February 14, 2008

Not Raping = Rape ... If You Are an Israeli Soldier

Paper Proves Once Again that Academics Never Outgrow Their Need for Bullshit

Prize Winning Sociology Thesis at Hebrew U.: Lack of Rape Among Israeli Soldiers Achieves Same Aims as Rape

"A Hebrew University Sociology department M.A. thesis entitled "Controlled Occupation: The Lack of Military Rape in the Israeli Palestinian Conflict" notes that the relative absence of instances of rape by Israeli soldiers is an alternate method of achieving the same kind of degradation of Palestinian Arabs that would be achieved through a directed policy of raping Arab women."

Via Barbara Kay on the 'Lack of rape among Israeli soldiers' who notes, "This pinch-me item just crossed my desk and of course I assumed it was a spoof. But I Googled the names of the academics involved and to my astonishment they are real."

More from this steaming clod of manure:

"In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done." -- Heb. U. Paper Finds: IDF Has Political Motives for Not Raping

I look forward to the Olmert government responding forcefully to the revelations of this research and issuing an apology to all unraped Palestinian women for not being raped. He should also note that until Israel can manage to train its soldiers own to the level of Hamas or United Nations troops that, sadly, the not-raping will continue.

** "I have now read the entire thesis (in Hebrew). [You can also, if you read Hebrew] It is not a serious piece of research. It is a disgrace and an embarrassment for all of Israeli academia." --- The complete text of an article by a man who has read the full-text of the Hebrew paper follows:

Thursday, January 3, 2008
Complete Story of “No Rape = Racism” Essay
Author: Steven Plaut in Israel
An abridged version of a longer article about the cover-up scandal at the Hebrew University, with relation to the “Abstaining From Rape of Arabs is Jewish Racism” thesis, came out this evening at the NY Jewish Press under the title Guilty By Reason Of Innocence: New Insanity From Israel’s Academic Leftists By: Steven Plaut and can be read there.

Below is the longer FULL version of the article, which has not yet been published in full length form, but is presented here.


By Steven Plaut

It began as just another exercise in political academic wackiness at the Hebrew University.

A graduate student claimed that the absence of any history of rapes of Arab women by Israeli Jewish soldiers proves that the Jews are racists and oppressors, people who do not even regard Arab women as sexually desirable. Such silliness is commonplace these days in academia, and ordinarily no one would have taken much notice. But the student at the Mount Scopus campus and her “research” were then awarded a university honor for her impressive “discoveries.” That drew media attention.

The matter has now become the worst recent scandal in Israeli academia because of the attempt by the heads of the Hebrew University to cover it up, in a manner a bit reminiscent of the worst days of Watergate. Maybe it should be dubbed Scopusgate. The scandal now rivals the “Toaff Affair” in Israel last year, in which a now-retired professor at Bar-Ilan University published “research” in which he claimed that medieval Jews used gentile blood for ceremonial purposes.

The very highest officials of the Hebrew University are themselves now implicated in a dishonest cover-up! The President of the Hebrew University, Professor Menachem Magidor, and the Rector Prof. Haim D. Rabinowitch jointly issued a deliberately false “spin” announcement regarding the MA thesis of the student, claiming that the media had incorrectly described what was in it. Instead of repudiating the student and her “academic advisors,” Magidor and Rabinowitch closed ranks with them and insisted that Nitzan’s “research” represents serious scholarship. The Nitzan Affair simply shows how completely devoid of serious academic standards and quality controls parts of Israeli academia are today.

Hebrew University apologists tried to defuse the cries of outrage over the “research” by claiming that reports about it were all part of some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy. The first two media reports appeared on web sites, one Hebrew and one English, both associated with those on the Israeli Right. The apologists suggested that these were misrepresenting the thesis for political reasons. Then Magidor and Rabinovitch proclaimed that reading the entire thesis would show that it is a serious piece of scholarship. They obviously did not read it.

Well, I have now read the entire thesis (in Hebrew). [You can also, if you read Hebrew] It is not a serious piece of research. It is a disgrace and an embarrassment for all of Israeli academia. The descriptions of it on the two “rightwing” web sites were entirely accurate, and the heads of the Hebrew University simply lied about its contents, in a pathetic attempt at cover-up. While University apologists dismissed complaints about the thesis as tendentious misrepresentation of it by a vast rightwing conspiracy, the rallying in defense of the thesis by the Hebrew University administration and some professors looks a whole lot like a leftwing conspiracy to cover up.

Tal Nitzan was a graduate student in anthropology at the Hebrew University. Her thesis was supervised by anthropology Professor Eyal Ben Ari and by Dr. Edna Lomsky-Feder, from the Hebrew University’s school of education, a leftist with a history of denouncing Israel for its supposed “militarism.” The thesis was evidently also supported by anthropology Prof. Zali Gurevitch, the head of the Shaine Center (and himself an anti-Israel leftist radical), who defended it to the media and made the decision to award it a prize of honors.

Nitzan’s “thesis” is largely a collection of tiresome feminist rhetoric and postmodernist gibberish, not all of it related to rape. The thesis is 206 pages long and tries to appear scholarly by including many long “citations” taken from the fever swamps of radical anthropology and leftist sociology. One has to wade through it with suppressed nausea to get to its main points, and all of the main points are exactly as they were represented in the early media reports; they are at complete odds with the cover-up attempt by the Hebrew University.

Nitzan begins by noting that one should distinguish between organized military rape directly ordered by authorities as a matter of policy, such as in the Bosnian wars, and individual acts of rape by soldiers, which she labels with the nonsensical term “symptomatic rape.” She calls it that I guess because she wants us to think it is a symptom the “racist Zionist system” that is responsible for such crimes. She asserts that the first kind of rape is a form of political policy, whereas the latter kind (the “symptomatic”) is a “direct result of the blurring of social divisions and ethnic-gender barriers” (bear with me here! — SP). She confirms that the first form of organized rape has never been the policy of the Israeli army. She then says that the second form, individual “symptomatic rape,” has replaced the former as a method of humiliation and oppression of Arabs, even when - and especially when - Israeli Jewish soldiers do not do it at all! Hence, she concludes, NOT raping Arab women shows how racist the Jews are.

Nitzan cannot conceive of any rape that is not in and itself a form of establishing political control and defining political power. “Symptomatic rape” for Nitzan is a reflection of the intolerant distancing of the “dominant” group (Jewish men) from the “oppressed” group (Arab men and women). But she then completely turns this “thought” on its head by arguing that abstaining from rape is just as inhumane and oppressive as “symptomatically raping,” and in fact replaces it, because it just serves to reinforce the intolerant attitudes towards Arabs by Jewish soldiers, who think of Arabs as so inferior and horrid that they do not even feel a drive to rape them. Really. “Absence of rape is explained by the social condition in which there is blurring of attitudes towards gender power relations while at the same time social limits… are unambiguous and solid. (page 183)” While giving some shallow lip service to how the “question” of rape refusal is “very complex,” Nitzan’s own “answer” is quite simple and straightforward. And numbingly stupid.

Rape for Nitzan is not violent crime at all but rather is always a manifestation of political plotting by elites. She contradicts herself by noting that, come to think of it, Israeli soldiers do not rape Arab women as individuals either. She then contradicts her own contradictions and claims that the absence of rape by Israeli soldiers is “designed” to achieve the same goals as organized mass rape in other countries and in other wars.

Her “conclusions” are that Israel is so racist and intolerably anti-Arab that abstaining from rape is part and parcel of its way to enforce rigid “lines of division.” She asserts that individual soldiers abstaining from rape represent an intentional policy of oppression roughly similar to when governments order mass rape, because in both cases the “policy” serves to subordinate and dehumanize the oppressed victim population.

The main significance of the thesis as an academic work is in the fact that it illustrates the total collapse of any semblance of academic standards at the Hebrew University. The “thesis” is not worth the disk space on which it is printed. Yet it was not only accepted by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University, the department in which the late pro-terror anti-Zionist extremist Baruch Kimmerling spent his career fabricating “Palestinian history”, but was even awarded a prestigious award, one evidently financed with contributions from the Shaine family. (I doubt the Shaines have any idea how their generosity was misused by the university!) Atrociously written and constantly contradicting herself, Nitzan would have been laughed out of any university maintaining serious standards, EVEN if she had been writing about a valid and legitimate subject.

The thesis draws its “scientific” conclusions from open interviews with 25 reserve soldiers, ages 23-32, who served as combat troops in the “occupied territories” during the “intifada.” None of the comments by any of these soldiers support or provide any confirmation, even the most indirect, to any of the lunatic “conclusions” by Nitzan. Most of the interview comments concern the day-to-day tactics and experiences of the soldiers. Nitzan then asked the soldiers why no Arab women were raped by Israeli troops. Their responses varied, ranging from assertions of ethical awareness of soldiers to effective disciple. Some noted the presence of media reporters or of NGO groups in the areas of conflict.

Nitzan constantly disregards what the soldiers actually say and instead attributes to them irrational fears and feelings of disgust and snotty superiority when they interact with Arabs (for example, page 53 and following). Long segments of the thesis are rants about how Israel brutally exercises control and suppression of the poor Palestinians.

But since when is asking 25 random soldiers why no rapes take place a scientific way to go about answering the question? The soldiers are not social scientists and are not criminologists. How any MA degree could be awarded to anyone on the basis of having conducted 25 interviews is one of the mysteries that the Hebrew University authorities have yet to explain. The thesis is totally devoid of statistical analysis or empirical testing, even using the rather primitive methodologies popular among some sociologists. At no serious academic institution would such a superficial exercise in baseless long-winded verbiage be accepted as a “research thesis.”

Nitzan’s anti-Israel political bias is also evident throughout. On page 23 she declares that “Imposing control and instilling fear is a frequent practice (by Israel in the ‘Palestinian-Israeli’ conflict) and so it would be expected that military rape should be used as an efficient method for ensuring the security and survival of a Jewish Israel.” On page 53 she asserts that “de-humanization amidst avoiding demonization is one of the most blatant features of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” [She means by the Jews.] The words “terror” and “terrorist” do not appear even once in the entire thesis. Neither does “bomb,” “bomber,” or “suicide murderer.” No one reading the thesis would have any idea that Israeli military actions in the “territories” have anything to do with suicide bombers and terrorist murderers. The political bias and open political propagandizing should have been more than enough for the thesis to be rejected altogether as pseudo-research. Instead, it got a prize.

The possibility that Israeli soldiers do not rape Arab women because they are simply decent and honorable people, or under effective command by decent and honorable people, is automatically dismissed by Nitzan. After all, there are acts of criminal rape in Israeli civilian society, citing a radical feminist group claiming such sexual abuse is common in Israel, so this could not possibly explain the mystery. How the incidence of such civilian crimes rules out the obvious real explanation for the absence of rape by soldiers is not even the worst logical inconsistency by Nitzan and her supervisors.

Nitzan’s thesis contains the Arab “narrative” about just about everything, including such things as the battle of Deir Yassin. The claims of Bash-Israel “historians” are accepted at face value. Arab propaganda is accepted as “scholarship.” Nevertheless, even these confirm that virtually no rapes of Arab women by Jewish soldiers ever occurred. [One of the few people claiming that a few such rape cases did take place is anti-Israel propagandist Uri Avnery, who is not an academic and is hardly a credible source, although one Nitzan on which is willing to rely.]

Once reports about the Nitzan “research” claiming Jews were racist for NOT raping Arabs began to circulate, the heads of the Hebrew University (the President and Rector together) evidently heard outraged complaints and so issued their own statement concerning it, dated December 30, 2007. It reads, in part: “Thank you for your concern about the thesis of the student Ms. Tal Nitzan. In her thesis, Ms. Nitzan examined a number of explanations for the question why the Israeli army is not involved in rapes, as was so widely done by the Japanese in Korea and more recently by the Europeans in Kosovo and by the Americans in Iraq, just to name a few. IDF soldiers are not involved in raping and other atrocities common to other armies, and Ms. Nitzan examined a number of explanations for this proper behavior. It seems that the source, on which the media reports were based, either did not read the thesis or used sentences that were taken out of context (emphasis in original statement). Below please find excerpts from her work (both in the original Hebrew and the English translation, side by side), providing possible explanations for the question why the Israeli army is not involved in rapes.”

This was followed by three brief citations from the Nitzan thesis in Hebrew with English translation. Sure enough, nothing in the three selections, all taken out of context, is particularly outrageous or anti-Israel. But that is only because in 206 pages of babble, it is unsurprisingly possible to find a handful of sentences that are not offensive. Indeed, Nitzan did mention in passing the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Korea, but nearly the entire thesis is dedicated single-mindedly to proving that Jews are racists for NOT raping Arabs. The President and Rector of the Hebrew University did exactly what they disingenuously claimed the media had been doing, selecting non-representative sentences to misrepresent the thesis and make it appear harmless.

Meanwhile not a single feminist organization anywhere has spoken up about this thesis claiming that it is racist when Jews do not rape Arabs. This past spring a gang of Arabs terrorized the Galilee by raping Jewish women for political motives and was apprehended. Some of their victims were children. Nitzan and her professors have nothing to say about THAT wave of politically-motivated rapes. According to Nitzan’s own thesis logic, if a Jewish woman were to be raped by Hamas terrorists, this would pretty much prove that the Hamas are egalitarian and progressive seekers of peace and justice, not treating Jews as the inferior “Other.”

But the most outrageous aspect of this entire scandal is the behavior of the heads of the Hebrew University, defending and endorsing this “research” with a cover-up, and proving that the Hebrew University today, despite one of its retired professors having won a Nobel Prize, has jettisoned academic standards and has lost interest in seeking academic excellence.

Posted by Vanderleun at February 14, 2008 1:02 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

OK, OK, hold on a second...I think I've got it. After much head scratching I'm pretty sure I've worked out an acceptable solution. The IDF needs to immediately go out and rape a little bit, not alot mind you but just a little bit. No rape is obviously racist since it shows the Israeli's are just so racist as to not deem a Palestinian woman worthy of the effort. On the other hand, obviously, a formal IDF policy of raping everyone would just be unacceptable. Perhaps the IDF could earn an extra thanks from the UN if they got with the times and did a few homosexual rapes too...just not too many mind you.

Posted by: Barnabus at February 14, 2008 3:45 PM

This study is like one of those Yiddish Zen koans that help one transcend the ego by placing it in a double bind, like The food here is terrible. Yes, and such small portions!

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at February 14, 2008 6:06 PM

This problem is analogous to the difficulty radical women have here in America. Having a lesbian partner proves a woman can't make it truly alone and proud, strong as a mighty oak and in need of none of that alleged "nurturing." Having a male partner is consorting with the enemy at best and rape (all heterosexual sex is rape, remember) at worst. Being actually raped is bad by anyone's standards, and going solo, unsullied and unshaven by the beauty culture, means you'll rarely if ever have a sexist patriarchal pig make a pass at you or harass you in any way that will justify that thrill of righteous indignation, much less a lucrative lawsuit.

It's just a tough sexual world for your basic man-hating feminist. And even more trying is the intellectual whoredom involved in portraying the majority of humans as substandard: decent men amazingly morph into beasts, and fellow women are revealed as slobbering collaborators, willing to sell their souls for a condo on a greenbelt and 1.7 children.

You have to pity these women. They've waited decades for the alpha bitch to assume the coveted leader of the free world position, and now, in spite of all the free passes they gave her husband for philandering, harassing and raping, the heiress apparent is being blown away by a man. A younger, more charming, much better looking man.

Hell can have no greater torments.

Posted by: askmom at February 14, 2008 7:20 PM

Ya know...I have heard about these kinds of over-educated maroons all of my adult life. I honestly thought they were a myth, something cooked up by the Rush Limbaughs of the world.

I recently overheard a couple of "womyn" discussing similar topics at an antique store. I was incredulous...these seemed like smart, successful professional females. How can they be so thick-headedly wrong?

I guess the truth is worse than I thought.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at February 14, 2008 9:31 PM

Mumblix, you adorable sweetie. Being a rational and clear-intentioned person yourself, you misunderstand the depths of self-befuddlement inherent in identity cults. Yes, these women do exist and are to be pitied - and feared - because the smarter they are, the deeper they seem prone to sink into the comforting billows of their illusions.

Sadly, the campaign of Barak Obama is headed in the same direction of glorious vaporousness.

Posted by: askmom at February 15, 2008 1:05 AM

Mumblix, you adorable sweetie. Being a rational and clear-intentioned person yourself, you misunderstand the depths of self-befuddlement inherent in identity cults. Yes, these women do exist and are to be pitied - and feared - because the smarter they are, the deeper they seem prone to sink into the comforting billows of their illusions.

Sadly, the campaign of Barak Obama is headed in the same direction of glorious vaporousness.

Posted by: askmom at February 15, 2008 1:05 AM

So if the IDF troops refrain from raping Jewish women then they are anti-Semitic ? Anti-Jewish? Anti-Zionist? Or just anti-Female?

Statistics on rape by IDF troops, and the ethnicity of the victims (if any) should help us get to the bottom of this.

It's also possible that IDF troops refrain from raping Arabs because they believe in peace, want to keep Israel out of wars, and are concerned about Israel's reputation in the world. Did the paper consider and evaluate these possibilities?

It's also possible that the IDF troops have girlfriends and wives who take good care of them. So the IDF troops don't have the "Energy" to commit those crimes. Did the paper cover this?

It's also possible that the more modest dress of the Arab women protects them. Was this considered and evaluated?

Does the lack of rape by Arab men against Jewish women indicate the same sort of racism? Or is it a different sort of hatred and prejudice? Or is the rape rate high enough that this is not an issue?

Posted by: Fred at February 15, 2008 1:13 AM

Mad Bitch.

Posted by: pdwalker at February 15, 2008 8:59 AM

Hey! I thought that was a pic of Julia Roberts. Does anyone else see the resemblance?

Hey, again! Since Mz Roberts helped glorify another female fraud (Erin Brokovich), why not have the Oscarette do a movie about about this ditzoid moonbat?

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at February 15, 2008 3:22 PM

The ditzoid moonbat would be a great candidate for Hillary's next campaign manager.

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at February 15, 2008 6:58 PM

Reading the article and comments I have to look again into mine calender., to make sure we have February not April the First.

Posted by: Milos at February 16, 2008 1:00 PM

Wow. I didn't realize that the US military was using rape as a tactic in Iraq. Thank you, Hebrew U, for letting me know that American soldiers aren't racist!

Posted by: class-factotum at February 17, 2008 8:04 AM

Sometime in the near future I will be turning myself in to the FBI for all of those federally insured banks I did not rob when I had money in the bank and didn't need it.

Please accept my non-appology for my non-behavior.

Posted by: GM Roper at February 18, 2008 6:09 PM

YOU ARE DOING A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: You are mixing two different people: the poet and translator Tal Nitzan is not the same person the did the "research" at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I advise you to correct your post, and appologize to Tal Nitzan the poet and translator.

Joseph Galron
Ohio State University

Posted by: Joseph Galron at February 21, 2008 11:45 AM

Totally wrong!

The poet Tal Nitzan (in the picture) is NOT the graduate student, also named, by coincidence, Tal Nitzan - a common Israeli name.
They're two different women!

Posted by: Iris at February 21, 2008 1:08 PM

I had heard of this master's thesis by Tal Nitzan before and initially thought it was one of those internet jokes that gets passed around on a daily basis. We all know how difficult it is to trust anything you read on the net these days.

Now, to discover that there actually was a thesis proposing that not to rape is actually worst than rape and serves the same purpose as rape, only that it is worst, is confusing at best and ludicrous at worst.

However, nothing about this story could possibly be as farcical as a "university" offering a prize to the student responsible for the thesis.

I have heard the expression "damned if you do, and damned if you don't", but this is totally ridiculous.

Apparently, higher education is not all it is cracked up to be. One finds it hard to believe that a country like Israel, which has produced and continues to produce thinkers of the highest calabre could sink so low solely in the name of diversity and equality.

I am beginning to believe that the person was right who theorised that "democracy carries within it the seeds of its own destruction".

Posted by: Steve Skeete at September 14, 2009 9:25 AM