Dr Yvette Alt Miller

Dr Alt Miller lives with her family in Chicago, and has lectured internationally on Jewish topics. Her latest book Portraits of Valor: Heroic Jewish Women You Should Know describes the lives of 40 remarkable women who inhabited different eras and lands, giving a sense of the vast diversity of Jewish experience.  It’s been praised as inspirational, fascinating, fun and educational.


In the aftermath of Hamas’ brutal attacks on women, many women’s groups are strangely silent.

Hamas’ October 7 assault on Israel left 1,200 dead, many more wounded, and saw the abduction of over 140 hostages. Terrorists targeted women especially. Their sexual abuse was systematic, deliberate, and wide-scale, as Hamas soldiers, under explicit instructions to rape Jewish women, carried out their sadistic acts.

Trigger alert: the following paragraph contains details of sexual abuse.

As the Times of Israel reports: “The sexual abuse committed by Hamas includes acts of gang rape, genital mutilation and necrophilia.” Hamas terrorists gang raped women before killing them. They raped young girls, old women, and disabled people. Many of their victims were attacked so savagely that they had broken pelvises and legs. Hamas terrorists cut open the abdomens of pregnant Jewish women, removed their fetuses, and beheaded both mothers and babies. Hamas fighters paraded naked and partially-naked bodies of women they’d killed through the streets of Gaza as people danced, cheered and shouted God is Great in Arabic.

Terrorists filmed their attacks and broadcast them on social media – including on accounts belonging to the victims themselves – thereby violating their victims a second time.

With 240 Israeli hostages currently being held in Gaza – including babies, children, women, people with disabilities, and the elderly – many worry that some are being forced into sexual slavery.

Prosecuting Rape

Given the orgy of violence towards Jewish women that day, one might expect a groundswell of outrage and calls for prosecutions from many of the world’s women’s organizations. Israelis would have been buoyed by statements of solidarity showing they were not alone, that their intense national pain was shared by others.

The world’s foremost women’s organizations have shrugged off Hamas’ attacks, remaining silent about Hamas’ outrages while they bash Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Israeli investigators trying to build a case to prosecute the mass rapes could have used some practical help: with so many hundreds upon hundreds of dead to identify, valuable DNA evidence that could have been used to build cases to prosecute rape has been degraded and irrevocably lost.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) considers sexual violence during an armed attack to be a war crime. When rape is used as part of a widespread or systematic attack on civilians, the ICC considers it to be a crime against humanity, as well. International groups could have helped build cases against Hamas terrorists, holding them accountable for mass rape and sexual violence.

Instead there’s been only silence.

Deafening Silence

The world’s foremost women’s organizations have shrugged off Hamas’ attacks, remaining silent about Hamas’ outrages while they bash Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Take UN Women, the United Nations body responsible for ensuring women’s rights globally. A full six days after the Hamas attack, UN Women released a bland statement merely deploring “attacks on civilians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” They made no mention of Hamas’ brutal rapes; most of their surreal, corporate-speak report expresses sympathy not for Israeli victims of mass rape and is capable only of feeling empathy for Gazans affected by Israel’s war against Hamas.

The United States’ National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) finally issued a statement about the attacks on October 13, nearly a week afterwards. Instead of decrying mass rape of women and use of sexual violence acts of war, the NWSA lamented “extensive loss of civilians life in the past few days” among both Jews and Arabs, obfuscating who the victims were. The statement then went on to state Israel is illegitimate and to call for a mass boycott of the Jewish state. NWSA declared their support for “Palestinian liberation”; the word “rape” never appears.

Ms Magazine remained silent about Hamas’ attacks for a week, then finally ran a column criticizing Israel for attacking Hamas. They did not use the word “rape” even once. Equality Now, a major international grassroots feminist organization, hasn’t condemned Hamas. Instead, they issued a statement “acknowledging” the “pain and suffering” of “all people”, a cruel gesture, given that Israeli women were targeted specifically for being Israeli and for being women.

Supporting Hamas

Supporting radical Palestinian movements has become a core value of some of the most prestigious feminist organizations in recent years. Two years ago, amidst previous fighting between Hamas and Israel, over 120 Gender Studies departments across the English-speaking world joined a statement denouncing Israel and proclaiming that their “inclusive feminist vision(s)” mandated that they support Palestinian opposition to the Jewish state.

Too many feminists today look at Hamas’ mass rape of women and girls and see nothing.

Feminist groups are placing fealty to a radical vision that excuses Hamas’ violence over their commitment to women’s safety and rights. Like Alice through the looking glass, too many feminists today look at Hamas’ mass rape of women and girls and see nothing. Only Israel’s perceived evil is worthy of comment and condemnation. Groups justify any and all “liberation struggles” against Israel. It’s a tacit way of endorsing Hamas’ extreme agenda.

One of the most visible feminist groups in Britain today, Sisters Uncut, is emerging as a major player trying to push public opinion against Israel. Originally formed to provide emergency support for victims of domestic violence, the group has become a strident apologist for Hamas. On October 31, Sisters Uncut arranged a demonstration demanding that Israel immediately cease fighting in Gaza, letting Hamas retain power and giving it space to rearm. When Sisters Uncut closed down busy Liverpool Station in London with a sit-in, 500 people joined them. They’ve promised more mass disruptions demanding that Israel cease fighting.

Britain’s Jewish Chronicle points out that Sisters Uncut’s demonstration came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke publicly about what he’d seen in footage of Hamas attacks. (Warning: the following italicized paragraph is highly graphic; sensitive readers might want to skip to the next non-italicized text.)

Blinken “described one Israeli family in a kibbutz who were tortured by Hamas terrorists. The father’s eyes were gouged out, the mother’s breasts sliced off, the eight-year-old girl’s foot cut off, the six-year-old boy’s fingers cut off. They were all then executed, and their killer sat down and ate the breakfast the family had been enjoying together before hell emerged in their home.

For a feminist group to tacitly support Hamas after these atrocities became publicly known defies belief. Yet Sisters Uncut is hardly alone. Feminist group after feminist group is placing “intersectionality” – the belief that one struggle (say, for women’s rights) is inextricably linked to all other global struggles (such as Hamas’) – above their mandates to protect women and girls.

Hamas’ Dismal Record on Women

It’s doubly ironic that few women’s groups are condemning Hamas, given Hamas’ dismal record on women’s rights. In Gaza, Hamas courts have ruled that women need a guardian’s permission to travel. Hamas imposes draconian rules of modern dress on women and allowed discrimination against women in the workplace to increase. Hamas is openly tolerant of honor killings. It enforces rigid gender discrimination in school. Hamas blocked attempts to set up a women’s television station in Gaza, dashing hopes that women could be empowered even within the rigid gender barriers on which Hamas insists. Overlooking these and other assaults on women’s rights betrays the foundational principles of women’s organizations around the world.

While it’s too late to document Hamas’ sex crimes in Israel in a manner that could result in legal prosecution, women’s groups can still make the right choice and condemn Hamas’ barbaric assaults.

Dozens of Jewish women’s organizations have gone on record condemning Hamas’ attacks. It’s time for the major women’s groups to follow suit.

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