This is the blog I wish I didn’t have to write. But having been attacked by two JC journalists and one from the Jewish News – none of whom have had the courtesy to engage in dialogue – I really have no choice.
On 17 July a 19 year old British girl on holiday in Cyprus made an accusation to Police that she was held down by her Israeli footballer boyfriend and then raped by up to 12 Israeli men. Ten days later she retracted her statement, leading to police arresting her and releasing all the Israelis. She was charged with ‘giving a false statement over an imaginary offence’ and convicted by a Judge on 30 December.
An allegation of rape such as this clearly has the potential to incite antisemitism. Indeed Janice Turner in The Times (a Trustee of the Centre for Women’s Justice) wrote a thoroughly nasty piece (4 January) suggesting that Israel exploits Cyprus ‘as a playground for its youth’ (are there no other nationalities in Aya Napia?); that Israel has no other friends in the Middle East (so there are no peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan? And no Israeli-Sunni Alliance against Iran?); that the Judge was prey to political interests (the gas pipeline project and ‘high-born political families’ in Israel) (How so Janice? Did they threaten to poison the wells? Or maybe use Cypriot children’s blood to make Matzos?)
And on social media one didn’t have to look for long……..
Because of the extent of pressure to acquit the girl (including £150,000 crowdfunded for legal fees) and the potential for antisemitism if she was acquitted, I thought it important to do some research into the case. Obviously that included viewing the videos taken by one (or more) Israelis since they were central to the case. Assuming the girl was not too inebriated to give consent, there is no sign in the videos of anything other than consensual sex. (I do not have the videos).
After I said this on Facebook I was quickly attacked by Rosa Doherty (Social Affairs Correspondent of the JC) (‘This is positively vile’) followed by Jack Mendel of the Jewish News (‘Your position is pretty indefensible’). Then today this column by Keren David appeared in the JC.
There is so much wrong with David’s column, it is hard to know where to begin.
1. She tells me I need to watch a show on Netflix in which a girl who alleges rape is eventually vindicated. Why? The girl in Cyprus was found guilty (of lying about being raped).
2. She says of me, he ‘seems to think that he knows all the facts about the Cyprus case.’ This is a gross misrepresentation. I have never claimed to know how much the girl had drunk and what happened after the videos ended.
3. She ridicules my concern that the case might spark antisemitism (‘If this case has sparked antisemitism it is due to the actions of the deeply unpleasant Israeli boys’). This shows zero understanding of why I watched the videos. I was not concerned with the antisemitic repercussions of a conviction (though – see above) there have been some. I was concerned about the impact of an acquittal.
4. Absurdly she suggests that I (she doesn’t name me but it’s obvious) might ‘label Weinstein’s accusers as antisemites’. Standing up for women’s rights does NOT – repeat NOT – entitle journalists to employ ridiculous non-parallels. I have not suggested that the Cyprus girl is an antisemite and there are zero similarities between Weinstein – for whom there are dozens of accusers – and the Israeli boys in Cyprus.
Keren David is guilty here of the worst gutter journalism – and it shames the JC.
Yet again those of us who actively fight antisemitism get ridiculed by Smart Alec Woke journalists in the Jewish Press who wouldn’t have been seen dead at the anti-Corbyn events we organised. It’s really shameful.
Even worse is that I bear the scars of a false sex assault allegation by an Israel Hater. Rosa Doherty knows it – but still she attacked me.
My letter in the JC 17/1/20