Response to Hamas horror shows the feminist movement has lost its moral compass

Leyla Moushabeck, Hannah Moushabeck and Sarah Prager at the Damon Road rotay take part in a protest in what was described as an emergency protest with Jews and others against Palestine Genocide organized by Jewish Voices for Peace and other organizations.

by Phyllis Chesler

I have pioneered women’s rights for more than 50 years.

Sadly, I must conclude that what was once a diverse and independent-minded movement has become hijacked by a “woke” death cult.

Those American feminists left standing, including the icons among us, primarily favor gender over sex identity; are pro-trans rather than pro-biological-womankind; and are more obsessed with the alleged occupation of a country that has never existed (Palestine, Gaza) than they are with the occupation of female bodies in Gaza — where girls and women are forced into child and polygamous marriages, made to veil and, together with male homosexuals, “honor” killed by their families.

At this horrifying moment in history, when Hamas, an ISIS-like, Taliban-like terrorist group, has savagely and sadistically murdered, tortured, mutilated, raped and burned Israeli civilians alive, including babies, young women and grandmothers, I note a terrible silence, a moral failure, among those women, including women activists, who live in freedom in America.

Feminists, including academics and human-rights-organization officials, rose up and at least cried out when Afghan, Saudi, Iranian, Pakistani, Yazidi and Ukrainian women were raped, kidnapped into sex slavery or murdered.

Mandy Sanghera and I formed a grassroots feminist team in 2021 that rescued 400 women from Afghanistan.

We cannot believe feminists’ almost absolute silence after Hamas launched its terrorist attack against Jews this month — which included raping young women next to their dead friends and then parading them, bloodied between their legs, through Gaza streets.

Rape in a war zone is considered a crime — as long as the victims are not Jews.

Indeed, now that Hamas has launched both an old-fashioned and a new-fashioned livestreamed pogrom against Israeli Jews and against all those non-Jews, including Americans, who live in Israel, feminists have maintained a strange silence.

A quick survey of surviving feminist websites, including Ms., Women’s eNews, Jezebel, Slate, Salon, Lilith, etc. revealed nothing that specifically condemned Hamas for raping, kidnapping and mutilating women.


The failure to even grapple with this subject speaks volumes.

Mandy and I recently published a piece — “Rape as a Weapon of War, This Time in Israel. Why are Feminists Silent?” — posted it online and sent it to many feminists, including grassroots activists.

Mandy (who lives in the United Kingdom) was defriended, bullied and excoriated as a “Zionist.”

In my case, few feminists have reached out to me, personally, privately, to express awareness, concern or sympathy.

Perhaps 10 women responded positively; to her credit, Gloria Steinem said she’d “ask the Feminist Majority folks, which has been for years where Ms. resides, if they have responded.” (They haven’t.)

Others have said nothing.

Eleanor Smeal, a former National Organization for Women president and head of the Feminist Majority Foundation (which publishes Ms. Magazine), campaigned from the 1990s through last month on behalf of Afghan women; I cannot find anything she’s written condemning the rape and murder of Israeli Jewish women.

Not a word from Christian F. Nunes, NOW’s current president; nor from Equality Now, founded by Jessica Neuwirth and Navi Pillay (the latter of United Nations anti-Israel infamy); Laurie Adams, Women for Women International chief executive officer; or Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood president.

UN Women, “the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women,” says it “condemns the attacks on civilians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and is deeply alarmed by the devastating impact on civilians including women and girls.”

But its statement doesn’t mention Hamas at all — and calls Israel’s efforts to have civilians evacuate Gaza so it can root out the terrorists “extremely dangerous.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez keeps calling for a cease-fire and declared a key problem between Israel and Hamas is . . . Christian fundamentalists and Donald Trump.

This confirms that the feminist movement I once knew, but long ago, has lost its moral compass.

It is moribund, hijacked, “Palestinianized” and Stalinized. It is, at best, an arm of the Democratic Party, which shows every sign of restraining if not betraying Israel.

After World War II, the scenes of concentration camps, crematoria and living, human skeletons were crucial in showing the world what the Nazis had done to the Jews (and dissidents), proof of why their leaders and collaborators needed to be put on trial.

Feminists — we all — should be calling for a Nuremberg-like trial here, extraditing Hamas leaders who have murdered and kidnapped Americans as well as Israelis and citizens of other nations or ordered it.

This is why I favor showing all the images of the atrocities.

Can American military might and Israeli military intelligence unite to find and free the Israeli hostages?

Can we capture and put the Iran-backed Hamas fiends on trial?

Force Egypt to open the Rafah crossing and other Arab and Muslim countries to welcome Gazan civilians?

Can we finally wrestle with the existential and global threat that a nearly nuclear Iran poses to both America and the Middle East?

Feminists aren’t grappling with any of these questions.

Their silence speaks volumes.

First published in the New York Post.

Phyllis Chesler is emerita professor of psychology and the author of 20 books including “Women and Madness,” “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman” and “An American Bride in Kabul.” She is a co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women’s Health Network.