According to The New York Times the #MeToo movement managed to bring down 201 powerful men for sexual misconduct and harassment. All of it occurred under the glare of the media with Women’s Rights groups demanding that men who behaved in a sexually unacceptable way needed to be punished. Some accusations were only about harassment while other charges were more serious and included rape. In fact, one well known film director who was accused of sexual harassment and two rapes was jail for 23 years. Many other high profiled men were forced to resign from powerful positions for sexual harassment and/or misconduct. More recently, ex Spanish FA chief Luis Manuel Rubiales was banned for three years from the sport for giving a nonconsensual kiss to the football player Jenni Hermoso at the women’s world cup final. The uproar this kiss on the lips caused vibrated all over the world. The reaction from Women’s Rights groups and women in general was as swift as astounding.
We know that movements such as #MeToo and others similar Women’s Rights groups are based on the need to call attention to the frequency with which women and girls experience sexual harassment and abuse. Their role is also to protest and to demand answers and punishment for those who harass and abuse women sexually, So, why are these group so silent right now with the brutal rape of women, teenagers and girls in Israel?
Contempt for Jewish women is not new. For example, on May 16th 2021 a pro-Palestine convoy of men drove through the streets of north London, where many of London’s Jewish community live. The cars were decorated with flags flying and using a megaphone screaming and chanting, “F*ck the Jews, F*ck their daughters, f*ck their mothers, rape their daughters”. Some British media (see Evening Standard for example) described it as antisemitism which it is. But it is much more than that. It is about pure hatred and contempt of females who happen to be Jewish. Let us call it what it is, misogyny of the worst kind aimed at females. There was no response from any of the Women’s Rights groups then either.
If “kill the mother and rape their daughters” was voiced in public in any major democratic city in the world about any other group of women, it would cause uproar and great disapproval and disgust. Women and even men would demand censoring of such behaviour. To my surprise very little condemnation was heard from women’s organisations, the UN, the New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, the ABC (Australia) or other major media outlets.
This is exactly what happened in Southern Israel 2 years later committed by Hamas men. On the 7th of October 2023, not only did torture, murder and other shocking abuse take place involving adults, babies and children but also mass rape. As documents now show rape was part of the assault plan. Many women, teenagers and young girls were raped brutally again and again by numerous men and then killed. Others were gang raped with such brutality their pelvises were broken. Women and girls were raped in front of their families, in front of the children and in front of their partners and friends. There are some horrific images which were videoed by the Hamas men themselves for the world to see. One such video shows a beaten up and half-naked young woman being dragged by several Hamas men into a truck to be taken back to Gaza. Her name was Shani Louk. Another was of a young woman with blood running down her face, her hands tied behind her back and blood running down the trousers of her bottom and legs. Most likely she was gang raped. She too was being pushed harshly into a car by an armed group of at least 6 men screaming, whistling and shouting Alluha Akba, also to be taken as a hostage. She, it turns out, is 19 years old and a peace activist, a member of Hands for Peace (See ALLMEP). Here name is Naama Levy and she is still an hostage .
These horror images were taken by proud Hamas men to share with the world, their families and friends. They are seared into my mind. I kept thinking, is this really 2023 – how can it be? We know now that the first young woman is dead. Who knows what the fate of the other young woman is. Or for that matter, all the other women and girls who were taken back to Gaza? There are many harrowing scenes which I do not intend to repeat here because my aim here is to ask one question. Where is the denouncement and condemnation from the Women’s Rights movement who are set on the protection of women and girls from sexual abuse and rape. Regrettably, more than a month later there is a deafening silence.
Yes, there was condemnation more generally and briefly. But where is the outcry and condemnation from theWomen’s Rights movements of such heinous mediaeval crime committed on women young and old by Hamas men. Their aims after all, is the protection of females from sexual harassment and abuse. I have seen none; I have heard nothing and I have not read anything. Not from the #MeToo movement, not from Women’s Rights groups and not from the UN Women which has one of its motoes “the elimination of rape and abuse of women”. According to UN Women this kind of violence is often considered as hate crime committed against women or girls specifically because they are females. Once again deafening silence.
United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2005–2009), was concerned over the security of women and girls in situations of conflict. She argued that rape was a hate crime that could never be condoned; yet, I have watched with disbelief that young women at American campuses ignore the heinous barbaric acts of mass rape and physical abuse in order to support Hamas. It appears that it is acceptable to rape women and girls and commit the most horrible bodily crimes because it happened in Israel. The fact is that all rapes are repugnant and morally corrupt and need to be called out. To paraphrase the Geneva Convention “women shall be especially protected from rape”. Does that not apply to females in Israel?
Queen Rania of Jordan, who barely condemned the brutal rapes, argues that there is “glaring double standard” in how the world treats Palestinians. I would suggest that there is a glaring double standard in the way the world and particularly Women’s Rights groups are treating the brutal mass rape, abuse and murder of Israeli women and girls. No reproof, no protests, no condemnation, no demand for punishment, no moral outrage – just a deadly silence. My question is why?