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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Abuse of Palestinian Children that Liberal Zionists Jonathan Freedland and Jon Lansman keep silent about – ‘anti-Semitism’ is far more important

Remanded in a military prison for a slap - 16 year old Ahed Tamimi is depicted as a ‘threat’ to armed soldiers in Israel's colonial court


All of Israel was in an uproar ten days ago.  Ahed Tamimi had been filmed slapping an Israeli soldier, one of two who had invaded the grounds of her house.  It must be understood that resistance to Israel’s army, according to the Jewish Labour Movement and Momentum’s Jon Lansman is ‘anti-Semitic’. 

The fact that her 15 year old cousin Mohammed had been shot half an hour ago with a rubber bullet directly in the face and had had to be put in an induced coma to survive was not of course broadcast in Israel.  If it had been it would no doubt have been ignored because the death of Palestinian children is not a matter of any great interest.
Michael Oren MK, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, expressed the view that Ahed had been ‘dressed’ by her family, which apparently is not a ‘real family’.  This is of course understandable because Palestinians are sub-human in Israeli eyes and sub-humans don’t have families or that kind of attachment.  They are, according to Deputy Defence Minister Eli Dahan, ‘animals’ and we all know that animals have no feelings.
Ahed Tamimi in Ofer military court, December 28, 2017. (Photo: Mariam Barghouti)
There are some people who believe that comparing Zionism and Zionists to Nazis is ‘anti-Semitic’ but I just prefer to believe that a belief that some people are less than human is a Nazi idea.
Nearly quarter of a million people have signed the petition to free Ahed.  Please sign below.
One of my charges before my expulsion hearing is calling the detestable Labour MP Louise Ellman a supporter of Israeli child abuse.  This execrable woman defended Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children in a debate in  the House of Commons in January 2016.  See Louise Ellman MP for Liverpool Riverside and Tel Aviv South is a Racist Supporter of the Child Abuse of Palestinian Children

Israeli soldiers regularly fire at demonstrators and beat them in Nabi Saleh, the village where Ahed lives.  That is the nature of a military occupation.  However Ahed, despite her tender years, has shown remarkable resilience and bravery.  The least you can do is to:

Please sign the petition to free Ahed.  Demand that no more children are imprisoned by the Zionists

Below are two articles from the excellent Mondoweiss site and I have also included an article at the end of these on the death of a young child, Dalal Lawlah, who lived in Awarta near Nablus, after Israeli soldiers at Huwara checkpoint prevented her father from taking her swiftly to Rafidia hospital.  Just one more child death but we can be assured that Louise Ellman or that other  mouthpiece for Israel, Joan Ryan MP, will not lose any sleep over it.  After all the purpose of the Labour Friends of Israel and Jewish Labour Movement is to defend Israel not criticise it.

Tony Greenstein


On the evening of Thursday, December 28th, family members and friends of Nariman, Ahed and Nour Tamimi gathered in the courtroom at Ofer military camp waiting to hear the latest verdict in regards to the three Tamimi women.

Ahed and Nour, were arrested by Israeli forces after a video of them slapping and pushing armed soldiers out of their yard was spread. Nariman Tamimi, Ahed’s mother, was arrested when she went to Binyamin police station to inquire about the well-being of her 16-year-old daughter, and to be present as her guardian since Ahed is a minor.

During Thursday’s court hearing Nour, 20, was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs, her small body surrounded by four prison guards. She wore a bright pink jacket, her face pale and her hair parted to the side. She blew kisses to her mother and father in the back of the courtroom and asked in whispers about her siblings. As her family tried to send her love and support, the prosecution laid out its demand to extend her detention for five more days. The prosecution later asked that the Nariman’s detention be extended for six more days, and Ahed’s for seven.
Nariman Tamimi (l), Nour Tamimi (r) in Ofer military court, December 28, 2017. (Photo: Mariam Barghouti)
As of yet, no official charges have been brought for the Tamimi women. Nariman is suspected of “aggravated assault of a soldier, incitement and obstructing a soldier” as well as partaking in “public disturbance.” Similarily, Ahed Tamimi is also being held under the pretext of “assault” and “insulting” soldiers. Nawal Tamimi, who is Ahed’s aunt, told Mondoweiss, “in the end, this is an occupation. If they could they would officially charge us with the crime of being born Palestinian.”

Nour’s mother, Boshra Tamimi, tried to hold herself together as her daughter sat just a few meters away. Her palms held tightly in her lap, and her face clearly pained despite the smiles that kept erupting every time she caught Nour looking in her direction. After Nour and Nariman were escorted out of the room, Boshra lit a cigarette outside and tried to focus past the frustration. “This is a kangaroo trial” she said. When Ahed’s hearing was about to take place, Boshra made way back into the courtroom and sighed, “back to the madness.”
Ahed’s hearing was chaotic, and the proceedings were held in Hebrew as a translator echoed a poor interpretation of what was being discussed. At one point, the translator for the Tamimi’s seemed as though he was falling asleep in his chair, and in another moment he casually walked out mid-translation for a phone call.

When Ahed was brought into the court her father, Bassem, spoke to her of her siblings. He smiled and told her they were okay while her aunt kept telling her she loves her.
The prosecution began to build its case against Ahed as she tried to make sense of what was being said. She had enacted her right to remain silent throughout the interrogation. “[Israeli interrogators] had put her through a rough process, long hours of no food and in rooms with terrible conditions, but she expressed her right to silence” Bassem told Mondoweiss.

In the court, Ahed sat in a brown prison jacket that was twice her size. She smiled at her friends and family and mouthed “I’m okay” to them and checked in on her cousins, sending kisses and love to them through her aunt. “If a stranger were to hear about the way the prosecution is speaking about my daughter they’d think they were talking about some large being that’s some sort of frightening boogyman,” said Bassem after the first part of Ahed’s hearing.

Gaby Lasky, the Tamimi’s lawyer, reminded the court of “the right to resist the invasion of one’s home” and “right to object to occupation.” While the charges the prosecution is pushing against the Tamimis are assault, incitement, and violence, there is no mention of the soldier’s violence during the trial, nor the fact that they were on a land that is deemed occupied in international law. After the end of the hearing Bassem walked out with pessimism. “I think they [Nariman and Ahed] will be sentenced to their prisons,” he said.

While it seemed that Ahed and Nariman would be facing a harsh conviction at end of the court hearing, the judge agreed to the possibility of releasing Nour Tamimi on bail early next week, if the prosecution did not appeal. However, he affirmed that Ahed and Nariman must remain detained until the indictment process begins. Their next hearing will be on January 1st, 2018.

As the final part of Ahed’s hearing ended, the young girl was escorted out and her father was left with the fear that his teenage daughter may be facing jail time. Nawal fell into tears after loudly proclaiming to Ahed as she was being hauled out, “we love you, we are with you, stay strong my dear!”

Outside, the family gathered their belongings and made their way out of Ofer. In the car, Nawal and Boshra begin to ask about Nariman’s cousin, Manal Tamimi. Just hours before the trial Manal was also arrested by Israeli forces as she stood in support of prisoners outside Ofer’s gates.
“I think [Israel] is planning to open a special section for us Tamimi women,” Nawal joked. After updating others on the outcome of the hearing, the Tamimi family begins another set of phone calls to inquire about Manal. “She is going to Hasharon.

“Our people, continue to be taken by the occupation in the name of justice,” Nawal sighs. They begin their journey back to their village of Nabi Saleh, and the homes that are missing the voices of their mothers and daughters.

Why liberal Zionists have nothing to say about Ahed Tamimi’s slap and arrest

Ahed Tamimi slaps an Israeli soldier, occupying her family's property in Nabi Saleh, on December 15, 2017. Drawing by Katie Miranda.
The Ahed Tamimi case is one of the most important events we have covered because it exposes to the eyes of the world the difference in moral tone between the two sides of the conflict.

Consider the optics of the case. On December 15 in the tiny occupied village of Nabi Saleh, a 16-year-old girl with long blonde hair, Ahed Tamimi, slapped a heavily-armed Israeli soldier who was occupying her back yard, not long after another Israeli soldier had shot Tamimi’s cousin in the face; and when video of the slapping came out, all of Israeli society called for the girl’s arrest, and many were enraged that the soldier was passive. The next night Ahed Tamimi was arrested in a midnight raid; and she is being held without charges, as leading Israelis urge that the key be thrown away, and worse.

Meantime, images of the imprisoned girl’s calm precocious face, framed by the obdurate shoulders of uniformed guards, go round the world, radiating strength and resistance.

As Ben Ehrenreich writes at the Nation, the slapping has revealed Israel to the world as a bully because it exposed “a hideous nerve” in Israeli society. Scott Roth detailed that nerve: Israelis are in “sheer denial” that their country has any responsibility for the “humiliation, violence, and terror of the occupation.”

Which brings me to liberal Zionists. As readers know, I care more about liberal Zionists than anyone in America because they are gatekeepers to the Democratic Party, and when the Democratic Party turns, Israel will become a partisan issue and we will win (because Chuck Schumer and Tom Perez and Haim Saban have more power over the Palestinian future than John Hagee and Sheldon Adelson).

The Tamimi case exposes the utter paralysis of liberal Zionists, their inability to face what Israel has become.

The main response of liberal Zionists has been silence. The three leading liberal Zionist orgs, Americans for Peace Now, the New Israel Fund and J Street (until yesterday), see these images of brutal occupation ricocheting around the world, and have had almost nothing to say about the case.
Then when they do have something to say about it, they praise the Israeli soldiers for not responding violently to Ahed Tamimi in the moment. Peace Now called the soldiers “heroes.”

Then they shut up again.

Why are they acting like this? Because liberal Zionists still deeply believe in Israel– they are Zionists before everything else– and therefore the first thing they see is the good side of Israel, the fact that a soldier doesn’t respond violently to a girl who is slapping him.

When they see the world responding with expressions of outraged compassion for the girl, the liberal Zionists would like to join in but they really can’t. Because ultimately, as Zionists, their community is Jewish Israelis; and they know that just about all of Jewish Israel hates Ahed Tamimi, so they can’t really champion her.

But as soon as you say, I’m not a Zionist, I care about all people equally– then you embrace Ahed Tamimi.

This can be seen in the responses to the case from two Jewish groups, IfNotNow and J Street.
IfNotNow are young Jews who are taking on the Jewish establishment over the occupation; and since the Tamimi case broke they have been vocally on her side. IfNotNow salutes the power of this young woman to challenge the occupation.

They regularly call for Ahed Tamimi to be freed:

The group has expressed outrage at the Israeli viciousness toward Tamimi, and over and over identified with the victim. Eve Westheimer:

When I was 16- I didn’t have to worry about the govt abducting me.

“If I had a foreign occupier standing on my doorstep, I too would want to push them off. Had my friends and family been hurt by soldiers, they would see no compassion from me.” -IfNotNow leader

As for J Street, the leading liberal Zionist group finally got around to the case yesterday. After a week of international headlines, J Street couldn’t keep ignoring the story. So J Street CEO Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote an anguished piece saying that the case exposes the “tragedy” of the conflict.

The most prominent emotion in Ben-Ami’s article is “pride” in the Israeli soldier, whose “restraint prevented the situation from deteriorating further.”

Ben-Ami does not mention the shooting of Tamimi’s cousin, nor the calls for violence against Tamimi. He does not say that Israel should free Ahed Tamimi and barely touches on that “hideous nerve” in Israeli society– “some of the country’s leaders have called for lifetime imprisonment of a 16 year-old girl for simply slapping a soldier.” Really! They did– who?

Everyone talks about how awful the identity politics of the left are; but the identity politics of Zionism are worse: Zionists are simply not allowed to identify with proud Palestinians.

No, the emphasis in Ben-Ami’s piece is the hearts of liberal Zionists who “love the country.” They teem with “conflicting emotions.”

On the one hand, we truly honor and respect the individual men and women – teenagers and young adults really – who day-in and day-out serve their country dutifully in the Israel Defense Forces.
We can relate to the love and respect that every Israeli family has for their teenage children who are sent to carry out difficult and dangerous assignments put on their young shoulders by the nation’s leaders – whether they agree with them or not.

On the other, we feel compelled to criticize and fight the very policies that these brave young men and women are enforcing – often at great personal risk – every single day.

The feelings of Palestinians get second place in this article. Though Ben-Ami does honor them:
There is no compelling security or military justification for the way in which families, including the Tamimis, have been treated over the decades, and it should come as no surprise when young men and women like Ahed choose to resist.  It doesn’t take a textbook to bring about resistance in young people; it results quite naturally – without need of instruction – from the human impulse to resist injustice against one’s community and family….

We are obliged to take a long, hard look at the underlying policies that could lead a 16 year-old girl to slap fully-armed soldiers in the first place, and to risk years in jail.

It’s too bad those words couldn’t be the thrust of Ben-Ami’s article. But they can’t. Because in the identity politics of the Jewish state, Jewish souls matter most.

No wonder young Jews are saying they’ve had enough with that set of values and are seeing Ahed Tamimi for who she is, a brave leader.

9 year old Dalal Lawlah died after Israeli soldiers delayed her passage to hospital at a checkpoint NABLUS, (PIC)

A Palestinian child with special needs, from Awarta town in Nablus, died on Friday evening after Israeli soldiers obstructed her transfer to hospital.

Palestinian medical sources said that nine-year-old Dalal Lawlah died after Israeli soldiers at Huwara checkpoint prevented her father from taking her swiftly to Rafidia hospital.

The sources added that Dalal was unable to breathe and needed urgent medical intervention, but delaying her transfer to the hospital for about half an hour led to her death.

The child’s father, Deeb, told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that he tried at first to use the main road through Awarta checkpoint to take her daughter, who was a child with special needs, to a hospital in Nablus after she suffered a health problem, and argued with soldiers to convince them to let him through, but to no avail.

Later, he said, he had to go to Huwara checkpoint, which was closed at the time because of skirmishes in the area.

After a long hold-up on the road, the ambulance carrying the child arrived at the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the father added.

The father held the Israeli occupation army fully responsible for the death of his daughter, accusing Israeli soldiers of firing tear gas grenades at the ambulance.
 

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