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Feminist Teacher’s Lesson Plan: Discriminate against Boys

War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. And inequality is equality — at least in the mind of Karen Keller, the Bainbridge Island Review and their enablers.

Reported recently was that Keller, a kindergarten “teacher” at Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary in Bainbridge Island, WA, was refusing to let the boys in her class play with Legos during free play time. As the Bainbridge Island Review (BIR) wrote:

In Karen Keller’s kindergarten classroom, boys can’t play with Legos.

They can have their pick of Tinkertoys and marble tracks, but the colorful bricks are “girls only.”

“I always tell the boys, ‘You’re going to have a turn’ — and I’m like, ‘Yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head,” she said. “I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”

If you’re acquainted with the mental illness masquerading as teaching philosophy today, you can imagine this woman’s problem. As the BIR explained, “Keller…watched with discouragement as self-segregation defined her classroom — her boy students flocked to the building blocks while her girl students played with dolls and crayons and staples, toys that offered them little challenge or opportunity to fail and develop perseverance.” And, of course, innate sex differences evident since time immemorial cannot be allowed, so Keller’s leftist sense of equality compelled her to action. She discriminated so the girls could use the blocks “unencumbered.”

Now, this story quickly went viral, and Keller and the school have since backtracked. It was all a misunderstanding, you see. As the Center for Digital Education reports, “Keller said she instituted a girls-only Lego time during the first month of the 2015-16 school year during free play ‘to get them interested’ in trial-and-error building and math. …Keller said her ‘casual, off-record aside’ [Hell comment] was meant to convey her frustration with marketing to girls in society. She apologized for any problems stemming from the [BIR] article.”

Translation: She’s upset the article caused her problems and frustrated that the “casual, off-record aside” conveyed her true feelings.

This is a reasonable assumption. The BIR piece, written by one Jessica Shelton, is completely sympathetic to Keller’s policy. Among other things, Shelton has a subheading stating “It’s a fair practice” and closes with “While Keller sees more girls in the building area than before, it’s still not the norm, she said. So the boys will just have to wait their turn” (I guess until Hell freezes over). Yet while the BIR wrote a follow-up article last Thursday stating “[W]e have been discouraged by the number of unfair personal attacks made against [Keller]” — including “hate phone calls at her classroom and vicious messages on Facebook” — the editors also wrote, “we stand by what we reported.” Hmm, I wonder if the BIR was discouraged by the hatred directed at Christian businessmen persecuted for not wanting to cater faux weddings or the Christian pizza-shop owner forced into hiding by death threats. Or were those just the broken eggs needed for the omelet?

But perhaps we should believe Keller now. I mean, I’m sure she only lies to people under seven. It’s also interesting that Hell froze over in Keller’s class right about the time her story went viral. Coincidences never end.

There’s another matter. If Keller is really so concerned about girls being discouraged by the boys’ presence (a pity science hasn’t yet weeded those creatures out of the species), there’s a simple solution: create separate boys’ and girls’ Lego areas. But this wasn’t good enough for her; she had to stick it to the boys for being boys.

Moreover, thinking “Yeah, when Hell freezes over” while lying to children to obscure your agenda indicates hostility. Let’s say, for instance, a man teacher was concerned about boys’ lagging reading skills and made reading time “boys only.” What would happen if he admitted he tells the girls they’ll have a turn but thinks to himself, “Yeah, when hell freezes over”? Would he still be employed?

In fairness, some comments pass our lips not as we mean them. On the other hand, philosopher C.S. Lewis once correctly pointed out that it’s when we speak and act spontaneously, without thinking, that our hearts are revealed. And how often do conservatives get a pass on an impolitic, “casual, off-record aside”? They get a career change.

The BIR also wrote that Keller considered her policy “a fair practice ‘because fair is getting what you need to succeed or to get better.’” C’mon, Keller, quote it correctly: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

The BIR continued, “Fair doesn’t have to be the same, and she [Keller] says her kindergarteners get that.” Obviously they don’t, because she felt compelled to lie to them about her discrimination. Also, we didn’t hear how “fair doesn’t have to be the same” when the agenda involved opening the Virginia Military Institute and police and fire departments to women. And if it is true, why trouble over, as Keller does, females being less prevalent in STEM fields and Lego areas and having poorer spatial skills?

Reality: hardly anyone, if anyone at all, really believes in equality. Equality is simply a ruse used when convenient to advance leftism and only remains operative until inequality better serves that end. Just witness the college “anti-racism” protesters who recently ejected whites from their “safe areas.”

Keller is a true product of modern miseducation. BIR says she “faults toymakers for reinforcing” sex roles and is frustrated “with marketing to girls in society,” proving she knows as much about economics as she does about sex differences and teaching. Businesses do market masculine toys to boys just as they charge men more for car insurance, may admit women to nightclubs without a cover charge and create women-only health clubs. Is their goal “discrimination” or social engineering? No, they’re responding to the market. Girls and boys aren’t different because manufacturers market to them differently; manufacturers market to them differently because they’re different.

This is illustrated well in the fine Norwegian documentary The Gender Equality Paradox. Among other things, it points out that women are more likely to enter traditionally feminine fields in an uber-feminist, “egalitarian” nation such as Norway than in more patriarchal India. Why? In poorer lands women have no choice but to pursue lucrative professions, such as computer science; in wealthy countries such as Norway, they have the luxury of following their hearts. And their hearts lead to things girly.

As for Keller, she outed herself. It’s logical to assume her abusive, anti-male mentality will manifest itself in other destructive ways in the classroom. She shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of another child — not until Hell freezes over, anyway.

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EDITORS NOTE: Please contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Liberated Women and the Traditional Family

Photo from Best of Feminist Memes.

My generation, born in the late 1930s and the 1940s, has witnessed a dramatic change in the role and the rights of women in America. A significant result of the women’s liberation movement is a change in the role of traditional marriage that was reported in early September.

If you count a generation as spanning 20 years,” wrote Terence P. Jeffery, an editor of CNSNews.com, “then approximately 36 percent of the American generation born from 1993 through 2012—which has begun turning 21 this year and will continue turning 21 through 2033—were born to unmarried mothers.”

By comparison, Jeffrey noted that “Back in 1940, only 3.8 percent of American babies were born to unmarried mothers. By 1960, it was still only 5.3 percent.” There was a time when being a single mother was regarded as a reflection of the woman’s moral values. How a society deals with issues affecting the family as its single most important factor reflects its attitudes regarding marriage.

“It is a statistical fact that the institution of the family,” wrote Jeffrey, “has been collapsing in American over the past 45 years.”

Another statistic has significance as well. Today 51% of the U.S. population is single. A new generation of Americans, men and women, have decided that a committed relationship holds little allure.

The call for women’s rights has a long history. In 1794, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote “A Vindication of the Rights of Women.” She would have felt at home in today’s society. After affairs with two men, giving birth to a daughter by one of them, she married William Godwin, one of the forefathers of the anarchist movement. She died ten days after giving birth to a daughter, Mary Shelley, who grew up to be the author of “Frankenstein.”

Militant political action in Britain began with the formation of the Woman’s Social and Political Union in 1903. Following World War I when women participated in the war industries and support services, they were granted the right to vote in 1918, but it would take until 1928 for the age to be lowered to 21. In the United States in 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton led a Women’s Rights Convention followed in 1863 of the Women’s National Loyal League by Susan B. Anthony who wrote and submitted a proposed right-to-vote amendment in 1878. It would take until 1920 for it to be ratified as the 19th Amendment.

feminist-meme23

Photo courtesy of Best of Feminist Memes.

The women’s rights movement as we know it gained momentum in the 1960s. It was led by a feminist, fellow writer and friend, Betty Friedan, who was also a committed Leftist and, in 1966, she would help create the National Organization for Women (NOW). In 1971, the National Women’s Political Caucus emerged, led by Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem. Other groups were created as well. The effort to secure an Equal Rights Amendment, however, failed.

Aside from political rights, the issue that most concerned feminists was reproductive rights with the repeal of laws against abortion being the priority. The issue was decided, not by Congress or the states, but by a 1973 decision of the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, that ruled 7-2 that the 14th Amendment extended a right of privacy and by extension the right of a woman to opt for an abortion.

That decision freed women both within and outside of marriage to abort an unwanted child. Unforeseen by the Court, was the rise of single-parent families led primarily by women.

As Jeffery noted “In the latest annual report to Congress on “Welfare Indicators and High Risk Factors,” the Department of health and Human Services pointed to the high rate of births to unmarried mothers, saying ‘data on non-marital births are important since historically a high proportion of welfare recipients first became parents outside of marriage.’”

We have reached a point in just over a few decades in which the government, through bad economic policies and a myriad number of programs, Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and others, has produced 109,631,000 people receiving benefits. They represent 35.4 percent of the overall population.

That’s a long way from the traditional family and it means that half of the working population is providing the funds for those who are unemployed or have stopped looking for work thanks to a stagnate economy.

The single-parent family led by women has denied generations of the young men they are raising the male role models they need to understand that being a father is as great a responsibility as being a mother.

Men have become dispensable except as sperm donors.

Male values of courage, comradeship, and leadership have to be learned from sources outside the single-mother unit.

Then, too, the feminist goal of being in the workplace also frequently means that pre-school children’s early formative years are handed over to strangers in childcare centers whether they come from one or two-parent families. The economy has required that both parents have to work—if work can be found in a society where more than 92 million Americans are unemployed or have, as noted above, ceased looking for a job.

This is not a screed against women’s rights. It is a look at the consequences of the goals feminists have fought to achieve over the past decades.

It’s not about their right to vote or to secure an education to achieve success in the business sector.

It’s about generations of young men and women growing up in a society where a “father” is not an integral part of the “family” and the price our society pays for that.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is from the Best Feminist Memes.

Gloria Steinem’s successful war against women and the traditional family

President Barack Obama and feminist Gloria Steinem before Steinem received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

There is a pattern of thinking that goes something like this: I demand equality for some at the expense of the many. I grew up during the “feminist movement” in America led by Gloria Steinem. The worthy goal was equal rights for women but it came at the expense of the traditional family. I did not see the eventual outcomes of Steinem and her efforts upon that most important institution – the traditional family, which is the building block of all societies and civilization itself.

Steinem remains committed to destroying women, motherhood and thereby the traditional family. Steinem has succeeded beyond even her own expectations.

Twelve years ago Jacqueline Kirby, M.S. in Single-parent Families in Poverty wrote:

One of the most striking changes in family structure over the last twenty years has been the increase in single-parent families. In 1970, the number of single-parent families with children under the age of 18 was 3.8 million. By 1990, the number had more than doubled to 9.7 million. For the first time in history, children are more likely to reside in a single-parent family for reasons other than the death of a parent. One in four children are born to an unmarried mother, many of whom are teenagers. Another 40 percent of children under 18 will experience parental breakup.

Ninety percent of single-parent families are headed by females. Not surprisingly, single mothers with dependent children have the highest rate of poverty across all demographic groups (Olson & Banyard, 1993). Approximately 60 percent of U.S. children living in mother-only families are impoverished, compared with only 11 percent of two-parent families. The rate of poverty is even higher in African-American single-parent families, in which two out of every three children are poor.

On March 25th, 2014, Steinem’s 80th birthday,  wrote, “The liberal sisterhood railed against a society they said encouraged women to stay at home and raise children. They demanded the marketplace open up more opportunities for women and pay them the same as men. Fine. But what about women who choose differently? Today’s young women are empowered to choose career, family, and all sorts of combinations of both. But the words of Steinem and other liberal feminists revealed what they believed about American women.”

Wood provided the following quotes:

Steinem: “[Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites.”

Simone de Beauvoir: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

Betty Friedan: “[Housewives] are mindless and thing-hungry…not people. [Housework] is peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls. [It] arrests their development at an infantile level, short of personal identity with an inevitably weak core of self…. [Housewives] are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps. [The] conditions which destroyed the human identity of so many prisoners were not the torture and brutality, but conditions similar to those which destroy the identity of the American housewife.”

Wood notes that Steinem has never been a fan of women who didn’t think like her or buy in to her radical feminist political agenda. “Having someone who looks like us but thinks like them (meaning men) is worse than having no one at all.”

“So much for tolerance—and the belief that women are individuals who should be free to think and make choices for themselves,” concludes Wood.

Dr. Larry Reed, President of FEE wrote, “Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free.” American women today are less free because of Steinem. Traditional families are increasingly becoming the exception rather than the rule.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler an American Feminist Fighting Sharia

In December 2003 we organized a summit with noted counter-Jihadists at a private university club in Manhattan. We were endeavoring to develop a concerted campaign in America to warn about the threat of Qur’anic doctrine and sharia to Constitutional guarantees of free expression, liberty and freedom. We had assembled notable figures from both academic and non-academic research sources to attend the conference. Among the attendees was Dr. Phyllis Chesler, noted radical feminist, author of bestselling books and peer–reviewed journal articles, groundbreaking pioneer in the fields of women’s studies and founder of the Women’s Psychology Association.

When we made our initial acquaintance with her, we also learned of what had propelled her doctoral studies in these fields. She had been virtually imprisoned under the Islamic law in purdah, a women’s enclosure, in a polygamous household in Kabul, Afghanistan with her US passport taken away. All because she had married a man whom she thought was a young bohemian like herself at a private college in the US who came from a privileged Afghan family. Her marriage to her Afghan Muslim husband culminated a tempestuous relationship between a young scholarship student from an Orthodox Jewish background and the debonair attractive young Muslim man who shared her un-orthodox views.  Her marriage to her Afghan Muslim came at a time in the early 1960’s when cross cultural encounters were both exotic and yet politically correct. That fantasy ended upon her arrival at Kabul Airport with the taking of her US passport and abrupt introduction to Medieval 10th Century purdah in her husband’s Afghan household. Her debonair husband abandoned her in the women’s enclosure controlled by her Afghan mother-in-law who sought to convert her from Judaism to Islam. She subjugated Chesler to totalitarian control of her person under Islamic sharia law in violation of universal human rights.

Chesler’s subsequent illness, flight back to America, and annulment of her marriage to her Afghan husband led to her professional pursuit of an academic program in feminism and advocacy of changes in women civil rights and equality. Her 1972 landmark best seller, Women and Madness capped her research and women’s psychoanalytic practice, becoming an iconic work in 20thCentury American feminism. She also went on to deepen her appreciation of Judaism and to fight for female equality in worship, Torah and Talmud study against the strictures of Orthodox Judaism. Her deepening involvement in her Jewish faith, including a second marriage (and divorce) with an Israeli and birth of her son Ariel, crystallized in another pioneering work in 2003,The New Antisemitism. That book drew groundbreaking attention to delegitimization and demonization of Israel and the Jewish people by leftists and Palestinian advocates. Her views expressed in The New Antisemitismhave grown in importance given contemporary compelling research on European and Islamic Antisemitism. Views that belatedly have been recognized by both American and World Jewish leadership.  You can view Chester’s oeuvre of published works and scheduled appearances in 2014 at her website, here.

At the December 2003 private conference many of us in the emerging counter-jihad activist community heard her discuss Islam as a system of gender apartheid under sharia knowing that she had directly confronted it. We urged her to take the time out of her feminist endeavors and write about the experience. She subsequently did in a chapter her book, The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom and a Middle East Quarterly article in 2006, “How Afghan Captivity Shaped my Feminism.” That is a reflection of the long lasting support of Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum where she made been made a Fellow. That exposure drew her into conflict with many leaders in the US and world feminist movement who took multi-cultural relativism as an article of faith that conflicted with what Chesler contended was the imperative of universal civil liberties in the face of Islamic anti-Western triumphalism.

Chesler’s academic research also extends to honor killing, female genital mutilation  and support for banning the burqa under doctrinal Islam. As a result she has been much sought after to provide expert testimony in court matters involving Muslim women in such matters. In a recent Fox News op ed, “Beneath Burqa-Bruised and Badly Beaten Teenager”, about a  recent violent occurrence reported in The New Zealand Herald she drew attention to  the precursors to violence committed against Muslim women. Using the extreme example of quadruple honor killings of a polygamous Muslim family committed by the convicted Afghan Canadian Shafia family, she drew attention to the moral equivalence of “omerta” in Muslim families. Chesler said “that sustained physical abuse and psychological cruelty often precedes or is correlated with a subsequent honor killing.” In the case of the savage beating of the Muslim teenager in New Zealand, hidden from public view by a burqa, Chesler commented that the police became aware that “members of the community in positions of power and trust knew that the abuse was serious but did not help the girl.” Given the increasing evidence of cases of FGM committed in the US by African and Muslim émigré families, legislators in more than 21 states have introduced legislation seeking tougher sentencing guidelines despite existing federal law that prohibits the horrendous procedure.

Praise for her work in these latest efforts for women and freedom from Islamic totalitarianism is reflected in  her abiding friendship with two noted former Muslims, Sudanese former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel and Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations and our NER colleague, Ibn Warraq, author of critical works on Islam, including Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy.

Chesler has maintained communications with her former Afghan Muslim husband despite their divorce. Five decades following her escape from Kabul she completed the long suggested a memoir of her confrontation with an Islamic household ruled by sharia, An American Bride in Kabul. Read our review of Chester’s latest book in the current edition of the New English Review. 

We recently were afforded the opportunity to renew acquaintances and interview Dr. Chesler about her Afghan memoir, professional career as a psychoanalyst in women’s health, commitment to Jewish women’s equality and her advocacy and expert testimony against Islamic doctrinal denial of women’s rights to their physical person, liberty and freedom.

Jerry Gordon:  Dr Chesler thank you for consenting to this interview.

Phyllis Chesler:  Thank you for inviting me.

Gordon:  What prompted you to write, An American Bride in Kabul?

Chesler:  Afghanistan and its people seem to have followed me into the future and right into the West. Islamic burqas are here in America, on the streets and in the headlines. One reads about Afghanistan daily in most major newspapers. This is the country where I was once held hostage; it is the country which sheltered Bin Laden after he was exiled from Saudi Arabia and Sudan. He hatched his 9/11 plot in an Afghan cave. And now, the entire civilian world is being held hostage by Al Qaeda and Al-Qaeda-like Jihadists. An eerie coincidence. Also, in my lifetime, Afghanistan has also literally turned into a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel—even darker and more misogynistic than The Handmaid’s Tale. Given the increasing persecution and subordination of Muslim women, I decided to connect my five long months in purdah to the surreal lives of Afghan and Muslim women today, including in the West.

The Al Aqsa Intifada of 2000 and 9/11 also changed the direction this book would take. How could I write about Afghanistan and Muslim women without also writing about Jihadic terrorism and its war against civilians, both infidel and Muslim, and against both Israel and the West?

Gordon:  What was seductive about Afghan reformist Abdul-Kareem during your courtship at college that led to your marriage as an Orthodox Jewish woman to a Muslim man?

Chesler:  I was a naïve eighteen year old, a full scholarship kid at a private college and there he was—dapper, charming, debonair, a Prince right out of my childhood fairy tales, a fellow bohemian, as secular as I had become, and so very attentive. In retrospect, he was shadowing me, monitoring me, but at the time, I was flattered and thought it meant that he loved me very much. We never discussed religion. In 1959, there were no college courses about Islam or about Islam’s historic imperialism, colonialism, conversion by the sword, and slavery. I thought Jews and Muslims were both “other” in America and therefore somehow similar. He promised me a Grand Adventure the likes of which only wealthy, mainly British travelers had experienced: Time in a place that was once the cross-roads of the known world. Also, just perhaps, like so many other Jewish dreamers, I also yearned for a mystical union between Isaac and Ishmael. Thus, I married Ishmael.

Gordon:  What happened when you reached Kabul and entered your Afghan husband’s polygamous household?

Chesler:  When we landed in Kabul, officials smoothly removed my American passport—pro forma for all foreign brides. I never saw that passport again. Suddenly, I was the citizen of no country and had no rights. I had become the property of a polygamous Afghan family and was expected to live with my mother-in-law and other female relatives in purdah. That means that I was not allowed out without a male escort, a male driver, and a female relative as chaperones. I had expected a life of travel and adventure but this marriage had transported me back to the tenth century and trapped me there without a passport back to the future.

Gordon:  Describe for us how purdah, sharia treatment of women, subjugated your freedom in your Afghan husband’s household?

Chesler:  I lived gender apartheid long before the Taliban or the war lords arose. My Afghan husband was not religious but his family was and so was the country he had not lived in for more than a decade. My mother-in-law kept trying to convert me to Islam. Polygamy was accepted. Half-brothers jockeyed and competed for their father’s attention and inheritance. Although the women had been unveiled by King Zahir Shah in 1958, the poor women of Kabul and the women in the provinces wore burqas or hid from stranger-men behind long veils. Everyone’s marriage was arranged, traditionally to a first cousin, but not necessarily. There were no “love matches” which were viewed as a filthy Western idea. I was a prisoner in fairly post purdah. I could not go out alone, without permission, a male escort, and a female relative to chaperone me. No one but me found any of this abnormal or horrifying.

Gordon:  How much of the denial of basic freedoms in what you witnessed in Kabul was tribal versus emblematic of Islamic sharia treatment of women?

Chesler:  Women were not the only ones who lived under royal Afghan tyranny and a much closed society. Male political dissent was punished; any man who could not manage his wife was in trouble and got his family in trouble. My Afghan husband had brought an infidel, Jewish, American woman to Kabul as his bride. He was already in trouble. The jails in Afghanistan were always filled with political dissidents, “Western” oriented dreamers and thinkers who were tortured and locked away for years. Once, long ago, Afghanistan was pagan, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Hindu, even Jewish—but that all ended with the Arab conquest and the forcible conversion of the people to Islam. It is sometimes hard to say that Islam versus tribal culture and tradition are responsible for what we view as human rights violations and atrocities. Let’s just say that any indigenous barbarism or tribal customs that existed in Afghanistan pre-Islam was not tempered or abolished by Islam. In some cases, for example, the stoning of an alleged adulteress/rape victims, the persecution of religious minorities, polygamy, cross-amputations, rote recitation of the Qu’ran in Arabic without comprehension, physical punishment of children by mullah-teachers, etc. is very much a part of Sharia practices.

Gordon:  How did the experience and flight from Kabul impact on your lifelong pursuit of feminism and women’s rights?

Chesler:  I believe my feminism was forged in purdah in Kabul. That experience may also explain why I am not a cultural relativist and why I believe in universal human rights. Even if we cannot guarantee such rights in a Muslim country, we can do so for everyone who lives here in the West and in North America. I am not one of those academics who believe that it is a woman’s religious right to choose to wear a face veil (niqab) or burqa (ambulatory body bag/sensory deprivation isolation chamber). I also understood that while American women may be discriminated against economically, politically, legally, and in terms of physical and sexual violence, that we have the right to fight for our rights, without being stoned or be-headed; we have free public libraries, access to education and employment, we are not forced into arranged marriages. Thus, I always understood that America, despite all its flaws, is the best country in the world, not the worst.

Gordon:  When did you return to the study and observance of Judaism and what place does Jewish feminism have in gender equality?

Chesler:  I have always been a proud Jew. I helped create feminist Jewish rituals (Passover Sedarim, etc.) and stood against anti-Semitism starting in the early 1970s. But, when I prayed with the Original Women of the Wall for the first time in 1988, I was asked to open the Torah for the women for the first-time ever. It wedded me fatefully to this struggle which is now in its 26th year. I began to study Torah. I joined synagogues, both Conservative and Orthodox. I published a book with my chevrutah (Torah study partner), Rivka Haut, who is a serious Talmud scholar, about this legendary struggle. Recently, alas, this struggle has now been fatefully compromised by a group we call The Women of Robinson’s Arch, led by Anat Hoffman, the very woman who defamed Israel all over the United States for the last decade. I never used this injustice against Jewish women’s religious rights at the Kotel against Israel in the world media. Actually, come to think about it, if we were waging such a struggle in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, or Afghanistan we would all have been stoned to death a long time ago. I publish devrai Torah which may be found at my website under Judaism. Feminism born in the secular world has been used by religious Jewish feminists who have become rabbis, cantors, and Torah scholars—which is rather revolutionary.

Gordon:  What was your career path subsequent to you return to America that transformed you into a pioneering academic in women’s studies and later co-founder of the Association of Women in Psychology?

Chesler:  I returned to complete my last semester at college, spent nearly three years fighting my Afghan husband for a divorce, something he opposed, entered graduate school in psychology, and got a Ph.D in 1969. I was also active in the American civil rights movement and became a leader in the American feminist movement. My first book, Women and Madness(1972) became a classic work and a bestseller. I would say that this work has possibly changed the mental health professions and their clients by at least 20-25%. Thus, sexism remains in the diagnosis and treatment of both genders. But 25% is still something

Gordon:  In Sacred Bond: The Case of Baby M (1988) you championed the rights of a surrogate birth mother in a New Jersey case and subsequent law. What were your arguments and the opposing views of liberal feminists?

Chesler:  I had published With Child. A Diary of Motherhood (1979) and Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody, (1986) which I expanded and updated in 2011. I saw the Baby M case as a new and more terrifying kind of custody battle which it was. Many liberal feminists, themselves or their daughters wrestling with infertility problems, wanted this option if needed, especially since adoption is so perilous an undertaking in terms of bureaucratic red tape and other problems. Also, such feminists were ambivalent about biological motherhood and truly believed that if a woman—any woman—broke a contract that this would be used against all women in terms of women changing their minds. This is ridiculous. Men and business people always demand changes to contracts. But if a contract is illegal and immoral, involves enormous exploitation and risk to the “surrogate” mother, where is the glory in upholding it? When the Vatican came out against surrogacy, I was accused of “being in bed with the Pope.” I rather liked that.

Gordon:  You experienced 9/11 in Manhattan as a defining moment. How did it impact you and change your feminist agenda?

Chesler:  Even before that, the Al Aqsa Intifada had galvanized me. Although, as noted above, I had organized against anti-Semitism since the early 1970s, this was a quantum leap forward or backward. I knew the bloody beast was back and that I would have to write about it and about how the western intelligentsia was making common cause with Islamists who hated Jews and the Jewish state. When 9/11 happened, I said: “Now we are all Israelis.” And so we are.

Gordon:  The New Antisemitism (2003) was among the first serious examinations of the demonization and delegitimization of the Jewish nation of Israel and the Jewish people. In the decade since the book was published what developments have occurred that confirm your warnings?

Chesler: Thank you for remembering this. At the time it came out, major Jewish organizations were indifferent or hostile. I was mocked as the “Jewish Cassandra.” Liberal Jews would not allow me to speak. I was not reviewed in the mainstream media. On campuses, I needed bodyguards. Now, a decade later, the leaders of Jewish organizations are saying precisely what I said long ago. These same people are now raising money to organize on campuses. They claim they are “on it,” are solving the problem. They are not—they cannot, and they are way too late. Israel still does not have a Ministry devoted to Cognitive Warfare. We, the Jewish people, do not have an Al-Jazeera of our own which broadcasts around the clock globally, covers many issues, and when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, simply tells the truth. Israel has effectively lost the war of ideas. I belong to a premier group of pro-Israel advocates who are brilliant, informed, at the ready, but we are soldiers without boots or weapons and most work without funding. The determined and excellent grassroots pro-Israel groups that have sprung up fight each other for limited funding and Jews continue to give large sums to organizations that take no risks, still have President Obama’s back, and will sacrifice Israel in a heartbeat in the belief that they will remain safe and prosperous in America. Too few Jews want to bear the burden of associating themselves with a country which has been so demonized and isolated. Ironically, misogynist Jews, often Orthodox, often haredi, can be counted on to have Israel’s “back.”  Kavod kaved. Glory is a heavy burden indeed.

Gordon:  What was the message in The Death of Feminism (2005) that led to your complete rupture with academic and leftist feminists and your defense of Muslim and ex-Muslim women’s rights and issues?

Chesler:  There has been no complete rupture. I remain a feminist; I have not renounced the cause of women’s freedom. Also, over time, privately, cautiously, some Second Wave feminists have told me that I am brave, that I am right, that they wish they had the courage to speak out. My closest allies today are Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and dissidents and religious Jewish feminists. But politically correct journalists succeeded in keeping me as well as many others who share my views, off the mainstream/left stream airwaves and away from all the distinguished lecture podiums. Every so often, I get across the aisle. I will continue to talk to both sides of the aisle.

Gordon:  You have defined the treatment of women under sharia as gender apartheid. How can the West combat it?

Chesler:  Very simply by enforcing the laws of our land. But it is also not so simple. When daughters are beaten and death threatened, forced to veil against their will, they rarely “tell” authorities and when they do, proper action is rarely taken. No one (teachers, guidance counselors, child protective services, physicians) in the West wants to believe that a family will actually conspire to kill one of their daughters because she does not want to wear hijab, drop out of school, and marry her first cousin; or because she wants a higher education, wants to choose her husband, has infidel friends, wants to lead a Western life. Also, “rescuing” such a girl will mean putting her in the equivalent of a federal witness protection program and giving her a new, extended, adoptive Muslim family. This is labor intensive and costly and America is not yet ready to undertake this. Also, girls, even endangered girls, love their families they fear, and do not want to leave them.

Gordon:  Why have honor killings occurred with disturbing frequency in the West?

Chesler:  Although Hindus perpetrate honor killings as well, they do so mainly in one part of India, they do not bring this custom with them into the West. Only Muslims do so. I have published three studies in Middle East Quarterly in 2009, 2010, and 2012. I strongly suggest that your readers view them: Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence (2009); Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings (2010), and Hindu vs. Muslim Honor Killings (2012).

Gordon:  Recently proposed state legislation has been introduced against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). How prevalent is FGM in domestic Muslim and African émigré communities in this country and would the adoption of the proposed anti FGM legislation make a difference?

Chesler:  This practice continues even though it is prohibited by Federal law. I have recently been told by an immigration lawyer that FGM is very widespread in the United States and that the greatest number of such women are in New York City. New York! This means that unlicensed butchers carry out this often lethal and life-scarring procedure right here, sometimes without anesthesia; that girls are sent back home for “vacation cuttings;” and that licensed physicians are performing this mutilation. The girls and their families all believe that without this mutilation, the girl is impure, tainted, and that no one will marry her and she will remain a shameful burden to her father. Legitimate physicians will not treat pregnant women who have been mutilated which means that when they give birth, it is with no pre-natal care and in emergency rooms staffed by physicians who do not know how to cut through the massive scarring or how to safely remove such scarring after the birth. By the way, I do not believe that the Qu’ran mandates such mutilation; the custom began primarily as an African tribal custom but has been spread via Islam to non-African countries such as Indonesia where the rates are increasing.

Gordon:  Under sharia doctrine domestic violence against women by husbands, male relatives and even female siblings is condoned for alleged unruly and disobedient behavior. Given that you are an expert witness in domestic cases involving Muslim and ex-Muslim women, has evidence of this surfaced in divorce, custody and spousal abuse matters?

Chesler:  I have submitted affidavits to judges on behalf of girls and women in flight from being honor killed and in search of asylum. I have also learned that my work has been relied upon in a number of high profile prosecutions of honor killers in the West. This is a great privilege. Western style domestic violence sometimes results in femicide but not always. Honor killings are not like domestic violence. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and cousins do not conspire to kill a teenage girl in the West. An honor killing is a family conspiracy or collaboration to do just this, although sometimes the victim is a battered wife. In both cases, the girl’s or the woman’s alleged disobedience is seen as shaming her family and ruining their standing in the community.

Gordon:  Thank you Dr. Chesler for this engrossing interview with insightful observations on the treatment of women under Islam.

Chesler:  Thank you for this opportunity to discuss these issues.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.