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Tales of Sexual Humilitation at Anatot: Israeli Eyewitness

Stavit Sinai, an Israeli graduate student in European history and peace activist, participated in the Anatot protest several days ago.  She was savagely beaten and stripped naked by the settler-police counter-demonstrators.  She’s just published her eyewitness testimony, which I’ve translated below:

How I was beaten up, stripped naked, tortured, and threatened with being burnt alive by Anatot settlers

A balding stocky man with light-colored hair and wearing glasses, bangs my head against a white transit van.  Michal Sapir is next to me and we’re surrounded by settler-police who’ve been shoving me back and forth in opposite directions.  I fought back against them.  I knocked off the glasses of the man who thrust my head backwards and crushed them in my right hand.  He bit my hand hard, trying to release the glasses from it.

At this time, a brown-skinned man on my left began to twist my left arm in ways I had seen Border Police do in previous protests I’d attended.  He didn’t stop even when I screamed in pain.  Only a heavy blow that smashed one of my front teeth…apparently when I was kneeed in the face as my head was pushed down, freed my left hand from the pain.

Then I was knocked to the ground as a vehicle behind me moved, threatening to run me over.  Michal tried to help by raising me up.  The white van left and I got back on my feet and stood facing a tall brown-skinned man who never stopped yelling his insults at me: “Go fuck Arabs…”

At this point, the group of settlers began to shake and shove me in different directions as they tore the clothing from my upper body.  They ripped off my bra, vest and shirt.  The upper half of my body was stark naked.  Other activists tried to cover and calm me.  I remember especially that in all the efforts to get me out of there, the tall, balding brown-skinned man came close and said: “A Jewish prick isn’t good enough for you?  You want an Arab prick, hah?”

I remember another man wearing a black civilian shirt and a cap on which was the word “Police” tried to move me.  I asked him for his police ID and instead he pushed me out of the way.  An activist, Maya Rotem, brought me to her car and promised to drive me home when the protest was over.  I got into the car and locked the doors.  From that moment I tried to tweet everything that happened as long as my cell battery held out.  I wrote what happened on the ground, the blows, the disrobing and the dire situation the protesters faced that night.  I took a picture from the car and uploaded it to Twitter.  I tried to hide, not to arouse interest.  I saw how the protesters were driven backward by the settlers.

Only a few minutes passed from when I entered the vehicle when a settler recognized me.  He drew the attention of his other settler friends and they began rocking the car.  I tightened my seat belt and waited quietly for help.  In my hand, I grasped a narrow synthetic strap from my purse.  It was the only thing I could find nearby to use to defend myself and I was ready to use it to strangle the first person who approached me.  Before that, I’d tweeted that I needed other means of protection should they break in.  I covered my breasts with the little fabric that remained from my torn clothes.

The crowd around me grew, but I tried to maintain my composure.  At that moment, a soldier came by and I begged him to help me.  He gave me a look of utter boredom.  But after more begging he asked the group to move back a bit so I could leave the car.  He suggested that I get into the army jeep, but I wouldn’t agree despite the pressure that the soldiers exerted on me.  I was frightened that the settlers standing around me would resume their violence.  Because no one offered protection I began to scream at the soldiers to block me [from the settlers].  They did this indifferently.  They did check that I hadn’t left anything behind as I’d asked.  Despite this, I lost my purse which contained all my IDs including the one categorizing me as “Jewish,” despite the fact that I am not.

The door of the military vehicle in which I was sitting was opened by an older soldier, clearly a member of an ethnic minority [I’m guessing she means Druze or Bedouin].  He screamed at me and threatened to arrest me.  Apparently because I gave the settlers the finger while sitting in his vehicle.  I told him to arrest me already, because I was shamed by being in the midst of soldiers of apartheid.  He turned away, slamming the door of the vehicle.  Eventually, the soldiers returned me to my fellow activists.

I still have the tattered remnants of my clothes from that night.

An Israeli journalist who I respect, but whose politics are clearly different than mine, warned me not to put too much credibility into accusations of sexual abuse at rallies like this.  He said it was par for the course for such claims to be made.  To which I replied–one woman screaming rape or abuse may lack credibility, but five or ten?  No, this testimony is credible as are the others I’ve translated which Idan Landau collected from other Israeli eyewitness sources.

I have not heard a peep from the Anatot settlers claiming otherwise.  If they wish to do so let them.

As I’ve written, these are not the hardcore Jewish terrorists of Yitzhar.  These are the “reasonable,” “moderate” settlers who settled in Anatot because they were looking for a good place to raise their kids in a reasonably priced home, drawn by economic incentives in buying over the Green Line.  Yet, even these can be monsters.  It’s not just the individual who determines whether someone becomes a cruel villain, it’s the situation.  And the situation is Occupation, which turns us all into monsters sooner or later.

The victims of this pogrom are demanding an independent investigation.  It’ll be a cold day in hell before that happens.  Though you’re welcome to call your local Israeli embassy or consulate to tell them about the black eye that such violence gives the nation.  There is also talk of civil suits against Anatot and its pogromists, which I hope to see.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • free man October 5, 2011, 11:53 PM

    Those people are disgrace for Israel.
    I’m disgusted and ashamed by them.
    They are the ones that will destroy the state of Israel, no outside enemy.

  • Chayma October 6, 2011, 2:21 PM

    and I bet those who eagerly saw a chance to malign Egyptians with the Laura episode will cover this.

    These are tactics used to intimidate. Protesting for a cause is immediately interpreted to mean you want to have sex with them.

  • Adam October 6, 2011, 2:35 PM

    I read the original post of the “so called” victim.
    she is an anarchist, her judgement and interpretation of the conflict is heavily biased and full of unproven accusations.

    she said that she took a picture during the incident but didn’t post it, why? no other hard evidents as well.

    just think about it before you automatically believe to this story.

    • Richard Silverstein October 6, 2011, 10:54 PM

      I’m publishing this against my better judgment because it’s just so damn stupid-minded (I hope I’ve coined a new word). You’re a heartless fraud of a human being & I only hope your own daughter doesn’t ever face a night of sheer terror like Stavit did. I know women besides Stavit who have suffered such trauma and I wouldn’t wish it on even my worst enemy.

      • Shmuel October 7, 2011, 1:49 AM

        I don’t know where the truth lies and I am wary as to whether to write this as it may be wrong, but again I went back to the friend I know on Anatot after hearing the story here. He refered me to a resident of Anatot who claims to have witnessed Stavit’s experience.

        He says that he saw Stavit deliberately tear open her shirt whilst being removed from the scene and exposed her chest provacatively rather than try to cover herself.

        Moreover he informed me that the settlement has employed a press assistant to act on behalf of the settlement opposite the media, and the same assistant told him that after investigating the matter it became apparent that Stavit has previously reported a similar sexual assault at a prvious demonstration and thus seems to use this as a deliberate tactic.

        Whilst it seems far-fetched to use a tactic such as this, I too find it hard to believe that the residents of Anatot (who are far from fanatic) would sexually assault a demonstrator.

        In the end we all tend to and want to believe “our” side and not countenance evil.

        • Richard Silverstein October 7, 2011, 10:58 AM

          This is blaming the victim. No matter what yr motives I find it not just objectionable, but offensive. Only a male could possibly believe a woman in a vulnerable position under threat of sexual attack would bare her body to her attackers. It is simply an appalling statement to make. Think about what you’ve done. Yr friends can believe what they will, but you should know better.

          The videos are out there for all to see. You cant’t argue away suc graphic evidence. The knife is there, the settler trying to stab repeatedly. The image of the male settler punching a woman in the face. Yassine’s bloodied hard & clothing. I’ve seen no pictures of any injured settler.

          Yet you talk of provocation. It’s offensive I tell you. How do you think the odious Nazis talked of their victims. How do you think bullies the world over speak of their victims. Of course the bullies are victims. Of course the victims brought on their own beatings and had it coming to them.

          Please have a heart & be a human being. No matter what yr loyalty to your friends you simply can’t twist reality in the way you have w/o doing violence to it.

        • Elisabeth October 8, 2011, 10:48 AM

          The earlier testimony of your friend was severely incorrect, and now this? No woman would bear her breasts ‘provocatively’ in front of a violent mob. This is just crazy, and hearsay from hearsay. I, for one, have had enough of your settler friends’ testimonies.

          And then the settler’s PR guy (“she does this all the time”). Give me a break.

          • Richard Silverstein October 8, 2011, 2:40 PM

            I would say that it’s the settlers who do “this” all the time. That is, putting out half baked self serving statements that no reasonable person can believe.

  • Jon October 9, 2012, 12:22 AM

    Fairy tales, maybe… I just saw the lady’s performance in Berlin the other night. She and her friends decided to disrupt an Israeli performance, enjoyed by an audience of some 80 year olds. Violently and dogmatically, they screamed their way in, and distributed their poisonous antisemitism around.

    • Richard Silverstein October 9, 2012, 1:44 AM

      I don’t know what lady you’re referring to. As for anti-Semitism, if you’re claiming that Israelis who oppose their government’s policies are anti-Semites then I have a word for you: ignorant. And another: delusional.

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