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Rashida Tlaib: Deflecting Blame for Horrific Palestinian Honor Killing

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Isra Gharib, the victim of the Palestinian honor killing (Photo: social media)
Isra Gharib, the victim of the Palestinian honor killing (Photo: social media)

A horrific Palestinian honor killing got the attention of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who, in typical fashion, deflected blame from her own people and put it squarely on her two favorite enemies: the “patriarchy” and Israel.

First some background (warning: the story is gruesome):

The honor culture, which is heavily prevalent in Palestinian Muslim culture (as well as many other places in the Muslim world), dictates suffocating rules of conduct between men and women – in this case, those who are dating.

A few weeks ago, 21-year old Isra Gharib, an aspiring make-up artist in Bethlehem with a large following on Instagram, asked her mother (honor mistake #1 – not asking her father) if she could date a certain young man. With her mother’s approval and with chaperones on their dates, the young couple found they liked one another – in fact, a lot – enough to get married.

Right before they were to get engaged, Gharib took a video of them together at a coffee shop and posted it on her Instagram account (honor mistake #2 – it’s forbidden for a girl and boy to be seen together in public before they are officially engaged).

The post was seen by her cousin, who, outraged at such an honor breach, finked on Gharib to her father. When Gharib arrived at home that day, her brothers and a brother-in-law were waiting for her.

They beat her so severely, she jumped out of a two-or three-story window to escape them, incurring a spinal cord injury (her family claims she fell).

Isra Gharib, the victim of the Palestinian honor killing (Photo: social media)
Isra Gharib, the victim of the Palestinian honor killing (Photo: social media)

While in a hospital in Bethlehem, Gharib posted a picture of her bruised face, telling her fans she wouldn’t be able to work for a couple months, but that they shouldn’t worry about her.

“I’m strong, and I have the will to live — if I didn’t have this willpower, I would have died yesterday,” she wrote. “Don’t send me messages telling me to be strong, I am strong. May God be the judge of those who oppressed me and hurt me.”

Yet shortly afterwards, her father, brothers (including one who recently came back from Canada where he is a resident) and a brother-in-law came to her bedside to finish the job. With no interference from the hospital staff, they beat her again.

One nurse, standing down the hall, recorded the horrific incident, in which one can hear Gharib screaming for her life:

(Warning: disturbing content)

Afterwards, the family removed her from the hospital. The brother who had recently arrived from Canada then finished the job, beating her on the head until she fell into a coma. Gharib later died in another hospital in the Arab village of Beit Jala.

The honor killing, ignored by the Western media, touched a nerve among women who live in the Palestinian areas of Israel, where honor killings account for an estimated 12 percent of all murders.

Yet commenting on the killing among the Palestinian population she so identifies with, Talib had not one negative thing to say about them – rather she tweeted out an article by a Palestinian blogger that blamed the killing on anything but — the patriarchy, corruption, colonialism and its imposition of foreign laws and, of course (the most tried and true excuse), the Israeli “occupation.”

The article begins with a disingenuous disclaimer stating that honor killings are not problem specific to Muslims or the Arab world. “This is a universal phenomenon which takes places in nearly all corners of the globe, from the United States to Europe,” the anonymous writer states.”

(For good measure, the author then claims, “The US president stands accused of rape.”)

It then accuses everything from the patriarchy to colonialism to Israel for the problem – everything except her own failed Palestinian society (who she acknowledges is run by corrupt leaders).

The article also manages to blame honor killings on the fact that the Palestinian territories operate on a hodgepodge of laws culled mainly from the Ottoman and British empires.

It is first worth noting that Israeli law is culled from the same sources. Further, one remembers with irony how Palestinians manage to blame all their ills on Israel, including the fact that Israeli soldiers do not rape Palestinian women — racism, they cry! (One can’t make this stuff up.)

Consistent with her usual modus operanti, Tlaib resorted to pushing the narrative of victimhood, failing to take responsibility for a problem that prominently exists in her Muslim Arab and Palestinian culture (and not very prominently universally).

Instead of blaming Israel, the patriarchy, political corruption or even colonialism, Tlaib needs to take responsibility for her own culture and people, whom she has made it a point to identify with.

Given her position of power, changes might happen then.

One point the author of this article got right, which Tlaib has been remarkably silent about, is how the Western press has ignored this story due to the fact that it doesn’t fit into their pro-Palestinian liberation movement stance.

In other words, it makes the Palestinians look bad. For all those supporters of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement – which Tlaib supports whole heartedly – it just doesn’t fit the narrative.

Which means in this case, women being murdered for honor in the Palestinian territories – a horrific and ever-present problem – are a sacrifice worth ignoring for “the cause” – the establishment of a state run (by the author’s own words) by corrupt officials and foreign laws and (I might add) a state which educates its children from the time they are born — through their media, schools and summer camps — to be terrorists.

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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