Misogyny and cultural “norms” subjugating women are widespread in much of the Islamic world. These include female genital mutilation, forced marriages, persecuting women for not dressing according to strict Islamic standards, “honor killings” and much more.
The worse weapon in Hamas’ inhuman massacre of over 1,200 people in Israel on Oct. 7 was the raping of Israeli women in the process. It’s been described as a sexual pogrom.
Adding insult to injury, groups and people that should be advocating for women’s rights and under any other circumstance would be calling out such criminal behavior have turned a blind eye to the forensic evidence, eyewitness accounts and confessions of Hamas terrorists as if the victims and sexual crimes didn’t matter just because they are Jews. The evidence is clear. Medical examiners have reported that some of the rapes were so violent that the women’s pelvises were crushed.
A growing chorus has condemned ignoring these crimes, some even denying that they happened, using the hashtag, #Metoo_unless_UR_A_Jew.
If the crimes happened to anyone else in the world, women’s groups, human rights organizations, the UN and others would be decrying it. But the silence to these crimes that depict a depraved pattern of sexual violence used by the terrorists against their victims is criminal in and of itself.
If Hamas’ goal was to murder as many as possible, how did the terrorists allow themselves to stop for a gang rape? How is rape in any way part of any “resistance” that Hamas claims and the Islamic world celebrates? How did those fighting for the “resistance” ever think this was acceptable? The answer is simple. It was premeditated. It is inhuman evil at its worst. It’s the marrying of worship of massacring Jews with the overall repression of women. It’s a marriage made in Hell.
This inhuman behavior does not stop at the borders of Gaza. It is at the core of how the Iranian Islamic regime treats women, and which trickles down to other adherents of the “religion of peace.” This is documented widely, including in the book A Love Journey With Godby my friend Marziyeh Amirizadeh. If not for public outcry after her arrest and death sentence for converting to Christianity in Iran, she’d likely have experienced much more of the suffering that many Iranian women whom she knew in prison did, including the raping of virgins before they are executed as executing virgins goes against “Islamic values.”
The threat of raping Jewish women in support of Hamas’ inhuman behaviors also made it to the celebrated halls of Ivy League colleges. Last month, Patrick Dai, a junior at Cornell, was arrested on federal charges of posting threats to “kill or injure another using interstate communications.”
In public online posts, Dai threatened to “shoot up” a campus building targeting Jews, said he would stab or “slit the throat” of Jewish men, and rape or throw off a cliff Jewish women on campus.
Other than the threatening remarks being horrific enough, it’s impossible to imagine how anyone could allegedly advocate for the Palestinians in upstate New York by threatening to rape Jewish women. It’s obscene.
The raping of truth also comes from women who are charged with protecting women from sexual violence. The University of Alberta fired Samantha Pearson the head of the campus sexual assault center who signed an open letter denying Hamas terrorists raped women during the October 7 massacre. The letter censured Israel for repeating “the unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence.”
Naturally, antisemites around the world including women who would never question the allegations of rape by anyone else, are challenging the facts specifically because Israel is sharing these. Fortunately, non-Israelis have witnessed and reported on this reality. After witnessing the gruesome evidence of rape, filmed and broadcast by the terrorists themselves, journalist Jotam Confino wrote he saw, “Two dead women lying on the grass at musical festival — both with no pants on. One has her panties taken half off. The other doesn’t appear to have any on at all.”
He saw an “eyewitness describing how she saw a woman being raped by several Hamas terrorists, pulling her hair as they raped her and took turns. One of them cut her breasts off — the others played with them like a toy. The last terrorist to rape her shot her in the head and continued to rape her until he finished.”
Most of the most horrific documentation has not been widely released out of respect for the victims, and because this is part of ongoing investigations and likely additional criminal charges. But the terrorists’ confessions alone are abundant.
One terrorist was asked during his interrogation: “And why take the kids and babies?” He replied, “To rape them.” Another terrorist also confirmed that babies were abducted and raped.
These captured terrorists were not acting as “freelancers.” There’s documented evidence of Hamas commanders issuing specific orders to the terrorists who perpetrated the massacres not only to kill and kidnap as many Jews as possible but to rape and sexually mutilate Israeli women.
In any other circumstance where women ranging from babies to the elderly had been the victims of such ferocious and repeated sexual attacks, the #MeToo masses would have swung into full action. But that’s not happening. UN Women which published numerous articles decrying the situation of women in Gaza, has ignored crimes against Israeli women. There has not been any recognition of Israeli women who were burned alive, beheaded, raped, had their breasts cut off, had their babies cut out of their stomachs, or been violently kidnapped.
Rape and sexual assault as a tactic in the context of terrorism and war is a war crime. The Geneva Convention requires “women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor, in particular against rape or any form of indecent assault.” The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that “rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, or any other form of sexual violence” is a crime against humanity.
In numerous previous wars, crimes against women were a cornerstone of international criminal indictments. Based on the silence of the world about these heinous Hamas crimes against women, seems like basic justice and decency are relics of a bygone era.
Jonathan Feldstein is President and CEO of the Genesis 123 Foundation and RunforZion.com