Israeli and Jewish women protest outside the Times after controversial article on Hamas rapes

The demonstration also called attention to the women still held in Gaza


The protest outside the Times. Sixteen women are wearing trousers stained in fake blood representing the 16 women still held hostage in Gaza nine months after October 7 (Photo: Gaby Wine)

To mark the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, Jewish and Israeli women demonstrated outside the Times headquarters on Wednesday, calling on the world media to acknowledge the sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 and which, according to evidence, continues to be carried out against hostages still held in Gaza for over nine months.

Against a backdrop of a sunny lunch hour outside the News Building in London Bridge,

16 women created a jarring spectacle, wearing trousers stained with fake blood, standing in silence, holding posters of the 16 women and girls still captive in Gaza.

On a big screen, graphic footage of five female soldiers being kidnapped on October 7 was being shown, along with interviews of released female hostages detailing sexual abuse they had either experienced or witnessed.

Amidst chants of “Rape is not resistance” and “We believe all women” from protesters, a few passers-by stopped to watch the film or take photos of the bloodied women, but the majority looked away or hurried by when they were offered an information leaflet, according to organiser Orit Eyal-Fibeesh from 7/10 Human Chain.

“It reminded me of the Holocaust, when people just turned away,” she said. “I was shocked that young women we offered the leaflets to weren’t even curious. You can reserve judgement until later, but at least be curious about why we are here.”

She said that they had decided to hold the protest on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict ”because, for whatever reason, it seems that Israeli girls don’t count. We are here to say that Israeli lives matter and Jewish lives matter.”

“Girls and women are still being held hostage in Gaza and there is a substantial amount of evidence to know that they have been subjected to sexual violence, and men have too.”

The decision to hold the rally outside the Times was after the newspaper published an article which appeared to cast doubt on the evidence of sexual violence perpetrated on October 7 by Hamas terrorists.

Maytal Kuperard, who was with a group of people representing Jewish Women’s Aid, said: “Following the article published in the Times amidst the current climate of silence and denial of the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas on Israeli women, we are here to amplify the voices of the voiceless victims.”

Another lady said she was here “because it’s outrageous to be doubted. It’s completely devastating to Jewish women.”

Her friend added: “It’s just so frustrating that all women count except Jewish women. What young woman wouldn’t identify with what happened on October 7?”

Among the couple of hundred women protesting were a handful of men. Jeremy Turek had come down from his nearby office. He told the JC: “No one with humanity would accept what happened [on October 7]. Rape is not resistance. If you can’t see that, you are on the side of evil. It’s black and white.”

He added: “I’m the son of a Holocaust survivor and my father always said to me: ‘Don’t go the way we went. Always fight and be proud.’ We can’t accept this anymore.”

Keith Lassman, who was also at the protest, said: “It’s shocking the way the world has turned its back on Jewish women because they are Jewish. 1,200 people were brutally murdered and raped and the world has forgotten us. People feel that we deserved it. Really? These people were peace activists.”

Commenting on the coverage of events since October 7, he added: “I don’t think that media organisations realise the impact they have on world opinion. They have been neglectful.”

In a statement to the JC, a spokesperson for the Times said: “The Times in its opinion columns and leading articles has given firm support to Israel over many years. The paper’s news coverage of a challenging and much-contested topic has a hard-earned reputation for authority and balance. The article published … about rape and sexual violence on October 7 was a legitimate examination of an important, difficult and controversial topic.

"The Times has reported extensively on the rapes and condemned them unequivocally. A leading article welcomed the report on the subject by Pramila Patten, the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict when it was published last year.

"The recent article was concerned to follow Patten in reviewing the evidence for conflict-related sexual violence and to examine the challenges involved in finding justice for victims through any future legal proceedings. The accusations made against our reporters are unfounded and unfair. There was no biased agenda.”

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