Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Woman Beaten On Bus In Israel (For Refusing To Sit In Rear Of Bus)

Here I publish commentary based on principle, without regard to anything else. I have been critical of cultures that actively disregard human rights, to include the rights of women. So when instances occur that violate those innate human rights, I must speak out.

Here is an appalling and disturbing occurrence being reported by Haaretz.

A woman who reported a vicious attack by an ad-hoc "modesty patrol" on a Jerusalem bus last month is now lining up support for her case and may be included in a petition to the High Court of Justice over the legality of sex-segregated buses.

Miriam Shear says she was traveling to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City early on November 24 when a group of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) men attacked her for refusing to move to the back of the Egged No. 2 bus. She is now in touch with several legal advocacy and women's organizations, and at the same time, waiting for the police to apprehend her attackers.

Here at PYY, the nation of Israel is given a very fair shake. When others have unfairly criticized it, denigrated it, and attacked it, I have been one to condemn the perpetrators. I am a friend to Israel. But this kind of right-wing hatred cannot be condoned, nor tolerated. If this story is accurate and this did occur in a manner consistent with her version of events, this needs to be stopped.

A society cannot condemn those that engage in genital mutation, the harsh subjugation of women, and other atrocities, and yet allow this kind of action to go unpunished. More importantly, how is that in 21st century Israel that there are social mores that dictate women are second-class citizens to men?

Not only are women's fundamental rights being violated, take a look further in the article:

Throughout the encounter, Shear says the bus driver "did nothing." The other passengers, she says, blamed her for not moving to the back of the bus and called her a "stupid American with no sechel [common sense.] People blamed me for not knowing my place and not going to the back of the bus where I belong."

Stupid American?

Now, I could write a whole post about how America has been there for Israel, since 1948. But let me just say that not only do we stand with them in numerous political and military affairs, a lot of tourist revenue comes from Americans. We spend a lot money there. We buy things, we take tours, stay in hotels, eat, and you know, all of the usual things that aren't cheap. If an American is going to be treated like a second-class citizen, he/she may, very well, decide not to visit. He/she may take their money elsewhere.

First, visitors must endure the usual threat of terrorist violence when touring the Holy Land. And now, there is the prospect that they may have deal with a bunch of angry reactionary thugs that believe they are better than others. If I were the government, I'd be putting a stop to this, and fast. And the first thing I'd do is, catch and prosecute these guys to the fullest extent of the law.


Anonim said...


On stupid American: Isn't it ironic that here too the blame turns around and ends up on the American? Maybe you've got a point to be sensitive after all! Of course, here I think, the blamers meant "Where do you think you are? In America? Why do you make trouble?" In that sense, it can be counted as a positive score on the American column.

Regarding the blog entry at I referenced earlier, I am afraid the date I gave (Dec. 19) was not right. That is, it was not the article relevant to the PYY discussion (medieval patterns persisting in Islam). I tried hard but couldn't find that article again. I came across that blog today, read a bunch of entries, and apparently got lost there, too. Sorry about the bad pointer. Also, I didn't (and still don't) know much about the blogger himself. I found many of his writings interesting and agreeable at face value. However, he appears to be what people call "Muslim democrat" or "liberal Muslim," and his major beef is with secularism as practiced in Turkey. In that too he makes sense but that's not the topic here. Besides that, I gather he is a proponent of the intelligent design idea, and he is alleged to have ties to American advocates of the same. Within the past year or so, there was a board of education hearing of sorts in Kansas, and a Turkish journalist was said to have come to testify. He could be it.

Here is a Frontpage Magazine symposium on "The Pope and Islam" (this pointer is correct:), where the above blogger was a participant. It's a substantive discussion taking off from the Regensburg lecture and developing around that theme. In my opinion, all four panelists come across quite forceful and candid; our blogger a bit apologetic, but the other Muslim guy not so at all. Be forewarned though: it is long and a bit academic; maybe not so much as the Pope's Regensburg speech, but a lot of names, verses and schools of thought are thrown at you. My question is, to what extent are people (in this case, radical Islamic opposers/enemies of America) animated by religion and such theological considerations as discussed by these panelists? I tend to think, animating factors are much more worldly (historical, political, etc.), but religion serves as a conduit to wrap the cause up nicely and rally the troops around slogans (as it has always done in addition to, granted, giving people peace and solace). Hence my gut reaction to you when you say things like "Arabs hate us. We are in the 21st century, they are in the middle ages. Teaching of hatred must stop." Of course it must stop, but I feel that alone does not amount to a solution to the problem, but would make one possible. In that regard, I agree with the panelists, and with you I suppose, that a sweeping liberalization/modernization movement in Islam by Muslims for Muslims is imperative.

Take care.

Greg said...

I'm perfectly happy to have radical mysoginists as my enemy! Geez, these barbarians sound like thugs from Tehran or Riyadh. Except, thankfully, these things are illegal in Israel. I'm guessing they won't be punishing the victim here for being "promiscuous" or something, as rape victims often are in other parts of the middle east. A real liberal democracy like Israel can't guarantee everyone will adhere to the social contract, but it can guarantee legal redress and protection. Thank goodness for that.

LASunsett said...

Hi Anonim,

//On stupid American: Isn't it ironic that here too the blame turns around and ends up on the American? Maybe you've got a point to be sensitive after all! Of course, here I think, the blamers meant "Where do you think you are? In America? Why do you make trouble?"//

You are probably right.

The first thing that sets me off on this is, the woman may have been American, but she is also Jewish. These thugs that claim some king of special status with God (because they supposedly look and dress the part) are full of as much anger, hatred, and malice, as those that commit these kinds of acts in the Muslim world, China, tribal Africa, and anywhere else where womwn are treated as second class citizens. How can I criticize them and give them a pass? I can't and I won't. Principle is principle, politics be damned.

The second thing that angered me is, no one in the entire world has been more supportive of the state of Israel, as Americans have. I do not care what anyone says, they will have a hard time convincing me that Israelis would have a homeland now, if it wasn;t for that support.

That is not to say that Americans should have free reign to do what they want, when visiting Israel. I know there are arrogant Americans that believ the world owes them something, just because they are American. But let's just say for argument's sake, this woman was guilty of being that. Does that call for a humiliating beating? I do not think it does.

Israel is supposed to be a secular society that respects all religions. These ultra-orthodox Jews should be free to practice whatever faith and live according to their teachings, if that is what they wish. This also goes for Haredis and Hasidics, but also includes reformed and conservatives. It should also extend to Muslims and Christians.

But where I draw the line, is when any group attempts to force others that do not belong to that group to conform to the laws and customs of the group. My opinion is not different, when the subject of religion is mentioned, in America.

I tend to think, animating factors are much more worldly (historical, political, etc.), but religion serves as a conduit to wrap the cause up nicely and rally the troops around slogans (as it has always done in addition to, granted, giving people peace and solace).//

I believe that there are many factors that contribute to this. What you mention here is not unusual, when you consider the history of wars and the roles that religion played into them. Do not misunderstand me here. I understand fully that not all Muslims subscibe to this form of religious misuse. Europe and the Catholic Church used this kind of sentiment to rally people to their causes. But what I would like to hear from people in the Muslim world that does not condone this kind of thing, is more counteractive speeches towards those that may be influenced. Those that have already adopted this heinous philosophy, probably won't be dissuaded too much. But to those that are not already brainwashed into this kind of thinking need to hear the message that you yourself have tried to convey (both here at this blog and in you own life)

Make no mistake, Anonim. I do not care what anyone's religion is. I do not care if they believe in anything, or everything.

Whether someone is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, or even atheist, matters very little to me. But, I do object when any religion is force fed to me. So naturally, when I hear secular progressives rant and rave against Christmas, radical Muslims calling for sharia law on American soil, and now reactionary Jews that beat up people that do not conform with what they think should be a custom on a public bus, I get a bit indignant.

Freedom of religion should not mean freedom from it. Equally, no one should be forced to accept any, if that is their choosing. Live and let live, I always say.

And as to my statement concerning reform in the Muslim world. I believe that if the cycle of hate can be stopped by teaching people to love and respect all people (instead of committing violence), it sure beats the hell out of having to go to war down the road, all because we let it get out of hand. I know many do not see the correlation with nazism here, but I do.

LASunsett said...


Having not had a sufficiant amount of caffeine to sustain life-support systems and homeostasis, I have counted a few spelling and grammatical errors in my last response to you. If there is anything that needs clarified, I will be glad to do so. But for the most part, I think you can figure out what I am trying to say here.

LASunsett said...


//I'm perfectly happy to have radical mysoginists as my enemy!//


Anyone, repeat anyone, that practices this kind of thuggery against another, deserves to classified as my enemy.

Anonim said...

LASunsett, I never thought you were partial with respect to this or that religion. I understand who you are. I take issue with what you say at times, but it's just what you say, or how you substantiate that. And, when I am sounding off in defense of Muslims or Islam at times, it is for cultural and social reasons, i.e., my background, not because I am a Muslim believer. I am not. I also share your indignation to some degree. For example, I find it a bit ridiculous that some people feel offended by Christmas or "merry Christmas" greetings. For the rest, read on.

I don't wish to come across as being obsessed with Turkish issues, but here is a very recent and depressing incident: female doctors denying service to a male patient. This goes to show "freedom of religion" could be dangerous without "freedom from it" in my opinion. "Do no harm" should supercede all else. If the allegations are true, those doctors and administrators involved should be thrown out of profession if not into jail. They can go practice their esteemed faith the way they fathom it at their homes. Nobody expects them to touch additional pairs of testicles there! I'm sorry for fuming here, but female medical students' right to not participate in clinical training about male anatomy was an issue of hot debate in Turkey back when I was in college. To my knowledge, those so-called Muslims didn't win the debate, but some have apparently infiltrated into the profession. Sad...

After coming to the States and witnessing the debates about pharmacists' right to not handle this or that drug for religious reasons, I thought the same. And I feared more. Public religion run amok will not only beat Israeli women who don't know their place (ban women from driving cars in Saudi Arabia, make it a risky business to not fast during Ramadan in some Turkish towns, do what not in Iran ... on and on), but it is also corrupting to the core this civilization which, some claim, came about thanks to God and faith. I tend to think, it could have come about in response to them, not thanks to them. Like Turkey's owing her sovereign independence as we know it to Greeks' overreach after WWI, or today's Europe and Japan being what they are thanks to Pearl Harbor.

Sharia law on American soil (or in my home country)? Yeah right. That's gotta be the one missing ingredient...

LASunsett said...


//I don't wish to come across as being obsessed with Turkish issues//

That's quite alright, sir. You are from Turkey, you should be concerned with Turkish issues. I really do not see it as an obsession.

In fact, I would like to ask you to consider writing a guest post for me on Turkey or a Turkish issue, be it with the EU or whatever you feel has significance to the world in general.

We do not get a lot of information on Turkey in the American media, probably because they do not feel Turkey has a lot of significance to their view of the world. Your view is much appreciated here. And personally, I have learned a lot from you in the short time you have been commenting here.

Anyway, please think about it. I do think you are an intelligent man and are certainly quite articulate enough to present something for us all to read and digest.

Mustang said...

Extremism, or for the lack of a better word, radicalism, in any form, is an abomination. Individuals who beat women for sitting wherever she wants, are no different than the Mooslims who mistreat people because of . . . well, who knows why the hell they do it.

Idiots, one and all.

Anonim said...

LASunsett, thank you for the offer; I am flattered. You are a generous person with an open mind and heart. This shows through in your blog. I too have learned a lot from you and your guests (Greg, ms. miami, frenchies super or not, ...).

I will keep your offer in mind, and act on it when something comes up to flush me out with sufficient energy.

LASunsett said...


//I will keep your offer in mind, and act on it when something comes up to flush me out with sufficient energy.//

You let me know when you are ready. I would love to read more about Turkey, as we do not get a lot news about it where I live, or nationally (for that matter).

Turkey is a pivotal nation in the world right now, and many people just don't realize it. It is an axis point. (Not many people can comprehend that, but it's true.)

But whatever you decide, is okay. Do not feel that you are obligated or pressured. I am content for you to throw in your two-cents worth in the comments section, when you have the opportunity.