When the western media’s internal left-wing critics wish to prod their profession to be even more hostile to Israel than it already is, they often use negative images of Israeli women to bait their colleagues.
Glenn Greenwald, for example, told the Huffington Post this morning that the media are racist against Hamas,: “It takes probably 50 Palestinians being killed to get anywhere near the attention of, say, an elderly Israeli woman being frightened in her home and having some kind of a medical problem because of the trauma.” Greenwald offered no proof of his claim.
He did not need proof: his statement was the sort of claim that needs no further evidence, because it affirms shared biases–not racial but against women, particularly comfortable women. Old anti-bourgeois tropes are neatly transferred to Israeli women in particular.
Thus it was that Ken Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch, retweeted an image comparing a scene of devastation in Gaza with a shot of women sunning themselves in bikinis on a beach in Tel Aviv. (The fact that a human rights activist would consider this a profound statement on the conduct of both sides in the conflict shows how far the human rights industry has fallen.)
Images of women were used (or abused) in similar ways during the Iraq War, when journalists began to be “embedded” among coalition troops. Many (anti-war) media critics began likening journalists who participated in such arrangements to women having sex with soldiers–either as victims of rape, at best, or as willing participants in such liaisons, perhaps prostitutes, at worst.
Thus journalists are not only ignoring Israel’s profoundly better treatment of women–it is one of the world’s most feminist societies, albeit with major flaws–but actually punishing Israel for it.