Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., questions Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, as he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
This past Thursday, a Palestinian woman named Israa Ghareb was murdered by her brothers in a hospital bed. This happened in public, with staff knowing exactly what was happening. No one intervened or tried to stop it. No one was arrested or punished. There are reasons for that, which will get into momentarily.
This led Rep. Rashida Tlaib, noted anti-Semite and Palestinian activist, to put out a tweet denouncing the killing. That might typically be seen as a positive if it weren’t so full of obfuscation so as to once again show her lack of ability to condemn the real causes of violence from her people. And to be clear, Tlaib pointedly claims the Palestinians as her people. That is not my assumption simply based on her familial origins.
Here’s the tweet in question.
"Isra’s death illustrates an ever-present toxic masculinity and control over women’s bodies and lives."
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 1, 2019
Ah yes. The real problem here isn’t Palestinian culture, buttressed by centuries of Muslims committing honor killings as part of their religious beliefs. No, it’s nebulous “toxic masculinity.” That’s why Western cultures, which had plenty of “toxic masculinity” throughout history, also had epidemics of honor killings. Wait, they didn’t? Then perhaps that should point to the fact that masculinity, though it can certainly be weaponized in harmful ways toward women, is not the primary driver of honor killings.
The article she links to is exactly what you’d expect. It’s a pathetic attempt to excuse all responsibility for the killing away from Islam’s cultural rot and toward the a wider enemy which fits into the mold of social justice activism. Here’s how the piece opens.
***Disclaimer: Honor killings are not Muslim and they are not Arab. This is a universal phenomenon which takes places in nearly all corners of the globe, from the United States to Europe. The US president stands accused of rape. Honor killings were legal in Italy until the 1970s and still happen today. Do not use this narrative to reinforce dangerous stereotypes of Arab culture and Islam. Patriarchy exists every where.
This past Thursday, 21 year old Isra Ghareb was murdered in a hospital at the hands of her brothers. The hospital staff did not intervene. One nurse recorded a video from outside of the hospital room from which Isra’s screams were escaping. I’m not here, however, to tell you the details of her story. You can find those through a quick google search. I’m here to tell you why this story matters and what it means.
Isra’s death illustrates an ever-present toxic masculinity and control over women’s bodies and lives.
This is absolute nonsense. Honor killings are not a “universal phenomenon.” They are extremely localized to Islamic societies, as well as some Hindu cultures. That’s not to say that throughout history there’s never been an honor killing elsewhere, but to pretend that there’s some kind of equivalency shows a desperate attempt to make excuses for cultures which simply do not measure up in terms of human rights. She bemoans “stereotypes” about Arab culture and Islam while at the same time admitting Palestinian law allows honor killings. Perhaps she should worry less about stereotypes and more about the realities which support them.
Oh yeah, and this is Israel’s fault of course.
Now, here’s why Isra’s murderers stand to walk away from this untouched by the law. In Palestine, our legal system is the result of a century of occupation and political turmoil. It is a combination of Ottoman, British, Egyptian (in Gaza), Jordanian (in the West bank), and even no system (Area C). Despite various and continued efforts over the last decade, there has been very little reform to this outdated and dysfunctional legal system for two reasons: Israeli military occupation and a corrupt Palestinian Authority both hinder any legal, economic, and social progress.
Get it? It’s Israel’s “occupation” which causes the Palestinians to vote in terrorist governments and enact laws which allow family members to murder their wives and daughters. Makes sense right? Tlaib, by linking to this piece, is endorsing all these insanely obfuscating ideas, which seek to hand wave away the gross problems of the Islamic Palestinian culture.
She can’t even bring herself to label this killing what it was, much less where it took place and why it was allowed.
You can’t even bring yourself to say/write ‘honour killing’, can you?
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) September 2, 2019
This is why the Palestinian issue is not going to be solved any time soon. Even their most public “activists,” who constantly claim to be for universal rights, ultimately refuse to condemn the most arcane, inhumane aspects of Palestinian culture. This killing was not the fault of men everywhere via some broad issue of “toxic masculinity.” It was the fault of a specific culture and its interpretation of a religion that consistently leads to the endorsement of this kind of barbarism.
Until that is attacked at its root and the excuses stop, nothing will change. Slapping at Israel, bringing up President Trump, and trying to generalize the problem are not helping Palestinian women. It’s simply providing cover for the real evil at play and allowing it to perpetuate. Tlaib, for whatever reason, is happy to keep doing that though.
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