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December 28, 2017 10:02 am

The Deceptive Campaign for Ahed Tamimi

avatar by Petra Marquardt-Bigman


Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi enters a military courtroom escorted by Israeli Prison Service personnel at Ofer Prison, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Dec. 28, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

Ahed Tamimi is not yet 18, but the blonde girl from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh has been a celebrity of sorts for years.

In December 2012, she was hosted by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and received an “award” and gifts for being a good young woman — which in her case, means trying her very best to provoke confrontations with Israeli soldiers — so that her parents can film the incidents and post them on social media to demonize Israel.

Recently, Ahed managed to produce quite a hit — literally a hit, because she had herself filmed while punching, kicking and slapping two Israeli soldiers.

When she was subsequently detained by Israeli security forces, Tamimi’s supporters were quick to mount an energetic campaign. Needless to say, the Tamimi clan’s longstanding efforts to incite a “third intifada” were carefully hidden by Ahed’s supporters.

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The American activist Linda Sarsour was particularly brazen, and wrote in a widely shared Facebook post: “#FreeAhed — a 16 year old Palestinian peace activist who has been engaged in non-violent resistance in Nabi Saleh, Palestine.”

Since Sarsour never tires of emphasizing her own Palestinian identity, it seems fair to assume that she is fully aware that the girl she hails as a “peace activist” has been brought up in a family that includes several convicted terrorist murders, who are greatly admired by their relatives.

The most notorious of the Tamimi terrorists is Ahed’s aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, who planned and helped perpetrate the bombing of a crowded Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in August 2001, killing 15 people, including seven children and a pregnant woman, and injuring some 130, with one young mother left in a permanent vegetative state.

The young Ahed Tamimi can, of course, not be blamed for the fact that she has an aunt and uncles who are terrorist murderers; and neither can she be blamed for the fact that — as I have documented in great detail — her parents and other close relatives are ardent Jew-haters and outspoken supporters of terrorism.

Yet it is hardly surprising that now — when Ahed is almost grown up — she is eager to show that she shares the views of her family. In September, she posted a picture of gunmen masked with Palestinian keffiyeh scarves on her Facebook page, and repeated the message written on the image in Arabic: “Tell the fighters all over the world that they are my friends.”

While it is only to be expected that someone who loathes Israel as much as Linda Sarsour does would cynically try to promote Ahed Tamimi as a “peace activist,” it was remarkable to see that a mainstream media outlet like Newsweek would willingly serve as a platform to whitewash the Tamimis’ often expressed support for terrorism.

Newsweek first published a piece by a friend of the family who described Ahed as a “shy girl” with a “sweet” voice, and presented the Tamimis as a wonderful and loving family engaged in a noble fight against monstrously-cruel Israeli oppression. To make sure that the message got through, the article was accompanied by a video clip explaining that Israel’s re-establishment was a grave injustice that the Palestinians rightly fight to this day.

Newsweek followed this up by allowing Ahed’s father, Bassem Tamimi, to completely deceive their readers. As opposed to what Bassem Tamimi claims in his Newsweek piece, he acknowledged — during a US speaking tour two years ago — that he is not just opposed to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but that, in his view, “Israel is a big settlement,” and “in occupied Palestine.” He says that the “problem is ‘the colonial project’ of Zionism.”

To appreciate in what environment Ahed Tamimi is really growing up, it is instructive to look at some of the numerous Facebook posts in which her mother Nariman Tamimi has incited, justified and glorified murderous terrorist attacks. When the so-called “stabbing intifada” began in late 2015, Nariman Tamimi shared graphic instructions on where to aim a knife to achieve a lethal outcome.

Nariman Tamimi has also praised female Palestinian terrorists as admirable “rebels;” the terrorists she glorified as “rebels” murdered 55 Israelis, including 21 children, and wounded more than 300 people.

But if one of Nariman Tamimi’s many shocking posts stands out as particularly vile, it is arguably the Facebook post that she shared from a Tamimi family member in June 2016 to honor the teenaged Palestinian terrorist who had just killed the 13-year-old, sleeping Hallel Yaffa Ariel after breaking into her home.

As far as the Tamimis were concerned, the murder of Hallel Yaffa helped “to return to the homeland its awe/reverence.” If you feel that the murder of a 13-year-old girl by another teenager who is just a few years older brings honor to your cause, you can’t sink any lower.

This is the woman that is presented to Newsweek readers as a loving wife and mother, who is admirably strong and courageous and speaks in a “voice full of love and tenderness.”

Media reports that present the Tamimis as a wonderful family committed to non-violent protest for a just cause are not journalism, but dangerous propaganda — because covering up what the Tamimis stand for amounts to an endorsement of their monstrous agenda, and the way that they use their children to whitewash their ardent support for terrorism.

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