Former pro cyclist disinvited from Women's Day event because she served in Israeli military three decades ago
· Feb 21, 2024 ·

So, get this: A former pro cyclist was all set to be the keynote speaker at an International Women's Day event in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, until they disinvited her because she served in the Israeli military three freakin' decades ago!

I was hurt. I was angry. But most of all I was heartbroken.

In 2021, Leah Goldstein made history by becoming the first woman to win in the solo category of Race Across America. This epic bike race spans over 2,900 miles across the United States, ranking as one of the longest endurance races globally.

Leah was born in 1969 in Vancouver to Jewish Israeli parents but was raised in Israel, where, like most young Israelis, she fulfilled her mandatory military service.

Later, she served as an undercover police officer before relocating to Canada in the late 1990s, as the Times of Israel reported. She now lives in Vernon, British Columbia.

Leah wrote a post on her website directed at the INSPIRE event.

I don't believe you hired me because I was a soldier and a cop. While these jobs are part of my story (and I'm very grateful to have had these experiences), they do not define me as a human being.

As a Jewish woman, I would never be offended if a Palestinian woman were to speak about her obstacles and life journey. I thought that's what women were supposed to do for each other — listen and support!

Women supporting women ... anyone remember that?

According to the Jerusalem Post, organizers told the newspaper that "a small but growing and extremely vocal group" had an issue with Leah's military service. The paper also reported that protesters had demanded Leah's position in the war.

Our focus at INSPIRE has been and will always be to create safe spaces to honour, share, and celebrate the remarkable stories of women and non-binary individuals. In recognition of the current situation and the sensitivity of the conflict in the Middle East, the Board of INSPIRE will be changing our keynote speaker.

Deborah Lyons, Canada's former ambassador to Israel and the Liberal-appointed special envoy on Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism, labeled it "just another example of the erasure and silencing of Jews going on across Canada and around the world."

The Jerusalem Post also reported that protesters demanded to hear Leah's position on the war.

If I were to make a statement, I would say that I'm very proud of my training with the IDF, being the first woman to train the commando soldiers. So, yes, if they want that kind of statement, I'd be happy to say it. But to diss Israel and say, ‘It's genocide, we're killing 20,000 innocent children and women and whatnot' — it's a freaking war. That's what happens.

Just another day in clown world.

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