Progressive congresswoman dismisses Hamas rapes – ‘It happens in war’

Democratic congresswoman appears to blame Israel for the terrorist rapes of Israeli women.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News 

Democratic congresswoman and member of the Progressive “Squad” Pramila Jayapal dismissed Hamas sexual crimes against Israeli women with the statement “It happens in war situations” on CNN Sunday.

Forensic evidence and witness testimony have painted a gruesome portrait of the Hamas massacre on October 7th, one that includes myriad forms of sexual violence in addition to torture, murder, and abduction.

Israel advocates have condemned the silence of the United Nations and international women’s groups in the face of these crimes, and CNN host Dana Bash brought up this topic with Rep. Jayapal in an interview.

“I want to ask you about sexual violence, and it’s kind of remarkable that this issue hasn’t gotten enough attention, globally. Widespread use of rape, brutal rape, sexual violence against Israeli women by Hamas.”

Bash continued, “I’ve seen a lot of progressive women, generally speaking, they’re quick to defend women’s rights and to speak out against using rape as a weapon of war, but downright silent on what we saw on October 7. And what might be happening inside Gaza right now to these hostages. Why is that?”

Jayapal responded, “We have to remember Israel is a democracy. That is why they’re a strong ally of ours. And if they do not comply with international humanitarian law, they are bringing themselves to a place that makes it much more difficult strategically for them to be able to build allies, to keep public opinion with them, and frankly, morally.”

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The congresswoman continued, “We cannot say that one war crime deserves another. That is not what international humanitarian law says.”

To address the congresswoman’s failure to condemn the Hamas attacks and specifically the use of rape as a weapon of war, Dana Bash persisted.

“With respect, I was just asking about the women, and you turned it back to Israel. I’m asking you about Hamas.”

“I think that rape is horrific, sexual assault is horrific, I think it happens in war situations,” replied Jayapal. “However I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians, 15,000 Palestinians have been killed.”

Bash made the point, “And it’s horrible, but you don’t see Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women.”

Jayapal responded, “I don’t want this to be the hierarchies of oppressions.”

After significant pressure from Israel and Jewish women’s groups, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres announced, two months after the atrocities, that the UN was opening an investigation into Hamas sexual crimes during the October 7th massacre.

He said, “Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere.”

The UN Secretary was criticized by Israel for saying just days after the October 7th massacre that Hamas atrocities “did not happen in a vacuum.”