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Rosa Manus and Huda Sha'arawi in 1939: a friendship ruptured over Jewish immigration to Palestine
At the 1939 conference of the International Alliance of Women in Copenhagen, Dutch Jewish feminist Rosa Manus and Egyptian Muslim feminist Huda Sha'arawi reached a painful point in their warm friendship, which had been forged during years of work in the international movement for women's empowerment. They held deeply felt, opposing views on Jewish immigration to Palestine which their shared feminist commitments could not bridge, and never saw one another again. This inquiry looks backward and then forward in time to contextualize that difficult experience: looks at the ways in which the often bitter divide over Israel/Palestine has roiled international feminism, and conversely on the ways that the tensions within international feminism between women from imperial nations and women from decolonized nations has impacted efforts to bring Jewish and Arab women together in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Among past movements to be considered is the successful struggle in the 1920s for woman suffrage in the Yishuv, which because of the Jewish community's structure and priorities did not include outreach to Arab women. What were the aftereffects of that omission? Also examined is the frustrated effort of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to set up a joint Arab-Jewish chapter in Mandate Palestine. A journey forward in time pauses at the UN Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985, where Naomi Chazan was one of the initiators of dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian women, and continues to the contemporary marches and gatherings in Israel of Women Wage Peace.
Last edited Monday, April 16, 2018