New Israeli Report Alleging ‘Systematic and Intentional Rape’ by Hamas Relies on Debunked Western Media Reports

PALESTINE - ISRAEL, 26 Feb 2024

Max Blumenthal | The Grayzone – TRANSCEND Media Service

Hoax: The contents of the Israeli Association of Rape Crisis Center’s paper alleging “systematic” Hamas rape derive largely from discredited second-hand testimonies and debunked media reports. Among its most heavily cited sources is a dubious NY Times article that triggered a staff revolt at the paper.

22 Feb 2024 – Western media outlets are hyping a new report by the Israeli government-affiliated “Association of Rape Crisis Centers” (ARCC) which maintains that Hamas combatants carried out a campaign of “systematic and intentional” rape on October 7.

“Israeli report finds evidence of ‘systematic’ rape and abuse during 7 October attack,” a Guardian headline blared. “Report shows systematic rapes, murder of women in Israel on October 7,” Germany’s DPA screamed. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post shrieked, “Hamas terrorists forced families to watch loved ones get raped at gunpoint.”

Despite the AP’s acknowledgment that the report “did not specify the number of cases it had documented or identify any victims, even anonymously” and that its authors “declined to say whether they had spoken to victims,” dozens of mainstream outlets have presented its findings as incontrovertible fact.

Yet a close examination of the ARCC report reveals that the paper is short on new research, absent of hard evidence, and reliant instead on clips from factually-challenged articles by the same Western outlets promoting its publication. Among the paper’s most frequently cited sources is an infamously shoddy New York Times report by Jeffrey Gettleman purporting to detail “How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on October 7.”

Following an internal staff uproar prompted by a series of Grayzone exposés which highlighted major inconsistencies and demonstrable falsehoods by the paper’s sources, the Times canceled an episode of its “Daily” podcast about the article.

Despite the controversy surrounding the Times’ report, the ARCC cites it twelve times in its own paper, while sourcing testimony second-hand from many of the same discredited Israelis as the Times.

The ARCC also relies substantially on testimony from ZAKA, the ultra-Orthodox “rescue” group which introduced false allegations that Hamas beheaded babies, cut fetuses from pregnant women, and had lunch in an Israeli family’s home after killing and mutilating them. ZAKA has been lambasted in Israeli media for serially mishandling evidence from the October 7 attacks and even staging atrocity scenes for fundraising purposes.

At least one quarter of citations in the ARCC’s paper are drawn from the widely panned New York Times article and credibility-strained ZAKA volunteers. The rest of the paper relies on dubious self-proclaimed witnesses like the Israeli army reservist Shari Mendes, who falsely claimed that Hamas not only cut a fetus from a pregnant Israeli woman, but beheaded its mother.

Discredited sources, debunked articles form backbone of new “Hamas rape” report

In citing the NY Times to demonstrate systematic rape by Hamas on October 7, the ARCC points to “a video posted on social media” which shows “a woman in a torn dress, without underwear, injured and with her face burned. Police investigators ruled that she had been raped.”

This section refers to Gal Abdush, a young woman killed on October 7 who features as a central character in the NY Times article. As The Grayzone reported, Abdush’s sister and brother-in-law both publicly denied that she was raped, with the former accusing the Times of manipulating her family into participating by misleading them about their editorial angle.

The ARCC later cites a NY Times account of “an IDF paramedic” who claimed to have entered a room in Kibbutz Beeri “where the bodies of two girls were found, one of whom was found with her pants rolled down and the remains of semen on her back.”

The Grayzone has exposed this source as well, revealing him as a reservist paramedic from Israeli Air Force Special Tactics rescue unit 669 who identifies himself to the media only as “G,” but whose real name is Guy Melamed. As we explained, no girls were found on Kibbutz Beeri in a condition remotely similar to Melamed’s description.

The closest match to the paramedic’s account were two teenage residents of Beeri, Yahel and Noiya Sharabi, who were killed on October 7. But according to the Times of Israel, the girls’ bodies were “found in an embrace” with their mother, and not “alone, separated from the rest of the family.”

Israeli media has also reported, “Lianne and Yahel [Sharabi] could only be identified through DNA samples. Noiya was identified through her teeth only two days ago.”

So how was Melamed able to find semen on one of the girls, and bruises on the other, and view their states of undress, if their bodies had been burned beyond recognition? The only answer is that he fabricated the entire scenario.

Before Melamed cooked up atrocities for the NY Times, which were later reheated by the ARCC, he appeared on a right-wing Indian news channel to invent an account of discovering a dead baby discarded into a trash can by Hamas. Given that only one baby was killed on October 7 – a one year old accidentally shot by a Hamas militant – the paramedic’s story could not have possibly been true.

 

Melamed was just one character among a motley collection of self-styled Israeli rescuers who fabricated October 7 atrocity tales to gain notoriety in the Western press. The most prolific fabulists emerged from an ultra-Orthodox Israeli state-affiliated group called ZAKA. This was the outfit responsible for “confirming” the bogus story of Hamas beheading babies on October 7 and spinning out the tale of a Palestinian militant slashing a fetus from a pregnant Jewish woman.

As The Grayzone reported, ZAKA is an infamously corrupt organization founded by a prolific sexual abuser. Before October 7, the group was nearly insolvent, but since it attracted international attention the lurid lies its volunteers spun out, it has raked in millions from wealthy Jewish diaspora donors including Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Yossi Landau, the ZAKA “commander” who invented an array of debunked October 7 horror stories, has said that those who question his credibility “should be killed.”

The Israeli publication Haaretz subsequently revealed numerous instances of ZAKA volunteers with no coronary credentials mishandling corpses, mixing up body parts, and making fundraising calls with dead bodies nearby. In one case, the volunteers placed a corpse next to themselves as “part of a staged setting – an exhibit designed to attract donors, just when the race against time to gather and remove the bodies of victims of the [October 7] massacre was most urgent.”

The ARCC paper cites ZAKA volunteers no less than 14 times.

The ZAKA testimonies referenced in the paper include one volunteer’s claim to the BBC to have found a woman with a knife lodged in her genitals. No forensic or photographic evidence exists to support this lurid recollection, however. In fact, there is no forensic proof to support any single Israeli claim of sexual abuse by Palestinian militants on October 7.

The ARCC also relies on the hallucinatory recollections of “Sapir,” the supposed “star witness” of the Israeli police, who spun out scenes to the New York Times that were so outrageously obscene, they defied belief. The anonymous character claimed that after being shot in the back at the Nova Electronic Music Festival, she witnessed Hamas militants simultaneously gang rape and stab a woman, then slice her breast off with a box cutter before passing it around and playing with it. “Sapir” went on to allege the militants cut off the woman’s face, Hannibal Lecter-style, then decapitated three other women in her presence.

According to Haaretz, “investigators were unable to identify the women who, according to the testimony of [Sapir] and other eyewitnesses, were raped and murdered.” Israeli Police Superintendent Adi Edry told the paper, “I have circumstantial evidence, but ultimately my duty is to find evidence that supports her testimony and to find the victims’ identity. At this stage I don’t have those specific corpses.”

Another prominent October 7 fabulist, Israeli military reservist Shari Mendes, is cited six times in the ARCC paper. At one point, ARCC quotes Mendes asserting that Hamas militants had raped babies and the elderly on October 7. “We saw genitals cut off, heads cut off, babies – hands, feet, no reason,” she claimed.

On another occasion, Mendes falsely insisted, “A baby was cut out of a pregnant woman and beheaded, and then the mother was beheaded.”

The ARCC rounds out its report with recycled testimony from Raz Cohen, the October 7 attack survivor who told the NY Times he witnessed a Palestinian gang rape of Israeli women at the Nova Electronic Music Festival. As The Grayzone revealed, Cohen never mentioned witnessing any such scenes in his initial interviews about the attacks, and repeatedly changed his story thereafter, adding sensationalistic details as time went on. After appearing in a bizarre October 7-themed fashion show in Tel Aviv, Cohen refused a follow-up interview with the NY Times to address questions about his credibility.

ARCC paper paid for by Israel lobby bigwigs behind “10/7 Project” PR operation

Though released by an association seemingly dedicated to supporting sexual assault survivors in Israel, the ARCC’s paper alleging “systematic” rape by Hamas was paid for by Zionist pressure groups in the US. Its top sponsors include the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which has donated millions to AIPAC-related initiatives, and the Jewish Federations of Greater Miami.

AIPAC and the Jewish Federations are also key pillars in the coalition of Israel lobby outfits behind a new propaganda initiative called the “10/7 Project.” According to Axios, the 10/7 Project comprises “a centralized communications operation that aims to provide newsrooms and policymakers with fact-based information on the [Gaza] war.”

In its bid to justify Israel’s blood-spattered assault on the Gaza Strip, which has left nearly 30,000 dead in over 130 days – most of them women and children – the 10/7 Project has contracted high-powered Democratic Party PR firms like SKDK to, in its words, “retell the story about the butchery of the Oct 7 attack and make outcasts of 10/7 deniers.”

Whether or not the 10/7 Project is responsible for the publicity blitz surrounding the ARCC’s new paper on “systematic” Hamas rape, it is clear Western media has become a laundromat for Israeli propaganda about October 7, recycling discredited allegations through a seemingly endless series of dodgy dossiers, and hyping each one as freshly obtained evidence of Palestinian savagery.

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The editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

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