Sisterhood Blog

NCJW Campaigns for Inclusion of Women in Peace Talks

By Elana Maryles Sztokman

  • Print
  • Share Share

The exclusion of women’s voices, a phenomenon present in far too many educational, economic and political settings, has perhaps the most far-reaching consequences when it comes to issues of war and peace. Women, whose cultural heritage revolves around care, relationships, nurturing and interpersonal responsibility, have a vital perspective on armed conflict.

Whereas men in power may be motivated — consciously or unconsciously — by issues of ego, power and testosterone contests, women are more likely to be motivated by their culturally imposed responsibility for life. As scholar Sara Ruddick writes in “The Politics of Motherhood” in an essay entitled, “Rethinking ‘Maternal’ Politics,” women “who believe that their lives have been transformed by caring for children… want to put this transformative experience to public use… seeking a more evidently public forum where they could enact values that they struggled to achieve in their daily work: protectiveness, nonviolence, respect for spiritual complexity, the treasuring of individual life.”

In the Middle East, where women’s political activism is both ever-present and marginalized, this is crucial. Women’s groups hold marches, stand on street corners and park tents in front of governmental offices, competing for sound-bites and glimmers of attention. All the while, teams of men are given official power, sit in closed rooms and make the decisions that impact millions of lives. The absence of women in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations means that women’s vital perspectives are lost, deemed irrelevant.

This is why the current NCJW campaign for women’s inclusion in the forthcoming peace process is so important. As the NCJW wrote in a formal announcement this week:

Women and children often bear the brunt of war and conflict. Yet, women are often under-represented in negotiations that impact peace and security and other critical matters. That’s why the United Nations created Resolution 1325 to ensure that women are part of negotiations and that their concerns are taken into account.

In 2005, Israel became the first country to adopt part of this UN resolution, passing a law prescribing representation for women on any committee or other body responsible for shaping national policy, including foreign affairs and security.

Now that discussions are under way to reconvene Middle East peace talks, write to Prime Minister Netanyahu to remind him that, by law, women must be part of Israel’s negotiating team for the upcoming talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Women’s presence means that there is perhaps a chance of getting out of the current stalemate, of finding alternative paradigms for shaping the conflict, of exploring alternative solutions that have never been taken seriously, of thinking creatively and moving beyond the square, unbending, right-left, right-wrong, in-out configurations that dominate current thinking on all sides. Women’s perspectives offer new hope, as women find avenues for cooperation and collaboration that are unavailable to men.

When Naomi Chazan was serving as a Knesset Member for Meretz, I once heard her talk about the possibility for women’s collaboration through shared cultural experiences. She described her relationship with Likud MK Limor Livnat, who is on the opposite side of the political spectrum. “We sat in the Knesset cafeteria over coffee and ended up talking about our kids,” she said, smiling.

Women have avenues for connecting through shared experiences that build bridges and provide an impetus for seeking creating solutions. Excluding our voices is a loss for all of humanity.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Israel, Limor Livnat, NCJW, Naomi Chazan, National Council Jewish Women, Palestinians, Peace Process

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.