Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hillary and the Obamae Denounce Israel's Treatment of Women

Women's Rights and Double Standards

Posted By Steven Plaut On December 30, 2011

Well, it seems the Obama team lately was running short of things over
which to bash Israel and so it decided that the treatment of women in
Israel is something that needs condemnation. Led by Hillary Clinton,
the Obama administration thinks that Israel does not treat its women
nicely or respectfully enough. This is the same Hillary Clinton who
never had much to say about the treatment of women in the Clinton
White House. Other administration bashers of Israel joined the feeding

This is the same Obama team that rarely has had anything to say about
the treatment of women in the Muslim world, without a doubt the very
worst such treatment that can be found on the planet. Hillary
insisted that Israel's treatment of women is as bad as that in Iran,
although Obama people do not exactly speak out against the treatment
of women in Iran before breakfast each day. Hillary also used the
same opportunity to condemn Israel for considering the adoption of
transparency laws that would require disclosure of foreign funding to
political NGOs operating inside Israel, laws that are similar to what
the United States and many other democratic countries already have.
After all, how will those who desire Israel's annihilation be able to
finance picayune treasonous radical anti-Israel propaganda NGOs inside
Israel if such transparency ever takes effect?

So when Hillary Clinton recently decided to speak out against the
mistreatment of Middle Eastern women, she singled out Israel for
condemnation, and then turned around to welcome a delegation of Saudi
feudalists with cordiality. If Hillary considers Israel a force of
anti-feminine darkness and repression, just imagine how awful she must
regard Scandinavia. She compared Israel's treatment of women with the
racial segregation that once was so common in the American South.
Israeli public figures, led by the secularist non-Orthodox Minister of
Finance Yuval Steinitz, denounced Hillary's comments as absurd and
incorrect. He was joined by numerous other secularist Israelis.

The Obama administration is largely silent when it comes to the plight
of women in the Muslim world, but keeps condemning the only country in
the Middle East that has a woman chief justice, plenty of women in its
parliament, more women MDs and than men, countless women army officers
and court judges, and which has had a woman as head of state,
something the US has never had. Israel is also the only country in
the world where a panel of judges, two of them women, put a former
president in prison for alleged rape and sexual abuse of women. But
perhaps that is what really has Bill Clinton's wife so hostile to and
suspicious of Israel.

Women university students in Israel have been the majority out of all
undergraduate Israeli students since 1980, reaching 58% of students in
1999. That is without including teachers colleges in the computation,
where women are a far larger share. Women students are the majority
of students, not just in the fields of education and humanities, but
also in such "non-traditional" fields for women as biological sciences
and agriculture. Women are a majority of medical students, 48.3% of
law students, and 39% of physics students, according to the latest
survey. There are also oodles of women students in math, engineering,
and computer sciences. Women students are also a small majority of
those pursuing MA and PhD studies.

So just what got Hillary and the Obama team so upset? Well, it seems
that Israel has been debating the behavior of some small
ultra-religious Jewish sects, groups that believe in strict gender
separation, especially in public spaces. Known as the chareidim,
these are religious radicals, best known for their black clothing,
long sidecurls, anti-modern life styles, and especially for their
ideas about "modesty" for women. No Jew anywhere has to belong to
such communities and women in those communities unhappy with the life
style may leave at any time.

In some communities of these chareidim, there have been initiatives to
introduce a small number of special bus lines in which women and men
do not sit together. When a secularist Israeli woman rider challenged
the initiative and sat in the "men's section" of one such bus Israel's
ultra-secularist leftist media proclaimed her the Israeli Rosa Parks,
and Hillary picked up the cue. In another incident, some religious
soldiers requested not to be required to attend a concert in which
women were singing, on grounds that according to their religious
outlook such singing is erotic and immodest. And in yet other
incidents, some signs were put up in the neighborhoods of chareidim
asking women not to congregate on a street next to a synagogue, or
calling on men and women in the name of modesty to walk on opposing
sides of some streets in those neighborhoods.

Of course Hillary and the secularist media never object to signs in
mosques and churches in Israel and elsewhere that ask people not to
enter in immodest dress. Hillary and her Obama colleagues have never
condemned the Amish for their own pre-modern life styles and opinions
and gender roles. The enlightened media regard the Amish as downright
endearing, a charming tourist attraction. And you would never know it
from reading Hillary's statements, but one can find some neighborhoods
and communities of chareidim inside the United States, mainly in
Brooklyn and upstate New York, in which similar forms of gender
separation in the name of "modesty" are practiced. No one seems to
think this is grounds for a public outcry by politicians.

The enormous majority of Israelis reject the life style and opinions
of the chareidim, much as the bulk of Americans have no interest in
living the Amish life style. But the Amish generally are
beneficiaries of a "live and let live" attitude on the part of the
bulk of Americans. Most of the "conflicts" in Israel regarding the
"gender separation" sought by the chareidim would go away with similar
tolerance. The religious soldiers who asked to be excused from
listening to women singing did not demand that the singing event be
cancelled, and they were happy to do kitchen duty or guard duty
instead of attending. But their officers and secularist politicians
attempted to coerce them into attending to make a political point.
The chareidim who were denounced for requesting bus lines with
separate seating have now decided to finance their own independent
small bus company without public funding, in whose busses they can sit
in the manner they please. No one disturbed by those seating
arrangements need use those private bus lines or minibuses.

And no one really needs to heed any of those signs on those few
Israeli streets in chareidi neighborhoods that call upon people to
behave in manners the chareidim consider "modest." I have walked
through such neighborhoods with my wife dressed in pants and otherwise
"immodest" secularist dress and with my daughter wearing her army
uniform, and not a single resident said a single word to us about it.
Even when my daughter was not carrying her gun.

The Israeli media managed to uncover a tiny handful of cases in which
local chareidi residents spoke disrespectfully to some women or girls.
Well, I am a native Pennsylvanian and I have to tell you that I have
seen a few Pennsylvania Dutch hotheads speak disrespectfully to other
people. So what? Why is this news? The media rarely report cursing
or disrespectful speech by radical secularists.

The Israeli chareidi attitudes towards women and gender separation are
actually not any more "pre-modern" or feminist-challenged than are
those among Israeli Moslems, Druse, and some other non-Jewish minority
populations. It was rather curious that Hillary and the rest of the
Obama team did not denounce Israeli Moslems and Druse for also
practicing gender separation in public spaces in the name of
"modesty." Condemning non-Jews for gender segregation is just not
politically correct.

In a sense, Hillary was just following the lead of numerous
Bash-Israel leftist feminist organizations. Radical feminists and
their organizations have never been able to identify any mistreatment
of women in Arab countries beyond the supposed "suffering" of those
women due to Israeli "occupation." The feminists cannot conceive of a
better way to promote the interests of Moslem women than annihilation
of Israel and the accompanying genocide of Israel's Jewish population.
Feminist groups have rarely spoken out against Arab anti-Israel
terrorism, even though many of the victims of that terrorism are
themselves women. Even most of the feminist groups operating inside
Israel are radically pro-"Palestinian," pro-terror, anti-Israel, and
some are fronts for the Israeli communist party. They do not seem to
feel uncomfortable in the role of streetwalkers on behalf of

The treatment of women in Arab and Moslem countries is so atrocious
that space here would not allow for even a superficial survey. In the
very same week that Iran announced that a woman convicted of adultery
would be mercifully hanged to death instead of stoned to death, the
Obama team could find nothing more deserving of condemnation than the
treatment of women in the only country in the Middle East in which
women are treated as humans deserving of equal rights.

(See also

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