A Jan. 1 article published in the Guardian’s Global Development section by Liz Ford started off promising enough, with a rare look into the culture of misogyny, rape, spousal abuse and honor killings in Palestinian society.
The article begins thusly:
A comedy series and a ‘Judge Judy’-style show will be among the programmes aired across the Palestinian territories in 2015, as part of a multimedia project to raise awareness of, and seek to prevent, violence against women and girls.
The Ma’an Network, an independent, non-profit media organisation that broadcasts across the West Bank and Gaza….will air shows that tackle often taboo subjects, such as marital rape, over the next three years.
The programmes will be supported by a series of workshops in more remote, conservative areas to discuss violence prevention.
The Guardian then provided some background:
Violence against women in my country is still widespread,” said Raed Othman, founder and general director of the network. “Women are still killed because of ‘honour’… if families think they have a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Still in my country there is significant violence against women – economic violence against women, social violence, verbal violence against women.
According to a report published by the Palestinian Authority in 2011, culture and tradition were often the main justifications for violence against women in Palestine.
Israel then enters the story.
First, there are these non-sequiturs.
The continuing Israeli occupation was also having a disproportionate effect on women.
“The occupation increases the burden on Palestinian women by destroying infrastructure and endangering their human security, further contributing to the denial of their basic rights,” said the report, which set out an eight-year national strategy to tackle the problem.
The reasoning is, at best, extremely unclear. If, as they’ve acknowledged previously in the article, “culture and tradition” are “often the main justifications for violence against women in Palestine [West Bank and Gaza]”, how would the occupation – in the West Bank – conceivably impact Palestine’s misogynistic culture?
Then, there’s the implicit suggestion that Palestinians lack moral agency:
A 2009 study conducted by UN Women, cited in the report, found that violence against women increased in the aftermath of military strikes on Gaza in December 2008.
Are we to believe that Palestinian men can’t control themselves when faced with the sudden urge – following “military strikes on Gaza” – to assault women and girls?
More broadly, it’s quite telling that, out of 560 words of total text, an article ostensibly about violence, rape, honor killings and misogyny within Palestinian society devotes 117 words (over 20% of the total) to criticizing Israel.
Additionally, it’s interesting to note that this isn’t a one-off for the Guardian.
A 2011 Guardian article entitled ‘Women in Gaza: how life has changed‘, by Angela Robson, attributed nearly everything negatively affecting women in Gaza – from domestic violence to unemployment – to one single source, the Israeli ‘blockade’.
Here’s the money quote from that piece:
“Before the blockade, my husband used to make good money working in Israel,” she [a Palestinian woman named Eman] says. “With the blockade, that all stopped. When he can’t find any work and we have nothing to eat, he blames me. He is a like a crazy animal. I stay quiet when he hits me. Afterwards, he cries and says, if he had a job, he wouldn’t beat me.”
Such articles beg the question: Is it even conceivable the Guardian would ever contextualize the problem of Israeli spousal abuse and rape by noting the stress (faced by Jewish men living in southern communities) caused by incessant Palestinian rocket fire, and the threat of other terror attacks?
Of course they wouldn’t!
A better illustration of the Guardian Left’s bigotry of low expectations in their coverage of the region would be difficult to find.