David Cronin – EU wants everyone to accept Israel’s mass rape lies

March 28, 2024 by https://braveneweurope.com/

Why are EU diplomats helping Israel to give the Gaza genocide a feminist facade

David Cronin is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada

Cross-posted from The Electronic Intifada

A propaganda event held by the EU’s embassy in Tel Aviv recently. (Via Twitter)

Israel and its supporters are trying to give genocide a feminist facade.

To provide a pretext for the current war against Gaza, Israel has fabricated claims that Hamas committed mass rapes during its 7 October offensive.

Representatives of the European Union have sought to present these blatant lies as proven facts.

Earlier this month, the EU’s embassy in Tel Aviv marked International Women’s Day by hosting a propaganda event.

In a tweet following the event, the embassy declared it had given voice to women “who suffered the atrocities of Hamas’ sexual violence.”

Soon after seeing the tweet, I contacted the EU’s foreign policy team asking what evidence the Tel Aviv embassy had of Hamas resorting to sexual violence on 7 October.

It took more than a week before I received a reply.

The reply presented zero evidence that sexual violence had occurred. Instead, it pointed to a report from Pramila Patten, an envoy for António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general.

In her report, Patten recycled a number of unverified Israeli claims about sexual violence.

But a key conclusion of her paper reads that Patten and her team were “unable to establish the prevalence of sexual violence.” Doing so, the report adds, would require a “fully-fledged investigation.”

As I was unhappy with the European Union’s response to my question, I sent a follow-up query.

In the new query, I argued that the EU’s Tel Aviv embassy did not appear to have evidence that sexual violence occurred on 7 October. “If I have got this wrong, please provide me with evidence that I have got it wrong,” I stated.

Peter Stano, the EU’s foreign policy spokesperson, sent a brief response.

He wrote that if I had read the original tweet from the EU’s embassy and the answer to my initial query properly, “you would see that the evidence is from the victims, witnesses and a relevant UN report dedicated to the issue.”

“Not sure what other type of evidence you are looking for,” Stano added.

The reply from Stano was dripping with the kind of condescension I have often encountered from EU spokespeople.

He was essentially saying that I should just accept the veracity of allegations made at a propaganda event.

Disservice to women’s rights

Since that propaganda event took place, Al Jazeera has broadcast a documentary which examines in depth what happened on 7 October.

The documentary found that while there may have been isolated cases of sexual violence, there was not enough evidence to support claims that rape had been widespread.

This week The New York Times published an update to its now-infamous piece on the mass rape allegations – a piece co-written by a former Israeli military officer who had liked social media commentary calling for Gaza to be transformed into a slaughterhouse.

The original New York Times piece from December had given lurid descriptions of the bodies of two teenage girls killed on 7 October. The descriptions suggested that the girls had been raped.

In its update this week, The New York Times acknowledges that the bodies of the girls were actually found fully clothed. There were “no apparent signs of sexual violence,” according to the update.

By spreading Israel’s lies about mass rape, the European Union is doing a disservice to women’s rights.

It is giving Israel an excuse for the genocide being perpetrated in Gaza – a genocide in which most of the victims are women and children.

While the claims about mass rapes on 7 October are dishonest, there is ample evidence that Palestinians are being buried in mass graves because of the war which Israel declared that day.

The EU’s representatives in Tel Aviv who spread lies about mass rapes have been mainly silent about the true stories of Gaza’s mass graves. Their double standards are deeply shameful.

“Matchmaking”

The propaganda event held on International Women’s Day is symptomatic of a bigger problem.

Even as Israel causes mass starvation, besieges hospitals and uses Nazi-like language by describing Palestinians as “human animals,” the European Union continues to embrace Israel’s elite.

On 25 January, the EU’s aforementioned embassy to Tel Aviv held a conference on cooperation in scientific research with Israel.

The timing of the conference is significant. It was held one day before the International Court of Justice found there is a plausible case that Israel is carrying out genocide in Gaza.

Everybody who follows the news closely knew that the court was scheduled to deliver its preliminary findings in the case South Africa had initiated against Israel on 26 January.

Holding a conference on scientific cooperation the day before sent a clear signal. The EU’s representatives in Tel Aviv were saying that they prioritized doing business with Israel – a state being sued under the Genocide Convention.

Through a freedom of information request, I obtained the readout of the conference drawn up by the EU’s embassy.

It celebrated how Israel “excels” in getting access to finance under Horizon Europe, the EU’s research program. Israel ranks second among all Horizon Europe participants in terms of the funding it receives, the readout (see below) stated.

The readout omitted that Israel’s arms industry is benefiting handsomely from Horizon Europe.

Nor did it specify that in December, the EU approved a new science grant to the Israel Aerospace Industries. A state-owned weapons maker, Israel Aerospace Industries has boasted of playing a “pivotal role” in the current war against Gaza.

Rather than analyzing how the EU has rewarded a profiteer of genocide, the readout painted a rosy picture of the relationship with Israel.

It confirmed that the EU plans to host a number of “matchmaking events” with Israeli guests this year.

The very idea that staff in the EU’s Tel Aviv embassy use the term “matchmaking” recently is nauseating.

The embassy is playing Cupid with Israeli firms and institutions while that state inflicts a holocaust on Gaza.

Official statistics indicate that trade between the EU and Israel dropped following the declaration of war against Gaza.

That is encouraging to all of us who advocate that Israel should be boycotted and shunned. The European Union, by contrast, wants to deepen its economic ties with Israel.

The embassy in Tel Aviv has been holding discussions with that objective in mind.

Its staff are particularly excited by a new law nicknamed “What is good for Europe is good for Israel.”

The new law is designed to reduce the red tape faced by European firms trading with Israel. It is scheduled to come into effect at the beginning of July.

Never mind how much the death toll climbs in Gaza, Israel is open for business. And the European Union wants a supersized portion of that business.