LAT: ‘After an L.A. reporter accused him of sexual assault, a top Israeli newspaper columnist steps down’

Is an unwanted grope sexual assault? Is an unwanted kiss sexual assault? I’ve had guys plant unwanted kisses on my face as part of their horsing around. I’ve had guys grope me in the same context (though never on my genitals). I hated it. I found it icky. When one guy (Wanker Wang) who used to do this to me turned up dead, I was glad. But is that obnoxious behavior sexual assault? I thought “sexual assault” would mean rape and penetration? So nowadays “sexual assault” means unwanted touching and unwanted kissing? I only recall one woman in my life turning away from me as I was about to kiss her and that’s just because she was shy and wanted a little more conversation. About an hour later, we kissed and she was my girlfriend for a year.

Danielle Berrin says she showed up to this guy’s hotel at 10 p.m. expecting to do an interview and he makes unwanted moves on her in a public area. By her description, his behavior was gross and given that he’s married, it was immoral, but is it sexual assault because she felt unsafe?

On the other hand, while “sexual assault” seems hyperbolic to me (I was not there, I don’t know what happened, it may well have been sexual assault), it does seem Danielle Berrin did a mitzvah in exposing this guy as a serial groper as well as exposing movie director Brett Ratner for similarly entitled and uncouth behavior.

I am sure it is uncomfortable to receive Ari Shavit’s “unwanted, aggressive sexual contact,” but would it not similarly be uncomfortable for a man of his stature to receive “unwanted, aggressive intellectual contact” from somebody far below him in cognitive ability and accomplishment. Have you ever been in a great conversation and been interrupted by an unwanted outsider?

Danielle Berrin seems like a nice person but nobody of accomplishment is going to turn to her for intellectual contact if there is no possibility for pleasurable physical contact. It’s not unknown for men to endure a woman’s prattle for a chance at her body.

On numerous occasions, I have been the recipient of a woman’s unwanted advances. I often found their pawing icky, but I didn’t feel “sexually assaulted.” I thought refusing such advances was just part of life and not a big deal.

As a kid, I hated it when certain people kissed and touched me (though never on or near my genitals) just as I hated it when certain people tried to talk to me or hang around me.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

After an L.A. reporter accused him of sexual assault, a top Israeli newspaper columnist steps down

A prominent Israeli columnist and author resigned Sunday over recent allegations of sexual harassment and assault made by two American women.

Ari Shavit, a veteran commentator for Haaretz and Israel’s Channel 10 television network, first admitted Thursday to being the unnamed “accomplished journalist from Israel” described in an account of sexual assault published by Los Angeles Jewish Journal reporter Danielle Berrin on Oct. 19.

Berrin wrote that during a 2014 interview about Shavit’s best-selling memoir on Israel’s history, he grabbed her head and attempted to kiss her, then later propositioned sex. She wrote that she was inspired to write about her experience as part of the conversation developing in the U.S. about sexual assault, sparked by the emergence of a 2005 recording of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump bragging about groping women.

Shavit said in a statement Thursday that what happened with Berrin was the result of a misunderstanding. “I felt that we had a friendly meeting that included, among other things, elements of courtship,” Shavit said. “Never for a moment did I think it was sexual harassment. But what I saw as courtship, Berrin saw as inappropriate behavior and even harassment on my part.”

Berrin rejected that explanation. “His claim is absurd,” she wrote. “The only thing I wanted from Ari Shavit was an interview about his book. No person of sound judgment would have interpreted his advances on me as anything other than unwanted, aggressive sexual contact.”

…Shavit’s decision to resign came on the same day as a fresh account of sexual harassment by an anonymous staffer for the liberal pro-Israel lobby J Street, which was published on Sunday in the Jewish Daily Forward. According to the Forward, the staffer was escorting Shavit to a lecture sponsored by the organization when, while sitting down to coffee, he suddenly caressed her hand and suggested a rendezvous over drinks in Israel.

“I am ashamed of the mistakes I made with regards to people in general and women in particular,’’ Shavit said in a statement published Sunday by Haaretz. “In the last few days I have understood that I have been afflicted by blindness. For years, I did not understand what people meant when they spoke of privileged men who do not see the damage that they cause to others. Now I am beginning to understand.’’

Steve Sailer wrote in 2014 about women such as Danielle Berrin:

Since April 2014, I’ve been trying to revive the useful old word “adventuress,” which means a reasonably good-looking heterosexual woman who manipulates other people into all sorts of drama.

Some of 2014′s special brand of craziness — SterlingGate, GamerGate, and now the UVA RaperGate that exploded so jaw-droppingly this afternoon, etc. — revolves around fairly attractive women playing the Political Correctness card for their own complicated ends. It used to be that you could kind of tell that the feminist and other whoop-tee-doos were being pushed by women with palpable reasons for being discontent.

Not an adventuress

When Andrea Dworkin, for instance, announced in the Guardian and the Globe & Mail that in 1999 she’d been raped in her locked and deadbolted hotel room in Paris after the hotel staff conspired to put a date rape drug in her beverage, well, it got some publicity, but the alternative suggestion — Dworkin is obese and unhappy and not quite right in the head — also suggested itself pretty obviously. (Especially because feminists had pretty much put feminism on hold for the duration of the Administration of the Sexual Harasser-in-Chief Bill Clinton.)

But ever since the Obama Campaign/Administration revived feminism and other forms of victimism, something insidious has happened: adventuresses have come flocking to exploit it. I first noticed this in Silicon Valley, and then there was V. Stiviano. Now this UVA Jackie story of catfishing the boy that pretty much has handed Gillian Flynn her next ripped-from-the-headlines thriller novel ought to make the pattern obvious.

Attractive women tend to have fewer problems than unattractive ones, but when our society, starting with the White House, relentlessly encourages reasonably attractive women to proclaim themselves victims … watch out. People are hardwired to like and believe attractive young women, so it’s pretty easy to be an adventuress, and they can wreak a lot of havoc.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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