The MeToo movement is silent on Hamas

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I hated the MeToo movement.

It angered me that women who had waited decades to accuse Bill Cosby of rape were believed as if they were the Oracles of Delphi, and that women who had kept their mouths shut long enough to win Oscars, like Meryl Streep, were heralded for their courage.

It seemed that every week brought a new allegation of bad behavior, of neck-sniffing, of lewd looks and in only a very few cases, of actual sexual assault.

But I am also a woman who has spent the last 30 or so years of her life practicing immigration law, and the last 20 or so specializing in asylum.

That means I have a deep understanding of what women go through in other parts of the world, how they are regularly “raped” in cultures that don’t consider that a chargeable offense, and how sexual assault is actually employed as a war crime.

The whole MeToo movement actually undermined and trivialized the very real phenomenon of sexual abuse against women.

The one upside of the MeToo movement is that women began to speak out about abuse, even though it tended to trivialize what rape actually was. To many of us, mere bad behavior by men in positions of authority is not the same thing as having your clothes ripped off and your skin bruised and battered.

But half a loaf is better than nothing, and the crime of rape was at least being raised to the same level as murder. In many ways, it is the equivalent of murder, because it destroys the human spirit.

Which is why I’m surprised that there aren’t more of these MeToo ladies coming out and unequivocally condemning the spirit murder of Israeli women.

As the hostages were released and sent home to their loved ones, it became clear that many of the women had been sexually abused.

We are not talking about crude innuendo, denial of jobs or social media trolling. We are not talking about losing out on some plum role in a Harvey Weinstein blockbuster, or even being included on Jeffrey Epstein’s list of “friends.”

The women who came back from the hell in Gazan tunnels have talked about being raped over and over again, old women and young girls, married mothers and elementary school students.

They have not even been able to explain every detail of what they suffered, but we can easily grasp the devastating picture.

These women were victims of war crimes. In 2008, the U.N. Security Council-adopted resolution 1820, stating specifically that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.”

It is interesting that the U.N. sees rape as not only a war crime but also a basis for a finding of genocide. Those pro-Palestinian protesters chanting “From the river to the sea” like to throw around that word liberally, no pun intended.

They seem to think that Israel is engaged in an ethnic cleansing of Palestinians because they are dealing with a terrorist insurgent group that uses people as human shields, with less than kid gloves.

They seem to believe that kidnapping women, children and the elderly, brutally murdering them and laughing about it on TikTok is the same thing as a country attempting to defend itself against murderous militants.

But back to the Israeli women. It is clear that these innocents were raped and in some cases slaughtered, by Hamas.

You would think that every single woman who has ever posted the hashtag #MeToo on her Instagram feed and on her Facebook page would be vocal in her outrage about what happened in Gaza.

You would think that someone like Rashida Tlaib or Pramila Jayapal, women who regularly complain about the abuse of women of color, would be at the forefront of condemning these brutal attacks on women of color.

But with a few notable exceptions on the left, there has been virtual silence. Worse, even, than the silence is the whataboutism, the equivocation of those who say that Israeli
soldiers are also guilty of raping Palestinian women.

My opposition to the MeToo movement was based on its tendency to trivialize true cases of rape and abuse. And it was bipartisan – I’ve defended Bill Cosby, Al Franken, Daylin Leach and Nick Miccarelli.

But now we are talking about rape, war crimes and genocide, and there is only one side: the side of Jewish women.

If there was any time to raise our voices, that time is now.

Copyright 2023 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].

Christine Flowers is a Philadelphian who loves the Eagles but can leave the cheesesteaks. She writes about anything that will likely annoy the majority of people, and in her spare time practices immigration law (which is bound to annoy at least some people.)