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Dec 29 2011

Her provocative behavior

So repeatedly calling a woman a slut is actually a form of harassment?

An indictment was filed Thursday against Jerusalem resident Shlomo Fuchs, 44, an ultra-Orthodox man who hurled sexist slurs at a female soldier on a public bus in the capital.

The court also stated that sexual harassment does not only apply when the harasser demands something of sexual nature from the harassed, but also when the harassed is humiliated based on remarks relating to his or her sex. The judge ruled such was the case in this incident, since “there is no dispute that Fuchs spoke bluntly and shouted harsh and humiliating words at the soldier aboard the bus, calling her a ‘slut’ three times.”

And that’s harassment? Really? It’s not just a little harmless fun? It’s not a joke? It’s not a touch of boorishness? It’s actual harassment? Who knew?

Fuchs’ attorney claimed this was not a criminal offense. “We live in a free country. We’re allowed to curse, it’s part of the freedom of expression,” he explained.

If the court does decide this is a sexual harassment case, said the attorney, then any man who calls a woman a “bitch” or other curse words would be considered a sexual offender.

Or a cunt or a fucking cunt or a smelly snatch or a fucking fat slag or an ugly fucking cunt bitch or – you get the idea.

It looks like a stupid claim, on the face of it (though it’s probably the only claim Fuchs’s attorney could make). Being allowed to curse is not the same thing as being allowed to shout curses at a particular person on a public bus because she won’t obey an unlawful bullying coercive order to move to the back of said bus. Passengers on buses aren’t allowed to do whatever they like to other passengers. Being allowed to curse is not the same thing as being allowed to harass people.

The Jerusalem police on Wednesday arrested Fuchs for calling Doron Matalon, the female soldier, a “slut” after she refused to sit at the back of an Egged bus travelling from the Neve Yaakov neighborhood to the Central Command base in Jerusalem.

Another female passenger who was approaching the front of the bus in order to pay the driver was told by Fuchs that “a woman shouldn’t pass through the front of the bus to pay.” He then demanded she return to the back of the bus.

Matalon said, “I wanted to make room for her, but a man sitting nearby said to her: ‘Why are you at the front of the bus? You’re a woman.’ He looked at me and asked: ‘You too, why are you here?’” Matalon responded: “Women are not restricted to the back of the bus.”

“I told him that just as he doesn’t want to see my face, I don’t want to see his, and that’s when he called me a ‘slut, shiksa.’”

Matalon added that Fuchs yelled: “Slut, slut, slut. You have no respect. You’re standing among yeshiva students and it’s shameful.”

Fuchs was arrested by the police, and during his interrogation he admitted to calling Matalon a “slut”, explaining that the slur was a proper response to “her provocative behavior.”

Sure. That’s what they all say.

 

 

35 comments

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  1. 1
    Your Name's not Bruce?

    I suppose that if a printed image of a woman is provocative then a walking talking actually metabolizing woman is that much more provocative. What a loon! Unfortunately not a harmless loon. If he can’t deal with the sight of a woman maybe he should wear a bag over his head when he goes out, or pluck his eyes out. End of problem.

  2. 2
    danielwaddell

    Accommodationists take note, this kind of disgusting behavior spreads through tolerance of religion.

  3. 3
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    danielwaddell:

    Accommodationists take note, this kind of disgusting behavior spreads through tolerance of religion.

    -Too true, sadly.
    It makes me wonder…what would the reaction of an accommodationist be to the “provocative behavior” of sitting on a bus? If outspoken “angry” atheists (of which I’m happy to be called, though ‘angry’ is a misnomer) are accused of being disrespectful or intolerant when they speak up about how wrong this is, then what is the respectful or tolerant response? How are we supposed to react? Are we supposed to react? Keep silent? Ignore the problem?

  4. 4
    sailor1031

    “…“We live in a free country. We’re allowed to curse, it’s part of the freedom of expression,” he explained.”

    Yep! And you also have the right to get your lights punched out if you mouth off. This jackass is lucky that soldier was very forbearing – I’ve known plenty who wouldn’t have been. And a serving soldier is much more deserving of respect than this parasite who lives off the government and just reads torah all day.

  5. 5
    Retired Prodigy Bill

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: morons who engage in systematic misogyny, who encourage violence while refusing to serve their country, contribute nothing positive to their society.

    In my youth, when I was in the military, anyone trying this stood a good chance of getting stomped upon. Not sure I would approve of that at my current age, but let’s be honest, systematic misogyny is intended to use intimidation to take away human rights, and so it is easy to see why passionate youth might respond in kind.

    Is it my imagination, or are people world wide feeling more comfortable implying that women aren’t fully human?

  6. 6
    skepticlawyer

    Why can’t the secular right and left in Israel unite and force these lazy no hopers to do their national service like everyone else? A stint in the military would be good for them, methinks.

  7. 7
    Ophelia Benson

    sailor – not really even “yep” – people don’t have a “right” to bully and swear at people on buses (or in other public spaces, but on transport in particular). The driver can tell such people to get off the bus and/or call the cops.

  8. 8
    'Tis Himself

    “Slut, slut, slut. You have no respect. You’re standing among yeshiva students and it’s shameful.”

    If the yeshiva students don’t want to sit with a woman then they can get off the bus and walk.

  9. 9
    julian

    “We live in a free country. We’re allowed to curse, it’s part of the freedom of expression,”

    Harassing someone because they refuse to follow some piece of religious gibberish you observe doesn’t seem to be all that relevant a part to freedom of expression. I believe that may actually limit freedom of expression.

  10. 10
    Pierce R. Butler

    Who do these ultra-Orthodox guys think they are – Reddit members?

  11. 11
    Luc

    People remember too well their rights and forget too quickly their duties. Living in a society also means putting up with people you don’t like as long as they aren’t actively bothering you by their own doing in a way you can’t ignore — If we want to live together at all, that is.

  12. 12
    Chris Lawson

    The provocation argument was my favourite part. She was being provocative by sitting in the front of a bus. And another woman was being provocative by going to the front to pay her fare. This is what I hate about the “don’t be offensive to religion” argument: anyone can choose to be offended by anything they set their minds to.

  13. 13
    Pierce R. Butler

    Speaking of ultra-Orthodox ultra-asininity, has the FtB search function gone dysfunctional again, or has no one here actually spoken up about the outrageous case of little Na’ama Margolis?

  14. 14
    Ophelia Benson

    I have but I think I had a different spelling. Transliterations vary, I guess.

  15. 15
    Ophelia Benson

    Behold the whore -

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2011/12/behold-the-whore/

    I spelled it Margolese.

  16. 16
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Pierce R Butler:

    Speaking of ultra-Orthodox ultra-asininity, has the FtB search function gone dysfunctional again, or has no one here actually spoken up about the outrageous case of little Na’ama Margolis?

    -Oh, that case of batshittery has been brought up.
    Here, by Ophelia: http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2011/12/28/teaching-naama/
    Here by Cuttlefish: http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2011/12/28/teaching-naama/

  17. 17
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Oops, I listed the link twice. Ophelia has already posted the link to ‘Behold the Whore’.

  18. 18
    David Hart

    Are buses in Israel state-subsidised? If so, I see a partial solution: normal (state-subsidised) buses display a prominent sign on the front and sides saying ‘this is a mixed-sex bus’ or words to that effect. Then, the ultra-orthodox will be told that they are free to institute a gender-segregated service, which, lacking state subsidy, will be more expensive. The government could even deliberately track the misogybus prices and permanently undercut them. Thus there is created a direct tax on gender apartheid. But hey, I’m not an Israeli civil servant; I don’t know if folks would buy that plan.

  19. 19
    John Morales

    I wonder whether Doron being a woman and a soldier caused any cognitive dissonance on the unfortunate Shlomo.

    (She puts her life on the line for his freedom to piss his life away studying fables, yet she is the one who must respect him due to his sex)

  20. 20
    Pierce R. Butler

    Thanks for the clarification.

    There I was thinking that Na’ama M’s first name was the one most likely to undergo scrambulation…

  21. 21
    Skepgineer

    The godbot was a massive asshole, but a single incident of shouting insults at someone for 10-20 seconds is not a crime. WBC does it (though not targeting particular persons) and has the law on their side. Persistence is necessary to qualify as sexual harassment unless there’s some physical action like ass-grabbing or implied threat like a manager propositioning a subordinate.

  22. 22
    John Morales

    Skepgineer:

    The godbot was a massive asshole, but a single incident of shouting insults at someone for 10-20 seconds is not a crime.

    You may personally consider it’s not, but that’s for the justice system to decide, not for you.

    (Perhaps the nature of the insults is not irrelevant?)

  23. 23
    Stacy

    Skepgineer, he didn’t just shout at her; he told her to move to the back of the bus and when she refused to, he shouted at her.

    If the WBC went around telling soldiers and gay people to move to the backs of buses and shouted slurs at them when they refused, I imagine that could get them into trouble.

    Anyway, this happened in Israel, not the U.S.

  24. 24
    mirax

    When I read the other post about the assholes in Beit Shemesh and watched the doc (where they again spit on an adult woman with the journalist), the possibility of prosecution for assault was the first thing that leapt to mind. Because that is what my country (not a bastion of freedom in most ways) allows. We have archiac laws here on the ‘outrage of modesty’ whereby women are protected from verbal abuse and unwanted touching. So you can get the state to prosecute a bloke who pats you on the behind in a nightclub (actually happened recently- the woman who was actually modelling swimwear at the time got about $20 000 in compensation and donated it to charity). So the Isreali prosecution is not weird at all to someone like me. This is something Isreali feminists should be doing – breaking the gender-segregation wherever it occurs in public and taking the assholes who try to bully them to court.

  25. 25
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Yes, it’s a free country, but not for women on a bus, because free only applies to real people i.e. men.

    The godbot was a massive asshole, but a single incident of shouting insults at someone for 10-20 seconds is not a crime. WBC does it (though not targeting particular persons) and has the law on their side. Persistence is necessary to qualify as sexual harassment unless there’s some physical action like ass-grabbing or implied threat like a manager propositioning a subordina

    Why do you arrogantly presume that the law in the USA is the same as in Israel and that, if things are different your particular version is the correct one?
    Also nice to tell women what they are allowed to see as sexual harrasment and what they aren’t.

  26. 26
    Rumtopf

    When I was reading this article aloud to my partner, I accidentally phrased it “We live in a free country. We’re allowed to curse, it’s part of the freedom of oppression,”. Hmm.

  27. 27
    sailor1031

    Ophelia: it was meant to be a satirical “yep”. I don’t grant that anyone has the right to behave in such a way. I don’t suppose he will have learned much from it all though.

  28. 28
    Rosie

    If the woman on the bus had started cursing the harassing bloke using some anti-Jewish epithets, I wonder if he would be so keen on the “freedom of speech” defence.

    Mind you, Brendan O’Neill would think he had a point.

  29. 29
    Ophelia Benson

    I don’t think it’s true (even in the US) that “a single incident of shouting insults at someone for 10-20 seconds is not a crime” in all circumstances, especially when it’s in enforcement of attempted physical coercion. Behavior on public transport is touchy, because things can get out of hand quickly, and that’s dangerous. I’m also not sure it’s true that shouting insults directly at someone (that is, physically in the face and blocking escape) would not be a crime even on the street.

  30. 30
    Bruce Gorton

    Any idea who the judge is? I think we have a new favourite person. Shlomo Fuchs has to be the most apt naming for an asshole ever aaand it pretty much says something about religious douche-fuckery that they are still telling people to get to the back of the bus.

    In South Africa we have a basic principle in our legal system that rights are balanced against each other (Essentially the principle that your right to swing your arm stops at my nose) I think that would likely apply in this case. His freedom of speech is not the freedom to deny people the use of the services of their choice.

  31. 31
    Skepgineer

    Morales: “You may personally consider it’s not, but that’s for the justice system to decide, not for you.”

    That’s not even a an argument or an assertion on whether it is a crime or why it should be a crime. It’s mere abdication of thinking. You might as well say nothing.

    Ophelia: “enforcement of attempted physical coercion”

    Attempted verbal coercion. It may be considered “fighting words” in some US jurisdictions if the insult is considered an incitement to violence.

    The proper response in this incident is for the non-fanatical passengers on the bus to tell Schlomo to go Fuchs himself. Police involvement is not necessary for an isolated incident of douchebaggery that does not involve physical force or threats. Policing mere words that make people feel bad is a slippery business that should be avoided completely.

    Suppose WBC is preparing to protest your friend’s funeral and you yell at them “GTFO, ignorant bigots”. That’s essentially the same thing… yelling an insult which could possibly be construed as fighting words.

    Or suppose you tell some fanatic to his face that his religious experience was a hallucination and that the bible is a collection of myths from a primitive jingoistic genocidal misogynistic illiterate culture. This could be reasonably expected to incite violence from certain kinds of people. Might it be illegal to speak like that?

    Realistically though someone is unlikely to be prosecuted for fighting words unless they actually start a fight. If you call up the police and complain that some stranger on the bus called you a dirty word, they won’t and shouldn’t take it seriously. If you get assaulted after calling someone names, and the assaulter is prosecuted, then you might get prosecuted for “fighting words” and get a much lesser punishment.

    And it would be ridiculous to treat non-sexual insults differently from sexual insults. Judges may have to decide whether “motherfucker” was used in a non-literal non-sexual sense or in a literal sexual sense. Most swear words are sexual on the surface but are usually used in non-sexual ways. The subject is too murky to legislate.

  32. 32
    Timothy (TRiG)

    I imagine anyone who got up to that sort of asshattery should, at the very least, find himself on the side of the road and quite possibly barred from using the company’s busses again. Behaviour on public transport is not quite as open as behaviour in the public street.

    TRiG.

  33. 33
    John Morales

    Skepgineer:

    That’s not even a an argument or an assertion on whether it is a crime or why it should be a crime.

    On the contrary, it’s a statement of fact, in the face of your opinion.

    (Think about what it means for something to be a crime)

  34. 34
    Skepgineer

    GTFO Morales, you contribute nothing to the discussion by repeating an obvious fact that everyone knows as if it were a rebuttal to anything. Your statement amounted to “shut up.”

  35. 35
    Alexandra

    Whatever happened to “you don’t have a right not to be offended”?
    It’s harassment because “slut” is offensive to women? Depicting Mohammed is offensive to Muslims, but we go on and on about how it shouldn’t be a crime because it’s freedom of expression.
    I’m sick of women pulling shit like this, all it does is reinforce the stereotype of us all being weak and needing special protections. If we’re equal, we’re equal. If I can call a man a dick, he can call me a slut and all’s fair, they’re just words.

  1. 36
    Israel: Provocative bus trips and slutty seven-year-olds | TRiG's links

    [...] sitting at the front of a bus is “slutty”. Who knew? Matalon added that Fuchs yelled: “Slut, slut, slut. You have no respect. You’re [...]

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