Rachel Wahba

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Rachel Wahba is a San Francisco-based “transnational feminist”, mixing Zionist and LGBT identity politics together. Born in March 1946 in Bombay1 from an Egyptian and Iraqi parent, Rachel Wahba was raised in a Jewish family2 , which ultimately immigrated to the U.S.
Rachel holds a BA in psychology and women’s studies and an MA in clinical social work from San Francisco State University. Wahba is also a self-employed psychotherapist in San Francisco and in Marin County. Wahba has also cofounded Olivia, “the world’s first provider of cruise, resort, and adventure vacations for LGBTQ+ women”.

Pinkwashing Zionism

Rachel Wahba writes on “Mizrahi/Sephardic Jewish problems” from a “queer Zionist” point of view, effectively pinkwashing Zionist history as the result of “discrimination”, systematically sidelining issues such as Zionist genocide and Jewish supremacy, which is embedded into the fabric of Israeli occupation. Her writings have been featured in “The Times of Israel,” “The Jerusalem Post”. Her writings about being “a queer Arabic-Jewish lesbian” have been published in certain psychoanalytic journals and online such as Huffpost and Epocalips.
In the fall of 2019, Rachel was given the “LGBTQ Trailblazer Award” by A Wider Bridge, a Zionist organization destined to link LGBTQ communities in the US and Israel.3

The “Progressive Zionist”

Wahba narrates her activism as the result of “discrimination”, being both Lesbian and a Mizrahi Jew (Jews from Arabia and North Africa, as opposed to European “Ashkenazi Jews”). As a result, Wahba promotes Jews as a “multicultural people” and acts as the advisory board of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA), calling out what she describes as the “European/Ashkenazi dominance narrative”.

Distaste of Norms

Given Rachel’s background as a nationless Jew educated in International Catholic and Protestant missionary schools as an alien in Japan, her life displays a persistent pattern of violation of communal norms. As she claimed in one interview, “We are told we cannot be both a Zionist and a Feminist, and we cannot bring a Rainbow Flag with a Star of David to a Pride Parade”. She boasts of herself being part of clinicians “fighting old hatreds” while working in San Francisco’s Community Mental Health centers dealing with LGBTQ communities in the 1970s and 1980s.4

1: https://www.jimena.org/speakers/rachel-wahba/

2: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/jewish-arab-not-arab-jew/

3: https://www.olivia.com/entertainment-single/169

4: https://www.rachelwahba.com/jimena

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