The article was penned by Rachel Avraham, a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's high-rating Channel 2 News, and reveals ties between Women of the Wall and a number of radical, anti-Israel groups.Daniel Greenfield has more information that's just as galling. I knew that Hoffman was once involved with Women in Black, but never realized till now that it was this bad.
“While Women of the Wall has built up a name for themselves as a feminist organization promoting women’s rights in Israel, their leadership in fact have links to anti-Israel groups that not many people know about,” writes Avraham in the piece.
“Regardless of whether one views their actions as provocative publicity stunts that disturb the peace at the Western Wall or as noble deeds designed to promote women’s rights within the Jewish religion, the Israeli public is generally not aware that the Women of the Wall leadership possesses links to anti-Israel groups.”
“Women of the Wall Vice Chair Batya Kallus serves as an adviser to Sikkuy,” writes Avraham. “This NGO is a signatory to the Haifa Declaration, which calls for the abolishing of the State of Israel, praises violent resistance, and accuses Israel of manipulating the memory of the Holocaust for political purposes. Furthermore, Kallus has facilitated funding for anti-Israel groups Adalah, Ir Amin, Yesh Din, and Mossawa, as part of her position as programs officer for the Moria Fund.”
The article goes on to point out that these groups contribute towards the delegitimization of Israel in the world. Adalah was a major contributor to the discredited Goldstone Report and together with Mosawah is opposed to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state; Ir Amim runs “highly politicized anti-Israel tours of the holy city, which indoctrinate internationals into holding anti-Israel views,” and Yesh Din views Israel to be an apartheid state, and demonstrated support for Turkey after the Gaza Flotilla incident.
Woman of the Wall Chair Anat Hoffman “also happens to be the chair of the Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem,” which is a part of Al Aqsa Grassroots, an anti-Israel network that supports "resistance to the occupation" and is against the "Judaization of Jerusalem," in addition to supporting the Palestinian right of return to Israel, reveals Avraham.
Before the 1993 Oslo Accords, she adds, Hoffman was the chairwoman of Women in Black, a group that advocates giving all of Judea and Samaria, as well as eastern Jerusalem – which includes the area of the Western Wall, or Kotel – to the Palestinian Authority.
And it makes me depressed that I felt I would have to go out of my way to argue the free speech rights of a group whose leaders could have shady ties to vile movements. At worst, this is embarrassing.
But this is exactly why I'm even more disgusted than ever at the Haredi sources who were going out of their way to raise a ruckus at the Western Wall, because it only helped to give Hoffman all the spotlighting she wanted. As far as all the cursing from Haredi hooligans is concerned, she may be disappointed on the surface, but underneath, you can be sure she's gleaned satisfaction from how some of the Haredis otherwise proved themselves lacking in manners. I always suspected that the Haredi opposition to WotW had nothing to do with any of these legitimate beefs, and went along a superficial line of dislike for alien customs. (I won't be surprised if Bnei Akiva's near opposition was the same.) Another grave error with their approach. If WotW were disturbing the peace - something the menfolk could do too - that's another legitimate argument to make. But apparently, none of those more valid beefs ever served as a reason for opposing them, and were squandered on childish cursing over dislike of foreign ideas.
Let us be clear: if Haredis would improve their educational curriculum right down to featuring Proverbs 18-21, then WotW would never have gotten this far. We can only thank the Haredi leadership for spectacularly failing to wise up and realize they'd cause all the damage and embarrassment they're going to cause if they keep this up.
Greenfield sums this up nicely:
Women should be able to pray at the wall, but that right shouldn’t be hijacked by left-wing activists with a history of undermining Israel.And the field for discussion of free speech issues should not be left for the left to monopolize. Israel Today also makes a good argument about why WotW's Reform-based customs are so abnormal for women:
Despite what radical voices may tell you today, the ancient Jewish tradition that exempts women from many commandments did not result out of the minds of “chauvinist pigs.” Quite the opposite, these exemptions were established out of concern for women who simply found it overwhelming to keep up with certain commandments along with child birth, child rearing and housekeeping.Well to be fair, reading from the Torah at a synagogue isn't as difficult as tfillin prayer, so depending on one's view, that's not nearly as worrisome. But the tfillin matter is definitely a legitimate belief and argument, and that's why women are only obligated to take steps like reading psalms and candle lighting on weekends. So yeah, that makes for a valid argument why Reform customs are so sloppy. I honestly don't know why a fine writer like Dr. Phyllis Chesler is involved with them. I understand that she's worried about women's rights, but it shouldn't be at the cost of legitimizing leftards.
To give but one example, the holy duty to wear phylacteries [tfillin] performed during the time of the Morning Prayer cannot be interrupted, a stipulation that under no circumstances should be required of nursing women. Likewise, the specific commandments regarding women’s purity made it difficult for them to read from the Torah, hence they were exempt from this duty.