that so many people clearly understand how important a feminist analysis of war is--how if feminists have no place in understanding the gendered aspects of war, there's really almost no need at all for feminism itself.

Thank you all, I appreciate that.

In regards to "borderline anti-semitism"--I don't see it. Come at me with an example, and I will engage.

A jewish critic--thank you for pointing out the parts of my post that were tough to handle. I stand by my references to Finkelstein, as he is meticulous about quoting and documenting--and while, as the article you linked to notes, he may speak in high hyperbole, he is also is extraordinarily careful about his sources. Also, I don't think that the text that you linked was an 'expose'--i think it was a critique--and a legitimate one at that. I agree with the writer--that Finkelstein has some extraordinarily important questions that must be answered. Whether or not Finkelstein is delivering the message in the most appropriate way possible? I am not sure. I certainly find him to be very effective. But I can absolutly see why people (especially Jewish people who are doing community organizing around this issue) might want him to cool it a bit (or a lot).

The other point you bring up--is it appropriate to say "exploitation" of a genocide? I think, absolutly. I am Chicana, my family was forcibly removed indigenous peoples in the u.s. and have had chronic issues crossing the U.S. border. There are plenty of us (including me) who have spoken out over and over again very loudly about how certain latino organizations (including, but not limited to, the farm workers union, NCLR, Antonio Villaraigosa etc) have exploited and literally become rich off of the devastation and violence that is happening to Latinos in general and Chicanos specifically (in the form of ICE raids, border deaths, sexual manipulation/rape for citizenship etc). They claim to be advocating for chicanos/Latinos/immigrants, but in all reality, far too often, what they are doing is taking the money of some of the most impoverished and powerless people in society and then occasionally 'voting' the right way.

For example, it was recently revealed that Villaraigosa actually made tons of money off of the very deal that kicked immigrants and Latinos off of 14 acres of garden area so that a warehouse could be erected. All the while, he claimed to be advocating for us.

I guess that perhaps I am so used to corruption and scandal (seriously, try to delve into just Mexican politics for more than an hour without having your head explode--then try doing that with the whole of Latin America!), I'm not really sure why there is outrage for pointing to exploitation.

Finally--as somebody who is regularly racialized, mistreated, exploited, and is one generation away from family being legally removed from their own land--I have to say, I don't for a minute buy that my problems justify me writing over the problems of indigenous people who are still living on the rez and connected to the reservation.

This is actually a HUGE deal with Chicanas and indigenous women--Chicanas are indigenous, but have lost their connection to their tribal areas/land/culture, Indigenous women have not. Chicanas in the 70's signed onto the idea of "aztlan" which is basically a nationalistic ideology that asserts that Chicanas came from certain land--and therefor that land is "ours"--we did not acknowledge that there are indigenous tribes that have (for centuries) occupied the very land that we claimed as our own. In this case as well, I do not and have never supported CHicanas using our own pain and violent displacement and forced disconnect from our own people as justification to overwrite the histories of indigenous peoples.

I have always recognized the complexity of any given situation--which is why I specifically said, this is a complicated issue that is fraught with emotion. ANd why I said that women's lives must be centered above and before even the emotion and complications.

And finally--to the person who asked why the focus on Palestinian women rather than Israeli women--there are Israeli women that are actively organizing with Palestinian women, namely (that I can think of) the organization Women in Black.There is also a queer organization of Israelis that stand in solidarity with Palestinians based on their critique of nationalism through the lens of queerness, but their name escapes me right now. If I can find links, I'll be sure to post them here.

La Macha
Editor: Vivir Latino
La Macha on Twitter:

Charging that Israel only

and, one last link. I got

Thank you

I could have sworn I already posted this. But I just wanted to thank you for blogging on this topic La Macha, it is absolutely a feminist issue, and an important one.


This is absolutely a

This is absolutely a feminist issue. War, violence, nationalism, access to health care & water.. for pete's sake what is NOT gendered about all of those things?

thank you for your post.

feminist issues

(also blog at: which is how I found this page/post comment)

War, violence, nationalism, health care...are gendered...HOW? Please visit LadyBlog, check out Phoebe Maltz's post, and then attempt to explain yourself. I'm truly interested because I can't fathom it.

Disappointed in you

I am extremely disappointed to have read such garbage on this website. It is terribly written, and reflects a superficial knowledge of the situation. Yes, we should care (tremendously!) about Gaza, so BITCH, please post some writing that is worth reading!

Also disgusted by the anti-semitism, not in a critique of any Israeli policy, but in the statement where you claim "extended manipulation of the Holocaust." I was shocked and dismayed to read such an offensive statement on a website that claims to advocate for minorities.

Intolerence is a

Intolerence is a disease.

These pathetic souls suffer because of their inability to accept living among those who think differently.

Their pain will forever match their ignorance.

This suffering is literally created by those who insist everyone must believe in their notion of God.

This has NEVER been a disease of The Jews.

In fact Judaism is the ancestor of Islam as well as Christianity.

For this reason Gazans suffer and for this reason do they bring bad karma upon themselves. LOVE

Regards, <a href="">dermatita</a>


A really one-sided view!!!!
The Israelis are doing everything in their power to avoid causing casualties of innocent women and children.
Unfortunately, the Hamas government has no respect for human life, and is housing Gaza citizens in buildings built above rocket launches.
Perhaps you should get some of your facts straight about Israel and about the Holocaust. Israel has a right to exist and the right to fight a terrorist organisation who's aim is to have it wiped off the earth.
And where are the voices of these Palestinian woman who are leaders and speakers?
Why are they not heard.

Hm. Thank you everybody for

Hm. Thank you everybody for your comments. I even appreciate the person who said that this is horrible writing! It was a deliberate choice of self preservation and as such, self love, to not invest too much of my heart and soul into the post as I knew there was so little chance of genuine engagement with people who disagree with me. I thank the author of that comment for reminding me that occasionally, I actually *do* know the art of blogging fairly well! Self love is a beautiful thing when you remember to do it! :-)

Julia G.--thank you for your thoughtful response. I see your very well made point. I think that people must be fully sensitive to the issues of voice--and who can make a critique and who can't. In this case, because I was very deliberate about the way I said what I said, I don't necessarily agree that I was making a *critique* per se--I think I was definitely *agreeing* with an already made critique--a critique that was put forth by a Jewish American who has survivors in his own family. But I absolutely see where even *agreeing* with a critique put forth by others can cause problems and really make things much worse for people who are working within a community trying to make change and do outreach.

Again, thank you for taking the time to explain.

La Macha
Editor: Vivir Latino
La Macha on Twitter:

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