On this page, we like to highlight perspectives or commentary from our diverse membership. Below you’ll find remarks from Ann Stanton, who was asked to speak at a recent women’s march in Rapid City:
First, who I am: I am Ann Stanton, your Jewish-American long-time neighbor – is 50 years long enough?
Anti-Zionism and antisemitism to deviously lead us into dark and dangerous directions.
Antisemitism, that fear and hatred of everything and everyone Jewish is gaining momentum in many corners of the world, and it is a menace that is metastasizing in our own country with
Who we are: We were founded to lead the way in promoting feminist ideals, eliminating discrimination and protecting the rights of women and girls in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Those are some pretty high ideals to pursue.
Unfortunately, those principles can be hijacked, and we can suddenly find ourselves with some strange bedfellows. There are other voices shrieking at us, activists with other agendas, using their own issues to gain our attention. They turn to some seriously divisive issues, such as using terrifying speed. We are all too aware of the recent shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, with the shooter’s expressed intention to “kill the Jews.” There have been many more antisemitic incidents around the US that don’t make such shocking headlines. It’s a happening thing, even more-so in the past two years.
Please don’t be shocked if I tell you that I have seen swastikas spray-painted on walls right here in Rapid City, one on the wall of a thrift shop and another on a retaining wall along Mt. Rushmore Road while it was under re-construction. I reported them, kept an eye on them, and they were wiped away in short order, but they left a deep impression. Did the scrawler even know that a swastika is a symbol of naziism, the most poisonous of genocidal hatreds ever to defile the earth.
NOW cannot allow those shrieking voices, like those of Louis Farrakhan, Linda Sarsour, and others who openly espouse Jew-hatred to infect the high ideals of NOW with their corrosive activism. They use anti-Zionism as cover for their invasion in an attempt to redirect our movement. You may not agree with the political situation in Israel, and trust me – I don’t necessarily agree with the political situation in Israel – but be aware that anti-Zionism too easily morphs into antisemitism, and that is what these voices are doing.
Jewish ideals such as fairness and eliminating discrimination are part of what impelled NOW’s leaders like Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug to choose the feminist paths they took. Our path, this March for Women, looks to a future based on principles of fairness and equality. Let’s never allow ourselves to be distracted by voices raised in hatred.