Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Bar Ilan's 'Sexual Harassment of Arabs' Brochure – Removed

Arutz Sheva exposed brochure which presented UN claims that Jews molest Arab women in Judea, Samaria
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/9/2013, 10:14 PM

Border Police and women
Border Police and women
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The online version of an offensive brochure published by Bar Ilan University's Rackman Center is no longer available on the Center's website and appears to have been removed by the Center.

Arutz Sheva recently exposed the problematic nature of document, which consisted mostly of a Hebrew translation of the UN's Convention for Elimination of Violence against Women (CEDAW), and CEDAW's remarks relating to Israel. The brochure included CEDAW's accusation that Jewish civilians and soldiers sexually molest Arab women in Judea and Samaria.

The brochure was prepared by Bar Ilan's Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of Women, and its cover also displayed the logos of Bar Ilan University and the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, which is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

Titled "A Guide to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women," it was authored by Rackman Center head Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari and Adv. Tamar Megiddo.

Besides heading the Rackman Center, Prof. Halperin-Kaddari is Vice President of the UN's committee on the implementation of CEDAW.

The molestation claims appear in CEDAW's 2011 remarks on Israel, under the heading "Violence against Women and their Harassment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories." The document reads thus:

"While it notes the complexity of governmental administration in the area, the committee notes with deep concern that Palestinian women and girls continue to suffer from violent attacks, both by state elements (Israeli soldiers) and by non-state elements (settlers, among others), as well as all other forms of violence within their communities, including the violation of their right to life, physical, mental and verbal abuse, and sexual harassment. In addition, the committee notes with great concern that only rarely are such incidents accompanied by documentation, legal charges or punishment… Moreover, the committee notes with concern that the limitations on movement in the occupied territories, as well as routine harassment of children and teachers by settlers on their way to school and from it, have adversely affected the access of women and girls to education and health."

At no point in the document did Prof. Halperin-Kaddari or the Rackman Center see fit to express misgivings regarding CEDAW's claims.

The university's written response to Arutz Sheva, upon our report on the original publication, read as follows:

"This is an official document of the UN committee that was handed over to the official Israel delegation in January of 2011, after the country reported to the convention. In no way is this a publication by the Rackman Center, but only a Hebrew translation of the UN document.

"In order to remove all doubts, publication of the document on the site does not connote any agreement with its contents and we strongly reject some of the conclusions."

The Rackman Center added this reaction:

The document is an official UN committee document, which was translated into Hebrew by the Rackman Center. These are the committee's recommendations to the state of Israel, and they appear in the Justice Ministry's official website in the same wording, including the problematic parts.This is the link.

Certainly, no one would think of claiming that the publication on the Justice Ministry's website is an admission by the State of Israel that the claims are right. It is therefore demagogic and fraudulent to make this accusation regarding the Rackman Center!

The Rackman Center carries out the academic role it is meant to perform, by making the UN's work accessible to Israeli society, even if it contains statements against Israel and even if they are biased, precisely so that the relevant authorities and civil society organizations will act to take care of the matters raised by the UN. This is also the source of Prof. Halperin-Kaddari's pride, because without accessible information, there will be no real action regarding the report's recommendations. It should be noted, also, that the Hebrew-language guide published by the Rackman Center was launched in a formal event at the Knesset, with the participation of representatives of relevant government ministries, and many MKs.

It is obvious that the Rackman Center disagrees with those paragraphs in the committee's recommendations. Only one who is seeking to libel can interpret these matters as an expression of support by the Center of the UN committee's accusations toward the soldiers and settlers.