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The rape by deception case, just in time for Elul

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Lisa Goldman, quoting Ha’Ir, was the first* English-language blogger to expose evidence that Saber Kushour, the Palestinian convicted of rape by deception — the charge was that he presented himself as a Jewish man — was actually guilty of rape, period.

We briefed the story last night:

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian man accused of rape by deception for posing as a Jew forcibly raped the victim, according to her testimony.

Portions of the woman’s testimony against Saber Kushour were published Sept. 3 in Ha’Ir, a weekly magazine of the Israeli daily Haaretz distributed only in Tel Aviv.

In July, the Jerusalem District Court sentenced Kashour, 30, an Arab from Jerusalem, to 18 months in prison as part of a plea bargain for rape by deception. Kashour told the court that the sexual encounter was consensual.

The investigative article contends that the court accepted the plea bargain on a charge of rape by deception in place of rape without consent because of the victim’s past and her confused and contradictory testimony.

According to her testimony, published in the article, Kashour invited her to see the building where he said he worked, and then brutally raped her on the top floor of the building, leaving her naked and bleeding. She said the sex was not consensual, as Kashour claims.

According to her testimony, published in Ha’Ir, the victim said,  “He said he wanted to invite me for coffee and show me his workplace there."

The reason she gave for agreeing to leave with a stranger was “I looked for someone to put my trust in."

She went on to say, "I know that strangers, you even don’t contact them… but because I was like, as you know, when I told you that I came from a place where there’s no, I lived on the streets for a while too … I thought that if I am with him, I’ll feel safe, and I’ll have, I’ll be financially secured. I really like trusted him.”

The woman reportedly was raped repeatedly by her father from the age of 6 and forced into prostitution by him. At the time of the rape she was staying in a women’s shelter, according to the article. She was hospitalized after the rape in a government-run psychiatric hospital in a ward for women who were sexually abused.

The woman’s testimony had been classified since it took place in a trial behind closed doors, but was declassified after a request by the newspaper.   

Lisa takes the left and the media to task for buying the story at face value and making a perpetrator of the true victim — The Guardian even exposed the victim’s name. (I ain’t gonna link.)

I like her polite, contained — very Canadian — outrage at the outrage:

For Israel’s male-dominated, socially liberal media, the outrage could be parsed as follows: all men lie to obtain sex – this is normal and not worthy of comment; but only in Israel is such a banal incident considered rape if the liar turns out to be an Arab posing as a Jew.

Lisa is saying: Listen to the victim. Take her in and care for her. Not an inappropriate Elul message.

I’m not a big fan of the outrage from other quarters, which suggests that the victim was not the young woman — but Israel’s reputation.

Via Twitter, the usually thoughtful Eli Lake challenges those who took up Kushour’s cause to check out this screed, on Victor Shikhman’s blog:

Having followed this unseemly story back in July, having read all that smug, self-righteous drivel about Israel’s descent to barbarism, I can’t avoid a creeping sense of betrayal and anger. The news items on this subject that circulated the world, casting Israel as a racist country… the editorials… the blogosphere… How do you turn that clock back?

Shikhman — and Lake and others who have retweeted this, by extension — have half a point. It appears that no one has actually been imprisoned, or even inconvenienced, because of miscegenation.

But this ignores the fact that a judge and a prosecutor conspired to make miscegenation an acceptable crime. Even though this was toward punishing a greater crime — it does damage.

In other words, Israel’s reputation was not merely damaged by a thoughtless or even vicious media mob: It was damaged by her officers of the law, however well-intentioned.

Let’s say U.S. authorities didn’t have enough on Bernie Madoff to send him up the river for his massive Ponzi scheme, and instead uncovered a law criminalizing the "deception of well-meaning Christians."

And then let’s say we found out Madoff’s true crimes.

Honestly, would we throw up our hands and say, "Well then, that’s fine."

Would we?

*CORRECTION: Mideast Youth was, in fact, the first blog to feature the new evidence in English.

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