Saturday, December 13, 2008

UM Prof. Yaron Eliav & Sexual Slavery in Israel

On Friday, the Ann Arbor News ran a prostitution story with a twist or two. First, the prostitute was a student at the University of Michigan Law School who came to police after her customer allegedly physically assaulted her. As the News reports, "The student told police she reluctantly agreed to allow Eliav to strike her buttocks with a belt, but got upset when he slapped her in the face twice, reports said. She said she suffered vision problems afterward, but did not have any lasting injuries."

The "John" was Yaron Z. Eliav (pictured at right), Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, specifically, Eliav is the Jean and Samuel Frankel Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature & Jewish History of Late Antiquity. For his part, Eliav "admitted to slapping her face, but said it was 'like a game.' "

The Ann Arbor police have also taken a playful attitude toward the assault allegation with Ann Arbor Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey saying, "Perhaps she should have cracked a legal textbook before coming in to the police station to talk about this." I guess the police's attitude is if you engage in prostitution then don't expect any help if your John hurts you.

The unnamed victim, like her assailant, was charged with "using a computer to commit a crime"--a misdemeanor. Charging the victim and ignoring her assault is the exactly the wrong thing to do to someone who has already been victimized by prostitution, which in progressive countries is regarded as a form of exploitation and violence against the prostitute. In Sweden, prostitution has been greatly reduced by a) criminalizing the buying of sex, b) decriminalizing the selling of sex, and c) providing ample and comprehensive social services for "any prostitute who wants to get out, and additional funds to educate the public."

This story was brought to my attention by someone who identified Eliav as an Israeli and judging from his c.v. there seems little doubt about that. At a minimum, he's lived in the Jewish state for several years. This got me thinking about sexual mores and practices in Israel--the "blight unto the nations" backed by the full diplomatic, military, and financial force of the United States.
As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property. These you may treat as slaves, but as for your fellow Israelites, no one shall rule over the other with harshness. -Leviticus 25:44-46.

The Halakhah [Judaic law] presumes all Gentiles to be utterly promiscuous ... Whether a Gentile woman is married or not makes no difference, since as far as Jews are concerned the very concept of matrimony does not apply to Gentiles ... Therefore, the concept of adultery also does not apply to intercourse between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman; rather, the Talmud equates such intercourse to the sin of bestiality. ...

This does not imply that sexual intercourse between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman is permitted - quite the contrary. But the main punishment is inflicted on the Gentile woman; she must be executed, even if she was raped by the Jew '... because through her a Jew got into trouble' ... and all Gentile women are presumed to be prostitutes. -Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years.
The 2008 US State Department "Trafficking in Persons Report" (p. 146) shows Israel has never been a "Tier 1" state in the seven years that the US has been monitoring human trafficking (Tier 1 countries are those "whose governments fully comply with the [US] Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards").

Here's an outtake from the 2006 report, as you read the figures bear in mind that Israel has a total population of about 7.1 million:
Israel is a destination country for low-skilled workers from the P.R.C., Romania, Jordan, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India who migrate voluntarily for contract labor in the construction, agriculture and health care industries. Some are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude. Many labor recruitment agencies in source countries and in Israel require workers to pay up-front fees ranging from $1,000-10,000 – a practice that often leads to debt bondage and makes these workers highly vulnerable to forced labor once in Israel. Israel is also a destination country for women trafficked from Eastern Europe – primarily Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Russia – for the purpose of sexual exploitation. NGOs estimate that in 2005 between 1,000-3,000 women were trafficked into Israel for sexual servitude and 16,000-20,000 foreign workers faced involuntary servitude, though NGOs do not provide evidence to support their claim.

The Government of Israel does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Israel is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking, namely the conditions of involuntary servitude allegedly facing thousands of foreign migrant workers. The government did not pass a much-needed law criminalizing all forms of trafficking, including labor trafficking, drafted in 2003, though it took more steps than in previous years to criminally investigate and prosecute employers allegedly keeping foreign workers in conditions of involuntary servitude.
Did you notice the contradiction at the beginning of the second paragraph? Here it is again with key portions in bold: "The Government of Israel does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Israel is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking ..."The Tier 2 Watch List is the second lowest category and placed Israel on a par with countries such as Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, Kenya, Kuwait, and Russia. Oh, and "involuntary servitude" and "forced labor"--those are just fancy ways of saying slavery without coming right out and saying it.

By the 2008 report not that much had changed although Israel did finally pass a law after the 2006 report outlawing all forms of human trafficking. Here's an excerpt from the 2008 report:
... NGOs note an increase in the internal trafficking of Israeli women for commercial sexual exploitation, and report new instances of trafficking of Israeli women abroad to Canada, Ireland, and England. African asylum seekers entering Israel illegally are also vulnerable to trafficking for forced labor or prostitution.

The Government of Israel does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking ... though the government prepared some indictments for forced labor, it did not criminally prosecute or convict any employer or recruitment agent for labor trafficking.
According to the report, "This year, the government convicted 38 individuals for sex trafficking ..." Bear in mind that thousands of women are victims of sex trafficking in Israel every year.

Now, that we've looked at parts of official reports prepared under the watchful eye of State Dept.'s very own 'anti-Semitism' thought police let's look at a few other accounts of trafficking in the Jewish state. In 2006, the Jewish Tribune of Montreal quoted Victor Malarek, author of the 2003 book The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade: "Newspaper ads from modelling and employment agencies promise exciting jobs, but the women are duped. They must submit, or they are raped, beaten and tortured. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 trafficked women in Israel and more than 280 brothels in Tel Aviv alone" (metro Tel Aviv has a population of 3.1 million).

In his book, Malarek quotes Leah Gruenpeter-Gold: "Israeli men have simply grown used to the idea that women can be bought. Both married and single men no longer want to work at relationships. For them it is easier to purchase sex when they want it." In the same interview, he spoke with Nissan Ben-Ami, who describes how young Israeli men flock to brothels on Rosh Hashanah and how "the haredim (orthodox Jews) ... crowd the Tel Aviv brothels on Friday mornings and afternoons for a pre-Shabbat tumble." He continues that the haredim consider masturbation to be a sin and they won't use condoms and so they end up paying the pimps more money and "sacrific[ing] these women." To which Gruenpeter-Gold adds, "Because these women are not human beings. They are foreign women. The religious prefer it to be with foreign women because then they don't wrong Jewish women" (emphasis added).

In 2005, Ynet, the online version of the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, reported:
Thousands of women are being smuggled into Israel, creating a booming sex trade industry that rakes more than USD one billion a year, a parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.

The Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, headed by Knesset member Zehava Galon of the left-wing Yahad party, commissioned the report in an effort to combat the sex trade in Israel. Findings showed that some 3,000 and 5,000 women are smuggled to Israel annually and sold into the prostitution industry, where they are constantly subjected to violence and abuse.

The report, issued annually, said some 10,000 such women currently reside in about 300 to 400 brothels throughout the country.
A 2007 BBC report illuminated the personal price that the victims pay:
Marina rarely leaves her two-room home in northern Israel these days.

She is in hiding - wanted by the Israeli authorities for being an illegal immigrant, and by the criminal gangs who brought her here to sell her into prostitution.

Marina - not her real name - was lured to Israel by human traffickers. ...

"When I was in the Ukraine, I had a difficult life," said Marina, who came to Israel in 1999 at the age of 33 after answering a newspaper advertisement offering the opportunity to study abroad.

"I was taken to an apartment in Ashkelon, and other women there told me I was now in prostitution. I became hysterical, but a guy starting hitting me and then others there raped me.

"I was then taken to a place where they sold me - just sold me!" she said, recalling how she was locked in a windowless basement for a month, drank water from a toilet and was deprived of food. ...

Prostitution in Israel is legal, but pimping and maintaining a brothel are not.

The law however is not widely enforced and few brothels are closed down.

In Tel Aviv's Neve Shaanan district for instance, just a short walk from the city's five-star tourist hotels, brothels masquerading as massage parlours, saunas and even internet cafes, fill the side streets.

One such place even operates opposite the local police station.

There are bars on windows and heavily-built men guard the doors, which are only opened to let customers in and out.

Inside, groups of sullen-looking women sit in dimly-lit rooms, waiting for their next client.

Foreign women fetch the highest prices, with trafficked women forced to work up to 18 hours a day. ...

Campaigners say things began to change for the better in 2004, when the government opened a shelter in north Tel Aviv for women who had been trafficked for sex.

It marked a change in the way the state perceived them - as victims of a crime rather than accomplices.

There are some 30 women at the Maggan shelter - most from former Soviet states, but also five from China.

For years, Israel treated trafficked women as criminals "When they come here they are in a bad condition," said Rinat Davidovich, the shelter's director.

"Most have sexual diseases and some have hepatitis and even tuberculosis. They also have problems going to sleep because they remember what used to happen to them at night," she said. ...
See also: "Human rights abuses of women trafficked from countries of the former Soviet Union into Israel's sex industry" by Amnesty International (2000)

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Here's my response to "UM prostitution case becomes fodder for anti-Semites" by dankprofessor:

Kudos to you, Professor Dank, for including a link to my post so your readers can make up their own minds about your allegations. The post in question says nothing about Eliav's actions being reflective of "Jewish Israeli attitudes toward Gentile women" although it is understandable that a careless reader might come to that conclusion.

You write, "The zionistout blog appears to assume that Professor Eliav is an Orthodox Jew and they hold that Orthodox Jews are major promulgators of prostitution both in Israel and in various western countries." I make no such assumptions. Nor do I make any assumption about whether Eliav's victim was Jewish or not. In fact, these are all assumptions on your part.

Further, you say: "For them Israel has become a major venue of international sex trafficking and sexual slavery of non-Jewsih women and consequently has withheld support for more stringent measures against international sex trafficking." You conveniently fail to inform your readers that is your summary and none of it is my opinion or conjecture. Rather, I quote extensively from the US State Department, Victor Malarek, Ynet, and the BBC and offer very little commentary on the subject.

You also imagine that "Eliav has become a ... pawn in another ... conspiracy of the genre of the Protocols of Elders of Zion ..." Again, this is the product of your own fevered imagination.

Your fallacious assertion that "if [Eliav's victim] was Jewish [the] whole scenario about Jews in Israeli recruiting Gentile women into sexual slavery becomes an irrelevancy" boggles the mind. Clearly, cogent reasoning is not your forte. The case of Eliav was a segue into a broader discussion and the particulars of his case have no bearing on the nature of human sex trafficking in Israel, as documented in the above mentioned sources.

Finally, regarding your accusation of 'anti-Semitism,' I will merely second the words of Jeffrey Blankfort: "I have been attacked as a self-hating Jew, as an anti-Semite, but it does not matter to me because I consider the accusation of anti-Semitism to be the first refuge of scoundrels. Patriotism is the last refuge, anti-Semitism is the first."
It's funny, if a priest abuses a child you can talk about cultural problems in the Roman Catholic church. Blagojevich gets snared and the MSM can talk about "corruption in Chicago". But if you even suggest that Israel is somehow related to what this Israeli prof. did then the moron Dank screams, "Anti-Semite." Typical bullshit.
But quoting Leviticus and the Talmud in this context shows that the writer considers it a JEWISH, rather than a merely Israeli, issue.

One European country I know and love, Greece, has also been a home to thousands of women from impoverished East European and former SU countries, who live there, in different places and under different conditions, as prostitutes. This has been widely reported in the Greek papers and shown on Greek television over the years. Nobody - as far as I know - has blamed Greek Orthodoxy, or the Elders of Hellas.
Actually, "quoting Leviticus and the Talmud in this context shows that the writer considers" them to be texts relevant to a discussion of the mores of mainstream Israeli society. See also the quote in the post re: "Because these women are not human beings. They are foreign women. The religious prefer it to be with foreign women because then they don't wrong Jewish women" which indicates Judaism plays a role in the Israeli sex business. Now, if you can find such a relgious connection in Greece then by all means write about it.
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