Abigail Klein Leichman
November 22, 2023

Since 1981, women’s rights activists have observed November 25 as the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The date was selected to honor three sisters from the Dominican Republic who were brutally murdered in 1960 by order of the country’s ruler.

But this year’s campaign makes no mention of the hundreds of Israeli women who were burned, beheaded, raped, mutilated, killed and kidnapped during the October 7 Hamas terror attacks that triggered the current war with Gaza.

On the contrary, UN Women — the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women – has put up a webpage dedicated solely to the effect of the war on the women and girls of Gaza.  

“When it comes to being a ‘global champion for gender equality’ and raising awareness of human rights violations against women, it is very clear that for UN Women, and the UN as a whole, Jews simply do not count,” said Israeli activist and social entrepreneur Danielle Ofek.

#MeToo_Unless_Ur_A_Jew founder Danielle Ofek. Photo courtesy of Danielle Ofek
#MeToo_Unless_Ur_A_Jew founder Danielle Ofek. Photo courtesy of Danielle Ofek

Ofek founded Angle in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war to combat widespread misinformation, and its #MeToo_Unless_Ur_A_Jew guerilla campaign that she leads with marketing strategist Nataly Livski and visual artist Liron Kroll.

“On October 20th, following the Hamas terror attack on Israel, the UN Women organization published a detailed report under the name ‘UN Women Rapid Assessment and Humanitarian Response in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’ followed by an official UN Women statement on October 27th under the name ‘In-focus: The conflict in Gaza.’ 

“The organization repeatedly failed to address the current situation as it is and is actively and knowingly working to create a false and insidious narrative,” Ofek charges. 

“Israeli civilians in general, or Israeli women in particular, were not mentioned in the organization’s reports or articles,” she adds.

Illustration by Guy Morad courtesy of Israel Democracy HQ
Illustration by Guy Morad courtesy of Israel Democracy HQ

“Ending violence against women is a core pillar of UN Women’s work, and they serve as a role model for many other women’s organizations. Their silence in the face of unprecedented violence against the Jews and Israelis calls into question their credibility and their very mission to champion gender equality worldwide. It sets a dangerous precedent that the value of Jewish women’s lives is lesser than that of other women.”  

The goal of her campaign is to pressure UN Women into condemning the violence against women committed by Hamas.

She noted that UN Women has not issued a call for the return of female hostages being held in Gaza, including young girls and elderly women. Nor has the organization called for a visit to the hostages by the Red Cross or another prominent human rights organization.

“Even though Hamas has been labeled as a terror organization by the US and EU, the organization refers to the October 7th massacre as a ‘Hamas attack,’ implying that it is legitimate.”

While the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court clearly defines sexual violence as a distinct war crime, she said, “The UN Women is turning a blind eye to Hamas’ vicious war crimes by remaining silent.”

Pro-Israel activist Emily Schrader, who has joined the campaign, emphasizes that Hamas’ brutality against Israeli women is not a political issue. 

“Sexual crimes as a method of war are never justified, and protecting women and girls is beyond political debates. The UN’s silence on the rape of Israeli women is deafening,” says Schrader.

#MeToo_Unless_Ur_A_Jew is running a petition drive and raising awareness via social media, featuring a series of prominent Israeli women on posters proclaiming that UN Women’s silence is “UNforgivable, UNacceptable, UNbelievable and UNjustified.”

Ofek says that the campaign, which ramps up during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence beginning November 25, also plans to highlight companies that support UN Women, such as Coca Cola and Unilever.

More on Life

More on women