Why Ari Shavit Should Have Been Discredited, But Wasn’t
It is an astounding commentary on our times that Israeli journalist Ari Shavit has been shamed publicly – to the point of losing his livelihood — for making unwanted passes at two women, when the best-selling author of My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel was outed two years ago for the book’s lies about the Jewish state.
Though the latter was and should have been cause for Shavit to be discredited professionally, nobody blinked an eye at that travesty, detailed so beautifully by Mideast expert Martin Kramer in Mosaic Magazine in 2014.
On the contrary, Shavit suffered no consequences when Kramer exposed his false narrative. You know, the one that kept the awards, lecture-circuit gigs and accompanying cash flowing like a brook on a spring day.
As Kramer put it, “Beyond Shavit’s powerful writing style and engaging personal manner,” what he really achieved was an “artfully mixed effect” of “confessing Israel’s sins in order to demonstrate the tragic profundity of his love.”
Kramer went on to dissect the 30-page chapter — titled “Lydda, 1948” – “concern[ing] an alleged massacre of Palestinian Arabs that preceded an act of forcible expulsion” – refuting its errors and highlighting the questionable research behind it.
This did not put a dent in Shavit’s busy schedule as a columnist and editorial board member at Haaretz; a regular panelist on Israel’s Channel 10; and a perpetual traveler to conferences abroad, where he was given standing ovations and hosted by lots of prominent and wealthy Jews, thrilled to be provided with the excuse to bash Israel while professing to be on its side.
My own experience of Shavit over the years has been indirect – watching him on podiums and TV, and hearing his praises sung — so I cannot offer any personal stories about being groped by him. Which is kind of unfortunate, because nothing enhances a woman’s career these days like an unrequited kiss-and-tell involving a public figure. And I have to say that I’m sorry to have missed that particular boat, because if I had a nickel for every time an Israeli, celebrity or not, behaved like a cave man, I’d be a billionaire by now.
Sadly, however, I was raised in a culture of rabid feminism, a movement that shouted from the rooftops of the western world that women are equal to men in every respect, including sexually. We were taught the mantra that if it weren’t for the pink blankets in which we were wrapped when we were born and the Barbie dolls we were forced to play with by the patriarchy, we would be taking our rightful place in bedrooms and boardrooms alike. We did not need male protection in the bank or on the battlefield. We sure as hell weren’t supposed to let a date open a door for us or pay for our dinner.
So the idea that I or my female counterparts would be incapable of handling a guy like Shavit is laughable. Though he is rumored to spend a lot of time at the gym working on his abs, he’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger. And one gets the sense that he would prefer to avoid brawls so as not to muss up his carefully coiffed hair.
This is not to say that I don’t believe in actual sexual assault. It’s just that what the Jewish Journal’s Danielle Berrin and an anonymous J Street employee revealed about Shavit falls short of it. Nor do I think that the women in question are to blame for the smarmy and repulsive way he behaved towards them, no matter how sexy-looking they are. But come on, girls, ask all the Palestinian women for whom your hearts bleed what a true patriarchy looks and feels like.
As for Shavit, he is clearly as clueless about seducing women – a piece of cake for a famous writer — as he is disingenuous about his politics. His disgrace for the latter was long in coming. Too bad nobody will remember that part of his downfall.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.