Opinion: Does the Left not care about rape and torture?

In the eight weeks since 3,000 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and slaughtered 1,200 Israelis and mutilated 5,800 others, it’s become clear that Hamas’ purpose was not merely genocidal. As interrogated Hamas gunmen have admitted, and as video from the gunmen themselves demonstrates, Hamas had the specific purpose of raping Israeli women before killing them, and doing it en masse.

And it went about it gleefully. Here is what one survivor of the music festival at which Hamas murdered hundreds of young Israelis recounted. “I saw this beautiful woman with the face of an angel and eight or 10 of the fighters beating and raping her,” he says. “She was screaming ‘Stop it! — already I’m going to die anyway from what you are doing, just kill me!’ When they finished, they were laughing and the last one shot her in the head.”

One might hope that progressives, especially feminists, who rightly unequivocally condemn sexual violence on an individual basis would do so when it is inflicted in large numbers. But one would be disappointed. When it came to Israeli women raped on Oct. 7, feminist leaders and organizations have either mumbled meaningless platitudes about how sexual violence is never favored or stayed silent. United Nations agencies and human rights organizations have remained mum. Pressed by CNN’s Dana Bash on why she and her fellow progressives have had little to say about Hamas’ abomination, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., backpedaled, changed the subject and then offered the inane deflection that “we have to be balanced” — whatever that means.

“Balanced” about mass rape? “I knew it wouldn’t take weeks for the denial to begin,” says Michal Cotler-Wunsh, the human rights lawyer appointed as Israel’s special envoy to combat antisemitism, “but days.”

She was right. The unmistakable fact is that when it came to slaughtered Jews, maimed Jews, raped Jews and kidnapped Jews, self-professed progressives did not waste any time in jettisoning progressive values. Never mind that Hamas’ express raison d’etre is genocide, genocide is what Hamas intended on Oct. 7, and genocide is what Hamas’ leaders vow to attempt again and again; it is actually Israel that is guilty of genocide, progressives claim, for trying to prevent themselves from being the victims of genocide.

“So many masks were removed on 10/7,” says Cotler-Wunsh. Preeminent among them is the profession that when progressives condemned murder, rape and kidnapping of innocents, it was a condemnation that would apply as well to the murder, rape and kidnapping of Jews. But to the contrary, many who are proud to call themselves progressives, who cannot locate the Gaza Strip on a map, who know nothing about Hamas and do not feel they need to, have enlisted wholesale in the Hamas Defense Forces. This would be laughable if it were funny. As Cotler-Wunsh notes, far from being “progressive,” Hamas is guilty of “the most regressive and barbaric savagery,” and it takes no Ivy League education to see it.

“Hamas knew that there would be professors who would be exhilarated” at the slaughter of Israelis, says Cotler-Wunsh. And that is so even though Hamas’ genocidal sadism was worse even than that of the Nazis. “As opposed to the Nazis that hid their war crimes and their crimes against humanity,” she says, “these people actually livestreamed them.” The video of Israeli mothers begging for their children’s lives, the footage of the decapitation and the dismembering, the graphic images of families bound together and burned — throngs of people on the Left have done whatever intellectual gyrations they deemed necessary to blame the victims, or at least to avoid blaming the victimizers.

“This is a moment of reckoning,” Israel’s special envoy to combat antisemitism said on a recent trip to the U.S., unbowed and undiscouraged. “Where I draw the most hope is from regular Americans, maybe Americans who didn’t go to elite colleges, maybe Americans who didn’t go to college at all.” A lot is riding on regular Americans right about now — not only the survival of Israel but the survival of our own country as we know it.

— Jeff Robbins, a former assistant United States attorney and United States delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, is a longtime columnist for the Boston Herald.


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