Last week the Daily Mail posted an article titled, “Extraordinary moment that desperate Palestinian women fought and BIT an Israeli soldier after he put boy with a broken arm in a headlock at gunpoint.” The article detailed how an Israeli soldier attempted to arrest a boy who was throwing rocks at him. The boy’s sister, Ahed Tamimi, his mother, Nariman, several women, a few cameramen and a conveniently placed Palestinian flag can be seen in the pictures and video shown in the article. The women and the girl violently hit the soldier, pull at his mask and his uniform, punch and slap him, grab at his gun, and even bite him. The article insinuated that this soldier was beating up a poor little boy with a broken arm and his family was just trying to save him.
I watched the video, embarrassed that someone on OUR side had done something so bad to a child. Two minutes in, I realized something seemed familiar and noticed that I had seen this young girl, Ahed, in another video, purposefully and boldly approaching soldiers near her town in the West Bank, screaming at them and pretending to throw punches, hoping, as she had been taught, that this would provoke them to react negatively, maybe violently, and the reaction would be caught on camera.
This video is an example of “Pallywood” at its best: Palestinians staging negative interactions with Israelis in order to gain sympathy. Nine hours after the original post, the Daily Mail changed its tune, agreeing that the Tamimis’ involvement in the incident was suspicious. This scene was obviously planned.
Bassem Tamimi, the father of Ahed and her brother, has been jailed as many as 8 times for incitement, illegal demonstration, sending people to throw stones, etc. He organizes weekly protests from Nabi Saleh, where international cameramen follow protesters (all wearing gas masks) who throw stones at military jeeps and soldiers and line the roads with heavy rocks to block entrances to other towns. He sends his own children to these protests knowing full well they can get injured and arrested. A New York Times article predicted that the Tamimis could be responsible for the third intifada in Israel. Bassem’s cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah in 1993. In 2001, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem where fifteen people were killed. There is clear support for terrorist-based resistance in the Tamimi family and they are passing the tradition down to their children, claiming it is a peaceful resistance against an occupying power.
Now, with his family name in the press, Bassem Tamimi has decided to launch a U.S. speaking tour to meet with his supporters and to promote his cause. It will launch on Monday, September 7th, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and will continue to cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The contact person for these events is Ariel Gold, a staff member of Friends of Sabeel – North America and a member of Justice in Palestine in Ithaca, NY and Jewish Voice for Peace. A video shows her being arrested at the 2015 AIPAC conference as the crowd chants “Judaism yes, Zionism no, the State of Israel has got to go.” Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org, I encourage you to email her and explain to her just what kind of people she is supporting.
For those living in New York City, there will be an event hosting Bassem Tamimi at The New School on September 15th at 6:30PM. The contact for that event is Ellen Davidson, an organizer for Veterans for Peace, a nonprofit whose mission is “to convince law enforcement to avoid excessive force, brutality and injury to all involved.” Her email is email@example.com and I encourage you to write her an email asking what an officer is supposed to do when he is being pummeled with large stones on a weekly basis.
It is important that people learn that the Tamimis, and many others, are using their children for publicity, putting them in danger and even using them as human shields so that they can win the sympathies of the world. It’s time for us to fight back.