By Emily Gian
From the first time I saw it, I was unable to get it out of my head.
It was of a participant at a Women’s Solidarity March earlier this year in America. She wore a keffiyeh and a Palestinian flag draped around her, and a t-shirt with the image of Anne Frank on the front. Next to her, stood another woman holding a sign that read “Free Palestine”. There were similar signs among other marchers with maps of the region in the colour green to signify a vision of one state – Palestine – with no room for Israel.
I was baffled in the first place as to why one of the organisers had singled out the cause of the Palestinians when there are so many women suffering throughout the Middle East (and this includes Israeli women and girls murdered and attacked in their homes and their streets by Palestinian terrorists) and elsewhere on the face of this earth?
I was also mystified as to why this woman, quite clearly pro-Palestinian, had appropriated the image of a Jewish child victim of the Shoah and one of its most enduring symbols to her cause. What exactly what she trying to say?
I managed to trace it back to a piece of graffiti art in Denmark produced over five years ago and subsequently used by BDS activists there and elsewhere to further their cause.
On the face of it, this seemed absurd – anti-Israeli activists using a young Jewish woman, a victim of the Holocaust, as their poster child.
I investigated further and found an article claiming that Anne was known for a deep empathy to the suffering of others and therefore if she were alive today, she would identify with the cause of the Palestinian people.
These was no hesitation among these BDS groups in using Anne’s image to draw parallels between her situation and the situation of Palestinians living in Gaza – that she was virtually imprisoned in an enclosed space in the same way that the Palestinians are “imprisoned” in Gaza.
This is of course, absurd on a number of levels and particularly because of the very things for which the BDS movement stands. It is immoral and monstrous to appropriate a dead victim of the Nazi horror and to use it as a weapon for a cause whose ultimate aim is destroy the very same people who were the victims of that horror. It is typical of the lies and distortions levelled against Israel and the Jewish people by the BDS gangs operating around the world today.
The Diary of Anne Frank is widely read. We know full well that she spent much of the war years in hiding in a house in Amsterdam. At that very time, the spiritual leader of the Arab Muslims in mandatory Palestine was Nazi sympathiser and rampant anti-Semite Grand Mufti Haj Amin Haj al-Husseini who was hosted by Hitler and Eichmann and who collaborated with their war effort. Historians acknowledge that it was the lobbying of the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Husseini which pushed the Arab League states and the Palestinian Arabs into war with the nascent Jewish State after the UN voted in favour of partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
Hamas which today rules Gaza with an iron fist is a terrorist organisation with roots in the same Muslim Brotherhood and is responsible for much of the misery and suffering of the people in the region. The record of the Palestine Authority with its own corrupt leadership which honours terrorists who murder Jews and incites violence against them is hardly any better.
Palestinian women, while legally supposed to have equal rights, are not even allowed to take a walk along the beach in Gaza or smoke in public. And when it comes to political protest – they are harassed by the Hamas regime. They suffer many injustices at the hands of their own men under both forms of Palestinian rule and yet there are rallies in America where women stand up and talk of “freeing Palestine” when what they really are after is the destruction of the Jewish State.
In the month or so since the Women’s March, it seems that Palestinian activists have upped the ante and this comes as no surprise given that one of the leading lights and organisers of this movement is one Linda Sarsour who last month feasted on publicly helping fund raise to make a show of rehabilitating a desecrated Jewish cemetery in America. She remains however, an outspoken critic of Israel where women have equal rights, she supports the BDS movement and has made her opposition to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state clear, once tweeting “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and falsely maintaining that “Palestine existed before the State of Israel.”
International Women’s Day was celebrated this week with a strike arranged to show the world what would happen if women, for even one day, did not contribute to society in the way that they ordinarily do. One of the leading signatories in a letter penned by its organisers was Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian woman now living in the United States but who was convicted and served time in jail for planning terrorist attacks in Israel in 1969 including the murder of two young civilians shopping in a supermarket. Odeh was released as a part of a prisoner exchange and subsequently lied her way into the United States. She is currently out bail awaiting a trial for her deportation out of the States after being convicted of fraud.
On the one hand we have Anne Frank, a Jewish Holocaust victim, stolen from the grave to support a cause that deprives her own peoplehood and on the other, a convicted terrorist, who managed to sign a letter about women’s rights and non-violence with Jewish blood on her hands.
And so the noble endeavour of celebrating women and supporting their rights has been hijacked for a single cause against another people supporting a cause whose agenda has nothing to do with helping women or bringing peace to this particular part of the world whilst remaining silent about the misogynist jihadi forces in the region and elsewhere who murder, rape and oppress women as a matter of routine.
Another day and another cause, the memory of a beautiful soul stolen from her grave by evil people stooping to the lowest form of propaganda. What does this all say for the women who march under their banner and of the future of their movement?
Emily Gian is the Media & Advocacy Director for the Zionist Federation of Australia.