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Saturday, September 18, 2010

How Charges of Rape in Israel Result in International Claims of Racism

Just prior to the onset of Yom Kippur, the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz published in English a lengthy article, written by Lital Grossman, entitled "From rape to racism: How and why did charges change against Arab man" (http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/from-rape-to-racism-how-and-why-did-charges-change-against-arab-man-1.314319). As reported by Haaretz in an earlier article written in July by Tomer Zarchin (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/jurists-say-arab-s-rape-conviction-sets-dangerous-precedent-1.303109), a Palestinian named Kashur had been arrested and sentenced to prison for posing as a Jew and thereby gaining a Jewish woman's consent to sex. However, as acknowledged by Lital Grossman's new article, the circumstances surrounding the incident are no longer so simple, and "the real victim" was the complainant, who was left naked in a stairwell, bleeding from her vagina.

The woman's identity and testimony have been under a gag order, but as now reported in Lital Grossman's article, "B." was sexually abused by her father since the age of 6 and as a teenager used drugs and engaged in prostitution. After again being sexually assaulted by her father, B. was living in a shelter, and from there Grossman's article reports:

"On the morning of September 3, 2008, B. went, together with the shelter's director, a social worker and a friend who also was staying at the shelter, to a meeting at Galgal, a drop-in center for homeless youth. After the meeting, B.'s three companions headed somewhere else, without her. B. relates in her testimony, 'I walked toward Zion Square, and then I sat down . . . on some rocks next to a tree, and listened to my MP4.'

Then, a man she didn't know [Kashur] pulled up next to her on a moped, she relates.

. . . .

Kashur invited B. to see what he claimed was his workplace, at 13 Ben Hillel Street, she says. The two stood outside the building for a few minutes. 'He said that he wanted to invite me inside for a cup of coffee, and show me his place of work,' B. relates.

. . . .

As soon as they entered the building, B. claims, Kashur started to force himself upon her.

. . . .

B. says Kashur showed no restraint. 'He lifted up my shirt and bra and he kissed my body,' she says. At this point, an unknown blonde woman entered the stairwell, and Kashur stopped, B. says. He decided to move from the stairwell to the elevator.

. . . .

When they got off the elevator at the building's top floor, B. claims, Kashur led her to the stairwell to the roof. There, she states, he raped her. 'He took my pants and underpants off,' B. says. 'All this happened by force' . . . he said that if I kept quiet and stopped trying to resist him, it would be over more quickly, and he wouldn't, like, use force. But I resisted, and it happened by force.'

. . . .

According to B.'s testimony, Kashur remained on top of her for some time, and then got up and walked away, leaving her naked ('He just disappeared and took my MP4,' B. testifies, 'and I want him to return it because it's with him in his house'). Alone in the stairwell, B. started to cry.

. . . .

Later, a Magen David Adom team showed up. B. states that she was later checked at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, which documented scratches on her body. The prosecution's files contains photographs of her wounds.

. . . .

The main factor motivating the prosecution's decision to strike a plea bargain was the desire to spare B. the trauma of taking the witness stand a second time, which would have been necessary had the case continued in court."

The original story of a Palestinian imprisoned for obtaining sex with an Israeli woman by lying about his religion, quickly gained international notoriety, and was flaunted as an example of Israeli racism. Among those who picked up the story was Robert Mackey, who wrote an item dated July 21 concerning the matter for his New York Times news blog "The Lede", entitled "Israeli Court Calls Lying for Sex Rape" (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/israeli-court-calls-lying-for-sex-rape/), which made no mention of the fact that B. had been left naked and bleeding in a stairwell or that the verdict was the result of a plea bargain. As reported by Mackey:

"A married Arab man who lied to a Jewish woman to get her to sleep with him — telling her that he was a single Jew interested in a long-term relationship — was convicted of rape in a Jerusalem court on Tuesday for the consensual sex the couple engaged in two years ago.

As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, the man, Sabbar Kashur, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Jerusalem District Court for 'rape by deception.' The newspaper explained:

According to the indictment, Kashur met the complainant in September 2008 in downtown Jerusalem, presenting himself as a Jewish bachelor looking for a serious romantic relationship. The couple then went to a nearby building and had sex, after which Kashur left the building without waiting for the woman to get dressed.

When the woman found Kashur was not a Jew but an Arab, she filed a complaint that resulted in charges of rape and indecent assault.

. . . .

After the verdict Mr. Kashur, who is 30, said, 'If I were Jewish they wouldn’t have even questioned me. That’s not called rape. I didn’t rape her in the forest and throw her away naked. She agreed to everything that happened.'”

Needless to say, Mackey's item resulted in a torrent of readers' comments alleging Israeli racism.

I have never met Mackey, but I presume that he does not speak Hebrew or Arabic and that the primary basis for his "news blog" was the initial Haaretz article by Tomer Zarchin.

It is for The New York Times to decide whether to feature opinions which rely upon the writing of other journalists. However, without a doubt, an apology and retraction are due from Robert Mackey for his "Israeli Court Calls Lying for Sex Rape" column.

2 comments:

  1. Only 18 months in prison for rape?
    And nothing to her father?
    This is not fair.
    Poor, poor girl.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Robert Mackey is so biassed that I no longer can bear to read his Lede - a form of journalistic bullying harrassment that should have had him fired a long time ago.

    Thank you JG for truthtelling bravery.

    All I can do is convert from the NYT to the WSJ. And vote for every candidate that the NYT does NOT endorse!

    K2K

    ReplyDelete