Where Are the Feminist Voices Denouncing the ‘Toxic Masculinity’ of Hamas’s Pogrom?
The United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is celebrated every year on Nov. 25. But its campaign runs until Dec. 10, a time frame that includes the anniversary—this year the 34th—of the mass murder of 14 women at Montreal’s École Polytechnic on Dec. 6, 1989.
The Montreal victims’ families find solace in national and international ceremonies of remembrance. There isn’t a feminist in the West who does not to this day interpret the action of Montreal killer Gamil Gharbi (son of an Algerian father and Québécois mother; he adopted the name Marc Lepine) as a symbol of the toxic masculinity, whether active or dormant, that afflicts every man, in every generation. Which makes no sense because, while gender-indiscriminate massacres are common in history, women-only massacres are vanishingly rare.
In military conflicts, the more common rule is rape as a weapon of humiliation for women and their male kinsmen alike, but execution for boys and men. In 1995, Bosnian Serb forces murdered more than 7,000 Muslim boys and men. In 2014, ISIS jihadists, after invading Sinjar, home to the Yazidi people, forcibly converted, shot, beheaded, or burned alive 10,000 men and boys, but took 7,000 women and girls captive for use as sex slaves.
The reality is that the Montreal Massacre was a one-off in the West, with no prequel and no sequel, because relations between the sexes here are in general a product of cultural values, and here, oppression of women is not the norm.
Still, given feminism’s formal stance on the evils of the patriarchy and women’s status as an oppressed identity group, where are the feminist voices denouncing the “toxic masculinity” of Hamas’s Oct. 7 pogrom in southern Israel, characterized by both indiscriminate massacre and rape of girls and women? Few and far between. Why?
Because when movements are guided by ideology rather than conscience, the question is always one of power rather than morality: “who/whom,” rather than “right/wrong.” Yesterday’s toxic male is, as a transwoman occupying women’s spaces, today’s victim. Hamas, the incarnation of toxic masculinity, notorious for their brutality to rival political factions and their propensity for using civilians as human shields, become freedom fighters.
The Oct. 7 pogrom by some 3,000 Hamas terrorists was a proto-genocide of such unusual savagery, meeting and surpassing the atrocities of ISIS in Syria and the Levant, that it takes a strong stomach to view the evidence, much of it provided through GoPro footage taken by the marauders themselves. Within hours of the carnage, anyone watching the news could see women with bloodied pants, hands bound, and paraded through Gaza streets to the celebratory cheers of excited crowds. But that was apparently not enough evidence for some feminists and sexual-violence organizations here and internationally.
In the United States, nearly 150 academics in feminist, queer, and trans studies signed a letter, organized by a Marxist scholar from Purdue University, demanding a ceasefire to end the “genocide” in Gaza. Nothing in it about the Israeli victims. In Canada, Samantha Pearce, (now, having been fired, former) head of the Sexual Assault Centre at the University of Alberta, signed a letter that scolded NDP leader Jagmeet Singh for repeating “the unverified accusation” that Palestinians were “guilty of sexual violence.” Rookie Ontario legislator Sara Jama—in spite of her “intersectionality” victimhood chevrons of blackness, disability, and femalehood—was removed from caucus for her proud alignment with Hamas-supportive militants.
In the UK, Sisters Uncut, a charity dedicated to female victims of domestic violence, issued a 600-word statement including references to Israel’s alleged crimes of “apartheid” and “genocide,” but no mention of the 100 or so kidnapped women or the brutal sexual assaults many of them endured. The group claimed that reports of Hamas’s sexual violence amounted to “the Islamophobic and racist weaponization of sexual violence,” and “no people would ever accept being murdered, humiliated, dispossessed, racially targeted, oppressed, cleansed, exiled and colonised without resisting.”
Really? In fact, many peoples, including Jews, have been forced to “accept” all these indignities throughout history, and yet have never perpetrated proto-genocides as a form of “resistance.” The Jews’ response to manifold historic injustices was for centuries to accept exile, second-class citizenship, and frequent pogroms with resignation, finally returning to their homeland, there to build a confident, productive, and democratic nation.
Indeed, Israelis built a nation so democratic and confident that it tolerates the pathological altruism of its own Marxist, post-Zionist feminists who have for many years made common cause with the Islamo-progressive alliance. By “pathological altruism,” I refer to a syndrome all too common amongst Jewish academics, whereby Marxist ideology is privileged over reason and self-interest, even if it means giving comfort to Jews’ self-described mortal enemies.
For example: In 2007, doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan submitted a research thesis to her Hebrew University sociology department, organized around the undisputed premise that members of the Israeli Defense Forces did not rape Palestinian women in the course of their military duties (and still don’t). The abstract of the thesis observes that “the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals.” Nitzan explains these goals: “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.” (emphasis mine)
Nitzan had been so thoroughly groomed in Israeli self-loathing, she failed to consider that IDF soldiers might be guided in such matters by cultural values or by the “purity of arms” in which the IDF takes great pride. Accepting this plausible explanation would mean the “oppressor” had good qualities. That would never do. Oppressors must be absolutely evil. The Marxist solution was to find non-rape blameworthy, just as future feminists would find Hamas atrocities against women justifiable as “resistance.” (Nitzan went on to the University of British Columbia, where, ironically enough, from 2012–2016 she “led a number of research and intervention projects on sexual violence prevention on North American campuses.”) If your mind boggles, congratulations: you’re a rational human being with a working conscience.
On Nov. 22, a full six weeks after the pogrom, U.N. Women (short for United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) finally met with Israeli women’s rights experts advocating for official recognition of Hamas crimes against women and children. At a following meeting of the Security Council, U.N. Women’s executive director condemned Hamas’s crimes inside Israel and promised an investigation. Better late than never, even if “never” looks to be the apparent choice of many other so-called women’s organizations.