Sunday, May 29, 2005

Another example of our moronic academia: Israel to blame for Palestinian men killing their wives

Thanks to Mark at Auterrific for uncovering this beaut:
Within a period of a month, five women, Shadia Jidawi from Tulkarem, Yusra Al ‘Azamy from Gaza, Faten Habash from Ramallah, Rudaina Shukirat (pregnant 8 months), and her sister, Amany Shukirat from Jabal Mukaber, were killed for challenging patriarchal norms.

Challenges to patriarchal norms, within the context of conflict and militarization, are often answered with threats of violence and in worst cases, murder. Women are invariably most vulnerable. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), the increase of violent measures against the Palestinians by the Israeli Occupying Forces has not been matched by any increased accountability to international human rights and humanitarian law. This lack of accountability and justice seeps into the consciousness of Palestinian society where some Palestinian men transfer this entitlement to commit violence to their own families in order to reassert their authority and power. These men--no longer able to find or even reach employment because of the restrictions of movement, no longer able to even feed their own families--are forced to swallow their dignity and accept help from foreign development agencies and humanitarian aid agencies. Their use of violence becomes a coping mechanism that addresses their own inabilities to perform their traditional roles as providers for their families, that addresses their loss of dignity and “manhood,” and finally, their loss of control and authority over their women.

Within this context of the systematic breakdown of social institutions and because law is not enforced, women become the tools of the patriarchal elite to reclaim their power. Traditional roles and responsibilities are further entrenched. Girls are pulled out of schools and forced into early marriage. Development of institutions, systems, and legislation that could protect women comes to a standstill. The empowerment of women becomes a threat and a liability and women’s rights organizations are vilified and seen as trivial.

It is between the forces of patriarchy and militarism that the lives of these five women and all Palestinian women are positioned and it is only through addressing and understanding these forces that we, as women’s organizations, and civil society, can hope to change the lives and futures of Palestinian women and Palestinian society as a whole.

Translating this new-age gobbledygook into English, this professor at Wichita State University is claiming that any violence that Palestinian men use against Palestinian women is Israel's fault!
Such utter stupidity, such incredible vacuousness from a Ph.D (History of Consciousness) may not be unusual any more but it is still shocking. Part of me actually wants to see the quality of "scholarship" that is behind this abstract. Are "honor killings" in Egypt and Jordan also the Jews' fault, I wonder? Do Palestinians have no responsibility whatsoever for their crimes, even against their own people? Do "scholars" such as Dr. Gordon have the tiniest bit of actual research to back up these claims? If their students disagree, are they penalized? Has there been an uptick in Israeli violence towards women since the Intifada, and if there was, would these bogus scholars blame the Palestinians?

And perhaps most relevant, if these fake academics are so upset at the restrictions that Palestinians have in their movement, why are they not in the forefront to try to dismantle the UNRWA, which is the single organization most responsible for keeping the Palestinians in camps for decades rather than having them integrate into surrounding Arab societies where presumably the men wouldn't feel so emasculated anymore?

The answer to that last question would go a long way towards finding out how much Dr. Gordon truly cares about women's rights and how much she just hates Israel.

UPDATE: A great observation from Rachel Ann on Auterrific about this:

What the good professor is actually saying is that sometimes there is an excuse for spousal abuse.

UPDATE 2: It does not appear that there is any evidence that Dr. Gordon wrote this drivel. She links to the website of the WCLAC and her resume shows that she has great interest in the issue of feminism and Palestinians, and she calls for a boycott of all Israeli universities, but it is not clear at this time that she supports the stupidity quoted above.