In the weeks following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, one wonders: Where is the left’s hashtag campaign now? Where are all the sharpie signs and photo ops demonstrating solidarity on the left for the return of Israeli girls? And, for that matter, where are the feminists and the #metoo brigades? What explains their silence over the apparent rapes, abductions, and even murders of these women?
First, a little history.
In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from a school in Nigeria by Boko Haram, an extremist Muslim terrorist group. The girls were forced into the back of trucks by armed Islamic terrorists disguised as soldiers.
For weeks, the story barely registered with the international media. Then a few Nigerian activists on Twitter began a hashtag campaign #Bringbackourgirls calling for the hostages’ immediate release. It spread like wildfire worldwide. Celebrities took to social media to voice their support for the kidnapped girls, including luminaries such as Angelina Jolie, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah, Harrison Ford, The Rock, and Salma Hayek. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted out her support, decrying the abduction as “unconscionable” and urging everyone to “stand up to terrorism.”
Even First Lady Michelle Obama lent her support. Who can forget that photo of a frowny-faced Michelle Obama? There she was in a red, white, and blue floral dress, and as Vanity Fair reported, she decided she could just “do this fast” while waiting for a motorcade on her way to a personal appointment. So she “stared intently into the photographer’s lens, gripping a pearly white placard” with the #Bringbackourgirls hashtag written in black sharpie by a staffer. Although she’s famously cautious about getting involved in politics and social media, Obama was reportedly “driven to speak out about the story” because it involved girls about the same age as her daughters who were suffering in captivity and facing slavery or death.
Fast forward to the present, however, and there is silence from the same people about the Hamas massacre of more than 1,200 people and abduction of at least 240 hostages, included many young women and children. Some of them are still being held captive by Hamas, most likely so they cannot reveal to the world the sexual abuse they have suffered. Some are young girls abducted from a music festival who are the same age as Michelle Obama’s daughters. We’ve all seen pictures of these young women being loaded into trucks with bloodied pants and their broken, lifeless bodies paraded through Gaza.
Oh sure, Michelle Obama states she has seen the images and “cannot wrap her mind around how people must be feeling” and that there are “really are no words” to be offered “on that kind of trauma.” But the most important thing in this situation, according to Michelle, is for people not to harden their hearts, because if we do that in the face of “those kinds of acts, then we lose sight, and we lose our resolve for peace, and that’s something that we cannot do.”
Well, that is pretty weak sauce. “No words?” Prayers for peace? It is at least odd that that’s all she can muster for this sickening outrage when she was so vocal about Boko Haram. Brutal gang rapes, sexual torture, and beheadings have all been captured on Hamas GoPro cameras. Hamas is using wartime rape as a weapon in flagrant violation of the Geneva convention.
So why the measured, anodyne, and cautious tone from Western feminists and leftists like Obama? Is it politics or indifference? Is it because these Israeli victims don’t “look like they could be Barack’s and my daughters?”
One can understand why Hillary Clinton may be hesitant to say much about rape—given her husband’s history with accusations of sexual assault. But where are all those Hollywood celebrities with their tweets of outrage? I thought progressive women loyally and stalwartly supported other women who are victims of sexual violence.
Doesn’t anyone remember the Women’s March in D.C. the day after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017? Half a million card-carrying progressive feminists put on their pink pussy hats to march in protest of the new Trump administration, specifically because of his abusive rhetoric about women. Madonna, always the voice of reason, proclaimed that she fantasized about blowing up the White House, while Ashley Judd declared herself a “nasty woman” in response to vulgar comments made by Donald Trump “expressing the freedom he felt to grab women’s genitals.”
Never mind the important suggestion of consent in Trump’s actual comments (“And when you’re a star, they let you do it.”). Sexual misconduct involving women had to be called out and opposed, wherever and whenever! Even if that sexual misconduct purportedly happened 30 years ago in a changing room of a Bergdorf Goodman’s department store and was reported by a woman who just recently remembered it as she was empowered by progressive donors for the purpose. And never mind if those same donors organized an influence campaign to convince the state of New York to change the statute of limitations by special session to allow this one lawsuit to proceed, though for only a 12-month period. We must believe all women!
But when pregnant Israeli women are raped and have their pelvises broken because of the intensity of the sexual violence by Hamas … crickets.
On Sunday, Squad member Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the House Progressive Caucus, lowered the veil to reveal her conditional stance on rape. When asked why progressives were silent over Hamas rapes of Israeli women, Jayapal stated that sexual violence should be condemned but that “we have to be balanced” in our condemnation, whatever that means. She then quickly shifted into a classic example of both sides-ism, scolding Israel for the death toll in Gaza. Victim blaming is apparently okay when the victims belong to an ethnic group historically at odds with her own.
What a pathetic, cynical, shameful ploy. What is clear to me is that progressives only care about rape and sexual violence against women when it can be used a cudgel against the likes of Donald Trump or his Supreme Court appointees. To paraphrase Whoopi Goldberg excusing Roman Polanski, it apparently isn’t “rape-rape” when Hamas does it—and when Israeli women probably deserved it anyway!
Again and again, “Believe all women,” #metoo, and other examples of the left’s hashtag activism demonstrate that progressive sloganeering about sexual violence is pure politics meant to manipulate female voters into believing that Democrat policies protect women. The tragic thing is that for too many American female voters it seems to work.