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Wednesday, September 06, 2023

How to spread antisemitic lies in academic papers: A case study from @FeministReview_

In 2021, the academic journal Feminist Review published "(Re)producing the Israeli (European) body: Zionism, Anti-Black Racism and the Depo-Provera Affair" by Bayan Abusneineh.

Its abstract:
This article examines the Depo-Provera Affair—where Israeli doctors administered the contraceptive Depo-Provera to newly immigrated Ethiopian Jewish women—to argue that the Israeli settler colonial project depends on these forms of gendered anti-Black violence, through the management of Black African bodies. In 2013, then Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman admitted that they had administered Depo-Provera to Ethiopian immigrant women without their consent, after reproductive and civil rights activists in Israel called for an investigation after a drop in the birthrate among Ethiopian women: close to 50 per cent within the previous decade. The demarcation of Blackness as a political tool necessary to advance Israeli modernity and the situating of Black bodies as antithetical to the state of Israel are not contradictory but rather illuminate Israel’s deployment of anti-Blackness through the racial and reproductive violence necessary to become part of the superior, European West.
The entire article is an anti-Israel screed (and, as you can see from the title, an anti-Jewish screed that accuses Jews of being white Europeans). 

And it is based on something that never happened.

Yaakov Litzman didn't "admit" that Depo-Provera was injected into Ethiopian Jewish women without their consent. There was a  documentary that made those claims then Litzman authorized an investigation. But in the end, it was all a slander - no Ethiopian women were forced to take this (temporary) contraceptive, although some may have misunderstood what the doctors said. As my investigation proved, many of the women wanted to take the contraceptive secretly, against their husbands' wishes - turning this episode from infantilizing these women into empowering them. 

Haaretz' story claiming that Israeli officials admitted to this conspiracy theory was corrected and rewritten.

The entire basis for this paper is false. Its conclusions of a racist Israeli society - the only country that actually went out of their way to save the lives of black people in Africa - are utterly false. The paper also sprinkles other lies, like claiming that Israel as a nation has "past and present ties to the eugenics movement" based wholly on the opinions of one Zionist who died in 1943.

It is bad enough that Feminist Review publishes a paper where the linchpin of the author's thesis is a falsehood. 

It is bad enough that Feminist Review is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

But since this lie was published in a respected, peer reviewed journal, it is now being cited as factual in other academic journals. Google Scholar lists six papers that cite this one, most of them clearly written from an anti-Israel perspective as well:
Coloniality and feminist collusion: Breaking free, thinking anew
NK Purewal, J Ung Loh - Feminist Review, 2021

Beyond the contours of Zionist sovereignty: Decolonisation in Palestine's Unity Intifada
W Alqaisiya - Political Geography, 2023 - Elsevier

Structural racism and the health of Palestinian citizens of Israel
O Tanous, Y Asi, W Hammoudeh, D Mills… - Global Public …, 2023 - Taylor & Francis

For sled dogs and women: Hormonal contraception and animacy hierarchies in Danish/Greenlandic Depo-Provera debates
AN Bang, CH Krol√łkke - European Journal of Women's …, 2023 - journals.sagepub.com

Jil Oslo Generation Palestinians and the Fight for Human Rights
BK Thakore - Critical Sociology, 2022 - journals.sagepub.com

Criminalising Palestinians: History and Borders in the Construction of the Palestinian Threat
M Al-Hindi - International Journal for Crime, Justice and …, 2023 - crimejusticejournal.com
The lie spreads and cross-breeds with dozens of other falsehoods and half-truths, in turn creating more raw material for modern antisemites to spread hate in an academically respectable way.





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