Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Not to Rape Is Racist" says Israeli Academic

Having spent several years in academia, I can confirm that even the most bizarre ideas touted in the news by politicians are tame by comparison to what one will find in a university. Worse, they are often taken seriously and discussed as if there was nothing odd about them. But even by that lax standard, this one outshines any I've ever heard. [From an Op-Ed by Steven Plaut, a professor at Haifa.]
Nitzan argues that abstaining from rape is just as inhumane and oppressive as "symptomatically raping" and in fact replaces it because it just serves to reinforce the intolerance felt toward Arabs by Jewish soldiers, who think of Arabs as so inferior and horrid that they do not even feel a compulsion to rape them.[emphasis added]

Really. While giving some shallow lip service to how the "question" of rape refusal is "very complex," Nitzan's own "answer" is quite simple and straightforward - it reflects Jewish racism against Arabs.

Israel, you see, is so racist and anti-Arab that abstaining from rape is part and parcel of its determination to enforce rigid "lines of division." She asserts that individual soldiers who refuse to rape represent an intentional policy of oppression roughly similar to when governments order mass rape, because in both cases the "policy" serves to subordinate and dehumanize the oppressed victim population.

The thesis draws its "scientific" conclusions from interviews with 25 reserve soldiers, ages 23-32, who served as combat troops in the "occupied territories" during the intifada. None of the comments by any of these soldiers supports or provides any confirmation, even the most indirect, to any of the lunatic conclusions reached by Nitzan.

Ok, so nutty statements by feminist graduate students in anthropology aren't so rare. Fine. But remember what I said above about them being taken seriously?
Facing a storm of public outrage, the president of Hebrew University, Prof. Menachem Magidor, and the Rector, Prof. Haim D. Rabinowitch, jointly issued an announcement defending the student and dismissing those who expressed outrage over the contents of the thesis.
And you thought post-modern academics in the U.S. were loons.

To quote a line uttered by Dustin Hoffman's character in the film Little Big Man: "Sometimes, life is jus' too ridikolous ta be buhleeved."

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