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November 14, 2002

Yuli Tamir - Far Left Israeli Oslonik, Minister Under Barak - Attacks the Critics of Clitoridectomy -

This is from a 1996 article (link from IMRA)
But we also should be suspicious about the role of clitoridectomy in current political debate. Despite their liberal appearance, references to clitoridectomy commonly reveal a patronizing attitude toward women, suggesting that they are primarily sexual beings. Moreover, those references involve a certain degree of dishonesty. They intentionally widen the gap between our culture and those in which clitoridectomy is practiced, thus presenting those other cultures as incommensurable with ours. The effect of this distancing is to disconnect criticism of their practices from criticism of our own, and turn reflection on other cultures into yet another occasion for celebrating our special virtues. We should resist such self-congratulation. And if we do, the debate about clitoridectomy takes on an entirely different cast. . . . .

Does the overwhelming disgust at clitoridectomy signal an emerging social commitment to structural change -- to ensuring equal social, economic, and political status for women? I'm afraid not. Of course, the absence of such
commitment is no justification for clitoridectomy. My purpose, however, is not to justify clitoridectomy, but to expose the roots of the deep hostility to it -- to reveal the smug, unjustified self-satisfaction lurking behind the current condemnation of clitoridectomy. Referring to clitoridectomy, and emphasizing the distance of the practice from our own conventions, allows us to condemn them for what they do to their women, support the struggle of their women against their primitive, inhuman culture, and remain silent on the status of women in our society.