A ex-soldier in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) walks into a U.S. college. . .
That could be the beginning of a joke, but it isn’t even close. Israel and the IDF are demonized on British and American campuses, and when an ex-IDF soldier, even one who was an extreme leftist, never hurt anyone and whose activities, he says, were as “an officer in an IDF COGAT unit that attends to the needs of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in the conflict and promotes Palestinian civil society” starts talking on those campuses, he’s in for trouble.
Meet Hen Mazzig, who has suffered the slings and arrows of the pervasive demonization of Israel (and of anti-Semitism as well) while bravely venturing onto campuses. His experiences are described at Europe Israël News, with some bits taken from here and here.
Typical interactions from a lecture tour Hen Mazzig made in 2013 (my emphasis):
This year, from January through May, I went to college campuses, high schools, and churches to tell people about the history of modern Israel, about my experience growing up in the Jewish state, and about my family. I also always spoke about my military service as an officer in an IDF COGAT unit that attends to the needs of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in the conflict and promotes Palestinian civil society.
At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university told the assembled crowd that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, “Where do you want them to go?” she calmly answered, “I don’t care. I don’t care if they don’t have any place else to go. They should not be there.”
When I responded that she was calling for ethnic cleansing, both she and her supporters denied it.
And during a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60’s stood up and yelled at me, “You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!”
A number of times I was repeatedly accused of being a killer, though I have never hurt anyone in my life.
On other occasions, anti-Israel activists called me a rapist. The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none.
She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.”
In fact, as that woman admitted, there’s no evidence that IDF soldiers ever raped a single Palestinian woman. But of course you can make hay out of that too if you’re sufficiently motivated to demonize Israel and its inhabitants. You can even turn non-rape into a bad thing, and even into rape itself!
The “not raping is bad” trope came in fact from a Hebrew University paper written by Tal Nitzan, a doctoral candidate (you can apparently buy it here, but it’s not on the internet for free). It’s described here, and that description is verified in several places. Want to see demonization at its worst? Read this:
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.
The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that “the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals.”
The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: “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.”
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.
The paper was published by the Hebrew University’s Shaine Center, based on the recommendation of a Hebrew University professors’ committee headed by Dr. Zali Gurevitch.
You can’t win: If you rape an Arab, you’re dehumanizing them. If you don’t rape them, you’re dehumanizing them too. The alternative hypothesis, that Israeli soldiers don’t engage in rape because of professional strictures and moral scruples, isn’t even considered. The newspaper also reports this, apparently a quote from Mazzig, though I’m not sure:
According to Dr. Gurevitch, This was a very serious paper that asked two important questions: Is the relative lack of IDF rapes a noteworthy phenomenon, and if so, why is it that there are so few IDF rapes when in similar situations around the world, where rape is so much more common?
The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Nitzan, could not find instances of rapes of Palestinian women by the IDF it sought to find, so it was decided that the paper show that “the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals.” It continues, “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.”
Ergo, Nitzan could not find any cases of rape by IDF soldiers of Palestinian women even though Palestinian media constantly accuses Israeli soldiers of this. Apparently distraught over such findings, Nitzan had to twist her thesis to attribute the lack of such rapes to a governmental program instilling in IDF soldiers that the Arab women are sub-human or inferior.
This is in contrast to the behavior of Arabs, who have sexually harassed and assaulted Western and Israeli women who were engaged in protests against the West Bank settlements. In fact, a female Egyptian lawyer has called for Arab men to sexually harass Israeli women, and even, at the end, suggests that the women wouldn’t have any reason to complain even if they were raped, because, after all, Israelis are raping Arab land. This is from FrontPageMag.com, and verified by the video below (not my emphasis):
Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 31, 2008.
Interviewer: Egyptian lawyer Nagla Al-Imam has proposed that young Arab men should sexually harass Israeli girls wherever they may be and using any possible method, as a new means in the resistance against Israel.
Interviewer: We have with us the lawyer Nagla Al-Imam from Cairo. Welcome. What is the purpose of this proposal of yours?
Nagla Al-Imam: This is a form of resistance. In my opinion, they are fair game for all Arabs, and there is nothing wrong with…
Interviewer: On what grounds?
Nagla Al-Imam: First of all, they violate our rights, and they “rape” the land. Few things are as grave as the rape of land. In my view, this is a new form of resistance.
Interviewer: As a lawyer, don’t you think this might expose Arab youth to punishment for violating laws against sexual harassment?
Nagla Al-Imam: Most Arab countries… With the exception of three or four Arab countries, which I don’t think allow Israeli women to enter anyway, most Arab countries do not have sexual harassment laws. Therefore, if [Arab women] are fair game for Arab men, there is nothing wrong with Israeli women being fair game as well.
Interviewer: Does this also include rape?
Nagla Al-Imam: No. Sexual harassment… In my view, the [Israeli women] do not have any right to respond. The resistance fighters would not initiate such a thing, because their moral values are much loftier than that. However if such a thing did happen to them, the [Israeli women] have no right to make any demands, because this would put us on equal terms – leave the land so we won’t rape you. These two things are equal.
Here’s that interview:
I have no comment except to say that this form of anti-Israeli behavior goes beyond valid political protest when it calls for sexual harassment of Israeli women (with the harassed women having no right to respond) as well as leveling crazy accusations that Israeli soldiers’ failure to rape Arab women is itself some sort of moral wrong. Tell me that there’s no anti-Semitism in there!
Here’s Hen Mazzig, from an Oxford University site where he was described as “being in the IDF for almost five years. As a lieutenant in the COGAT unit, he worked as an intermediary between the Israeli Defence Forces and the Palestinian Authority, the UN and the many NGOs that work in the West Bank. During his service, he facilitated several infrastructure projects including the construction of schools, hospitals, roads and water-related infrastructure. Hen also served as an as an openly gay LGBTQ activist in the IDF.”
Well that’s certainly deserving of hatred, isn’t it? And he didn’t rape anyone—how disgusting!