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Sexual Abuse on October 7: The Campaign to Deny Atrocities & Defend Hamas

The personal belongings of festival-goers are seen at the site of an attack on the Nova Festival by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Oct. 12, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

On March 4, the United Nations envoy on sex crimes during conflict presented a 24-page report on sex crimes perpetrated against Israelis during Hamas’ October 7 atrocities, and against hostages being held captive in Gaza.

According to the report’s findings, there is “clear and convincing evidence” that Israeli hostages suffered (and are likely continuing to suffer) in Gaza, and there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that rape and other acts of sexual abuse were committed by Hamas during its invasion of southern Israel.

This report is the latest confirmation that sex crimes were a tool in the arsenal of brutality that defined the events of October 7.

However, in the months that have followed the initial attack, there has been a movement of denial brewing in alternative media outlets and on social media, which calls into question the incidence of rape and sexual abuse of Israeli victims, accuses Israel of cynically exploiting claims of sexual abuse for military purposes, and seeks to redeem Hamas’ image in the eyes of their selective audiences.

Since December 2023, much of this denialism has focused on “debunking” the claims made by The New York Times in its front-page profile, “‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7.”

This crusade against The New York Times’ account of the sexual crimes that occurred on October 7 has been spearheaded by far-left and anti-Israel online publications such as The Intercept, The Grayzone, Electronic Intifada, and Mondoweiss.

Central to these sites’ claims of “debunking” The New York Times’ narrative are pointed questions regarding the newspaper’s evidence, a disregard for the trauma experienced by those who witnessed acts of sexual abuse or were victims of it, and a dismissal of any evidence that does not meet their exceedingly high evidentiary standard.

As part of its investigation, The New York Times interviewed 150 people (including witnesses, soldiers, medical personnel, and rape counselors) and analyzed GPS information, video footage, and photographs.

Out of this litany of evidence, The New York Times profiled several people.

One of these was Gal Abdush, known as the “woman in the black dress,” who was killed on October 7. It is widely believed that due to the position of her body, she was the victim of sexual abuse prior to her murder.

In the wake of the publication of  the Times story, some of these “debunkers” have latched onto claims made by some of her siblings to Israeli television that she was not abused prior to her death.

For these skeptics, if The New York Times is incorrect about Abdush, it must unravel the newspaper’s entire narrative about sexual abuse on October 7.

First, it should be made clear that some in Abdush’s family (such as her mother) do accept the assertion that she was a victim of sexual abuse before her death.

Second, as noted by the X (formerly Twitter) account @daniela127, her family members may be trying to be protective of her dignity, especially as she was the mother of young children. This was alluded to in a Hebrew-language interview with her brother-in-law in January 2024.

Third, it is obvious to any rational person that a question about one piece of evidence does not automatically disqualify the whole case.

The Grayzone seeks to do the same thing with witness Raz Cohen, impeaching his testimony and thereby working to discredit the entire piece.

The far-left news site calls into question his testimony about witnessing a gang rape of an Israeli woman while he was hiding, pointing out that it took him two days from his first interview (October 9) to make any mention of this.

While most people would understand that in the immediate aftermath of an immense trauma it might take time for anyone to open up about their experiences, The Grayzone only finds a nefarious cause behind his testimony.

The psychology behind October 7 mass-rape denial is the same as Holocaust denial. They know the truth. What antisemites enjoy is planting seeds of doubt and watching us Jews plead our case. I’m not going to play that ancient game. They can fuck right off.

— Howard Lovy (@Howard_Lovy) March 5, 2024

Much like The Grayzone’s disregard for Raz Cohen’s trauma influencing his testimony, other “debunking” sites show little regard for the victims and other witnesses.

Mondoweiss finds it “convenient” that the few survivors of sexual abuse on October 7 are unable to talk to the press about their experiences due to their undergoing intense therapy and psychiatric treatment.

The anti-Israel site also calls for journalists to have access to all the evidence of sexual abuse, a grave breach of privacy that no victim of sexual abuse or rape in any other Western country would be subjected to.

Another way that these sites seek to “debunk” the New York Times piece and the Israeli charge of sex abuse during the October 7 attacks is by dismissing any evidence that does not meet their high evidentiary standard.

For example, Electronic Intifada dismisses most of the evidence since it was collected by the IDF (as they were one of the first on the scene). This is as absurd as dismissing evidence in a criminal case because you don’t like the police.

Likewise, Mondoweiss seeks to undermine Israel’s case by calling into question the lack of forensic evidence of rape and sexual abuse.

Although forensic evidence of sexual abuse during war is normally rare, the Israeli government was initially focused on identifying bodies rather than collecting evidence for criminal cases. The fact is that many bodies were retrieved in an active war zone, and the scale of victims was much larger than the police laboratory could handle by itself. Despite this, Mondoweiss appears to view these as convenient excuses meant to hide the fact that there were no instances of sexual abuse and rape during October 7.

I read the attempt to discredit the NY Times reporting on Hamas’s systemic sexual violence so you don’t have to. You should, so you can see the full extent of the depravity & misogyny enabled & required by antisemitism. But here are the highlights. https://t.co/VAKoPIee8C

— daniela (@daniela127) March 3, 2024

Concurrent with the attempt to delegitimize the case that there was a rash of sexual abuse and rape is an attempt to absolve Hamas of any wrongdoing.

For these observers, even if sexual abuse did take place during the massacre, it was certainly not perpetrated by Hamas, the noble Palestinian resistance movement dedicated to fighting the evil Jewish state.

Both freelance British journalist and anti-Israel activist Jonathan Cook and The Intercept seem to largely absolve Hamas of any guilt in this regard and re-focus it on the deluge of Palestinian civilians that followed the initial wave of Hamas terrorists into southern Israel.

The Grayzone and Mondoweiss even go one step further, using the opportunity to not only call into question the use of sexual abuse by Hamas terrorists, but also to seemingly glorify those who took part in the October 7 invasion.

In its questioning of The New York Times, The Grayzone ponders whether it’s “plausible that a group of hardened Hamas commandos suddenly paused their surprise attack, which was focused on taking as many captives as quickly as possible, stood in a circle and gang raped a woman, one after another, while Israeli forces mobilized to attack them?”

For The Grayzone, it appears to be inconceivable that these “hardened Hamas commandos,” who also engaged in the butchering of 1,200 people and the war crime of kidnapping roughly 250 others, would engage in the demeaning tactic of sexual abuse. While sex crimes are not uncommon in wartime, The Grayzone judges it to be absurd that Hamas terrorists would stoop to such a level.

For its part, Mondoweiss claims that not only did Hamas members not engage in sexual abuse, but the Islamist terrorist organization is known to treat women properly, based on the calm comportment of those hostages who were freed in November 2023 as they were released to the care of the Red Cross.

While there have been published videos of captured Hamas terrorists admitting to sexual abuse and rape, and there has been testimony that the released hostages were sedated prior to their release (along with the fact that many still have relatives in Hamas captivity), Mondoweiss disregards these pieces of evidence as “absurd” and discounts their validity.

For a publication that seems intent on attaining the facts regarding October 7, it seems that it only cares for the facts that are convenient to its narrative and disregards the rest.

It should be noted that these Western media outlets are echoing the same sentiments expressed by Hamas itself, alleging that Hamas members can’t have engaged in these acts as they are against “Islamic values and culture.” At the same time, Hamas also regarded the October 7 massacre as “glorious.”

For those who seek to invalidate the claim that sexual abuse occurred on October 7 and “debunk” The New York Times’ in-depth profile, the allegations of abuse and rape are part of a campaign by the Israeli government to validate its military actions in Gaza.

While the mass killings and kidnappings of October 7 would have been enough to warrant a military response against Hamas in Gaza, The Intercept, Jonathan Cook, The Grayzone, and Electronic Intifada all claim that these allegations are central to Israel’s case for “ethnic cleansing” and “mass killings” in Gaza.

For these alternative outlets and their eager audience on social media, the attempt to discredit the sexual assault claims is not a mere search for the truth, but is part of a concerted effort to invalidate Israel’s military campaign against Hamas and to rehabilitate Hamas’ image in the West.

Thus, these “debunking” efforts are an effective propaganda tool on behalf of a tyrannical terrorist organization that perpetrated the worst single day in Jewish history since the Holocaust.

And as long as these efforts are allowed to maintain a veneer of credibility, they will help pave the way for future Hamas atrocities.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Sexual Abuse on October 7: The Campaign to Deny Atrocities & Defend Hamas first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction

Toronto Police have arrested and charged a man for assault over an incident May 9 near the protest encampment at the University of Toronto’s King’s College Circle on its downtown campus.  Toronto Police Services (TPS) say they responded at 3:45 p.m. that day to a call for assault in the area of the road around […]

The post Assault charge laid, arrest made related to incident near the University of Toronto encampment—while its president speaks in Ottawa on antisemitism, and the school seeks a removal injunction appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets

Terrorists in Gaza using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets. Photo: Screenshot

Terrorists in Gaza have been using humanitarian aid bags to prop up rockets they were preparing to shoot at Israelis, new video circulating on social media reveals, underscoring the challenges of delivering aid to Palestinian civilians in the Hamas-ruled enclave without it being stolen.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — which is the armed wing of Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbasused bags from Turkey and UNRWA — the UN agency responsible for the Palestinians — to prop up the rockets, according to the video.

At least three of the bags say they contain “wheat flour,” and the bag from Turkey specifically says it is supposed to go “to the Palestinian people.” It is unclear whether the bags had previously been opened to extract the food and then refilled with sand, for example, or if it still contained the food that was intended to feed Palestinian civilians.

“Any chance the media would cover this, yet another violation of international humanitarian law?” pro-Israel commentator Hen Mazzig wrote on X/Twitter while sharing the video.

Rafah, Gaza: Hamas is using UN humanitarian aid bags as rocket launchers today.

Any chance the media would cover this, yet another, violation of International Humanitarian Law? pic.twitter.com/eNIy2SU0Ep

— Hen Mazzig (@HenMazzig) May 29, 2024

Almost every day for the past seven months, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations have been shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas, which is a war crime. Tens of thousands of Israelis are internally displaced and unable to return to their homes as a result.

There is mounting evidence that Hamas has also operated in civilian clothing and in civilian infrastructure such as hospitals. However, these violations of international law are rarely noted by much of the media.

The latest video of terrorists using humanitarian aid for military purposes underscores the issue of making sure such aid gets to Palestinian civilians. 

The US built a pier to deliver 2,000,000 meals daily to Palestinian civilians, but after a few weeks of operation, the Pentagon said none of the aid unloaded from the pier had made it to those who needed it. On one occasion, about 70 percent of the aid has been stolen while en route to a UN warehouse. In other cases, it just never showed up.

Israeli estimates suggest approximately 60 percent of the aid that has gone into Gaza has been stolen — either by Hamas or other groups and individuals. Oftentimes, that aid is then sold to the population at high prices, making it difficult to impossible for most Gazans to gain access to it. 

According to Ehud Yaari, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hamas has made more than $500 million in profit from selling humanitarian aid since Oct. 7.

The terror group began the war last October by massacring 1,200 people in Israel and taking more than 250 people hostage, about half of whom have still not been released.

The post ‘Any Chance the Media Would Cover This?’ New Video Shows Terrorists in Gaza Using Humanitarian Aid to Help Prepare Rockets first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas

Demonstrators take part in an anti-Israel demonstration at the Columbia University campus, in New York City, US, Feb. 2, 2024. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado

Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has endorsed Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace antisemitic violence.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

.@Columbia and @BarnardCollege, @ColumbiaSJP is actively promoting terrorism and anti-Israel rhetoric on their social media channels. They are sounding more and more like Hamas spokespeople every day. When is the university going to permanently ban this “student group”? pic.twitter.com/FE0VbgmFLA

— Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus (@CampusJewHate) May 26, 2024

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has reformed under multiple organizations since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, has been central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The group’s behavior after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Center for League Justice (SCLJ).

The complaint alleges that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, the pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library, according to the lawsuit. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Following the incidents, pleas for help allegedly went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while SJP held its demonstrations. The school’s apparent powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events while no one explained the inconsistency.

The explosion of end-of-year protests held by the group forced Columbia officials to shutter the campus in April and institute virtual learning. Later, the group occupied Hamilton Hall, forcing President Minouche Shafik to call on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for help, a decision she hesitated to make. According to The Columbia Spectator, over 108 arrests were made.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Amid the chaos, a prominent rabbi at the school urged Jewish students to leave the campus for the sake of their safety. Ultimately, the university cancelled its main commencement ceremony.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Columbia University Anti-Zionist Group Endorses Hamas first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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