365 Comments
Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023

Jayapal's comments are a good reminder to those of us on the Left to always keep Aristotle's warning that a virtue in excess becomes a vice. in mind Identifying with the oppressed and advocating for them is not a vice. But excusing, whataboutisming, and other refusals to acknowledge and condemn the oppressed when they engage in acts of pure evil is unambiguously wrong. I'm heartened to see the examples Charlie shared of progressives who get that.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023

The text you included from Judge Chutkan's ruling was enlightening. I especially liked her referencing George Washington. His sentence beginning with the warning about "cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be willing to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroylng afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion...." is incredibly applicable to what actually transpired with Trump 220 years later. She really nailed it.

Expand full comment

I find it mildly ironic that many Republicans on Twitter are expressing outrage at Jayapal for her both sidesing, when not too long ago, they were saying things like:

"If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it."- Clayton Williams, R-TX

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that down."- Todd Akin R-MO

"Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation." - Rick Santorum R-US

Let's also acknowledge the fact that rape is often used in wars as a means of establishing control through fear- ISIS was famous for it, and often used in conflicts in Africa.

Let's keep this outrage over innocent women and children being raped and assaulted in war time going!

Expand full comment

Owing to their ongoing efforts to insulate Trump from any accountability, to abet Insurrection, to subvert the law and to install an authoritarian regime, the GOP can never again profess to honor the Founders or the Constitution.

Expand full comment

Trump argued in court that former presidents are immune from prosecution for crimes they may have committed while in office. At the same time, Trump is running around talking about prosecuting Biden as soon as he is out of office. Absurd.

Expand full comment

I remember how excited I was when "the Squad" got to Congress. Man, that feels like it was another century on a different planet.

I'd be totally willing to stipulate that Pramila Jayapal has a big heart and is honest according to her own lights. The tragedy is that her unskilled and ineffective representation is undermining a good cause. What she's doing is not leadership. Being on the "right" side does not excuse second-rate efforts.

In this horrible conflict, I would not trust /anyone/ who (1) cannot sit for a minute with the knowledge of one side's suffering without immediately saying "yes but" or (2) uses this unspeakable suffering to promote /any/ cause.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023

I get where J-Pal is coming from with respect to highlighting the proportionality argument against the IDF bombing Gaza the way it's bombing Gaza, but doing the whataboutism move on Hamas terror-rape is not the way to get there. The only response to someone highlighting the use of rape against civilians by terrorist organizations in the middle of a terrorist attack is to condemn it unequivocally. Full stop. No comparisons, no whataboutisms, just rank condemnation. That's it.

That said, it doesn't mean you cannot bring up the topic of unproportional bombing of civilian targets by the IDF after addressing the fact that rape-terrorism is not Palestinian resistance and is not okay. At this point, the number of Palestinian civilians that the IDF has killed since 10/7 is literally orders of magnitude more than the number of Israeli civilians Hamas killed on 10/7--even if one were to assume that as much as *half* of Palestinian deaths were somehow all Hamas fighters. You can survive rape with your body intact, but with PTSD in the aftermath. Bombings leave the surviving victims with PTSD and scars also, but bombings also dismember and kill--which are much greater permanent effects than just having the PTSD and scars from a rape and/or torture. If you're upset about the surviving innocent Israeli women who were raped and/or tortured by Hamas, then you should also be even more mad about the innocent Palestinian women and children who were blasted into pieces, crushed by tons of rubble, and died with the air sucked out of their lungs after being bombed by IDF aircraft in their homes where they live and sleep. To be empathetic with the women of Israel who were violated by Hamas but then to not be empathetic to the Palestinian women and children who were grievously wounded and/or killed by IDF bombing means that you're not displaying broad humanism as much as you're choosing sides. It is perfectly fine to empathize with the civilians on both sides. Empathizing with one group who had it bad while not empathizing with the other group who has had it literally orders of magnitude worse says a lot about the so-called humanism of the observer.

Expand full comment

Are we really arguing over what is not being said enough?

Rape is a subset of war. War is devastating, rape is devastating.

HAMAS IS BAD. They are terrorists whose purpose is to kill Jews and retake the land of Israel. They don't care how many die on the way.

Innocent Palestinians will die before shaky peace is achieved. Hamas' disgusting, devastating, reprehensible acts on Oct 7 do not trigger a blank check on lives.

I am not going to say that any and every action taken by Israel is justified. Give it a break.

Expand full comment

Anti-Semitism flourishes in countries like the U.S. where belief in conspiracy theories in general is widespread.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023

Progressives tend to be good feminists until liberal, feminist values clash with cultures that are illiberal, non-white, and religiously fundamentalist. I'll say it; in Islamic, theocratic states, the lives of women range from bad to unbearable. Look at how the Taliban treats women. In some of these cultures, honor killings are tolerated. FGM is practiced. Women are their husbands' property. Women are forced to cover themselves head to toe, and when they are raped, they are blamed and shamed for it, and the rapists are exonerated because men cannot be expected to control themselves around women.

At any rate, I think that is 100% what's going on with the reaction to Hamas terrorists raping and killing Jewish women. Saying this is what happens in war, when these atrocities happened during a terrorist assault, is just absurd.

Expand full comment
founding

“The women’s rights organization made a similar statement in late November condemning the Hamas attacks, but quickly deleted the post.”

Rape is rape and it must always be condemned. However, just like always, the rape of Israeli women and girls is beside the point.

It’s a distraction from what’s happening. If anyone supports Hamas; they are complicit with Hamas’s attack on Israel, plain and simple.

Every life is sacred, whether Israeli or Palestinian. I don’t think any sane person thinks otherwise. There are progressives that refuse to acknowledge this, but they aren’t the majority of liberals or conservatives in the US or abroad.

The real question is whether Palestinian civilians should pay the price for Hama’s actions? To an extent, Israel has every right to defend itself, yet at what cost to Palestinian civilians; mostly women and children? Sixty percent of the Palestinian population weren’t even born when Hamas took over Gaza. And an additional 20% weren’t of voting age. Since then, Hamas has refused to hold elections.

My point, at what point is when is enough, enough? So far approximately 15k Palestinians have been killed. Even if the death rate is exaggerated, no one can dispute whether the casualty rates are extremely high.

Dana Bash was completely off base with her interview. Her question about Israeli soldiers not raping Palestinian girls and women speaks volumes; especially since Hama doesn’t have an army, they are TERRORISTS, and do not adhere to international standards or norms. What exactly is her point? That Hamas is more brutal? Thanks for that glimpse into the obvious.

That said, let’s not forget that Israel knew of this attack a year in advance. And even after ignoring all the evidence, they still couldn’t get even one army or navy unit to the scene of the attack for seven hours? Seriously?

Has it occurred to anyone that the attack is exactly what Netanyahu and his right-wing cohorts were hoping for; in order to fulfill their policy agenda of forcing more and more Palestinians from Gaza?

Netanyahu’s government spokesman just said as much recently in an interview. “Their goal is to thin the population in Gaza and force other Arab nations to take the Palestinian’s in.”

Why is the media deflecting from Israel’s policy aims and goals, to not enough outrage over Israeli rape victims, and shaming anyone who hasn’t publicly condemned Hamas, or hasn’t condemned them enough.

Personally, as a Jewish person, I am outraged at everyone. From Hamas, to our MSM and politicians, to Netanyahu’s right-wing government which is trying to force most of the Palestinian people to flee their homes.

Yet, a month into this conflict, with casualties mounting on both sides; while Netanyahu is about to implement an even more extreme policy agenda against the Palestinians that will have far reaching consequences for decades, we’re talking about rape!

I’m glad everyone has their priorities straight. It’s a wonder how this world has gotten to this point in time.

Just some thoughts!...:)

Expand full comment

"George Santos is about to join him there, where he can ponder his legacy as an asterisk on a parenthesis in a footnote — as one of only six congressmen expelled from that august body. (He’s also likely headed to prison, which could hamper his bid to become a Newsmax host.)"

Not so fast. Consider the following scenario:

1) DJT wins the 2024 presidential election.

2a) DJT pardons Santos, among many others who are deemed to be politically persecuted; or

2b) MAGA-friendly justices, appointed by DJT or otherwise, drop cases against or overturn the convictions of those same people.

And Santos and said others wear their good fortune around their necks and go on to their Newsmax job, renewed political careers, or hack employment in service to the new establishment, singing the praises of DJT even louder and revising a traditional song's lyric to "We fought the law, and MAGA won."

It is well within the realm of possibility. I think we too often underestimate the degree to which things would be very, very different if the 2017-2021 administration is revived, with a new cast of movers and shakers who are unencumbered by trivial things such as laws and Constitutions, formerly sacrosanct entities that we now see can be circumvented if enough key people are willing to make it happen. The new rule of order will be that there are no rules anymore, except those that the extremists choose to enforce or, worse, impose. It stands to be a winner-take-all free-for-all against any and all perceived opposition, and what historically stood as guardrails or cultural norms against bad behavior would be discarded as if leftover aluminum foil.

Let us not underestimate the threat that stands before us, even in casual discourse, by assuming that any aspect of the old order will hold true later on just because it is logical and reasonable to do so. For we know what supposedly happens when one makes assumptions. Or, in this case, for many of us, potentially something much worse than simply being labeled an ass.

Expand full comment

As an 80+yo I’ve followed national politics closely since voting for JFK my first time voting for a President. I’ve tended to vote for Democrats though not always, and consider myself a Liberal.

But the rise of the “Progressive” wing of our Party has been troubling, and reminiscent of the right wing Tea Party movement in the GOP of 20+ years ago. While widely divergent in political positions and objectives, both movements have been self-righteous, and intolerant of differing opinions.

In this case of reluctance to forcefully condemn Hamas’ use of Rape as a weapon of war I am shocked, it is so self-evident there is no room for ambiguity. Either you condemn it OR you are giving Hamas a Pass on these atrocities. You Passed, Progressives to your shame!

Certainly, condemn Israel for its excesses in the war, but as a separate matter. There is NO equivalency between the two types of war crimes. One set of crimes does not wash away or minimize the other.

Shame on those who do not recognize Rape as a War Crime.

Expand full comment

I watched the SNL cold opening on Santos. Hilarious. I also read MTG’s and a few others and their comments on the ruling that Trump is not above the law, and going after Andrew Weissman. You know, “be careful what you wish for” nonsense. Another version of whataboutism. The problem with their thinking is their utter refusal to acknowledge all of DT’s illegal actions, including weaponizing the DOJ, for starters. Do their constituents ever question what these idiots have done for them during their term in office? The dems need to go to these places to tout their horns especially where jobs have been created and the GOP has voted against it. It’s enough already. I’m sick of Santos, sick of MTG, and God knows, sick of Trump. His usual rhetoric, “Biden is the most corrupt president in the history” is a joke considering all the lawsuits and indictments against him. I don’t know. Maybe some of his former military men need to speak out more, hold a town meeting. Maybe they can’t but if that’s true, then what the hell is Michael Flynn doing spouting conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory? I truly fear for our country. I live in Montreal where the weather is freezing, the roads are in terrible shape, the healthcare system sucks, teachers and nurses are striking and the province of Quebec is starting to ban English as an official language. All to say, in spite of all this, it’s safer here than what is going on in the US. Americans need to wake up to the dangers of what that orange monster is preaching. I’m guessing none of them have any knowledge of history.

Expand full comment

So, we're judging people on the basis of things they haven't condemned now? I mean, there's a ton of actions that have been undertaken by the Israeli government (hell, by people closer to home, too) through just the past 5 years that are pretty horrific, but I don't take the failure to condemn them as a sign that people tacitly approve of them. Should I?

Expand full comment

Here's a thought experiment.

How many Texas Republicans would vote down a proposal that they not associate with socialists?

My guess is none of them.

Expand full comment