Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rest in Power. A hero of Zion: Sylvia Siegel z'l

Written by Phyllis Chesler, regarding local Bay area activist Sylvia (Thyme) Siegel. Originally published in Arutz Sheva

And now, it is time to praise a hero of Zion: Sylvia Siegel z'l, otherwise known as Thyme (Zipporah) Siegel. She died and was buried yesterday. Thyme was once a feminist separatist leftist "living on the land" (think of this as a misguided feminist kibbutz experiment) in Oregon when one fine day, she visited Israel. Everything changed for her.

She also flew from far-off California to meet with me. Her questions were simple.

"Phyllis, where am I? What's happening? What must I do? All my friends have, overnight, become my enemies. All my political comrades spit on me. Literally. And they are so wrong yet they think they alone have the truth."

"Welcome to the Resistance," I told her and sent her on her Mission.

Thyme did not fail me or the moment. Thyme would stand at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza,  (!) holding an Israeli flag, just waiting for anyone to mess with her. And mess with her they did. She kept holding that flag. Thyme also became one of the best undercover journalists, working with bylined journalists. She would go into the BDS or Israel Apartheid Week planning meeting, blend in, take notes, reveal what took place to distinguished journalists, who would publish what was said and planned.

When I was asked to be part of a "Feminism and Anti-Semitism" panel by Jennifer Roskies--it took place at Yale at the very best conference on anti-Semitism in the 21st century, under the aegis of Dr. Charles Small--I immediately suggested that Thyme join us. And so she did, together with Nora Gold, whose novel, Field of Exile, memorialized the various "intifadas" on Canadian campuses.

One of Israel's counter-terrorism experts came to shake all our hands.

"I had no idea the war was this hot over here, among women, among academics, among progressives."

It sure is.

May Thyme Zipporah Siegel rest in peace and may we all be comforted. The death of heroes is always the hardest for me to bear.

1 comment:

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

she was a genuine daughter of Zion. it's not that i simply got along well with her but i also understood her. in particular her angst toward the left despite being very socially liberal as i am. the last time i saw her she urged pro-Israel Jews to hold their nose and vote republican for the sake of Israel if nothing else. i still can't bring myself to vote republican but i completely understood where she was coming from. i have at times felt the temptation to vote republican just to spite leftist anti-Semites. the continuous relentless hostility toward Israel from the left (black lives matter for example) is becoming a real issue and something of a moral dilemma for left of center pro-Israel Jews. aside from having her own personal non-political affairs in order i hope she passed away with some peace of mind knowing that she left friends behind who will not forget her and absolutely will not stop fighting for Israel regardless of what party they vote for.