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For Immediate Release

Press Release

In Israel, Miscegenation Equals Rape

WASHINGTON -

On Monday, Sabbar Kashur, a young
Palestinian man from East Jerusalem, was sentenced to 18 months in
prison for something called “rape
by deception.”
Apparently, Mr. Kashur had consensual sex with a
Jewish Israeli woman after assuring her that he was also Jewish. When
she found out that he had lied to her, she went to the police.

Imagine
living in a society where you can say, “I wish I had never slept with
you. I’m going to the cops.” Only it’s not funny because Sabbar Kashur
will probably go to jail for a year and a half. Meanwhile, efforts to
combat actual sexual violence are undermined by a cynical distortion of
the term rape. The real crime here, of course, is miscegenation.

Anyone from the US should recognize the Jerusalem District Court’s
ruling for what it is: an anti-miscegenation measure on par with the
now-defunct US laws against “race mixing” that were once used to uphold
white supremacy. For most of us in the US, dating across race lines now
seems about as edgy as wearing white after Labor Day. You can read
Angela Davis’ Women, Race and Class for a reminder of how white
Americans’ obsession with “racial purity” was codified to keep African
Americans and white women in their place. That’s the paradigm in which
we should understand this case.

In the US, anti-miscegenation
laws were on the books until 1967, when the Supreme Court declared
them unconstitutional. That was the same year that Israel began its
occupation of Sabbar Kashur’s home in East Jerusalem. Since then,
Israelis have fine-tuned their own obsession with racial purity. Only
they like to call it “national purity,” since Jewish privilege in
Israel depends on maintaining the Jewish character of the state. In
fact, race-mixing is perceived as such a threat that more than half of
all Israeli Jews agree that Jewish-Arab intermarriage is a form of
treason.

In the East Jerusalem “neighborhood” (it’s really a
settlement) of Pisgat Ze’ev, a group of men who call themselves "Fire
for Judaism” actually patrol the streets in the hopes of spotting and
disrupting relationships between Jewish women and Palestinian men. The
Israeli towns of Petah Tikva, Kiryat Gat and even super-liberal Tel
Aviv have government-sponsored
municipal programs to prevent miscegenation
. The programs include
psychological counseling for Jewish women who stray and a hotline for
people to inform on Jewish women who date Palestinians.

The
goal of this week’s court ruling (and of Israeli laws governing
marriage, adoption and surrogacy
) is to prevent Jews and
Palestinians from forming intimate or family relationships. In the West
Bank, this degree of separation is ensured by a giant concrete wall
that runs through much of the territory. But where there is no wall,
the state will rely on other forms of power to maintain strict
separation between the two peoples of this land. By the way, the
Afrikaans word for separation is Apartheid.

(This article was originally
posted on the myMADRE blog
.)

###

MADRE is an international women’s human rights organization that partners with community-based women’s groups to advance women’s human rights, challenge injustice and create social change in contexts of war, conflict, disaster and their aftermath. MADRE advocates for a world in which all people enjoy individual and collective human rights; natural resources are shared equitably and sustainably; women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and all people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. For more information about MADRE, visit www.madre.org.

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