The real reason Israeli soldiers don’t rape Palestinian women

We take a break for a rare political post. (Update: Link now included.)

Update: Israel Satire Laboratory‘s take on it–it’s almost too easy.

The newspaper Makor Rishon writes about a recent study by researcher Tal Nitzan and published by the Hebrew University’s Shein Center for Social Studies. According to the study, the reason Israeli soldiers refrain from raping Palestinian women in the occupied territories is not because the soldiers are more humane. In fact the opposite is true–Nitzan claims Israeli soldiers don’t rape because they have been taught to dehumanize Palestinian women. Nitzan also maintains that soldiers don’t want the Arab population to increase through pregnancies as a result; according to Nitzan that would be considered an ason leumi–a national tragedy.

The Israeli Sociology Association awarded the report a mark of excellence.

Here’s a quote from the study:

As Israelis/Jews, who view themselves as moral, the soldiers find it difficult to commit military rapes. It seems that (in Bosnia) men identified themselves as Serbians through committing public group rapes of Bosnian women; Jews identify themselves as non-rapists, non-assimilationists, as a nation unique in the embrace of God. Rape and non-rape are two sides of the same coin, and in different situations the use of either can lead to the same results. [emphasis and translation mine]

Nitzan notes that the Israeli army is the only one not to commit mass rapes when it occupies another country.

Somehow I doubt that Nitzan would praise Israeli soldiers if they were in the habit of raping Palestinian women.

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Comments

  1. Mother in Israel, Yes. I understand. You disagree. You have a different perspective, given that you are closer to the situation. I am seeing from a distance, and so my judgment may seem intemperate.
    So, I am at a loss for one word to describe it. I know I am not saying Genocide with a capital G, as one does not necessarily mean THE Holocaust, when using the word holocaust. That is, a genocide need not mean six million dead, nor need to use methods and intents for killing and eradication as ghoulishly atrocious as those used by the German Nazis, for the word genocide to apply. It could be a sudden displacement, where people are forced off their land, and their homes bulldozed to make way for settlements; or it could be passive, or determinedly incremental over time, where it becomes impossible for people to make a living, or to take their babies to the hospital, or to find food and water; or move freely from place to place, or to be free of harassment, or be safe in their homes and neighborhoods, absent a hostile, military presence; or to have a home that is something other than a refugee camp ?to be free of the thousand and one indignities and humiliations that their second-class status inflicts upon them? but most of all to stay alive, not to be ?extra-judicially executed? by soldiers.
    I don?t mean to be rude, but, I have to wait until six million are starving or dead, before I can call it genocide?
    Whatever we call it, it seems to me those policies can never bring peace and security to the region, just as America?s war on Iraq is a crime against humanity ?a useless, illegal (and fraudulent) response to 9-11? and will only create more desperation, more desire for revenge. Perhaps a better word is folly.
    None of this is meant to accuse you, personally, of anything. And I realize it’s a complex subject.
    With respect,
    ?L?eau
    http://www.thomasinapaine.blogspot.com

  2. Mother in Israel, Yes. I understand. You disagree. You have a different perspective, given that you are closer to the situation. I am seeing from a distance, and so my judgment may seem intemperate.
    So, I am at a loss for one word to describe it. I know I am not saying Genocide with a capital G, as one does not necessarily mean THE Holocaust, when using the word holocaust. That is, a genocide need not mean six million dead, nor need to use methods and intents for killing and eradication as ghoulishly atrocious as those used by the German Nazis, for the word genocide to apply. It could be a sudden displacement, where people are forced off their land, and their homes bulldozed to make way for settlements; or it could be passive, or determinedly incremental over time, where it becomes impossible for people to make a living, or to take their babies to the hospital, or to find food and water; or move freely from place to place, or to be free of harassment, or be safe in their homes and neighborhoods, absent a hostile, military presence; or to have a home that is something other than a refugee camp ?to be free of the thousand and one indignities and humiliations that their second-class status inflicts upon them? but most of all to stay alive, not to be ?extra-judicially executed? by soldiers.
    I don?t mean to be rude, but, I have to wait until six million are starving or dead, before I can call it genocide?
    Whatever we call it, it seems to me those policies can never bring peace and security to the region, just as America?s war on Iraq is a crime against humanity ?a useless, illegal (and fraudulent) response to 9-11? and will only create more desperation, more desire for revenge. Perhaps a better word is folly.
    None of this is meant to accuse you, personally, of anything. And I realize it’s a complex subject.
    With respect,
    ?L?eau
    http://www.thomasinapaine.blogspot.com

  3. I know I’m coming late to the party, but I want to add my agreement with L’eau and you in saying how ridiculous I think this study is. Rape *is* a dehumanizing experience, and Nitzan’s research only reminds me that people don’t really understand rape. It’s not about sex or attraction. It’s about subjugation and conquest. It’s been a while since I’ve read “Against Our Will,” but from what I remember rape by soldiers is pretty inevitable and also rarely reported. Is it possible that Nitzan’s premise isn’t true to begin with? Even under the best of circumstances (ie, not war), rape is underreported. And do you think one would be more or less likely to report her rape if she comes from a culture where women are most valued for their purity? (See Virginius killing his daughter or Titus Andronicus from Shakespeare killing his daughter.) Or it is possible that there is some other factor (better command over troops or a more egalitarian drafting policy, just naming some factors off the top of my head) that may affect the statistics? Or, as someone here previously said, that the Israeli army is not invading or occupying but engaging in border control? There are too many factors and it just plain ignores the reality of rape to say that it’s not done because of dehumanizing racism.
    Further, and not trying to derail the topic, but what’s interesting is that the UN definition of genocide is broader than just killing. The prima nocta type of rape can also be a form of genocide under the UN definition (ie, it could possibly be considered “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”). Therefore, Nitzan’s conclusion that women are not raped in an attempt to limit births (stupid enough as it is) could even be considered genocide. But that is besides the point and has already been discussed by someone above.

  4. It is a good idea to go to the UN’s website and find the definition of genocide, which Emily apparently has done.
    Big subjects. I?m not sure I can muster the energy anymore. After all, I sweat the small stuff too, so it gets a little exhausting. Still, I wish somebody would explain how human rights violations against Palestinians are rationalized among the Israeli population. Forgive me?I don?t get it. How do Israelis not comprehend that bulldozing somebody?s house is annoying (to put it mildly) to the inhabitants of the house and will engender a desire to retaliate? (to say nothing of the siege of Gaza) What allows the denial of conscience there?
    I am not a religious person, so the notion of ?manifest destiny? on religious grounds ?that is, settling a region and violently removing the residents there, with the justification for the land grab being that the land was promised in ?sacred? texts to ?God?s Chosen People?(though I admit my ignorance on this point, these words)? is unconvincing. It makes no sense at all to me (as suicide bombings make no sense, except as manifestations of despair and rage). Not that, now that Israel is a fact, I think it should not exist. It?s just that I sincerely wish Israelis to have peace, and be safe, but somebody has to say Wait a minute…this isn?t working…
    ?L’eau
    http://www.thomasinapaine.blogspot.com

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