Sheryl Sandberg at UN – Silence over Hamas rapes is not an option

The former Meta COO joined several high-powered American women at an event arranged by Israel’s mission to publicize the terrorists’ atrocities and demand global condemnation.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Former Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg joined several high-powered American women at an Israel-hosted United Nations event Monday to blast the world’s silence over the heinous sexual crimes Hamas terrorists committed specifically against Israeli women and girls during their invasion of October 7, which set off the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

“Silence is complicity, and in the face of terror we cannot be quiet. That is why we are all here today, to speak about unspeakable acts,” Sandberg said.

“There are exactly no circumstances that justify rape. Rape is targeted. Rape is terror. Rape is torture,” she said, reminding the audience that the UN itself labeled the act as a crime against humanity when committed as part of acts of war.

“Anyone who has a mother, a sister, a daughter a wife, or a friend should join us to unite against rape,” she added. “This goes beyond politics. If we can’t agree that rape is wrong, then we have accepted the unacceptable. Then the question will be not what is happening in the Middle East but what is happening to our humanity?”

“For over a decade, I’ve been urging women to lean in,” she said as well, referring to her book and organization by that name that encourages the empowerment of women in the workforce. “Now I call on everyone to speak out. And if the world isn’t listening to us, we’re just gonna have to speak louder.”

New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a firm supporter of Israel, expressed her utter astonishment at the non-reaction of international women’s groups.

“When I saw the list of women’s rights organizations who have said nothing, I nearly choked,” she told the audience. “Where is the solidarity for women in this country and in this world to stand up for our mothers, our sisters and our daughters?”

As its “horrific acts” were “truly indescribable,” she also demanded that the UN finally label Hamas a terrorist organization, as the U.S., EU, Israel, Great Britain and other Western countries have, eliciting a huge ovation from the crowd.

Iranian immigrant Mandana Dayani, who cofounded a civic engagement group called “I am a voter,” joined other speakers in wondering aloud if the silence stemmed from antisemitism.

“What is it about these women and girls that makes them so unworthy of your otherwise limitless capacity for outrage, solidarity and justice?” she asked. “Once again I’m afraid the reason is quite simple. Because they’re Jews. If that is not the case, then now is the time to prove it.”

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton also addressed the room, strongly supporting Sandberg’s statement, while trying to remain evenhanded over the pain both sides of the war were experiencing.

Several Israelis who have dealt directly with the horror, including a few of the hundreds of volunteers who recovered bodies from kibbutzim and a dance rave on the border and prepared them for burial, and police officials who had heard survivors’ testimonies, made audience members flinch at the event with their grisly accounts.

They spoke of women’s private parts being mutilated, legs broken from the force of gang rapes, and victims begging for death in the face of laughing marauders, among other atrocities.

UN Women came out with a statement on Monday condemning Hamas’ sexual violence against Israeli women after almost two months of silence.