Don’t mention the rapes

Natalia Mehlman Petrzela points out a certain gap in the discussion of October 7.

Many feminist organizations rushed to express support for the Palestinian cause while eliding the plight of Israeli victims. The organization UN Women issued a four-page report last month exclusively addressing the impact of the war on women and girls in Gaza but made only a brief condemnation of the Oct. 7 attack that made no mention of the sexual violence that had been reported. A group of prominent scholars circulated a letter under the title “Feminists for a Free Palestine,” without explicitly condemning the sexual violence against Israeli women.

So some women deserve it? War crimes are not war crimes if you hate the victims? If that’s the case then there are no war crimes. because there are always plenty of people who hate the victims. That’s how wars work.

College campus groups have furnished other examples, such as the women’s students’ groups at Harvard that signed on to a letter holding Israel entirely responsible for the Oct. 7 attacks or the (now-former) director of the University of Alberta’s Sexual Assault Center’s signing on to a letter doubting the veracity of accounts of Israeli rape survivors.

Good to know the director is now former.

Even the office on my own campus that is devoted to helping students “lead social-justice centered lives” issued thousands of words in solidarity with the Palestinians and did not once acknowledge the sexual violence (or murder or abduction) perpetrated by Hamas. 

Hamas is not our friend. Hamas is not benign or benevolent. Hamas is not “progressive.”

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