Saturday, August 21, 2010

I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I'll have to tag him in the photo

"I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I'll have to tag him in the photo.”

The picture above was posted on Facebook by a female member of the Israeli Defense Force. It is a Palestinian prisoner, blindfolded and tied and the caption read, “IDF – the best time of my life”

When a fellow friend on Facebook commented on her post, “..That looks really sexy for you, Eden Abergil, the IDF soldier replied, “I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I’ll have to tag him in the photo.

While the world was outraged; how could Israel, a light among the nations let something like this happen? …Ms. Eden Abergil replied with this comment, “There's nothing wrong with the picture I uploaded to Facebook depicting handcuffed Palestinian detainees.”

I find it odd and quite hypocritical of American Jews, some of them who even supported and voted for the Bush/Cheney regime, who defended the Abu Gahrib prison photos to now look at Israel with a different lens. Humans, especially those accustomed to being powerless and who are now in the position of occupier, are inclined to behave badly.

Yes, they are both wrong, but aggression and war is inherently wrong. A military does things that are ugly, they kill, they force people do leave their homes, they destroy cultures. American Jews sometimes forget that a nation of Jews can act no differently than a nation of Americans, Muslims, or Russians. If you demonize and denigrate a group of people, you will have pictures like this one. And the response will be the same. Some will be outraged, some will secretly smile, and others will just turn the page and go on to the next unsolvable conflict.

My closing words to Ms. Eden Abergil, you’ve come a long way baby from being counted in a minyan.

Have a peaceful week

Nate Klarfeld

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rape by Deception?

Rape by Deception?

Nate Klarfeld

This week Israelis, Arabs, Feminists and Orthodox Rabbis all scratched their heads and decided that an Arab man was to spend the next 18 months in jail for deceiving a woman into having sex with him after telling her his name was Dudi and he was Jewish. . Sabbar Kashur, 30, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday after the court ruled that he was guilty of rape by deception. According to the complaint filed by the woman with the Jerusalem district court, the two met in downtown Jerusalem in September 2008 where Kashur, an Arab from East Jerusalem, introduced himself as a Jewish bachelor seeking a serious relationship. The two then had consensual sex in a nearby building before Kashur left. (The actual story is that they went up to the next building and had sex on the roof 15 minutes after they met, not exactly what I would think a woman looking for a Jewish husband would be doing, but who am I to judge?)

When she later found out that he was not Jewish but an Arab, she filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault.

Although Kashur was initially charged with rape and indecent assault, this was changed to a charge of rape by deception as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

When you read through blogs and deeper stories you find that many hard line feminist groups agree with the Israeli courts decision. That deception is another use of force that this man used on this woman. Sooooo it got me to thinking if I ever deceived anyone enough to get them to bed, love me, give me money, etc. What are the limits of ‘deception’ to get something that you want? I was married to a woman for many years before I admitted to myself and the world that I was gay. I don’t know if that was rape, but it was very painful for all the parties involved.

If you tell someone you meet that you went to Harvard and all you did was have coffee in the commons and your date gushed and went home with you, are you guilty of rape? If you told them you were a neuroscientist and you really flipped burgers are you guilty of rape? What are the limits of persuasion?

I believe this particular case had some racial undertones of course. Israelis and Arabs have a history or animosity that has no boundaries. I doubt that if had told her he was a Jewish Doctor at Hadassah Hospital and you really are a tour bus driver nothing would have happened. In Israel, Jewish weddings are only ‘legal’ if both parties are Jewish. In our Israeli/Arab case this 15 min relationship looked like consensual sex but because of the tense ethnic struggle, it was called rape. The Orthodox court and feminist groups came in on the same side. Lying is power. Strange bedfellows indeed.

Of course being a gay man in a loving relationship with another man this got me thinking. Look at the power this woman had that I will never have. I could never go to court claiming someone deceived me into getting me in bed. In the US there are 1138 laws that married heterosexual couples enjoy that gays do not have…for now.

Well all I take away from this is…The difference between rape and rapture????? 15 minutes of salesmanship.

Have a peaceful week.

Nate Klarfeld