On Tuesday, April 21st, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at CUNY, and author of 15 books (including "The New Anti-Semitism") was the keynote speaker at the Durban II Counter-Conference organized by the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists. The weeklong conference, held at the Fordham University Law School in New York, was convened as a rejoinder to the UN's weeklong Durban II Review Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, in which such issues as racism, gender discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance were purportedly on the agenda.
Dr. Chesler's appearance at Fordham came only a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took center stage in Geneva where he delivered a vituperative speech impugning Israel and the Jewish people. Calling Israel a "most cruel and oppressive, racist regime," which was created from the "pretext of Jewish suffering" during World War II, Ahmadinejad also issued a clarion call to the global community. "Governments must be encouraged and supported in their fights at eradicating this barbaric racism. . .Efforts must be made to put an end to Zionism." he declared.
"Israel is not an apartheid state but Islam, as it is practiced in many countries today, is the world's largest practitioner of gender and religious apartheid" said Dr. Chesler, who has written extensively on this topic for many years. Pointing to the hypocrisy of those who allege that Israeli society is racist, Dr. Chesler stated:
"The Muslim world is almost entirely 'Judenrein,' free of Jews, whose flight comprises the largest, untold refugee story of the Middle East and North Africa. The citizens of Israel come in all skin colors, practice all religions, speak many different languages of origin -- and have all been absorbed at Israel's expense."
The thrust of her remarks, however, focused on Islamic gender apartheid; a topic that Dr. Chesler is personally familiar with and that was not addressed at Durban II. She shared with her audience her own experience of escaping from captivity in Afghanistan in December of 1961 while married to an Afghan Muslim man that she met in college. "What I learned in Kabul rendered me immune to the romanticization of the Third World or to the glamorization of tyrants that defined my generation of the 1960s and 1970s radicals and activists," she observed.
She lamented the inferior status of women in Afghanistan and described how her experiences transformed her life. "Poor women were shrouded, they moved like ghosts in the bazaar, and they were forced to sit, quite literally, at the back of the public buses," she said. Commenting that despite the injustices that women endured at that juncture in time, Afghanistan had adopted a more liberal political approach and was undergoing a modernization of sorts, she said the subjugation of women was in an era of "pre-Soviet and pre-Taliban" influence.
The level of brutality against women in the modern Islamic world has grown exponentially according to Dr. Chesler. "In a sense" she said, "being born female is a capital crime in this Islamified and Jihadic era." Besides being stoned and beaten, women in the Islamic world are also subjected to being genitally mutilated, blinded by acid attacks, beheaded, immolated and buried alive for the slightest infractions of Islamic law."
Most recently, Dr.Chesler documented the heinous practice of honor killings of Muslim women in Muslim countries and the western world in the "Middle East Quarterly" and in her book "The Death of Feminism," a seminal retrospective on the failings of the American feminist movement.
"Honor killings are a Muslim-on-Muslim crime, a collaboration of an entire family against their own female blood," she said. Praising the United States and Israel as the most democratic, lawful and compassionate countries in the world, she castigated western academics, feminist activists and mainstream journalists for their multiculturalist postures and their refusal to speak out against the pernicious agenda of Islam, in fear of being labeled racist.
American feminists, she said, "are far more comfortable in criticizing Christianity and Judaism for their allegedly misogynistic practices than in criticizing Islamic gender apartheid and the barbarism of many Muslim countries." Taking aim at the UN for sponsoring both Durban I in 2001 and now Durban II, she said they have been effective in the legalization of Jew hatred. "The UN and the Organization of Islamic States take themselves very seriously. They think there is nothing illogical, biased, perverted, or even “racist” about their condemnation of the Jewish state," she declared.
Dr. Chesler called on her audience and others concerned about the future of western civilization to speak out against UN sponsored tyranny, oppression and Jew hatred. "Let me suggest that President Ahmadinejad means exactly what he says. He does plan to implement another Holocaust against the Jews. We deny this at our own peril," she warned.