Trouble for fibbers everywhere? I doubt it

I just read this story and spat my tea everywhere. What the heckins?! This is totally absurd. Since marriage before sex is, as I understand it, strongly discouraged by the Jewish faith, her argument can’t have been that her religious integrity has somehow been impugned. Here is the kicker: “if she hadn’t thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated.” So, if I understand this correctly, she was okay having sex with a man who was Jewish (presumably ethnically, since she obviously doesn’t take the religion all that seriously) and interested in a long-term relationship. Forgive my cynicism if I say that the latter is irrelevant here. The most obvious possibility is that she did not like the idea of having slept with an Arab (even if he looked really really convincingly Jewish, which, you know, might be down to their common genetic heritage).*

But the basic point remains this: he has been convicted of telling a lie to get a woman to sleep with him consensually. In one utopian vision of society this might be considered ground-breakingly progressive, as it could mitigate against all sorts of awful practices (such as ‘god says you must marry me and sleep with me, even though you are only fourteen and clearly do not wish to’ etc). It’s not about anything that noble though. It is about somebody telling a cheap lie to get someone else into bed. This must happen hundreds of thousands of times every day on earth: “yes, honestly, I really find the later albums of Joni Mitchell very moving” – “of course I’ll call you” – “I’m sure my mother is going to think you’re great” etc ad infinitum. I am not saying this is right, nor trying to make light of it – but there are far more serious verbal and violent coercions which will remain unquestioned and unpunished going on all the time. This sort of stuff – people exaggerating or downright fibbing to impress a potential partner – just happens. It doesn’t change consensual sex into rape though.

This case seems only to be problematic because the person is of a different ethnicity. So isn’t the real problem that the woman in question is simply a racist? And not just her, but the legal system which has made this ruling? I would be much more sympathetic had I ever heard an instance of “the sanctity of [Israeli citizen X]’s body and soul” being protected on the grounds that Israeli citizen Y impressed him or her with tales of a Ferrari and a penthouse which, post-coitus, turned out to be a jeep with broken windows and a decrepit one-storey hut. That would – rightly, in my view – be laughed out of court because it is unbelievably shallow. So why isn’t this? Am I missing something blindingly obvious?

*The other even more perplexing possibility is that she is an atheist who has a predilection for religious Jews for non-religious reasons. And that is just odd. Nothing wrong with it per se, but if you’re that weird you maybe need to think about drawing up a pre-fumble contract, or else it’s caveat emptor.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 6:58 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. And then, by chance, I stumbled upon this story:

    Comparing the two tales, I just despair of the prejudices and priorities we have.

  2. So it turns out that there is in fact a precedent not dissimilar to my joke Ferrari-and-penthouse scenario in which a man was convicted of fraud after a woman slept with him under the impression he was a neurosurgeon. That is a legal system in severe need of a shake-up. It also seems that the man convicted of rape in the case I am talking about above is claiming he never said he was Jewish – he simply goes by a Jewish-sounding nickname. Curiouser and curiouser.

  3. More background and details on the case, and an interview with the ‘guilty’ party:

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