“Occupation”-washing, the defense of any of the vile attitudes and actions of Palestinian Arabs by portraying them as victims of Jews living and controlling their holy land, took another turn this week as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives claimed that Arab men kill women in their families because of Jews.
Israa Ghrayeb, a 21-year-old Bethlehem resident, was reportedly tortured and beaten to death by her male relatives after posting an Instagram video showing her with her fiancé. The post incensed her family members, who regarded Israa’s being seen with a man before marriage as dishonorable.
Noted anti-Zionist and Palestinian-American Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) tweeted in response that the heinous murder stemmed from “ever-present toxic masculinity” and linked to an article which opened that “Honor killings are not Muslim and they are not Arab. This is a universal phenomenon which takes places in nearly all corners of the globe, from the United States to Europe.” The comment was clearly designed to reorient the analysis to one about men generally, rather than men from the Muslim world.
According to the United Nations, roughly 5,000 women each year are killed in “honor killings,” the act of killing a female family member because they did something that was perceived to bring dishonor to the family. Roughly 40% of these killings occur in India and Pakistan. The vast majority of all of the world’s honor killings come from around southeast Asia – not “the United States and Europe” mentioned above – in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Palestinian territories, as well as people who come from those regions but now live in other countries, including the United Kingdom.
It cannot be a coincidence that the men from these same southeast Asian countries pour acid on women’s faces and cut off their noses and ears if they “dishonor” or embarrass men. Men from Pakistan now living in England raped 1,400 girls over 13 years, in a systematic attack on women which was not prosecuted by police because of direction that this was a matter of culture.
There’s a similar matter of female genital mutilation, which is practiced in 29 countries in Africa as well as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and the Palestinian Authority territories.
The “ever-present toxic masculinity” which Tlaib called out is over-weighted in Muslim-majority lands (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Palestinian Authority-ruled territories) as well as southeast Asian neighbor India (majority Hindu and 15% Muslim). But the redirection towards “the United States and Europe” was more soul-soothing to fellow Muslims than pointing the finger at the male preachers of radical Islam like those from the Taliban and Hamas.
The article’s deflection was followed by a defense, using the time-dishonored poisoned Kool-Aid of “occupation”-washing. For Tlaib, the grotesque crimes committed by Palestinian men is because they too are victims: a poor, subjugated group who have suffered under 500 years of foreign occupation dating back to the early 1500’s when the Ottomans took over Palestine:
“Now, here’s why Isra’s murderers stand to walk away from this untouched by the law. In Palestine, our legal system is the result of a century of occupation and political turmoil. It is a combination of Ottoman, British, Egyptian (in Gaza), Jordanian (in the West bank), and even no system (Area C). Despite various and continued efforts over the last decade, there has been very little reform to this outdated and dysfunctional legal system for two reasons: Israeli military occupation and a corrupt Palestinian Authority both hinder any legal, economic, and social progress…. Right now there are Arabic articles (this story has rightfully taken the Arab world by storm) and doubtless some Hebrew articles being published by some Zionist news outlets to try and pink-wash occupation (again lol).”
Palestinian toxic masculinity and violence against women is excused. These Palestinian men would be peaceful and wonderful husbands and fathers, if it weren’t for colonial invaders. Why isn’t the problem as bad in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq which were also under the mandate system? Please don’t ask. The Taliban probably only cuts the ears and noses off of women because of the Russian and US invasions of their lands according to the twisted logic.
Perhaps one could defend Tlaib by noting that the United Nations engages in “occupation”-washing all of the time, even on the issue of violence against women.
In March 2018, the U.N. held a session titled “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls,” but only issued a paper for women in one part of the world: Palestinian women who suffer from Israeli “occupation.” The paper noted that:
Palestinian Arabs place a “high value placed on “honour”, with 47 percent of men and 38 percent of women believing that women and girls deserve punishment from their families when “honour” is perceived to have been breached. Thirty-five percent of men and 22 percent of women also indicated that “honour” killings should not be punished by law. In addition, one third of men and one quarter of women surveyed believed that some violence against women can be justified, and the majority of men and women believed that women should tolerate such violence.”
However, the 17-page report made clear that the over-riding issue for the suffering of Arab women was not their internal cultural background, but external factors, especially their new Jewish neighbors.
“Occupation”-washing has often been used to defend Palestinians from the charge of widespread antisemitism and the murder of Jews. It has now become mainstream to use it to excuse Muslim-Muslim family violence.
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