Monday, September 6, 2010

Israeli Rape-By-Deception Case, Now With More Rape, Less Deception

It was a story heard around the world. As was originally reported in Haaretz, an Israeli Arab man had consensual sex with an Israeli Jewish woman under the pretext that he was a Jew. After intercourse, she discovered that he wasn't a Jew after all, and filed "rape by deception" charges. An Israeli court upheld the rape charges, sentencing the Israeli Arab to 18 months in jail. Here was a clear, incontrovertible case of Jewish racism against Arabs, legally upheld by an Israeli court! Needless to say, the media went spinning into overdrive.

Perhaps none was more eloquent than Gideon Levy of Haaretz: "He Impersonated a Human".
Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian. It happens. His chances of being accepted as a human being in Israel are nil. [...] He knew that he had no chance with the Jews, so he adopted another name for himself, Dudu.

Two years ago he met a woman by chance. Nice to meet you, my name is Dudu. He claims that she came on to him, but let's leave the details aside. Soon enough they went where they went and what happened happened, all by consent of the parties concerned. One fine day, a month and a half after an afternoon quickie, he was summoned to the police on suspicion of rape.

His temporary lover discovered that her Dudu wasn't a Dudu after all, that the Jew is (gasp! ) an Arab, and so she filed a complaint against the impostor. Her body was violated by an Arab. From then on Kashur was placed under house arrest for two years, an electronic cuff on his ankle. This week his sentence was pronounced: 18 months in jail.
Are you ready for the finale? You have to appreciate it in full. Take a deep breath.
It was no coincidence that this verdict attracted the attention of foreign correspondents in Israel, temporary visitors who see every blemish. Yes, in German or Afrikaans this disgraceful verdict would have sounded much worse.
Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut, und Afrikaans spreche ich nicht. English I speak quite well, and searching google for "rape-by-deception" articles from two months back was not particularly difficult.

BBC:
An Arab man convicted in Israel of rape because he pretended he was a Jew when he had consensual sex with a Jewish woman has called the verdict racist.
The Forward:
An Israeli judge this week convicted Sabbar Kashur, a 30-year-old Jerusalem man, of rape and sentenced him to 18 months in prison. But his real crime was lying. The woman was outraged when Kashur immediately dressed and left her, and even more upset when she found out he was an Arab, and filed her complaint against him. He was charged with rape and indecent assault.
Andrew Sullivan:
But it's the visceral emotional core of this that is so offensive. It's about racism, religion and the risk of miscegenation. It's about the deep disgust of some Israeli Jews toward Arabs, upheld by the courts. It's a variant of the racial sexual panics of the Jim Crow South.

And it goes on, and on, and on.

CNN, Guardian, NYTimes, ABC News.

It is only now, some two months after Israel's image has been blackened, after its courts have been compared to those of the Jim Crow South, and its Jewish population tarnished as ethno-religious racists, that the truth begins to poke its unwelcome head, AND ONLY IN HEBREW!!!

Haaretz:

Based on the incomplete facts published thus far in the case, Kashur’s [the Arab Israeli's] role as a victim became established over the past month and a half, and rightfully so. However, according to the testimony of the complainant, the full story appears to be much more complex, and the victim is the one Kashur left naked in the staircase of the building on 13 Ben Hillel Street (publishing her name is forbidden and she will be called here B.). The new details shed completely new light on this case, and haven’t been published until today because they were first revealed in B.’s testimony in court, which was classified as it was said in a trial behind closed doors. Following the request of “HaIr” [local newspaper in Jerusalem – E], the court recently declassified the testimony and paved the way for its publication. The testimony details in 100 pages B.’s tragic life story and her version of the events that happened on that afternoon two years ago, and is exposed here for the first time.

The article's full translation, by Elizabeth Tsurkov, can be found here. The gist of it is as follows. A woman was raped. She was no angel - sexually abused by her father, a history of working as a prostitute. The victim's prior history of abuse and prostitution left her with a fragile mental state that came out under the duress of cross-examination. Concerned about her credibility, despite the physical evidence which confirmed the rape, the Prosecution chose to accept a plea bargain with the Defense, on condition that the defendant serve jail time.

The defendant was temporarily freed while the case was under appeal, and began to give media interviews, where he outlined his version of the story - that "she wanted it", etc. The media pounced on the sensational, and utterly unfounded, element of racism, based on the information that was released to them - which was that a rape-by-deception case between an Arab man and a Jewish woman "who wanted it" resulted in jail time. Meanwhile, the Prosecution was caught in a double bind - it had signed off on reducing the charges to rape-by-deception, and was bound by secrecy to not reveal that the original charge of rape had the weight of evidence.

The only indication of all this you will find in the English version of Haaretz (at time of writing) is not an apology by Gideon Levy, but an apologetic, feminist appeal for women to trust one another when a case of rape is alleged, even when racism is claimed. Unless you are already fully informed on the updated story, you wouldn't know what to think, because no new details of the case which explain this apology are provided. I was left to dig for the story on my own, to find the sole source on the internet who had translated this dramatic case into English.

I'm at a loss for words. Having followed this unseemly story back in July, having read all that smug, self-righteous drivel about Israel's descent to barbarism, I can't avoid a creeping sense of betrayal and anger. The news items on this subject that circulated the world, casting Israel as a racist country... the editorials... the blogosphere... How do you turn that clock back? This is another Jenin, another al Dura, another baseless smear, so quickly and eagerly accepted by the media, so deliciously relished by the punditry that we could hear their lips smacking from across our computer screens.

I'm going to focus on Drudge, who ran with the story, and Andrew Sullivan, whose disgusting bile on the subject - "the risk of miscegenation" (!!!) - I will personally force him to stuff back into his filthy mouth. Perhaps if he had spent less time stroking his perverse Palin Obsession and more time vetting his sources, he would not have misled tens of thousands of his readers off the cliff with Gideon Levy.

Update: One Week Later

Further Update: You may continue to follow this story, in particular the Andrew Sullivan angle, here: Andrew Sullivan Watch.

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