A Grassroots Campaign for Malki Roth
Naama Issachar’s family is undoubtedly overjoyed to have her back home. Issachar owes her release from a Russian prison to over 80 organizations and people who effectively orchestrated a campaign for her freedom.
So why hasn’t a similar campaign been undertaken to bring justice to Malki Roth’s killer? Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Sbarro terrorist attack in which 15 innocents, including Malki, were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. The mastermind of this heinous crime, Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi, lives a free life in Jordan, feted as a celebrity. The Jordanian government and their king, Abdullah II, have repeatably ignored requests by the US to extradite Tamimi to face overdue justice in an American court (Malki was an American citizen).
Malki’s parents, Arnold and Frimet Roth, have spent almost two decades living with the pain of grief, compounded by the frustration and hurt arising from a culture of silence surrounding the extradition of Tamimi.
The redoubtable Roths should not have to fight alone for justice for their daughter. The time has come for a global and concerted grassroots campaign to pressure Jordan into extraditing Tamimi. The Israeli government needs to play its part, too. Why won’t the Israeli government pressure Jordan into honoring its obligation to extradite Tamimi? What are they afraid of?
Jordan flagrantly harbors an evil woman who dehumanizes Jews to the extent that she feels no remorse for murdering Jewish children. Israel should publicly, and continually, admonish the Hashemite Kingdom until they honor their obligation to extradite Tamimi to the US.
The American government also needs to give answers. Quiet diplomatic initiatives and bland assurances by the Department of Justice that this debacle is of “particular importance” are useless. Why is the United States cozying up to the king, when Jordan gives ongoing sanctuary to the killer of an American citizen?
Jordan attempts to position itself as an ally of the US, but its refusal to honor the extradition request for Tamimi shows that the US is the unrequited lover here. The US is Jordan’s largest provider of bilateral aid, giving the Hashemite Kingdom billions of dollars. President Trump has cut the US contribution to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) budget due to its rampant connection to terrorism and other abuses. Trump now needs to take similar action by leveraging American aid to Jordan. It’s the only strategy left for the US government to take.
But we cannot rely on politicians and diplomats to remedy this injustice. Writing letters to politicians, blogging, tweeting #JusticeForMalki, and making a loud noise will help. As Jews, we have a sacred and moral duty to remember Malki Roth, and campaign for her killer to be brought to justice.
Karen Harradine is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on politics and antisemitism. Born in South Africa, Karen has lived in Singapore, Canada, and the UK.