LIVING

Mayim Bialik Calls Herself A Proud Zionist And A Proud Liberal

"I respectfully insist that Israel has a right to exist and that peace and coexistence is a main goal of mine."

07/12/2017 17:20 EDT | Updated 07/13/2017 11:30 EDT

"I wish no one cared what celebrities think about the situation in Israel," actress Mayim Bialik wrote in 2014.

Bialik, who plays Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," may be out of luck. She's a big celebrity, and the Israel-Palestine issue is a contentious one.

And the self-proclaimed chatterbox, who actually can't speak right now — a doctor-ordered voice break due to long-term strain on her vocal cords — didn't hold back when HuffPost Canada asked her opinions via email.

The observant Jew calls herself both a proud Zionist, which means that she supports the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state, and a proud liberal.

Mike Pont/WireImage
Mayim Bialik visits Build Studio to discuss her new book 'Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular' at Build Studio on May 9, 2017 in New York City.

She told HuffPost Canada that her family lives in the Israeli settlements, which are civilian communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The United Nations Security Council has called the settlements illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, but Bialik tells HuffPost she'll leave the last word to the people who live there.

"I do not get to decide unless I choose to move to Israel where I think people should and shouldn't live," she said.

"I know there is complexity to the situation with settlements and I don't always understand — or ever understand — [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu, but I respectfully insist that Israel has a right to exist and that peace and coexistence is a main goal of mine as a liberal Zionist Jew."

"I do not get to decide unless I choose to move to Israel where I think people should and shouldn't live."Mayim Bialik

The mom of two spoke out a few months ago on her website, GrokNation, in response to an interview with Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, in which Sarsour disagreed with the idea that Zionism and feminism could co-exist.

"You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none," Sarsour said.

Bialik wrote that she was both a Zionist and a feminist, and that the former movement encompasses a wide variety of perspectives on both the Israeli occupation of the region and the settlements.

"Accusing Zionism of being incompatible with feminism is exceptionally short-sighted," she wrote. It smarts of a broad-stroke bias against the entire Jewish people for the violations that occur in a state that was founded on the principles of Zionism."

She also doesn't like the use of the word "occupation" to describe Israel's control over the territories, which include the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, calling it "inflammatory."

"[It] paints a not entirely accurate picture — especially for people who don't know anything about Israel or the matzav [situation] — much like calling Israel an apartheid state," she told HuffPost.

The UN Security Council, General Assembly and the International Court of Justice consider Israel to be the occupying power in the territories.

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The actor expressed her anger at queer Jewish women being asked to leave Chicago's dyke march last month because they were carrying Jewish Pride flags, telling HuffPost she thought it was "disgusting and absurd."

Bialik courted controversy in 2014 when she donated money to send bulletproof vests to Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

Before her imposed talking break, Bialik also recently filmed a funny commercial for Israeli company SodaStream.

The company was targeted by a boycott campaign because one of its factories was in a West Bank settlement. The factory has since been moved.

But while Bialik may seem an unabashed champion of Israel, she has reflected in the past on her own conclusions.

In the same 2014 piece for Kveller, she wrote that watching the Mel Gibson movie "Braveheart" led her to ask some pointed questions, including whether the people who hate her for being Jewish because she supports Israel's right to exist are anti-Semitic.

"Is the freedom that William Wallace fought and died for 1,000 years ago in Scotland the same freedom that the Palestinian people fight for?" she wrote. "And is that freedom the same as the freedom for Israeli citizens to live without rockets falling on you and without your neighbors rallying actively for you to be pushed into the sea simply because you exist as a Jew?"