Actress Mayim Bialik, an Orthodox Jew who stars in the hit television show “The Big Bang Theory,” rebuked Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour after Sarsour said recently that no Jew can be a feminist.
But for Bialik, who views herself as a feminist, those were fighting words. So she took to her website, GrokNation, to write a scathing response to Sarsour’s “bigoted” comments and defend her religion.
“Zionism is the belief in the right of the Jewish people to have an autonomous state in Israel. I am a Zionist. Feminism is the belief that a woman-driven movement can bring about race, class and gender equality and that women deserve all of the rights and privileges afforded to men. I am a feminist,” wrote Bialik.
“The definitions of Zionism and feminism are not in conflict with each other. At all,” she explained.
Bialik was specifically responding to comments Sarsour recently made in an interview with liberal magazine The Nation. In that interview, Sarsour said that because Israel “occupies” Palestine, no Jew or Zionist can be a feminist.
When you talk about feminism you’re talking about the rights of all women and their families to live in dignity, peace, and security. It’s about giving women access to health care and other basic rights. And Israel is a country that continues to occupy territories in Palestine, has people under siege at checkpoints.
It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, “Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?” There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it.
Bialik, in response, slammed Sarsour for her accusations.
“Accusing Zionism of being incompatible with feminism is exceptionally short-sighted,” she wrote. “It’s bigotry. It’s disgusting, it’s insulting, and it’s wrong.”
“As a feminist Zionist, I can’t believe I am being asked to choose or even defend my religious, historical and cultural identity. The ‘left’ needs to reexamine the microscope they use to look at Israel, and we all need to take a step back and remember we are stronger together: women, men, lovers of peace, and lovers of freedom and justice,” she added.
Bialik also found Sousour’s comments pretty rich, given that Muslims, including Palestinians, are known for committing egregious atrocities and human rights violations against women.
“Many countries – many Muslim countries, in fact – perpetrate atrocities against women which include: female genital mutilation, forced marriages, child brides, systematic abuse of women by the justice system, revenge rape and honor killing,” Bialik wrote. “Why is Israel held to a standard none of these other countries – whose offenses are, arguably more extreme – are held to?”
It’s worth noting that Sarsour was a leader in the recent Women’s March on Washington, despite having alleged ties to Islamic extremist group Hammas.