“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” [Yossarian] observed.
“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.

I’ve been thinking about this story for the last couple of days, and finally decided that, repulsive as it is, I just couldn’t pass on the sheer weirdness of it. It’s a story about the kind of thinking only an academic could love:

A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers’ committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose. [Emphasis added.]

The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that “the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals.”

The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: “In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences – just as organized military rape would have done.”

The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers’ eyes.

It could be, of course, that the IDF is too civilized to countenance rape of any kind, much less organized military rape,  which is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. And it is also undoubtedly the case that if the IDF was engaged in such a heinous practice, academics such as these would have been howling about war crimes for all they are worth. So, either the  IDF organizes rape and gets accused of war crimes, or Israeli soldiers don’t rape and get accused of de-humanizing Palestinian women. Either way, the military gets branded as pigs. But the head of the academic committee that awarded the prize to this piece of dreck had this to say when contacted by an Israeli TV station:

“I do not have the entire text in front of me,” Gurevitch said, when contacted by Arutz-7, “and I don’t think we can jump to conclusions based on partial sentences, but I can say the following: This was a very serious paper that asked two important questions: Is the relative lack of IDF rapes a noteworthy phenomenon, and if so, why is it that there are so few IDF rapes when in similar situations around the world, rape is much more common?”

Arutz-7: “Can’t it just be that Israeli soldiers come from a culture that very much condemns rape?  And why not mention the much-touted ‘purity of arms,’ i.e., the high moral conduct, of the Israeli Army?”

Gurevitch said that observers do not have the right to demand a particular explanation to a given phenomenon.  He said that the researcher had done a serious job, based on interviews with 25 soldiers and other accounts, and that the right-wing should not jump to the conclusion that this was simply another “secular, left-wing” generality. [Emphasis added.]

So observers can’t ask for explanations, but academics can provide the most dishonest, biased, scurrilous ones they can conjure up. Somewhere, Joseph Heller is wondering, “why didn’t I think of that?”