Sarah Baxter is disconcerted by the company her old friends in the women’s peace movement are keeping:
Women pushing their children in buggies bearing the familiar symbol of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament marched last weekend alongside banners proclaiming “We are all Hezbollah now” and Muslim extremists chanting “Oh Jew, the army of Muhammad will return.”
Not that such unsavoury bedfellows are entirely unprecedented for British ‘peace’ campaigners:
Recently Kate Hudson, chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, wrote a breathtaking apologia for the Iranian nuclear energy programme, which took at face value Ahmadinejad’s claims to be developing it for “strictly peaceful” purposes. (Since when, by the way, has CND regarded Britain’s nuclear power plants so benignly?) Never mind the preposterous dancing with enriched uranium around the doves of peace nor the missiles marked “Tel Aviv” paraded in the streets.
Strange behaviour for so-called feminists and peace-lovers. Luckily not all women are frightened of the sticks and stones aimed at those who speak out against the abuse of women abroad.
In Britain there is the polemicist Julie Burchill, who has written incisively about the desire of terrorists to commit acts “not so that innocents may have the right to live freely on the West Bank, but so that they might have the right to throw acid in the face of innocent, unveiled women”. Well, the outrageous Julie has always been bonkers, hasn’t she.
Then there is “mad” Melanie Phillips, the Cassandra of our age, banging on that “if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around”. Of course she would say that, wouldn’t she. She’s Jewish, and anyway didn’t you know that she is crazy enough to believe in two-parent families?
In America the radical feminist Andrea Dworkin died last year virtually unmourned by women on the left in part, as her friend Christopher Hitchens remembered, because “she wasn’t neutral against a jihadist threat that wanted, and wants, to enslave and torture females.
“That she could be denounced as a ‘conservative’,” he concluded, “says much about the left to which she used to belong.”
Baxter concludes her review of current developments by asserting that a feminism which refuses to condemn the brutal mistreatment of millions of women for fear of being labelled Islamophobic can best be described as ‘missing in action’.
Some readers might recognise traditional British understatement in that.