EXCLUSIVE: Sheryl Sandberg told Fox News Digital that “politics are blinding us to something that is completely obvious”—condemning Hamas for rape and other sexual violence committed against Jewish women on Oct. 7.
Sandberg, the founder of “Lean In” and former chief operating officer of Facebook, spoke to Fox News Digital on the sidelines of an event hosted by Israel at the United Nations headquarters on Monday.
The event, hosted by Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, featured an address from Sandberg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a video address by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and testimonials from Israeli police officers, and others about the brutality of Hamas’ attacks and to “expose the horrors and shocking acts of sexual violence committed” against women on Oct. 7.
“For a really long time, sexual violence was just a part of war, and we fought long and hard to get women listened to,” Sandberg told Fox News Digital, pointing to the “Me Too” movement and more.
“And in this moment, politics are blinding us to something that is completely obvious—no matter what side of anything you are on,” Sandberg told Fox News Digital. “You need to be able to say that rape is unacceptable and sexual violence is unacceptable.” She added, “If we don’t stand against this, we lose our humanity.”
Israeli officers on Monday shared their experiences in recovering women’s bodies after the massacre on Oct. 7, showing girls with broken pelvises; women and girls without clothing on covered in blood; women and girls’ bodies with shooting wounds targeted at sexual organs; breast amputations; naked women and girls’ in showers with their hands tied behind their backs; additional amputation of genitalia and more.
Sandberg and activists at the event at the United Nations called out women’s organizations for being silent on the issue—with Sandberg saying, “Silence is complicity.”
Gillibrand during the event said it makes her “sick” that women’s groups have been “silent.”
“I think they’re not going to be quiet anymore,” Sandberg told Fox News Digital after the event. “I hope they’re not going to be quiet anymore.
“I call on everyone to speak out,” Sandberg said, echoing her remarks during the event. “And if the world isn’t listening to us, we’re just gonna have to speak louder.
“In wartime situations, you know, there is so much that is unclear,” she explained. “But it is very clear now what happened, and I think everyone can see the evidence and hear the evidence.”
Sandberg told Fox News Digital she hopes that the event Monday “is a turning point for the United Nations and for women’s organizations to speak out.”
“We have to be united against rape,” she said.
Sandberg told Fox News Digital that she “grew up like a lot of American Jews did with the stories of what it was for my great-grandparents in Europe before the Holocaust.”
“You always thought it could never happen here,” she said. “I think this is intergenerational trauma for Jews—the trauma of believing that antisemitism is still out there is still rampant, and we need to be against it. We need to be against antisemitism. We need to be against Islamophobia. We need to be against racism,” she said. “We can’t allow hatred to stand against anyone.”
More than 700 ambassadors and diplomats, representatives of UN agencies, Jewish organizations, and civil society organizations attended the event Monday.
Erdan told Fox News Digital that he “initiated the event because of the disgraceful silence of UN women.”
“We saw how women organizations worldwide abandoned Israeli women who were raped, brutalized, and were mutilated,” Erdan said. “It’s something that is unthinkable, and we will fight and be their voices.”
He added: “If women’s organizations are applying double standards and ignore the rape of Israeli women, then there are courageous leaders and women who will help us to make their voices heard.”
Erdan said that the stories of Israeli women “will not be silenced.”
“The truth will prevail and justice will be brought,” he said.
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