BY PETER HARRIS
The massacre of the innocents that occurred in Southern Israel on 7 October has, like a flare sent up, exposed nefarious attitudes that otherwise would have remained hidden behind a façade of right-on self-righteousness. The anti-Israel bias of the BBC, the anti-Semitism of many university academics and the rabid jihadism of a number of UK born and immigrant Muslims have been thrown into grisly relief. Perhaps many of us already knew of these attitudes, but have never appreciated just how depraved they are until now.
What has also been made manifest is the spinelessness of the Metropolitan Police who have found excuses not to arrest those chanting for Israel’s extinction in London’s recent pro-Palestinian marches, but who with gusto arrest Christian street preachers and silent intercessors near abortion clinics and threaten a small group of men carrying a Union Jack with arrest on the presumption that they are racists.
It was not that Hamas failed to give these feminist groups abundant evidence of their murderous misogyny. Within hours, the jihadis had posted images and recordings of their victims that included abducted, raped, killed and mutilated women for the world to see. The ease with which Hamas’ maniacs tortured and dispatched these women is the climactic conclusion of Hamas’ general revilement of women. For instance, Gazan women are not protected from physical and sexual abuse by male relatives. If there were an international prize for violence against females, Hamas would deservedly win it by a country mile.
What have been the responses of the anti-VAWG feminists? Some have kept silent while others have disbelieved the victims and have intimated that the victims were to blame. In other words, they have done exactly as they have accused the West’s supposed patriarchy of doing when faced with women’s complaints of male sexual violence. Now, that really is quite something and it needs explanation.
It seems to have something to do with what has been called colonial feminism, a term put into circulation recently by a group of 140 American feminists. In other words, to express support for Israeli Jewish women, even when they have been subjected to superlatively gross treatment, is to be guilty of succouring colonising oppressors, for Israel, by merely existing, has colonised Palestinian land. Not only is this a psychopathically depraved attitude, it is spectacularly ignorant, for there were women of a number of nationalities among the victims of Hamas.
Opposition to colonial feminism has taken root in the UK. Sisters Uncut, a charity that works to combat domestic violence, has issued a 600-word statement that asserts that Israel is a genocidal, apartheid state and is responsible for the bombing of Gaza’s Al-Ahli hospital. When challenged by the journalist Hadley Freeman that their failure to condemn Hamas’ violence against Israeli women was rather un-feminist of them, they denounced accusations against Hamas as “Islamophobic” and a “racist weaponisation of sexual violence”. Moreover, they argued that Hamas are freedom fighters who have the right to defend their people against Israel’s ethnic cleansing strategy.
Another anti-VAWG group that goes by the name of Southall Black Sisters blamed the atrocities on “the Israeli government’s declaration of war on Gaza.” Women for Women UK, whose charitable concern is women survivors of war, is raising money only for Palestinian women. Women’s Place UK, which has campaigned against transgender women entering women-only spaces, has taken a Corbynite approach: it has called for a cessation of violence on both sides without referring to Hamas’ femicide.
It is therefore no surprise that the only anti-VAWG charity in the UK to denounce Hamas’s sexual violence is Jewish Women’s Aid who themselves are not surprised that they are the only ones. According to one British Jewish anti-VAWG activist, the British charity sector has imbibed the view that as Jews are all white (no they are not: think of Ethiopian Jews), so they cannot experience racism.
What is to be done?
Well, we all know that money speaks the loudest, particularly where charities are concerned. Those who donate to charities such as Sisters Uncut need to demand they change their attitudes, otherwise direct debits will be cancelled with immediate effect. If there is no change in attitude, and it is a safe bet that there will not be, then all who care for the safety of women, whatever their nationality and ethnicity, must establish charities that reflect this value. It cannot be in Britain, or anywhere else that calls itself civilised, that such disdain for the plight of Israel’s women continues to flourish. Indeed, it is a shame too great to bear.
Peter Harris is the author of two books, The Rage Against the Light: Why Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong (2019) and Do You Believe It? A Guide to a Reasonable Christian Faith (2020).