"The fact that this opinion article exploits the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to write about an unproven claim about a group while completely omitting to mention the evidence of threats of rape and sexual violence from Israelis on Palestinian women is ironic."
November 27, 2023
Geoffrey P. Johnston, Columnist, Kingston Whig Standard
Steve Serviss, Editor-in-chief, Kingston Whig Standard
Dear Geoffrey P. Johnston and Steve Serviss,
I am writing to express concern about your opinion article: “Hamas uses sexual violence as a weapon of terror,” published on November 24 in Kingston Whig Standard.
Although this is an opinion article, it should still based on facts, and unfortunately, it isn’t.
First, your headline and opinion article write about Hamas using sexual violence as a weapon of terror and how the UN and social justice activists are reluctant to condemn it, stating it as fact even though this has yet to be proven as a claim.
A column in the Los Angeles Times was amended to remove reference to this claim, as it remains unproven. The Times of Israel also says that while there is reason for investigating this claim, there is not yet evidence.
I suggest adding that these claims have yet to be proven and a reference to the Los Angeles Times and the Times of Israel articles.
Second, the fact that this opinion article exploits the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to write about an unproven claim about a group while completely omitting to mention the evidence of threats of rape and sexual violence from Israelis on Palestinian women is ironic.
If you really understood the idea behind this day, you would include all the women, as your actual feminism doesn’t.
Here are just some references in all the pool of references reporting on this:
- On international women’s day: Palestinian women prisoners remain resilient in the face of apartheid by Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), a Palestinian non-governmental organization
- Using an Attack Dog, Israeli Women Soldiers forces Palestinian Women to Undress by Haaretz
- Beyond Male Israeli Soldiers, Palestinian Women, Rape, And War, a scientific research paper by Revital Madar
- IDF removes gag on 2016 conviction of officer for raping Palestinian woman, an article by The Times of Israel
- Sexual Violence as a War Weapon in Conflict Zones: Palestinian Women’s Experience Visiting Loved Ones in Prisons and Jails, a scientific research paper published in Feminist Inquiry in Social Work
- Out of 1,542 IDF sexual assault complaints, just 31 indictments filed, an article by the Jerusalem Post
- The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, a book by Ilan Pappé
The fact that this is documented, and you chose to deliberately omit to mention anything about it, only makes your opinion article more one-sided and biased. It also furthers the double-standard treatment of Palestinians in the media and fuels anti-Palestinian hate.
I, therefore, suggest adding a section about Israel’s threats and documented acts of rape and sexual assault against Palestinian women.
If Kingston Whig Standard respects the journalistic principles to which it is allegedly bound, this opinion article should be edited to be more accurate and balanced.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East