February 24, 2024

Nearly 50 days after Hamas’ attack on Israel left 1,200 dead, UN Women issued a statement condemning the terror group on Friday. The initial statement was soon deleted and replaced with a different one that only called for the release of hostages. This move reignited criticism from Jewish women activists and Israelis who accused UN Women of holding a double standard when it comes to gender-based violence against Israeli women. The critics used the hashtag #MeToo_UNless_UR_A_Jew to lobby openly on the topic.

#MeToo_UNless_UR_a_Jew homepage (credit: #MeToo_UNless_UR_a_Jew)

UN Women responded by saying that the Instagram post had been scheduled in advance and was deleted because the message no longer reflected the organization’s main focus. UN Women also mentioned that the release of some hostages over the weekend as part of a temporary truce changed the organization’s priorities. UN Women emphasized that they condemned the attacks by Hamas and the deaths of Israeli civilians from the beginning and will continue to do so until the conflict ends. They also called for allegations of gender-based violence to be rigorously investigated, prioritizing the rights, needs, and safety of those affected.

The National Council for Jewish Women criticized UN Women’s silence on sexual violence against Israeli women and stated that UN Women’s second statement last week was inadequate. They called for unequivocal acknowledgment of the atrocities committed during the Hamas attack on Israel due to the blatant violation of international law.