by David Broder
On Friday 6th March a meeting was held at the University of London Union to mark International Women’s Day.
Tamar Katz, a young Israeli woman who was repeatedly imprisoned for refusing to join the Israeli army, spoke alongside Laura Schwartz from Feminist Fightback, the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq (Hekmatist) member Houzan Mahmoud, the Independent journalist Terri Jude, Green Party MEP Jean Lambert and Maria Exall from the Communication Workers’ Union.
Particularly inspiring was the story told by the young Israeli woman who had rejected militarism and the ‘normal’ path of the country’s youths in favour of a principled stance of solidarity with Palestinians, despite repeated imprisonment as well as the criticism she was subject to whenever the question of her age – and thus her refusal to join the IDF – was raised. This speech was warmly received by the audience.
Jude and Lambert gave only a liberal analysis of the need for a women’s movement today, and the former was equivocal on the question of imperialist occupations in the Middle East and their role in bolstering Islamists. However, the meeting saw a range of views on cultural relativism and the dynamics of Islam, Islamism and imperialism in the region, with international solidarity a particular theme of the event. This was however not as concrete or sharp as the discussions at the excellent Gender, Race and Class event on February 14th.
We hope that The Commune’s 9th March meeting, also held to honour International Women’s Day, will further advance such discussions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.