Born in 1946 in New York City to Socialist Zionist parents, Martha Ackelsberg went on to earn a bachelors degree in social studies from Radcliffe College, and her masters and doctorate degrees in political philosophy from Princeton. She has been a political science professor at Smith College since 1972. She has written extensively on the topics of women’s community activism, gender and public policy, feminist and democratic theory, and women in Jewish communities.
A self-described “feminist/anarchist,” Ackelsberg believes that all Jews who are currently living in the Judea and Samaria communities of the West Bank should leave. She contends that until this occurs, the U.S. State Department ought to withhold financial aid to Israel. Professor Ackelsberg is a member of the editorial staff of Michael Lerner’s anti-Israel publication, Tikkun Magazine. She was a signatory to the LGBT-OUT (Lesbians/Gays/Bisexuals and Transgendered Of the University of Toronto) petition proclaiming the urgent need “to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism from the university,” yet she detests Israel – the only nation in the Middle East that offers civil rights protections and lifestyle freedoms to its gay population.