Biddies in Black

One thing I really love about Israel is how, one day after Israel suffered its most grievous losses in the current war (8 civilians, 4 soldiers killed) these biddies Women in Black are free to demonstrate against the war and against the “occupation” just steps away from the Prime Minister’s residence and on one of Jerusalem’s busiest intersections. That the soldiers died in order to protect a country that allows them the freedom to protest against whatever it is they like is irrelevant. That their ideas are anathema to me and that their provocation is very insensitive is also irrelevant. What’s important to me is that by their very presence, they counteract the very core of much of their arguments. Plus it’s also nice to see old, slightly demented people get out and get some fresh air once in a while rather than sitting around their crappy little apartments or dilapidated assisted living quarters bemoaning how their children don’t visit or call.

What a wonderful country indeed. The Women in Black meet every Friday afternoon at Kikar Tsarfati in front of the Kings Hotel on King George. Just listen for the cursing motorists or look for the tell tale trail of soiled Attends undergarments.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I’ve seen similar diatribes against those who oppose the war in Iraq, and I’d like to point out that the fact that a democracies allow for difference of opinion. WiB are free to oppose the military actions of Israel, just as those who oppose the war in Iraq can do so in the US.
    Question: Is it possible that at least a few of the WiB are mothers, and have children who are in danger because of current events and policies, or have lost children in the conflict? I’d wager so. The urge to protect one’s offspring is a powerful one. I hope work can be done towards a solution that keeps everyone’s children safe.

  • CK let me guess, yoru next comment is “Israel love it or leave it” Every time i read your comments i have to remind my self of your “Where our delusions of grandeur and mutual admiration for each other” and then i laugh at the idiocy of your comments. otherwise i would take them serious and be appaled at how instead of engaging in commentary you resort to infantile practices like above. Attends…wtf…

  • I second Shlomo. ck, you’re a real class act, mocking the elderly. As if the fact that so many live in “dilapitated assisted living quarters bemoaning how their children don’t visit or call”
    is any fault of theirs rather than a failure on our part to care for them. You’ll be old one day, and I hope for your sake that grown ass men such as yourself will have the good sense not to make mean spirited jokes about whatever continence issues you may have. Grow up.

    As laughable as it is that you would call them insensitive, I wish you’d enlighten me. What are these ideas they espouse that are so hateful to you? How are the pleas to “negotiate now” and “end the occupation” contradicted by their very presence?

  • Uh, guess what guys – CK has as much freedom of speech as these old biddies do.

    The Left has never exercised much restraint in its name-calling – people now fighting (and dying) for Israel were called “propellerhead” by their own prime minister, and denounced as “fanatics” and “primitives”.

    My favorite news item of the past week was the interview with a plaintive Israeli peacenik who was shocked – shocked! – that people were actually making U-turns so they could roll down their windows and spit at her feet.

  • Ugh. Women in Black disgust me. To quote Salman Rushdie, that’s not free speech – it’s cheap speech.

    Fuck Hezbollah.

  • Sheesh! Look, I make fun of these people and that is my right. Please understand that the important part of this post is a celebration of the virtues of Israeli democracy. Lighten up people!

  • When I joined their mailing list, I brought the average age down a good 2 decades.

    Seriously, there are plenty of Young ‘Uns in Bat Shalom. They just all work Fridays! (I’ll keep to the “light” spirit intended by the author of this post and not engage in the discussion about whether holding up black signs saying “Stop the Occupation” contradicts a belief in Free Speech. Besides, my joints are getting creaky from all the typing…)

  • CK, you’re 100% right… for all of you who didn’t understand his post, just think about an anti-Hezbollah rally in Beirut… how many seconds would those guys last before being killed??
    Israel IS THE ONLY REAL DEMOCRACY in the Middle East, don’t forget that…
    And if there is any ROI120 reading this… the hotel where we stayed is just in front!!

  • I loved the article. I think it’s terrible what these protestors are doing. They take away from the work that the IDF is doing every moment that they hold their little signs. We have lots of people like them here in America, I can’t stand them.

  • Though the protestors have the right, so does CK. Why is it whenever you ridicule a controversial opinion, people jump in and go, “But that’s their right!” Yes, it is their right, but it’s also my right to be able to ridicule and point out where I think they are wrong. The right to free speech ultimately allows for discourse…so it makes no sense that when someone posts speech against someone else’s speech to remind that person that these people have a “right” to say what they are saying. The mere fact he is speaking out proves he has acknowleged this right.

    As for what they are doing, it is a Utopian ideal. Hezbollah is committed to killing Jews world-wide, beginning in Israel. Though negotiations can cause a temporary solution to the problem, it cannot stop the inevitable conflict. This is not wishing but instead looking at this through a realistic point of view. Until Hezbollah renders up its committment to kill the Jewish people around the globe, any negotiation process will only bring a temporary peace. Some say a temporary peace would be better (such as these ladies) but do not for one second think that future generations of Israelis will have to face these people. We did not sue for peace with Hitler once we had taken the beaches of Normandy because we didn’t want future generations to have to face Nazi Germany. The high price of freedom was paid in full immediately so that future generations would not have to pay this price.

    Ultimately, those these people cry for peace, they don’t understand what they are truly asking for. Death is horrible, but why prolong it? Why let future generations deal with a problem that will only lead to further protests then? These ladies might have their hearts in the right place, but they need to begin to use their head as well.

  • Wow, well, you claim that you don’t understand their arguments, that must make it easier to make fun of them. Part of being Jewish, as I have always understood it, is to understand different Jewish perspectives and then make a decision. But, by mocking them before even understanding what they have to say, you are taking an intentionally ignorant approach. I am not a participant of Women in Black, but I do respect their right to protest and try to understand where they are coming from.

  • ck may be a self-described “shit disturber” but the tone of this post seems vitriolic even for him. I’m not that familiar with WIB but it seems they’re m.o. in Israel is promoting dialogue and condemning the occupation. I don’t disagree the timing of the protest is… well, they got no… no… timing… but what I found interesting was the vim and vigor with which you attacked these little old ladies. Maybe I’m reading something into it, but was that post less a discussion about the dichotomy of free speech in a time of national crises, or more an illustration of the (warranted) seige-like mood in Israel and with Jews worldwide who give a shit about Israel? (By “seige-like”, I not only mean hizbolla, hypocriticaliberals and the media/BBC.) More than anything else was ck taking out his frustration on the peacenik bubbehs? Does he really despise WIB that much? Or just today? At the onset of the first Gulf War, when American Jews were still proudly liberal, we’d come home from the anti-war rally, turn on our t.v.s and watch images of scuds falling on Tel Aviv (and my relatives). There was an immediate disconnect with the anti-war movement which lasted until we figured out how to reconcile what was wrong about invading Iraq at the time with our wanting Saddam’s head blown off – a reconciliation made possible by Israel’s heroic lack of retaliation. We were spared the fate of being caught between a rock and hard place, the headache of explaining the complexities of the mid-east to our non-jewish liberal friends. That’s not the case today. While I feel your pain, ck, I just wish you wouldn’t take it out on the bubbehs.

  • Hey ramon marcos,
    Don’t get me wrong. I love peace. I crave peace. But I’m also not suicidal. I’d like nothing better than for the war in Lebanon to be over – but over for good. A cease fire now will effectively hand Hizballah a victory given that they still have rocket launching capabilities. A cease fire now merely means more war later. What good is that? Similarly an end to the occupation for these people means an end to our occupation of the Kotel. And French Hill. And Jaffa. And Haifa. Giving up Gaza is one thing. Giving up parts of the West Bank too – ok those are heartbreaking but I think most Israelis would do it if it meant a real and lasting Peace. However there is nothing to indicate that this would be the case. That the women in black advocate Israeli capitulation for the sake of some ephemeral notion of peace indicates to me that they are addle minded. So I was a tad mean spirited – sue me. I still made it a point to state quite clearly that despite my intense dislike of their ideas, it pleases me to no end to see them out there every Friday because it reminds me how vibrant and democratic the state of Israel is.

  • Dude, the war strategy of Israels. wadr, appears to be a collasol failure. I have no problem w/ the demos.

    The reason I have this position, is that it looks to me like Israel wanted to fight an air war, thinking that some bombs were going to get these hizzies to pee in their panties.

    I understand their thinking, try limiting casualties on our side.

    that is why I would go ahead and nuke Iran from day 1.

  • Okay ck –
    Wily move shutting down the site while I was in the middle of rebutting your rebuttal… Hah! I saved most of it: First off, your comments missed my point. Second, I think you were attributing to me stances i don’t take. I agree with your take on how Israel should engage it’s enemies/neighbors. I’m not advocating a cease-fire. And don’t think I advocate giving up Jerusalem. There hasn’t been an argument for “internationalizing” the city since Teddy Kollek was mayor and he dismissed it as impractical (sorry Jon Stewart).

    My comments on your post was less about the WIB’s politics or the timing of their protest. It was about how the the cattiness of your post and how it revealed something about how on edge Israelis and diaspora Jews are that you’re going after WIB by making fun of their soiled undergarments. Who isn’t as frustrated not only with hizbollah and hamas but moreso with hypocritaleft and an international media eager to demonize Israel. It’s like what Lieberman’s going through: While I disagree with Lieberman’s support Bush’s Iraq war choice and his tendency to sometimes legislate morality, his voting record is staunchly Democratic. But when you displease the self-righteous wing of the left you’re screwed. They eat their own. So I feel your need to vent – but ck, is making fun of old ladies’ incontinence gonna make you feel better? Listen, I’m sick of sitting in a wine bar trying to explain to my so-called progessive wine snob friends (who can’t appreciate a good martini with blue cheese olives or a fine scotch) what went down at Sharm Al Sheik and how Arafat stabbed Barak and Clinton in the back, or the fact that Israel’s Defense Minister is more Jimmy Carter than Rumsfeld, or that Jews didn’t conquer Israel but were mandated it by our friends the United Nations; I’m over the BBC and Reuters, American campuses and Mearsheimer and his mirror image the neo-cons coopting Israel and American Jewry. But the wine snobs are still my friends and I want to educate them. But they won’t listen if I make fun of them being wine snobs. In times of war it’s easy to draw lines within your own people. But I can’t equate WIB with terrorim. Maybe your post got to me because I”m not that far off from being a Depends-wearing, assisted-living crusty old man. But don’t you feel just a little bad for saying all that stuff about the bubbehs who’s only real crime is an overly-quixotic view of how to achieve peace? That you made your point clearly about their right to protest doesn’t diminish how sad I felt thinking of bubbeh’s pain at her grandchildren not calling… that’s just plain mean. If you’re gonna vent shouldn’t you be saving it for Neturei Karta, the BBC, Reuters and American campuses? Aren’t you just a little sorry? Like I’m sorry about the crack about not suing you because all I’d get is your Radiohead collection. The truth is I’m not suing you because my lawyer’s busy preparing Jack Abramoff’s appeal. ck, say you’re sorry to the old ladies.

  • Sometime in the early 1980’s, my closest friend and I were grabbing a bite at the College Inn after class, when we passed a newsstand with a prominently displayed copy of Bowling Monthly. The cover story was dedicated to bowling all-star Earl Anthony, with a screaming headline that read: “MR. STYLE, MR. CLASS”

    We were a bit amused by the notion of conferring that particular title on a professional bowler, but were delighted at having obtained a lifelong moniker for those public figures that distinguished themselves with their singular refinement, magnanimity, and grace.

    It’s been a long time since anyone earned the designation so decisively, but there it is:

    CK of Jewlicious: Mr. Style, Mr. Class.

  • ramon: Thanks for not suing me. My radiohead collection and I are relieved. But I really feel no desire to apologize. My depiction of the WIB may have been mean spirited but it’s mostly pretty accurate. I’ve seen them in action in Montreal, Boston, New York and Jerusalem and I feel my response was, if anything, tempered.

    david smith: You are, as always, courteously invited, perhaps even strongly encouraged, to stop reading my posts if they cause such an affront to your sense of civility, tact and decency. I’d hate to be the cause of anyone thinking that you’re a dry, humorless, hyper-sensitive, curmudgeon with an axe to grind. Which I’m sure you’re not.

  • When I read ck’s depiction of the Women in Black. It just hit hit too close to home. Confession: I am one of the grandchildren described in his post. While I do call my beloved Mother up, I am certain that if she had her way, I’d call a lot more regularly. She lives on the east coast in an assisted living retirement community and is one of the Women in Black. Physically, she’s quite chipper and manages to get around on her own with little difficulty. Mentally however she struggles with Parkinson’s and is often unaware of her surroundings. Prior to her involvement with the WIB she was a fierce and ardent supporter of the State of Israel . She was involved in numerous pro-Israel and Jewish groups, helping to raise funds and lobby the governement. Since her retirement and the onset of her illness, she has been targetted by any number of unscrupulous groups and individuals. We had to get power of attorney to prevent her from sending more of her hard earned money to thieving telemarketers. I had to physically threaten members of Jews for Jesus so that they would leave my Mother alone. In lucid moments she would express horror at the notion that she, a life long synagogue member and daughter of holocaust survivors, would have anything to do with this perfidious organization. But as her mental situation deteriorated, she began getting involved in the Women In Black. I know that my Mother would never support such a group but she does enjoy the opportunity to get out and a number of her friends are also involved. When I see her and speak to her, it is clear to me that she has no idea what it is they stand for. My Mother is one of the slightly demented ” ” individuals ck insensitively but accurately described., The truth is not pretty or “classy” but it does remain the truth nonetheless. I wish I lived closer to my Mother and had more time to spend with her. This post brought me to tears but I thank ck for his frankness. It has inspired me to redouble my efforts to be closer to her and spend more time with her so that she does not become ensnared in organizations that take advantage of the elderly.

  • Okay, I’ve got an idea for a movie. A terrorist organization, who’s members are really American and British liberal/anti-semitic academics disguised as old incontinent ladies wearing black, hatch a plot to destroy Israel by recruiting our mothers and grandmothers (waiting, of course, until they’ve lost their faculties), and through Manchurian Candidate style brainwashing turn them into mindless bubbehbots. But wait… this nefarious plot is foiled by none other than… a group of superheroes called “THE SHANAPUNIMS”, grandchildren of our brainwashed bubbehbots…

    I would see how Neil wouldn’t find that funny. His predicament puts the argument in a different light. If WIB do, in fact, use the same tactics as television evangelists, jews for jesus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Sierra Club and others who scam and prey on the elderly, more often than not to steal their money, they should be properly exposed and with the same vigor ck’s post had. Arguing against their politics is one thing and should be kept on a level of discourse. But if it’s about Neil’s situation with his mother, what he describes as a devious and manipulative scam – that’s where the attack on WIB should lie. I would hope, Neil, that if your mother joined the JTF or like-minded organizations you’d be just as incensed. I would say the same about how the Freemasons snatched my old man but he seems to be having too good a time secretly running the country.

    And ck – My lawyer advised me that, since you have no desire to apologize, I’m to stop asking you to. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.

  • ramon: I used to be a pretty nasty lawyer myself. I look forward to your Little Bo Peep Law School trained lawyer’s letter …

  • These people are disgusting. Their sneering expressions say it all. “If at first you don’t succeed, keep right on doing what didn’t work and don’t try anything else, forever, or until you are completely obliterated”, seems to be their motto.

    CK is mocking their age because they are using their age to give weight to their views. But GM would say that is an ad hominem defense, and he would never allow it. Judge their views on the merits alone, he would say.

    I am no youngster either so I resent the hijacking of white hair. Not that I am as old as these folks.

    Being old is no excuse for having no sense.

  • Damn. I (RM) just got conned by an organization of old ladies who I don’t even agree with. Suckered again, first by Cindy Sheehan, who uses her KIA son to guilt moderates into ascribing to her rigid views on world politics; and now by the old ladies in black who deftly used their incontinence and other feebleness (and maybe by invoking my dear old departed ’60s civil rights activist bubbeh) to guilt me into “defending” them. I just feel so… so… used. Those wrinkled old demonic bitches! (Damn, that felt good! Now I get it.) I know those type of sneering expressions – I get them most every Saturday when I tell the Jehovah’s witnesses at my door thank you but I’m Jewish.

    I guess, in the end, if I’m gonna get real mean-spririted I’m gonna save it for Nutarei Karta and these psuedo-intellectual anti-semitic liberals infesting our campuses and the internet. Hopefully in an intellectual and reasoned manner but I can bitch-slap if need be.

    ck – I have no doubt you could kick my lawyer’s ass. If you can find the prick you have my blessing. And I never wanted to sue you. Except, you remember, I distinctly heard you say “sue me” and I just wanted to be a mensch. Anyways, I’m not looking for a nasty lawyer so if you’re interested…

    And I stand by my movie idea.

  • I have to say that ck has come up with some very clever, very funny, very sophisticated and very timely posts and graphics over the past couple of years that Jewlicious has been around. We may disagree on some issues (okay, pretty strongly on some issues), but he puts forth one hell of a blog and if anything, I wish he’d do some more graphics. Oh, and Jewlicious is a classy joint, even if one has to bring up soiled Attends products to make a nasty point.

  • Why is it that when people criticize an excersize of free speech, the knee jerk reaction is to remind the criticizers that they have such a right?

  • muffti: Well, because obviously you eat your own poo. Speaking of which, remember what you used to say about old people?

  • GM is totally right.

    The minute you don’t agree, strongly, it is assumed you think the speaker should not have the right to continue to exist, or anyway, to speak.

    How insulting. And baseless.

    Stifles all discussion.

  • Now I see why the WIB and Lenny Bruce posts were consecutive. It’s all about free speech! And how funny a topic it is! Although it would’ve made more sense if it was a Don Rickles post instead of Lenny Bruce.

    middle, ck may be surprised but I’ll second your prop to his fun and clever posts. (Although I’ll have to take your word on the sophisticated part.) He stands up for them like a mensch and doesn’t take any poo from an old fart like me. Seems to me the kind of guy you want on your ultimate frisbee team or on your side in a Crown Heights street fight; who will take down mindless bubbehbots the same way he’d do nasrallah. The kind of guy you don’t threaten to sue even if he asks you too. And as far as discussin being stifled, he’s the kind of guy who provoked 30 comments and counting on a week-old post about evil incontinent women (the last five or so of which went over my head). Gotta love that.

  • middle –

    I was in Spain, surrounded by fallen-away Catholics when “Papa ha muerto” and Benedict/Raztinger was made commisioner of the National Football League. Being in Spain during that time was fascinating (it was close to Santa Semana) and we had many late-night discussions in broken English about the possible papal candidates and how that related to Jews, Israel and Nostradomus’ endtime prophecies…

    While I still feel that WIB (as opposed to “MIB II”) are more misguided than the inherently evil, I do see them in a slightl different light. Just not as extreme as ck and some commentators. I just wish Jewlicious was around in ’82 when I was assigned a term paper in which I had to solve the Jerusalem issue in five pages or less. Now I just struggle with separating Cat Stevens from Yusef Islam (one the the late songwriter; the other can’t get through customs).