Western feminists largely ignore gender-based violence (rape and mutilation) inflicted by Hamas on Israeli and foreign women

November 19, 2023 • 9:30 am
One of the great puzzles of activism among “progressive” American youth is the support from feminists and LGBTQ people for Muslim countries, including, in this moment, Palestine. Palestine will not tolerate gays (same sex-relations is a criminal act), and a common punishment is to heave gays to their deaths off of rooftops, behead them, or kill them in other ways.

As for women, even the United Nations has condemned the oppression of women in Palestine:

Women and girls in Palestine continue to experience various forms of violence due to the entrenched discriminatory social norms and traditions, and the prolonged Israeli occupation. The most common types of violence against women observed in Palestine include domestic violence, sexual harassment, early marriage and femicide, as well as public and private spheres including streets, workplaces, homes and high-density areas such as refugee camps, particularly in Gaza. The outdated and discriminatory laws in Palestine hinder survivors of violence from accessing gender-responsive services and obtaining justice. In addition, survivors of violence often face social stigma, and are blamed as responsible for the violence occurred to them.

Notice how they blame this partly on Israel, despite the fact that similar violence is seen in other Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, where it can’t be blamed on Israel. (Note that two of those links go to UN reports!) In general, women are second class citizens in Muslim society, and nobody with neurons doubts this.

Nevertheless, we see stuff like this, which can only be described as cognitive dissonance, or, less charitably, hypocrisy:

. . . and this:

Of course women become fifth-class citizens if they’re Israeli, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The decision of LGBTQ people and feminists to support Muslim societies—societies where they’d never want to live, for many of them would be killed because of their sexual orientation—is an example of MacPherson’s Law, confected by one of our readers. According to Diana, if progressives must choose between conflicting causes to support, and one of them is women’s rights, the women’s rights lose. (By “causes”, I mean “supporting a group deemed to be oppressed.”) I’ll add a corollary: if progressives have to choose between two conflicting causes, and one of them is LGBTQ rights, those rights also lose.

The article below from Unherd, by Nicole Lampert. shows how Western feminists have largely ignored not only the oppression of women in Muslim countries, but the sexual violence inflicted on women by Hamas on October 7. Click the headline to read.

I’ll give an excerpt:

After Hamas terrorists set about murdering, raping and abducting as many women as they could, one might have expected widespread condemnation from the West’s feminist groups. After all, Hamas had provided enough evidence of its crimes — within hours, they were posting footage of abducted young women in bloodied trousers being paraded around Gaza. Even beforehand, its feminist credentials were hardly glowing: it mandates the hijab, has made it illegal to travel without a male guardian, and refused to ban physical or sexual abuse within the family.

The response among the majority of groups committed to ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) was threefold: to keep quiet, to disbelieve the victims, or to insinuate they deserved their fate. In the words of 140 American “prominent feminist scholars”, to stand in solidarity with Israeli women is to give in to “colonial feminism”.

Here in the UK, this approach is perhaps best embodied in the work of Sisters Uncut, a charity that boasts its own “Feministo” committed to “taking direct action for domestic violence services”. Until this month, the activists’ work has generally taken the form of media-savvy stunts: dyeing the water of Trafalgar Square’s fountains red, setting off rape alarms outside police stations, occupying the roofs of council buildings. Yet all paled in comparison to the demonstration it organised earlier this month: a call for Israel to put down its weapons that ultimately shut down London’s Liverpool Street Station.

Afterwards, the charity issued a 600-word statement, filled with references to “apartheid”, “genocide” and disproved reports that the IDF had bombed Gaza’s Al-Ahli hospital. There was no mention, however, of the 239 abducted Israelis, roughly 100 of whom are believed to be women, or the sexual assaults that took place on October 7. When journalist Hadley Freeman pointed out this wasn’t terribly feminist of them, the group responded by claiming reports of Hamas’s sex attacks amounted to “the Islamophobic and racist weaponisation of sexual violence”. Towards the end of their rambling statement, they concluded: “no people would ever accept being murdered, humiliated, dispossessed, racially targeted, oppressed, cleansed, exiled and colonised without resisting.”

That’s reminiscent of how antisemites blame the Holocaust on the submission of Jews. “Why didn’t they resist?”, they ask.  “Had they fought back when the Nazis came to take them, there would have been no Holocaust.”

The article continues:

Other feminist groups fell into a similar victim-blaming step. Southall Black Sisters, another charity committed to ending violence against women, did at least mourn the loss of life on both sides, but blamed it on “the Israeli government’s declaration of war on Gaza”. Elsewhere, Women for Women UK, which specialises in helping “women survivors of war” and calls itself a “non-partisan organisation”, has decided to raise money only for Palestinian women. Even Women’s Place UK, once viewed as an outlier for its brave campaigning for women-only spaces, decided to call for an “immediate ceasefire” without mentioning sexual violence.

In a similar vein, Claire Waxman, London’s first Victims’ Commissioner, wrote to Reem Alsalem, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls, to ask why the organisation has stayed silent. In response, Waxman tells me, Alsalem claimed the evidence was “not solid” enough to warrant a statement. An incredulous Waxman points out that November 25 is the UN’s International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls: “How can we talk about eliminating violence against women and girls if we are tacitly saying it’s acceptable to rape Jewish ones?”

Alsalem, of course, is willfully blind: the rapes and sexual violence against the victims of Hamas has been amply documented, even on film!  The fight against Hamas’s violence directed against women, then, has been largely led by Israeli groups:

To remedy this, Israeli feminists this week launched #MeToo_Unless_Ur_A_Jew, a campaign calling for the UN Women group to focus on the gender-based violence against Israeli women. “The UN Women is turning a blind eye to Hamas’s vicious war crimes by remaining silent,” they said.

But all this is nothing new, except that turning a blind eye to women who are raped and mutilated by Islamists now involves ignoring Israeli as well as Muslim women. And even the UN imputes some violence against women in Palestine to Israel. As you see above, “Women and girls in Palestine continue to experience various forms of violence due to the entrenched discriminatory social norms and traditions, and the prolonged Israeli occupation.”  There are control countries, you know. . . .

I’ve always thought that there’s no substitute for actually seeing violence if you want to absorb its horrors, and that’s why the IDF showed to journalists extended videos filmed by terrorists themselves on October 7. The reaction was universal: it sickened the viewers.

The next closest thing is hearing graphic descriptions of the violence, as in the video below. I suggest that the video, a panel discussion on “The unspeakable terror: gender-based violence on October 7”, sponsored by the Maimonedes Society, the Harvard Jewish Law Students Association, and the Harvard Business School Jewish Students Association, should be required viewing for feminists who support Muslim societies.

Here is the constitution of the group (I apologize for the low quality of the print, as this is taken from a screenshot):

And here is the panel discussion (95 minutes total), which describes the sexual brutality inflicted by Hamas, its legal ramifications (including war crimes), the trauma inflicted on survivors of  sexual violence, the treatment of survivors,  and how to draw global attention to the situation.

But today I want to call attention to just one 13-minute segment of the panel, that from 14:06 to 26:55. It’s presented by Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy, Chair of the Civil Commission on Oct 7th Crimes by Hamas against Women & Children. She is at Penn, where she’s described as “an expert on international law, human rights law, constitutional and administrative law, global governance, religion & state matters, global sustainable development and feminist theories.”

Here Elkayam-Levy simply describes what Hamas did to Israeli women—and some foreign women—on October 7. This is very strong stuff, and she can barely keep herself together as she describes it. So it’s mandatory for me to issue a TRIGGER WARNING here: if you can’t bear to hear graphic descriptions of sexual violence to women (those descriptions begin at 17:05), violence so strong that acts of rape broke women’s pelvises, then skip it.

This is nothing other than brutality enacted on women because they were women, not just Israelis.  And that comes from the tenets of Islam that have been incorporated in many Muslim societies. Remember too that both the live and dead women paraded around Gaza after the attack were cheered not just by Hamas, but by Palestinian citizens.  Then ask yourself if the Israeli military has enacted things like this, and calibrate your moral compass.

h/t: Jez

35 thoughts on “Western feminists largely ignore gender-based violence (rape and mutilation) inflicted by Hamas on Israeli and foreign women

  1. That’s reminiscent of how antisemites blame the Holocaust on the submission of Jews. “Why didn’t they resist?”, they ask. “Had they fought back when the Nazis came to take them, there would have been no Holocaust.”

    Indeed! In fact, on this day in 1943 the Nazis liquidated the Janowska concentration camp in Lemberg (Lviv), western Ukraine, murdering at least 6,000 Jews after a failed uprising and mass escape attempt. So the canard that the Jews didn’t resist is utterly contemptible.

    (I included the event in my ‘On This Day’ list below today’s Hili, but I’ve tried to post it twice but it still hasn’t appeared – perhaps it was too long, in which case I offer my sincere apologies.)

  2. Reem Alsalem, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls, has been excellent at supporting women’s rights from gender identity ideology – unlike the despicable Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (UN IE SOGI).

    It is so disappointing to see Alsalem’s response to the undeniable rape, kidnap, and murder of women by Hamas.

  3. The scope of the hypocrisy and the betrayal is staggering. The next generation of feminist groups can’t arrive too soon. This one has drowned its integrity in extremist Koolaid.

  4. Hegel’s dialectic is part of the answer to the riddle – which directly implicates Marxism – especially with radical feminism.

    I must say I am only a spectator to the argumentation on eXtwitter in which James “Conspiracy Theorist” Lindsay got suspended and then reinstated because radical feminists didn’t like the gnosticism being pointed out in their literature – which is where Hegel comes in.

    So – that literature is worth some examination, starting with Simone “One is not born a woman ; rather, one becomes a woman” De Beauvoir.

  5. The Unspeakable Terror…The stories of rape and murder on Oct 7 was just horrible. It is no wonder Israel is perusing Hamas with such vigor. I am reminded of the attacks by the Mongols many centuries ago when such atrocities were considered standard warfare. We have not come far as a human civilization unless these crimes are held to account.

    1. My alma mater and my home town. The UofA president Bill Flanagan has done his best to scrub the stain out by condemning the rapes by Hamas, and by firing that little turd Sam Pearson.

      I would have supported Pearson signing that odious letter if she had done so as a citizen, but she signed as the leader of the campus sexual assault centre on behalf of everyone else at the university. It’s a sign of the extraordinary narcissism and self-importance of these people: they really think they *are* the university.

  6. It’s not surprising. Progressive ideology is ultimately anti-Capitalist, which means anti-Western, so any group which lines up against the West is given a pass on everything.

    1. You nailed it. The core of the “progressive” beliefs is hate to civilization, and an obsessive wish to destroy it. “Progressives” support the “oppressed” only because the latter are seen as grave-diggers of the civilization.

    2. I agree but want to note – in a general way (I don’t have specific quotes/excerpts handy):

      Big picture is : “capitalism” is an idea that Marx put forth as a straw man for free market economies.

      Marxists reliably point to “capitalism”, and people like me sorta thought “right, that” without much thought until recently. I am not an economist and I heard it on James Lindsay’s 10-minute podcast from this year but it appears correct. Adam Smith, I think, is one writer at the origin of the free market economy literature.

      The next fallback Marxists might use after that might be “imperialism”, but that’s another issue.

    3. Absolutely. The thing that binds all of these groups is Marxism. And when there is any conflict between their gateway ideology, be it feminism or extreme environmentalism, or whatever, Marxism always takes priority.
      That is intended. Some people become Marxists out of utopianism or class envy, but lots of them start out as feminists or whatever. The sales pitch often contains the phrase “Women’s equality will be assured once full socialism is implemented”. They reuse the claim for all sorts of causes, with the same cynicism that advertising agencies do when they try to associate their product with whatever fad the focus groups tell them the kids are interested in these days.

      We arrived at the Texas ranch today, after too much driving. Near Dallas, we saw a convoy of Hamas supporters trying to shut down a freeway, but in the lane opposite us. I knew this crap was going on, but seeing them in person really ticked me off. My wife suggested half jokingly that I could probably take a bunch of them out if I stopped the RV and got one of the rifles out of the back.
      We may not be technically at war with them, but I have been in a position where our rules of engagement would have permitted firing on them under certain conditions. That was “over there”, but seeing them here has not softened my feelings a bit. The opposite really. It makes sense that if they support raping and burning alive young women over there, then they support doing the same here.

  7. Usual idiots, is all.
    The MacPherson law is very useful! I was thinking that the corollary could be modified, for surely it is more complicated, but now I think it is pretty air tight.

  8. Maybe feminists are concerned only about date rape and workplace harassment because they actually have the power to ruin the lives of those male oppressors, all by their little oppressed selves. It’s all about complicated word play obsessed with consent. (Did non-affirmation of consent at the last second amount legally to withdrawal of consent?) Rape of Jewish women in war by gangs of armed oppressed men is another matter. It has to be fought by rough, oppressing Jewish men with guns, not by HR lawyers in power suits, so let’s pretend that it never happened. And there are no women to say “Me Too!” because they are conveniently dead.

    1. There are of course feminists horrified by what happened to the Jewish women and to women in general during war — some of them are seen in the video. Large groups, whether they be liberal, conservative, atheist, religious, feminist, or traditionalist, often split when a controversial matter comes up. I’m tempted to forget this when it’s not my own group, but am all too aware when it is.

  9. I suspect that because the USA supports Israel the more extreme Left automatically supports the other side, i.e. HAMAS. No more thought is required for a visceral reaction against The Man (how Sixties) – partly because the reaction is a luxury belief which can safely be dabbled with as it is happening far, far, away.

      1. As matter of fact, even I cannot believe that anyone can be that stupid; these types of things HAVE to be put up and paid for jobs supported by some anti Israel/ antisemitic instigators. Nobody can be so stupid.

    1. Which makes Inner School manipulation easy.

      The Queer identity is a ruse. The audience reaction is the activists’ real action.

      Dialectical political warfare.

      1. Yes!

        “Palestinians are viewed only as helpless, reactive victims rather than people who generate ideas and actions for which they can be held accountable.”

        Palestinians could also be viewed as people who achieve greatness for which they can deserve praise and admiration. If only they would stop trying to get their own children killed by sending rockets toward Israel. But western leftists don’t seem to think Palestinians can aim any higher than that.

        1. Right, but I meant the Queer Family seem to conjure low expectations for themselves – to wit, Norman Gilinsky above used the adjective “stupid” (my impression as well)… so it is as if we are meant to hold them unaccountable in some strange way…

          Easier to say put loud than type.

  10. Pointing out the logical contradictions does no good. After all, Aristotle was an old white man, the propositional calculus is part (like everything in STEM) of systemic white colonialist oppression , and Judith Butler told the class that Hamas is “Progressive”.

  11. “The ideological discourse of the identitarian left has indeed produced numerous cases of a cognitive dissonance. For example, for the sake of cultural tolerance of the non-Western “others,” they could see no problem in denying gender equality and emancipation for Muslim women, while simultaneously advocating the same rights for their Euro-American sisters. As applied to real life, such “tolerant” attitude has in fact cultivated the most hideous aspects of patriarchic culture.”

    (Znamenski, Andrei. /Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History./ Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2021. p. 370)

  12. I just watched the panel discussion, which was both graphic and telling. The silence of women’s rights organizations around the world, including (and perhaps especially) those affiliated with the United Nations, is deafening. One of the panelists asked whether international law really applies to Israeli women. The answer, apparently, is no. They do not.

    I am yet again reminded that the Jews are alone in the world.

  13. I gotta just also make a reminder note and hopefully be off :

    I think every reader here knows, but it’s worth noting : Queer has nothing whatsoever to do with LGB.

    See Emily Drabinski’s paper Queering the Catalog, or Gayle Rubin’s Thinking Sex for instance.

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