Sunday, December 13, 2009
Let's start with Al Sharpton.
It isn’t true – it was Internet satire – that “The Reverend” (‘reverend’? What’s to revere?) Al Sharpton blasted Tiger Woods for having not chosen any African American women to cheat on his wife.
The funny email alleges that Sharpton, in a press conference, said that “the lack of diversity among his mistresses in Woods’ harem will have a negative effect on the black community, specifically young black girls.”
“Why is it that a man who calls himself black can’t bring himself to cheat on his wife with a black woman?” Sharpton is alleged to have said. “What does it say to young black girls everywhere when you pass them over? Shame on you, Tiger Woods. What would your daddy say?
The story continued: “Sharpton, who has long championed taking black women as mistresses, said that today's black athletes need to stop neglecting black women when it comes to extramarital affairs, and should follow the examples of positive black role models such as Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom cheated on their wives with black women. Sharpton also stressed that cheating with African-American women would help the black community financially by giving black girls the chance to sell their stories to tabloids and gossip magazines.”
That kind of thing is funny, because it could be true. Wouldn’t be too surprising.
But on a comparable note – in a story that is, unfortunately, perfectly true – is what happened at Hebrew University almost exactly two years ago, Dec. 23, 2007.
There, a HU teacher’s committee awarded a prize to Tal Nitzan for her research paper, in which she alleged that IDF soldiers were racists because they did not rape Arab women.
Now THAT sounds too nuts to be true, but it is.
The lack of IDF rapes of Arab women, this (female) researcher found “is designed to serve a political purpose.”
"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."
Arab women are “dehumanized” she wrote, because they are seen as unworthy of being raped.
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.
"I do not have the entire text in front of me," Gurevitch said at the time. "I don't think we can jump to conclusions based on partial sentences, but I can say the following: 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, rape is much more common?"
So a reporter asked, "Can't it just be that Israeli soldiers come from a culture that very much condemns rape? And why not mention the much-touted 'purity of arms,' i.e., the high moral conduct, of the Israeli Army?"
Oh, no. That sort of notion couldn’t be considered. “Observers do not have the right to demand a particular explanation to a given phenomenon,” Gurevitch said.
Nevertheless, Miss Nitzan did permit herself to make one such observation: Jewish soldiers don’t rape Arab women because they are afraid, she said. The “Jewish population is frightened of the growing Arab population, and in cases of wartime rape, the baby is generally assumed to be of the mother's nationality.”
Well, there you have it. The piece on Sharpton was fiction – but at Hebrew University, a similar observation passes as prize winning scholarship.
Woe is us.