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Austin Cline

Jewish Extremists Assault Woman for Not Sitting in Back of Bus

By January 4, 2007

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When people think about a religion treating women as inferiors, it's likely that Islam will come first to many people's minds. The fact is, though, that religions in general have as long history of treating women as second class citizens it's one of the most common complaints atheists make about religion. Islam isn't necessarily worse than most. Even Judaism, which tends to have an image of being a bit more rational and reasonable, can encourage brutal, bullying behavior in order to "keep women in their place."

Consider, for example, a recent incident in Jerusalem where a woman was beaten by several men for refusing to sit in the back of the bus. Apparently, it's custom for women to move to the back they're basically treated in a manner similar to how whites in America used to treat blacks. Yes, it would seem that there is a Jim Crow attitude among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel towards women.

[Miriam] Shear says that on the bus three weeks ago, she was slapped, kicked, punched and pushed by a group of men who demanded that she sit in the back of the bus with the other women. The bus driver, in response to a media inquiry, denied that violence was used against her, but Shear's account has been substantiated by an unrelated eyewitness on the bus who confirmed that she sustained an unprovoked "severe beating." ...

"Every two or three days, someone would tell me to sit in the back, sometimes politely and sometimes not," she recalled this week in a telephone interview. "I was always polite and said 'No. This is not a synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.'"

But Shear, a 50-year-old religious woman, says that on the morning of the 24th, a man got onto the bus and demanded her seat - even though there were a number of other seats available in the front of the bus.

"I said, I'm not moving and he said, 'I'm not asking you, I'm telling you.' Then he spat in my face and at that point, I was in high adrenaline mode and called him a son-of-a-bitch, which I am not proud of. Then I spat back. At that point, he pushed me down and people on the bus were screaming that I was crazy. Four men surrounded me and slapped my face, punched me in the chest, pulled at my clothes, beat me, kicked me. My snood [hair covering] came off. I was fighting back and kicked one of the men in his privates. I will never forget the look on his face."

Source: Haaretz

The bus driver reportedly did nothing to help a woman being assaulted by four men; later, he denied that the beating even occurred. If it weren't for the witness coming forward, it sounds like this incident would become non-existent. The cause for all this cannot be laid at the feet of anything except for the Judaism of the men involved: treating women like second-class citizens who don't deserve to sit up front, treating women like objects or animals that can be beaten and tortured for refusing to obey, and treating women like they are invisible by looking away when they suffer at the hands of brutal, bullying men.

This is where all religious violence ultimately starts not in wars or inquisitions, but in personal violence committed by one or two people against another and in a manner that becomes so common, so accepted, that most people are comfortable turning away and denying that it even happens. When people believe that they have a god-given right to rule or are part of a divinely chosen group to rule, they will stop at nothing to assert their authority or speicalness even in petty situations like who gets to sit where on a public bus.

Comments
January 5, 2007 at 4:48 am
(1) Bill Dee says:

Thank you for performing the thankless task of maintaining a watch on the nonsense and outright evil that religion gives rise to.

January 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm
(2) Pat says:

Miriam Shear = Rosa Parks?? I suppose we can hope. I’m tempted to equate religion not only with anti-evolutionism, but with devolution. But then you’d have to achieve a reasonable facimile of evolutionary progress to devolve. Fundamentalists have never made it beyond Neanderthal. (With apologies to the Neanderthal).

January 6, 2007 at 12:43 am
(3) God Isn't says:

“treating women like … animals that can be beaten and tortured for refusing to obey …”

“This is where all … violence ultimately starts not in wars or inquisitions, but in personal violence committed by one or two people against another and in a manner that becomes so common, so accepted, that most people are comfortable turning away and denying that it even happens. When people believe that they have a god-given right to rule or are part of a divinely chosen group to rule, they will stop at nothing to assert their authority or speicalness…”

This is the same reason it’s deemed okay to harm other species, so-called “animals” (as though we humans aren’t animals). Because they’re “just” animals. So, to those men, Miriam Shear was “just” a woman. The thinking is the same, and leads to the same sorts of behavior.

I’m really surprised that an atheist would use the phrase “like an animal,” as though beating an “animal” would have been okay.

January 6, 2007 at 7:32 am
(4) Austin Cline says:

I’m really surprised that an atheist would use the phrase “like an animal,” as though beating an “animal” would have been okay.

I didn’t say it would be OK; that doesn’t render the analogy inappropriate, however.

I also used the analogy to “second-class citizens.” Did you conclude that I think it’s OK to have second-class citizens who are denied equal rights? If not, why not?

January 6, 2007 at 1:56 pm
(5) God Isn't says:

Austin, it was the way it was worded: “…treating women like objects or animals that can be beaten and tortured…”

It seemed as though you were implying that it’s okay to beat and torture “animals,” but not women. Perhaps I read something into it that you did not intend. However, when most people say things like that, they do mean that it’s okay. It’s that general acceptance that “animals” are simply here for us humans, hence we can do whatever we want to them. By the way, I’m a vegetarian, and the last time I bought anything made of someone else’s skin (leather) was over twenty years ago.

On the other hand, most people, when they use the term “second-class citizens,” do not suggest that that’s okay.

If I misunderstood your intent, I apologize.

While I’m here, I have a question about the “comments” window. If one forgets to fill in Name and E-mail, what one has written is lost because there’s no Back button. Can this be fixed?

October 4, 2008 at 2:38 am
(6) Infidela says:

Religion is nothing other than theocratic fascism.

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