The Times of Israel reports: American Jewish reporter Danielle Berrin said Sunday she was “grateful” that Israeli journalist Ari Shavit, whom she has accused of sexual assault in a 2014 encounter, published a statement taking full responsibility for his actions.
“I’m grateful for Ari Shavit’s powerful, honest statement,” Berrin wrote on Twitter. She had rejected a previous statement from Shavit, who she said assaulted her and tried to persuade her to come up to his hotel room during an interview in 2014.
“His resolution to do ‘heshbon hanefesh’ — an accounting of the soul — is admirable,” she wrote after Shavit issued his mea culpa and resigned his posts at the Haaretz newspaper and Channel 10’s news program.
Berrin, a senior writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, published an article last week detailing how an unnamed Israeli journalist, whom she described as a husband and father, assaulted her. Shavit later acknowledged he was the man in question.
Danielle Berrin wrote: I remember staring at his scotch glass.
The swirling, caramel-colored liquid caught the dim light of the hotel lobby, reflected it back to me. The light was a relief from the glare of his dark eyes, his black hair, the lecherous look on his face.
I’d agreed to meet him, an accomplished journalist from Israel, at his hotel around 10 p.m. He was in the United States only for 48 hours, and told me he was completely booked during the daytime. I believed him. Back then, the book he’d written was among several titles having an impact on the Jewish conversation, and many local community leaders wanted to meet with him. If I was going to be a part of this conversation, this was my opportunity.
But almost as soon as I arrived and placed my recorder on the table between us, he put our interview on hold.
“First,” he said, “I want to get to know you better.” He asked me a series of personal questions — about my Jewish background, my family, my personal life; he wanted to know if the man with whom I’d attended his book event the night before was my boyfriend. His questions made me uncomfortable, but they weren’t all that surprising, actually — I’ve learned that if you’re Jewish and younger than 35, your relationship status is typically the first thing another Jew will ask about. Besides, the man was married, with children, and a public figure. I figured I was safe. But after I answered one of his questions in a way that moved him, he lurched at me like a barnyard animal, grabbing the back of my head, pulling me toward him.
I turned my face to the left and bowed my head to avoid his mouth. “I don’t understand,” I told him. “Last night, in front of everybody, you spoke so lovingly about your wife.”
“We have an arrangement,” he responded.
“Don’t you have children?” I asked, trying to wedge conversation in front of contact.
He looked at me with a sly smile. “Yes,” he said, “and I’m not done yet. … ”
Even in the midst of such a profoundly awkward situation, I remember thinking that this was the first time any man had made a pass at me by suggesting we procreate.
“Let’s go up to my room,” he suggested. “Just for a minute.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said.
“We don’t have to have sex,” he countered. “I just want to give you a hug.”
The fact that the suggestion we’d have “sex” was even uttered during a professional meeting — by another journalist, no less — is insane. I remember how ridiculous his pickup line sounded, even as it filled me with dread. Even as he continued to pull and paw at me.
Confused, I found myself feeling paralyzed. Earlier that day, this man had been someone I deeply respected. I’d read his book voraciously and underlined passages; I’d even read every review, and recommended the book to friends. And this was supposed to have been a really important interview — one I was lucky to get. My editors were expecting something good. Could I just walk away? From someone so prominent?
Today, it would be an easy choice. But at the time, several years ago, I felt beholden to the man in power. [Continue reading…]
Trump should not only consider following the example of Shavit in taking responsibility for his own behavior — he should also reflect on the fate of former President Moshe Katsav who as a man in power thought he could get away with rape. At the same age as Trump he now sits in jail.