When I hear anyone championing Zionism while also identifying as a feminist, my mind turns to images of night raids, to the torture of children and to the bulldozing of homes. But I also think of those female soldiers who casually partake in it all, including ex-Israeli soldier and “Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot, who expressed her love and support for the Israel Defense Forcesas they bombed and killed thousands of Palestinians in Gaza in 2014.
Being a feminist and a Zionist is a contradiction in terms because the Zionist feminist is complicit in propagating supremacy and domination over a people on the one hand, while on the other hand calling for an end to patriarchy.
Indeed, the Zionist feminist is reminiscent of another kind of feminist: the white feminist. Women of color have been historically marginalized within the feminist movement, mostly due to white women stifling racial justice issues and de-emphasizing the specific oppressions faced by people of color because of their race, ethnicity and class. This negligence was often justified as working for collective sisterhood. But as Hooks eloquently explains, “As long as women are using class or race or power to dominate other women, feminist sisterhood cannot be fully realized.” Fundamentally speaking, feminism cannot support racism, supremacy and oppressive domination in any form.
Zionism is often preached as a call for a Jewish homeland to ensure that the horrors of anti-Semitic oppression do not occur again. In this simplified narrative, however, what is obscured is the fact that this quest for a homeland was initiated by a colonizing agency, which meant ipso facto appropriating land and culture, and dispossessing the people who lived in the region for thousands of years. These land thefts and violations of human dignity and international law continue in the name of Zionism on a regular basis, perpetuating the suffering of an entire population and the denial of their basic human rights on the premise of ethnicity and race. This is why I am weary and distrustful of the Zionist feminist. She willfully ignores that Zionism has advanced itself through myriad human rights violations.
I think she might be right — feminism and Zionism are incompatible. In fact, feminism and any healthy form of social arrangement are impossible.
Are leftism and Zionism compatible? Probably not. Zionism, like all nationalisms, is a movements of the right (against equality). People are conservative about their own interests.