Israel's Minister for the Advancement of the Status of Women, May Golan, has unleashed a storm of controversy with her recent statements regarding former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama's silence on the October 7th Hamas attack.
Amidst growing criticism of international women's rights groups, Golan has singled out Obama for failing to condemn what she characterizes as horrific, gender-based violence that occurred during the attack.
Golan revealed that she reached out personally to Obama, sharing with her "authentic, sworn testimony" that detailed alleged sexual violence and mutilation of Israeli women. This information, she argues, was received but met with deafening silence from Obama's end.
Golan's disappointment stems from her belief that Obama and other female celebrities ought to leverage their platforms to condemn such atrocities, irrespective of their political involvement. She juxtaposed Obama's silence with her previous advocacy for women's advancement projects globally.
However, a search of Obama's public records reveals no mention of Israel or the October 7th attack specifically. This absence has served to fuel Golan's frustration, who noted that despite not holding a political role, Obama was in a position to respond.
"It’s impossible to trust these institutions anymore. From my perspective, they don’t have any relevance anymore. And that’s what I want to say. When Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Hussein Obama, said in public went out against Boko Haram and called to return the girls that were kidnapped by Boko Haram, we had, here, a moment of silence, for a sigh..."
Golan's critique extends beyond Obama, pointing to the broader failure of women's rights organizations in condemning the terror attack. Notably, she highlighted UN Women's lackluster response, which came eight weeks after the incident.
The UN Women organization issued a vague statement condemning "gender-based violence" resulting from the attack. This response, however, offered little consolation to Golan and others who felt the organization had failed to address the issue adequately.
In an interview, Golan expressed her disappointment in the broader women's rights community, making specific note of the disturbing reports she had received regarding the attack.
Golan conveyed to Obama a vivid and unsettling account of the violence experienced by women in the attack, with details so distressing that Golan hesitated to divulge them publicly. Through this communication, Golan sought to galvanize global condemnation of such brutal acts.
She expressed disappointment at the absence of any reaction from influential figures like Obama, believing this silence weakens the collective effort to oppose such violence.
In a conversation with Host Erel Segal, Golan confirmed her direct approach to Michelle Obama. Segal appeared surprised by this revelation.
Golan, affirming her action without hesitation, expressed her frustration over Obama's complete lack of response. Despite clearly requesting Obama to denounce the tragic events of October 7th, Golan noted that there was no acknowledgment or condemnation from her side.
The controversy surrounding Obama's silence is indicative of a larger issue. The perceived failure of women's rights advocates to promptly condemn the October 7th attack has sparked global conversation and critique.
As the debate continues, the world watches to see how figures like Obama and organizations like UN Women will respond. The silence, it appears, is growing louder.
In the meantime, the testimonies of those affected by the October 7th attack serve as a chilling reminder of the violence women continue to face worldwide.