Some weeks ago, at the end of July, the story of an Israeli Palestinian who was convicted of rape after posing as a Jew, hit the headlines (and also this blog).
The fact that he got a prison sentence of 18 months for posing as a Jew in order to have sex was widely considered as racism. 'What if he would have been a Jew posing as an Arab?' was the question that Gideon Levy of Haaretz rhetorically posed and that was echoed by many..
But now it seems that we have to rectify this story. The Israeli weekly Kol Hair (Voice of the City) delved into the story and free lancer Lisa Goldman in Tel Aviv wrote about that on her blog.
Kol Haïr (in Lisa Goldman's translation):
‘The story of “Dudu,” or Saber Kashur, sounded bizarre from the beginning. A man from an Arab family pretended to be a Jewish bachelor and convinced a young Jewish woman to have sex with him. Based on that, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail. In response to a request from Ha’Ir, the courts released the testimony of “B,” revealing a sad life story and her version of the events that occurred on that afternoon two years ago. According to her testimony, the story is much more complicated and the identity of the victim is rather different – that of a woman who was found after the encounter with Kashur naked on the roof of a building on 13 Hillel Street in Jerusalem.”From the testimonies now quoted in Kol Haïr it becomes clear that this man Kashur did use violence and did force himself on the victim, who is only identified as 'B' in order to protect her privacy. It turns out she was a young, instable woman who had been abused by her father from the age of six, worked some time as a prostitute and at the trime of the rape stayed in a 'safe house'. Kashur made her believe that he was Jewish and a bachelor, whereas he in fact was married and Arab. He told her that his first name was Daniel and after some hesitation also that his last name was Cohen. He invited her to come with him and see his 'office' which he pretended was in a nearby building. Once inside the building he forced himself on her on the staircase and finally took her to the roof, where he raped her and where she later was found by the police, half naked and blooding, and from where she was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
So the story is different. Kol Haïr explains to us that the reason why Kashur was convicted on the lesser charge of 'rape by deception' in stead of rape pure and simple, was due to the fact that the prosecution had only 'B' s testimony, which was not considered sufficient evidence. So the way out was a plea bargain which resulted in 18 months.
Goldman adds a few lines about the wquestion how it was possible that the story was interpreted by all media and everyone as proof of Irael's racist system of justice and that not one took the trouble to look deeper into it. She thinks - and I agree - that it probably is proof of the climate of polarization and anger in Israel that apparently makes it difficult to analyze in a detached way. She thinks that's worrysome. It probably is.
(Here is Lisa Goldman's story in full)