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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lack of Organized Military Rape in IDF: a Political Goal?

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

I found what may be the most astonishing statement I've ever read in print. It was so dumbfounding that I visited around the blogs to see if there were reactions up in print. I did find some and I'll link them at the end.

From Israel National News:
Hebrew U. Paper Finds: IDF Has Political Motives for Not Raping

A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers' committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.

I'm not capable of analyzing this, so I'll bullet-point a few things for you to ponder. Keep in mind this a paper written by an Israeli doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University.
...the paper shows that "the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."
Is the following saying that Israeli's think Arab women are less than human?
The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers' eyes.
Is expanding the Arab population the fear that restrained the IDF soldiers?
[The paper did]...give much space to the explanation that the Israeli soldiers refrained from rape out of demographic considerations. She explained at length how fearful the Jewish population is of the growing Arab population, and how in cases of wartime rape, the baby is generally assumed to be of the mother's nationality.
The article says that the paper's author, Tai Nitzan, "did not consider Jewish tradition as an explanation,..." Does this mean that no credence was given to the fact that the soldiers may have grown up in homes that gave them a moral compass? Scriptures that condemn it,...a military that condemns it? That you may face court martial if you rape, ...the disgust of your family and friends, and worse?

This was a doctoral paper, so I guess Nitzan seized on an intriguing fact...fewer rapes in the IDF, then worked it in academia, and scored - and of course, academia would love this.

A Mom in Israel quotes The Israeli Sociology Association, who awarded the Hebrew University "report a mark of excellence:"
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, which in different situations the use of either one can lead to the same results. [emphasis and translation A Mom in Israel]
I mentioned another blogger talking about this Hebrew University paper. Madgeburger Joe, who is far more qualified than I to talk about the IDF, Israeli politics, and wars and Israel's tendency toward self-flagellation, says Nitzan came up "with a novel way of proving the racism of Israeli soldiers." Read more at Madgeburger Joe.

And then there's this from Israeli Satire Lab - a must read:
Nitzan says that the most difficult thing in the research was hearing firsthand about the horrifying experiences of the poor Arab woman who did not get raped, "The pain, the suffering and the sheer degradation of this experience is hard to believe," said Ntzan, "For most Arab women, the scars of not being raped will never heal – this is just one more appalling by-product of the occupation.