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Editorial Article

Professor Alice Shalvi and the NIF disguise their real intentions against Israel while professing love for the Jewish state

By Lee Kaplan, www.isracampus.org.il

“For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night.” – William Shakespeare’s Sonnet #147

According to the New Israel Fund, “Professor Alice Shalvi has been a renowned (sic) writer, activist, and religious scholar for more than 50 years in Israel, where she is known as the "mother of Israeli feminism." Among her achievements are the founding of the Israel Women's Network in 1984, where she served as Director until 1997, and her work advocating for women's rights in workplaces and divorce courts.” She was considered instrumental in getting the Israeli Supreme Court to create affirmative action programs for Israeli women in the workplace.

Just this week, the New Israel Fund (NIF) sent out an email solicitation for donors with a personal plea and letter from Professor Alice Shalvi of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Shalvi, who is a Professor of English and an expert on Shakespeare, was recently awarded the Israel Prize. Some have suggested she won the national honor because of leftist political pressure to give it to a woman who is a feminist activist. Regardless of why she won the Prize, apparently the New Israel Fund thought she was an effective (and deceptive) enough personality to use for an email solicitation for donations from wealthy American Jews who don’t know all that much about the New Israel Fund, or Alice Shalvi for that matter.

The New Israel Fund tries to pass itself off as an organization that seeks to make Israel a better place to live and a prosperous society. Currently managed by a former US State Department hack named Larry Garber, who handled USAID funds for anti-Israel organizations and NGO’s and even paid with USAID funds  for a Palestinian constitution based on Sharia Law like those of Saudi Arabia and Iran, the NIF can never find enough organizations to aid that seek to give aid and comfort to Israel’s enemies. For example, the NIF has funded one subsidiary that paid activists to hand out flyers at train stations in Israel encouraging IDF soldiers to desert the IDF and offering to pay them salaries while they sit in jail (most IDF soldiers do not receive pay while serving their required national service). The NIF is in fact a fundraising arm for every “Jewish” group that works in nearly full cooperation with Arab entities out to destroy the Jewish state, all the while using the trite “social justice” mantra of “fighting oppression” used by communist-inspired and frequently Arab-led groups worldwide like the International Solidarity Movement.

Economics Professor Steve Plaut of Haifa University has stated “Among the beneficiaries of NIF largess have been radical homosexual militant organizations in Israel, radical feminist groups, including the Israel Women's Network of far-Leftist feminist Professor Alice Shalvi, and even the viciously anti-Zionist "Women in Black", who have never met a terrorist of whom they do not approve. NIF has been the main, and probably only, funder of "The East for Peace," a Communist Party front group of pro-PLO Sephardic Jewish intellectuals.”

The New Israel Fund almost entirely funded the anti-Zionist and Israel bashing group B’tselem that was formerly led by Anat Biletzki, the former head of Israel’s Communist Party who also interlinks her anti-Israelism with the American academic community in many ways like Shalvi with her feminist activism. B’tselem pretends to be a human rights watchdog, but rationalizes Arab terror and demands Israel return to the 1949, or indefensible “Auschwitz” borders, as the Arabs want. Shalvi‘s leftist feminist alliances even include praise for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) that protects spies like former Israeli Arab Knesset member Azmi Bishara, who was a spy for Hizballah, and repeats the constant Arab calumny that Israel is an “apartheid state like South Africa “ (a state that in reality allows the ACRI to constantly sue it for alleged discrimination against the Arabs).

In the NIF solicitation  email asking for donations, Alice Shalvi tells readers how she emigrated to Israel in 1949 as part of her self-perception as a “Zionist,” for  “Judaism and Feminism,” and that she “came to a Jewish state based on the Jewish people’s historic association with the Land of Israel, a democratic state in which all citizens would enjoy equality, irrespective of race, religion or sex.”

So far, so good, because that describes Israel even if the state is not perfect. The struggling Jewish state did offer equality (if not exactly a pleasure) to women who made aliyah as they served alongside the men in the IDF, in the workforce and in the kibbutz, the country being vastly outnumbered by Arab armies bent on the Jewish state’s destruction. Oddly enough, that type of equality for women alongside men means nothing to Shalvi who condemns the Israeli military and self-defense as being sources of the problem of the Arabs attacking the Jewish state in terms of preventing peace. She complains that Israel’s military has too much sway over Israeli society (as others, like myself, might argue it’s Israeli egghead academicians that do so).

When asked if Israel’s military having an input in the nation’s progress was necessary given Israel’s security situation, Shalvi replied,  “Only when our national priorities change. Altogether the defense and military [establishments] have far too much say, and it's very hard for people to deny them what they want. Our military needs, and our military elite, carry far too much weight in the process of making national decisions.” Shalvi asks,  “Isn't that necessary, given Israel's security situation?”  then  she answers herself,  “No. We need far more civilian input - thinking in terms of what the nation as a whole needs. We needn't worry so much. We should have a strong army, but we what we really need is peace.”

Of course, those national decisions against military advice have included deporting 8,000 Jews from Gaza to receive 4,000 missiles to the Negev in return, as well as the release of thousands of terrorists that helped murder some of the 1,500 Israelis killed since year 2000. “Peace” to intellectuals like Shalvi seems to be whatever the Arabs and their far-Leftist allies in Israel say all Israelis must accept:  a non-Jewish state with an Arab majority where college professors live in an egalitarian socialist utopian world, one where reality is only what they say it is. ‘Tis a pity Professor Shalvi doesn’t demand affirmative action to protect the Jewish women whose families and homes were unreasonably deported from Gaza or Judea and Samaria.

These are the strange positions for a woman who claims she is a Zionist then allies herself with every anti-Zionist movement in the country. Does she actually believe Israel would be at peace if it didn’t have the IDF to keep the Arabs at bay? Would Israelis be safer under the protection of effete leftist Israeli college professors who teach Shakespeare like Shalvi?

In fairness, Shalvi objects to Orthodox control of religious institutions in Israel., which is a problem; like any modern country there are domestic issues not everyone agrees on that a democratic civil society can address better once its national security is not in constant peril from outside forces. She claims to follow Halachic law and how to be a good Jew, and she bemoans a lack of what she calls Jewish education in the schools. But her interpretations of Halacha are based more on ignorance and “play-it-as-you-go” Judaism colored by her leftist feminist agenda. Of note, one  scholar (another woman at that) has explained how Shalvi routinely misinterprets or misquotes Halacha in her attacks on the Jewish Orthodox Movement. For example, Shalvi says the marriage ceremony implies the woman becomes the man’s property when it does not, but in fact emphasizes the equality and partnership of the union. Shalvi’s interpretations clearly have an agenda that lends itself to her feminist activism. She even inaccurately lends credence to the idea that lesbianism as a form of homosexuality is considered Halachically correct when it is not. One wonders how the Arabs overrunning Israel would affect Jewish education and especially homosexual rights should Shalvi’s ideas about making “peace” with the Arabs actually be fulfilled. As a feminist, Shalvi, of course, also emphasizes her husband does the cooking at home.

But Israel’ s victories in previous wars of survival irk her. She bemoans rising poverty in Israel, but rather than blaming it on an Arab League that seeks ostracizing and boycotting Israel abroad, she falls back on the old social justice mantra of Israel’s hard Left, extolling the alleged virtues of the NIF.

To quote Shalvi: “The New Israel Fund was of major assistance to innumerable fledgling organizations that had as their raison d’être the fulfillment of the state’s original goals. The Association of Civil Rights in Israel rapidly became a leader in ensuring the equality before the law that had been eroded. The Israel Women’s Network, of which I was privileged to be the founding chairwoman, employed American-style feminist consciousness-raising as well as litigation and legislation to bring about amazing improvement in the status of women.”

Yes, America can afford an Alice Shalvi, but Israel, surrounded by 22 Arabs states sworn to her destruction, right now cannot.

Shalvi’s activities, while praiseworthy in seeking more rights for women in Israel, have been involved in promoting among Israel’s Arab women an attitude that they owe no allegiance to Israel but to “Palestine” as they demand more “women’s  rights” from the Israeli government. Allied with various communist party groups in Israel, like Hadash, the women’s movements in Israel always seem to link Arab goals of turning Israel into “Palestine” as part of their overcoming “oppression.” This is really what Alice Shalvi does; she claims to be a Zionist then supports those movements that seek to end the Zionist enterprise that is Israel, an enterprise that does seek equality and justice for women, and not just Jews. Professor Shalvi has no time or desire to stop honor killings or misogyny in the Palestinian Authority, an entity she puts unlimited faith in for peace if only Israel would stop defending itself from terrorists and suicide bombers.

Shalvi has carried this forward by completely contradicting her “Zionism” and Judaism by lending aid to groups like Hamas that want an end to Israel all together.  Shalvi signed a petition with other coffee house social activist eggheads in Israel calling for Israel to sign an unconditional truce with Hamas when its charter makes no bones about not making any room for Israel to exist as a Jewish state in the region (or for Jews to live there for that matter), not even in Tel Aviv. Shalvi, who can pour through the Bard’s work, apparently can’t read or won’t accept as reality the Hamas Charter.

As ex-PLO member Walid Shoebat once explained to a Jewish pacifist, “What part of they want to kill you don’t you understand?”  Shalvi also blames the failure to have peace with the Arabs on the fact that Israel refused to be conquered by them in the past. She bemoans the victory by Israel in 1967 as “ very bad for us" because "being conquerors had a debilitating effect on our moral integrity." Huh?

Conquerors? In 1967 Israel offered to return all the land save for secure borders in exchange for peace, but the Khartoum Conference by the Arab League established the three no’s: “no negotiation, no peace, no Israel.” Meanwhile Israel built sixteen universities for the Arabs, gave them free medical care and more civil rights than any other Arab country while the local population cheered on Yasser Arafat. That was a conquest? If Israel lost the Six Day War, would it still exist as it does today for an expert on Shakespeare to postulate on the Jewish state’s guilt for having survived?

Shalvi then reveals to us the Never Never Land this woman lives in—a “Zionist” who wants to aid enemies of Zion to destroy the Jewish state.

Quoting Shalvi again:
”This kind of symbiosis, the process of mutual inspiration, cross-fertilisation (sic) and support, seems to me a modern version of the ancient interaction between two parallel Jewish communities – Babylon and Jerusalem. As Jewish studies in both formal and informal frameworks become increasingly popular on both sides of the ocean (as well as in Europe and other Diaspora communities), as cooperation increases, Jewish values will be strengthened. There is surely no self-delusion in my hope that, perhaps even in my own lifetime, Israel will indeed be that beacon of the Jewish ideals of justice and peace which inspired the Founding Fathers (and Mothers!).”

Here’s a word to Alice: Israel can’t do it with dead Jews and the Arabs have repeatedly said any part of Israel they can get will be only a phase to taking all of it—even the so-called “moderate” Abbas and Fatah. Why don’t you spend time fighting to end honor killings in the Palestinian Authority and the mistreatment of Arab women by their own people that harkens back to the most primitive of societies rather than blame Israel’s military successes and the IDF for there not being “peace” today with Hamas? Now there would be a feminist enterprise for you, Alice.

Methinks this woman doth protest too much.

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Articles appearing on IsraCampus.Org.il are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of IsraCampus.Org.il