Saturday, January 6, 2018

Interview with Ahed Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky: Her case is making people see the occupation again


Dear friends,
please find below an interview with Ahed Tamimi's lawyer, Gaby Lasky.

In solidarity, Kim
************ 

Ahed Tamimi's Lawyer: Her case is making people see the occupation again

Gaby Lasky, the human rights attorney representing Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman, talks to +972 about what it means for a Palestinian to be put on trial in the occupier’s military courts, and some of the dangerous precedents being set.
 
By Joshua Leifer 

Israeli lawyer Gaby Lasky (C-L) speaks with her client sixteen-years-old Ahed Tamimi (2R) before she stands for a hearing in the military court at Ofer military prison near the West Bank of Ramallah, January 1, 2018. (Activestills)

The video of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi confronting two Israeli soldiers outside of her home in the village of Nabi Saleh has become ubiquitous, broadcast across every media platform for weeks. So have the pictures of Ahed, handcuffed and surrounded by guards in court. Posters of Ahed have even appeared on bus stops in London. What those images often fail to properly convey is that Ahed is being detained in a military prison and being tried in a military court, and how that differs from the way a minor would be treated in an Israeli civilian court.

Attorney Gaby Lasky represents Ahed Tamimi and her mother, Nariman. Lasky, a former secretary general of Peace Now and a member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council for the left-wing Meretz party, has spent much of the last decade defending Palestinians, many of them involved in the popular struggle against the occupation.

I spoke with Lasky on Thursday about the challenges of working in Israeli military court, where 99.7 percent of Palestinian suspects are convicted; about the cases against Ahed Tamimi and her mother, Nariman; and about the structural injustices built into the Israeli legal system in the occupied territories.

The difficulty of Ahed’s case goes beyond the legal challenges Palestinians living under occupation face when arrested by the Israeli army, Lasky told me. “The video shows the essence of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” she stressed. Depending on where you stand, and perhaps who you are, watching the 16-year-old girl face down two heavily armed Israeli soldiers can reinforce either the Palestinian and Israeli narrative.

The following has been edited for length. 

What does it mean that the judge is wearing the same uniform as the prosecution?

The military court is not a court of justice in the regular sense; it’s an organ of the occupation. It perpetuates the occupation. Both the judge and the prosecution are wearing the same uniform, and are part of the same system, and the defense is not.

What are some of the obstacles in a case like Ahed’s that would be different if she were being tried in a civilian court?

First, it would be much, much easier to get her released from detention. I brought to court a lot of examples of adults who were released in cases where their offenses were greater than hers. [Civilian] courts in Israel do tend to release [suspects on bail]. Her being a minor would have made things even easier in an Israeli court. Cases in military court are more difficult from the get-go much because the laws are stricter, the charges are heavier, and rights are only partially protected.

But the difficulty with Ahed’s case is not only that we’re facing a military court; it’s the fact that the video shows the essence of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Someone can see the narrative of the Palestinians in that video, and on the other side, Israelis can see the narrative of Israel in that video.

When you talk about an offense in a regular court, you can always talk about the circumstances of the incident. In this case, the circumstances are a 16-year-old girl who was born into occupation. The military court doesn’t take those things into consideration. It’s not an issue that is brought to the table. It’s a given. But if you want to see the whole picture, you have to talk about these things.

What is the case against Ahed?

The most serious charges against her are the ones regarding the video incident. She has 12 different charges in her indictment regarding five different incidents. Regarding the video, she’s charged with assault of a soldier, disrupting the work of a soldier, and incitement.




She has other charges regarding stone-throwing but they are old — one of them is almost two years old. Nobody thought to report it or arrest her or question her at the time. The evidence against her regarding all of the other incidents was produced only after she was arrested and they found old pictures of Ahed [on her mother’s Facebook].

But it was only after her arrest that soldiers were asked to come and give testimony regarding what they saw two years ago. They were presented with these pictures after she was in every newspaper or television program, and then asked if they could identify her in a photo line-up. That’s how they obtained all of the evidence against her.

What is the case against Nariman, Ahed’s mother, who was arrested hours after her daughter? Would a civilian court ever consider live-streaming on Facebook as a form of incitement?

It’s really dangerous that the prosecution is implying that live-streaming is the worst form of incitement. It would mean that a reporter doing a live report at a demonstration where someone says, “come join us in the demonstration,” would constitute incitement in the eyes of the prosecution. What the prosecution is trying to do is very dangerous for freedom of the press.

Ahed’s case has been all over the news, getting a lot attention for a case in Israeli military court. But what aren’t we hearing about? What’s not getting out to the public?

Most people don’t know that the occupier has courts that put on trial people living under occupation just because they don’t follow the rules of the occupier. The Israeli public doesn’t want to hear about the occupation, and it’s the same for the court of the occupation.

It is amazing that a 16-year-old youngster has forced everyone to have an opinion about the occupation, to have to deal with the fact that people are born into occupation, that their rights are infringed upon, and that they’re taken to prison when they’re 16 years old for offenses that don’t merit detention in Israel.

Some in the Israeli public think the soldiers behaved as they should, others say they were humiliated. It was this humiliation that brought about Ahed’s arrest. But even so, everyone now has to deal with the occupation and what it does to the soldiers and to the people who live under occupation. Even without wanting to, Ahed’s case opened a door that has been closed for a long time for most of the public in Israel.

Bassem Tamimi speaks to Gabi Lasky during the court of his daughter Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, in military court at the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank near the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 20, 2017. (Activestills/Oren Ziv)Bassem Tamimi speaks to Gabi Lasky during the trial of his daughter Ahed Tamimi, in military court at the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, December 20, 2017. (Activestills/Oren Ziv)




Thursday, January 4, 2018

APARTHEID ISRAEL: What Happened When A Jewish Settler Slapped an Israeli Soldier

Dear friends,
in the last few days, numerous Palestinian solidarity activists have been pointing out the treatment of Palestinian teenager, Ahed Tamimi is at complete odds with the way in which Israeli settlers have been treated when they have similarly "slapped" an Israeli occupation soldier. Yesterday, Haaretz published an article also drawing attention to this fact.  The arrested of Ahed and Nour Tamimi is the latest incident to expose Israel's apartheid regime to the world.

Please find the text of the Haaretz article below.

In solidarity, Kim

*****
https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.832939
What happened when a Jewish settler slapped an Israeli soldier

Both Ahed Tamimi and Yifat Alkobi were questioned for slapping a soldier in the West Bank, but little else about their cases are similar — simply because one is Jewish, the other Palestinian



Noa Osterreicher Jan 04, 2018/Haaretz

This slap didn’t lead the nightly news. This slap, which landed on the cheek of a Nahal soldier in Hebron, did not lead to an indictment. The assailant, who slapped a soldier who was trying to stop her from throwing stones, was taken in for questioning but released on bail the same day and allowed to return home.

Prior to this incident, she had been convicted five times — for throwing rocks, for assaulting a police officer and for disorderly conduct, but was not jailed even once.

In one instance, she was sentenced to probation, and in the rest to a month of community service and practically a token fine, as compensation to the injured parties. The accused systematically failed to heed summonses for questioning or for legal proceedings, but soldiers did not come to drag her out of bed in the middle of the night, nor were any of her relatives arrested. Aside from a brief report by Chaim Levinson about the incident, on July 2, 2010, there were hardly any repercussions to the slap and scratches inflicted by Yifat Alkobi on the face of a soldier who caught her hurling rocks a Palestinians.

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit said at the time that the army “takes a grave view of any incidence of violence toward security forces,” and yet the assailant goes on living peacefully at home. The education minister didn’t demand that she sit in prison, social media have not exploded with calls for her to be raped or murdered, and columnist Ben Caspit didn’t recommend that she punished to the full extent of the law “in a dark place, without cameras.”

Like Ahed Tamimi, Alkobi has been known for years to the military and police forces that surround her place of residence, and both are considered a nuisance and even a danger. The main difference between them is that Tamimi assaulted a soldier who was sent by a hostile government that does not recognize her existence, steals her land and kills and wounds her relatives, while Alkobi, a serial criminal, assaulted a soldier from her own people and her religion, who was sent by her nation to protect her, a nation in which she is a citizen with special privileges.

Jewish violence against soldiers in the territories has been a matter of routine for years. But even when it seems like there’s no point asking that soldiers in the territories protect Palestinians from physical harassment and vandalism of their property by settlers, it’s hard to understand why the authorities continue to turn a blind eye, to cover up and close cases or not even open them, when the violators are Jews. There is plenty of evidence, some of it recorded on camera. And yet the offenders still sleep at home in their beds, emboldened by divine command and amply funded by organizations that receive state support.

In the winter it’s nice to get warm and cozy under these double standards, but there’s one question that every Israeli should be asking himself: Tamimi and Alkobi committed the same offense. The punishment (or lack thereof) should be the same. If the choice is between freeing Tamimi or jailing Alkobi, which would you choose?

Tamimi is to remain in custody for the duration of the proceedings — trial in a hostile military court — and is expected to receive a prison sentence. Alkobi, who was not prosecuted for this offense, and was tried in a civilian court for much more serious offenses, lived at home for the duration of the proceedings. She was represented by a lawyer who did not have to wait at a checkpoint in order to serve his client and her only punishment was community service.

The Likud and Habayit Hayehudi cabinet ministers have no reason to rush to pass a law that would apply Israeli law in the territories. Even without it, the only thing that matters is if you were born Jewish. Everything else is irrelevant.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Bassem Tamimi: Ahed is only 16 yrs old, and there's no father more proud of his daughter than I am

Dear friends,
as you will be aware, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi was arrested by the Israeli military last week because she had the temerity to stand up to an Israeli occupation soldier attempting to enter her house. Ahed, along with her cousin Nour confronted the soldiers and physically stopped them from illegally entering Ahed's family home, just 30 minutes after Ahed and Nour's cousin had been shot in the face by another Israeli occupation soldier.

On  20 December, the Israeli military court has extend Ahed's detention by 5 days (read here) and on December 28 it once again extended both Ahed and her mother Nariman's detention again for 5 days (read here).  Nour was suppose to be released, but her release has also been delayed 48 hours. In addition, they have arrested Ahed's aunt, Manal Tamimi during the protest outside of Ofer court in support of Ahed, Nariman and Nour (read here).

Despite the arrest, the Tamimi family and the village of Nabi Saleh remain defiant. On Friday, Ahed's father issued a very moving and powerful statement about his daughter's activism and courage, which was published in Haaretz. 

Please share widely with your networks and on social media.

In solidarity, Kim

*****

Opinion My Daughter, These Are Tears of Struggle

Ahed Tamimi's father: I'm proud of my daughter. She is a freedom fighter who, in the coming years, will lead the resistance to Israeli rule

 Ahed Tamimi appears at a military court at the Israeli-run Ofer Prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on December 28, 2017. Credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP

Bassem Tamimi, Dec 29, 2017  Haaretz

This night too, like all the nights since dozens of soldiers raided our home in the middle of the night, my wife Nariman, my 16-year-old daughter Ahed and Ahed’s cousin Nur will spend behind bars. Although it is Ahed’s first arrest, she is no stranger to your prisons. My daughter has spent her whole life under the heavy shadow of the Israeli prison — from my lengthy incarcerations throughout her childhood, to the repeated arrests of her mother, brother and friends, to the covert-overt threat implied by your soldiers’ ongoing presence in our lives. So her own arrest was just a matter of time. An inevitable tragedy waiting to happen.


Several months ago, on a trip to South Africa, we screened for an audience a video documenting the struggle of our village, Nabi Saleh, against Israel’s forced rule. When the lights came back on, Ahed stood up to thank the people for their support. When she noticed that some of the audience members had tears in their eyes, she said to them: “We may be victims of the Israeli regime, but we are just as proud of our choice to fight for our cause, despite the known cost. We knew where this path would lead us, but our identity, as a people and as individuals, is planted in the struggle, and draws its inspiration from there. Beyond the suffering and daily oppression of the prisoners, the wounded and the killed, we also know the tremendous power that comes from belonging to a resistance movement; the dedication, the love, the small sublime moments that come from the choice to shatter the invisible walls of passivity.

“I don’t want to be perceived as a victim, and I won’t give their actions the power to define who I am and what I’ll be. I choose to decide for myself how you will see me. We don’t want you to support us because of some photogenic tears, but because we chose the struggle and our struggle is just. This is the only way that we’ll be able to stop crying one day.”

Months after that event in South Africa, when she challenged the soldiers, who were armed from head to toe, it wasn’t sudden anger at the grave wounding of 15-year-old Mohammed Tamimi not long before that, just meters away, that motivated her. Nor was it the provocation of those soldiers entering our home. No. These soldiers, or others who are identical in their action and their role, have been unwanted and uninvited guests in our home ever since Ahed was born. No. She stood there before them because this is our way, because freedom isn’t given as charity, and because despite the heavy price, we are ready to pay it.

My daughter is just 16 years old. In another world, in your world, her life would look completely different. In our world, Ahed is a representative of a new generation of our people, of young freedom fighters. This generation has to wage its struggle on two fronts. On the one hand, they have the duty, of course, to keep on challenging and fighting the Israeli colonialism into which they were born, until the day it collapses. On the other hand, they have to boldly face the political stagnation and degeneration that has spread among us. They have to become the living artery that will revive our revolution and bring it back from the death entailed in a growing culture of passivity that has arisen from decades of political inactivity.

Ahed is one of many young women who in the coming years will lead the resistance to Israeli rule. She is not interested in the spotlight currently being aimed at her due to her arrest, but in genuine change. She is not the product of one of the old parties or movements, and in her actions she is sending a message: In order to survive, we must candidly face our weaknesses and vanquish our fears.

In this situation, the greatest duty of me and my generation is to support her and to make way; to restrain ourselves and not to try to corrupt and imprison this young generation in the old culture and ideologies in which we grew up.

Ahed, no parent in the world yearns to see his daughter spending her days in a detention cell. However, Ahed, no one could be prouder than I am of you. You and your generation are courageous enough, at last, to win. Your actions and courage fill me with awe and bring tears to my eyes. But in accordance with your request, these are not tears of sadness or regret, but rather tears of struggle.

Bassem Tamimi is a Palestinian activist.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

NZ Herald Editorial: Lorde's stand on Israel does her credit


Dear friends,
Since New Zealand singer Lorde announced that she would respect the Palestinian BDS call and no play Israel, there has been hundreds/thousands of comments by Zionist organisations and individual Zionists attempting to discredit her.  However, the New Zealand Herald has come out in support of Lorde and her decision, writing an editorial that you would NEVER see written by Murdoch papers such as The Australia, Daily Telegraph or Herald Sun etc, here in Australia.

While the editorial holds on to the delusion that a two state solution is still possible, it still makes numerous good points about not only Israel's human rights abuses and violation of international law and it makes a point that boycotts are a time honoured and legitimate form of protest. No doubt, this is informed by New Zealand's political history in regard to protests against South Africa's apartheid regime (which is also briefly noted in the editorial). 

In particular, the editorial notes in response to the standard Zionist talking point which try to whitewash Israel's human rights abuses and tries to paint BDS and any supporters of BDS as anti-semitic, that:
What rubbish. It is perfectly possible to oppose Jewish settlements on the West Bank, as indeed many Jews do, in Israel and outside, without being guilty of bigotry and prejudice.
The suggestion Israel should not be singled out when countries such as Russia are guilty of something similar is an argument New Zealanders often heard from defenders of South Africa in the apartheid era. It is the weakest argument a nation's defenders can make.
If you have time, please thank Lorde for her stand in support of Palestinian human rights.

In solidarity, Kim
****

Editorial: Lorde's stand on Israel does her credit

28 Dec, 2017 New Zealand Herald Editorial
 

 Lorde may have been young when she first scaled the heights of popular music — and she still is — but as her songs demonstrate, she can think. To suggest that in cancelling a concert in Israel she has "caved into pressure", as the Zionist Federation of New Zealand put it, does her an injustice.

She may now wish Tel Aviv had never been included in her world tour next year but, once it was, she could not escape criticism. The easier course for her would have been to ignore the critics and keep her schedule. She could have insisted she was simply an entertainer innocent of politics and world affairs. The criticism, largely confined to social media, would have subsided in a day or two.

But by reflecting on the issues and deciding to remove the concert from her itinerary, she has exposed herself to wider attack and more unpleasant insinuations from some of Israel's defenders.

The Zionist Federation accused her of succumbing to pressure "from those who wish to see the destruction of Israel" and added, "If Lorde is cancelling her Tel Aviv concert due to a political reason, then we assume she will soon be announcing the cancellation of her Russian concerts due to Russia's occupation of the Crimea, its support of Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and other human rights abuses. Not doing so would reek of bigotry and prejudice against the Jewish State."

What rubbish. It is perfectly possible to oppose Jewish settlements on the West Bank, as indeed many Jews do, in Israel and outside, without being guilty of bigotry and prejudice.
The suggestion Israel should not be singled out when countries such as Russia are guilty of something similar is an argument New Zealanders often heard from defenders of South Africa in the apartheid era. It is the weakest argument a nation's defenders can make. It says the nation is guilty, but so are others. It is an admission Israel's settlements are wrong. Not even the Israeli Government endorses them, though it does little to stop them. The further the settlements go and the more entrenched they become, the more difficult a two-state solution will be.

Sporting and cultural boycotts and campaigns for business disinvestment and international sanctions against Israel are a way of reminding public opinion in Israel the world needs Israel to keep striving for peace in its region.

Peace almost certainly requires a Palestinian state on the West Bank of the Jordan — one that acknowledges Israel's right to exist. The alternative is for Israel to survive in a permanent state of siege, a prospect which perhaps too many Israelis now find preferable to a Palestinian state they would not trust. Hence the settlements.

But unresolved tensions in the Middle East are not simply Israel's concern. Such tensions impose themselves on the world through wars, threats to oil supplies, nuclear ambitions and terrorism.

No peace is imaginable without Palestinians being treated fairly, not driven from their homes by bulldozers. Cultural figures such as Lorde are in a privileged position to give that message and New Zealand can be proud of her for doing so.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Thank You Lorde, For Standing Up for Palestinian Human Rights

Dear friends,
hopefully you will have heard the good news that award winning, internationally renown New Zealand singer, Lorde has recently cancelled her concert in Israel after hearing from fans calling on her to respected the Palestinian BDS campaign. In  the wake of her decision, one of the Jewish activists who campaigned in support of BDS and sent a letter to Lorde to not play Israeli apartheid has been severely harassed and received numerous threats (see:

The following article by Yousef Munayyer, explains in detail why Lorde's decision was not only morally correct but necessary. In particular Munayyer notes the recent arrest of Ahed Tamimi, along with her mother Nariman and cousin Nour.

In solidarity, Kim

**********
THANK YOU LORDE, FOR STANDING UP FOR PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS

By Yousef Munayyer, 26 December 2017: The Forward


New Zealand Singer: Lorde

When I heard that the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde was reconsidering a decision to play in Israel I had a gut feeling that she would cancel the show. This weekend, she did just that. “[I]’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and i think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said in a statement.
I believe history will look back at her decision as an important step on the path to freedom, justice and equality in Palestine/Israel.

Palestinian rights activists were quick to show their support. But not everyone agrees with Lorde’s decision, and a glance at social media reveals the beginnings of the backlash that has already begun from Israel supporters. Roseanne Barr called Lorde a “bigot”, while others have slammed her for giving in to BDS “pressure” — curious language given she responded to a letter from fans and decided to forgo what would have surely been a lucrative concert.

If anything, the incentives were structured very heavily in favor of her playing Tel Aviv, as they are for every artist facing the decision to forego a lucrative opportunity. Any pressure she faced came only from her own conscience after learning, weighing and discussing the issue carefully. Lorde also seems to have taken into consideration the requests of fans, like an open letter by Jewish and Palestinian New Zealander fans of hers requesting she cancel her show, which is well worth reading.

Still, many have questioned her decision. One of her Israeli concert producers found a way to insult her in the process of explaining her decision, saying he was “naive to think a singer of her age could handle the pressure.” Keep in mind, Lorde is 21, and in Israeli society, 18-year-olds are conscripted and deemed perfectly capable of handling the responsibility of making life and death decisions while armed with heavy machine guns frequently directed toward Palestinian children. Not only is Lorde an adult fully capable of making her own decisions, she made the right one and a much wiser one than some other artists who have regrettably failed to heed the boycott call.

I believe that all artists should make the same decision Lorde did. And it has never been more urgent for them to do so than now.

Let’s take a moment to review the context in which Lorde’s decision took place. In the days and weeks ahead of this decision, President Trump made his Jerusalem declaration. The Israeli response to ensuing Palestinian protests have been typical of its brutal military occupation.

A few cases in particular are worth reflecting on. Take the murder of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya for example. A double amputee, Abu Thuraya had lost both legs in an Israeli airstrike a decade prior. Last week, he was shot by an Israeli sniper in the head while protesting inside the encaged Gaza Strip.

It should go without saying that there is no reason whatsoever to use lethal force against an unarmed double amputee. It should go without saying that his murder should shock the public conscience. But it didn’t. As per usual, the Israeli military investigation found no wrongdoing and Israeli society didn’t even blink. Some have even claimed Abu Thuraya was a terrorist; a wheelchair-bound man who provided for his family by washing cars and was known for climbing a power tower to display the Palestinian flag on high during protests really just had it coming to him.

Next, consider the case of Ahed Tamimi, also developing while Lorde was weighing this decision. Ahed, a girl of 16 from the village of Nabi Saleh, has been part of a family that has been at the forefront of protests against the Israeli occupation. For years, their village has protested the encroachment of an expanding illegal Israeli colony onto their land and Israeli soldiers, the henchmen of occupation, routinely use violence to repress the villagers on a weekly basis. Ahed has watched several of her family members die at the hands of this violent Israeli repression over the years and watched others get dragged away to Israeli prisons.

Last week, a video of Ahed slapping an Israeli soldier in front of her house went viral. Shortly before that recorded moment, Israeli soldiers had fired a rubber coated bullet into the face of one of her younger cousins, 14 year old Mohamed. The bullet was fired at a close enough range to shatter Mohamed’s jaw, leaving blood pouring from his face and resulting in emergency surgery to reconstruct his jaw and a medically induced coma. After the video of Ahed hitting the soldiers went viral, Ahed, her cousin and mother were arrested and are being held, for days now, without charge.

Meanwhile, what was the response in Israeli society to video of a girl who has lost so much putting her life on the line before a soldier, who could take it in an instant? It was not to ask “How dare we?” but rather “How dare she!”

Israel’s Defense Minister, a settler himself, declared “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve.” Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the guy responsible for educating Israel’s children, said this Palestinian child should spend the rest of her days in prison. This is the same Minister who said that an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who committed cold-blooded murder captured on video, should not serve a “single day in prison”. But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Michael Oren, a Knesset member and former American and Ambassador to the US questioned whether the Tamimis were even a real family, and focused on Ahed’s suspicious American clothes. Apparently, Palestinians that don’t fit neatly into the racist stereotypes in Oren’s mind must be mythical.

Judging by the words of their leaders and the press, Israelis by and large were unable to see this moment in Nabi Saleh for what it was: an instance of a brutal military occupation. Instead, they saw an unarmed 16 year old girl as the aggressor, and the heavily armed agent of occupation, whose army kills and arrests her family members and facilitates the theft of her land, as, somehow, the victim. “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed,” said Miri Regev, an Israeli Cabinet minister and former military spokeswoman, who called the episode “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” Think about that for a moment. Israelis, with the world’s largest per capita nuclear arsenal and one of the most capable and powerful militaries in the world that wields its advanced planes, tanks and ships against stateless Palestinians, was left dishonored, crushed and humiliated, not by another army but by the empty palms of a 16 year old girl.

Things like the reactions of Israelis to Ahed Tamimi or their lack of response to the killing of Abu Thuraya demonstrate how the Israeli conscience, when it comes to the Palestinians it controls, has withered, rotted and died.

And it is moments like this that demonstrate exactly why the decision Lorde made is so important and justified.

Israeli leaders argue to their people that their policies and behavior toward the Palestinians are justified. They are aided and abetted in this enterprise by an international community that instead of sanctioning Israel has trade relations with them, and by a United States which instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations, continues to send $3.8 billion in aid year after year.

In other words, Israeli society is being told both internally and externally that their brutal oppression of Palestinians is A-OK. If Israelis are ever going to end their oppression of Palestinians, it needs to start with dramatic wake up call to Israeli society, leading to a realization that there are costs to denying freedom and equality to millions of Palestinian human beings. Palestinian civil society has embraced non-violent economic action in the form of BDS as tactics to convey this message and calls for international solidarity in doing so.

Lorde’s choice to heed this call helps send Israel the message that this situation is not normal and cannot be normalized, and that they cannot continue to ignore the injustices that they visit upon Palestinians. She joins a growing list of artists and performers who have made the same decision, and many more will follow in her footsteps.

Just as in the case of South Africa, artists have an important role to play in the quest for peace and justice. And, just as in the case of South Africa, some of the same arguments that defenders of Apartheid South Africa used unsuccessfully against BDS efforts then are being recycled today to defend Israel’s apartheid policies in the West Bank. These efforts, too, will be unsuccessful.

One of those arguments deployed against Lorde’s decision has come from the “Whataboutist” camp. On Twitter, opponents were quick to point out that the singer is canceling her concert in Israel but not in Russia, also guilty of human rights abuses, and thus her boycott efforts and those of BDS more generally are hypocritical. This too is recycled South African Apartheid regime propaganda. In those days, anti-boycott advocates would point to other countries in Africa and Asia with poor human rights records, just as Israel defenders engage in whataboutery today to displace responsibility for the denial of Palestinian rights. The truth is, Apartheid South Africa did not have the worst human rights record in history, but it was the worst human rights abuser of native South African blacks. Likewise, Israel may not be the worst or only human rights abuser in the world today, but it is the worst human rights abuser of Palestinians.

Tactics like boycotts are specific to the context and are deployed for their utility. These tactics were embraced by Palestinian civil society, and increasingly international civil society, because the international state system has failed to hold Israel accountable for its violations. Unlike Russia or other states like North Korea, Myanmar or others where the US and others have deployed economic sanctions, Israel receives billions in weapons from Washington and receives blanket protection at the United Nations. With that said, should an oppressed population anywhere in the world organize a call for international solidarity against their oppressors who are flouting international law and have nonetheless found a way to evade any accountability from the state system, like sanctions or arms embargoes, then cultural icons should heed their call, just as they did for South Africans and just as they should for Palestinians.

One day, freedom, justice and equality will finally reign for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Then we can all sing and dance without a backdrop of racism, discrimination and brutality. I dream of the first concert in my homeland after freedom, when all the artists who boycotted can finally come back and play. I look forward to seeing Lorde there as part of a historic line up alongside Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and many, many more.

This freedom concert will be well worth waiting for precisely because freedom is something well worth fighting for.

Yousef Munayyer, a political analyst and writer, is Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
When I heard that the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde was reconsidering a decision to play in Israel I had a gut feeling that she would cancel the show. This weekend, she did just that. “[I]’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and i think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said in a statement.
I believe history will look back at her decision as an important step on the path to freedom, justice and equality in Palestine/Israel.

Palestinian rights activists were quick to show their support. But not everyone agrees with Lorde’s decision, and a glance at social media reveals the beginnings of the backlash that has already begun from Israel supporters. Roseanne Barr called Lorde a “bigot”, while others have slammed her for giving in to BDS “pressure” — curious language given she responded to a letter from fans and decided to forgo what would have surely been a lucrative concert.
If anything, the incentives were structured very heavily in favor of her playing Tel Aviv, as they are for every artist facing the decision to forego a lucrative opportunity. Any pressure she faced came only from her own conscience after learning, weighing and discussing the issue carefully. Lorde also seems to have taken into consideration the requests of fans, like an open letter by Jewish and Palestinian New Zealander fans of hers requesting she cancel her show, which is well worth reading.
Still, many have questioned her decision. One of her Israeli concert producers found a way to insult her in the process of explaining her decision, saying he was “naive to think a singer of her age could handle the pressure.” Keep in mind, Lorde is 21, and in Israeli society, 18-year-olds are conscripted and deemed perfectly capable of handling the responsibility of making life and death decisions while armed with heavy machine guns frequently directed toward Palestinian children. Not only is Lorde an adult fully capable of making her own decisions, she made the right one and a much wiser one than some other artists who have regrettably failed to heed the boycott call.
I believe that all artists should make the same decision Lorde did. And it has never been more urgent for them to do so than now.
Let’s take a moment to review the context in which Lorde’s decision took place. In the days and weeks ahead of this decision, President Trump made his Jerusalem declaration. The Israeli response to ensuing Palestinian protests have been typical of its brutal military occupation.
A few cases in particular are worth reflecting on. Take the murder of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya for example. A double amputee, Abu Thuraya had lost both legs in an Israeli airstrike a decade prior. Last week, he was shot by an Israeli sniper in the head while protesting inside the encaged Gaza Strip.
It should go without saying that there is no reason whatsoever to use lethal force against an unarmed double amputee. It should go without saying that his murder should shock the public conscience. But it didn’t. As per usual, the Israeli military investigation found no wrongdoing and Israeli society didn’t even blink. Some have even claimed Abu Thuraya was a terrorist; a wheelchair-bound man who provided for his family by washing cars and was known for climbing a power tower to display the Palestinian flag on high during protests really just had it coming to him.

Next, consider the case of Ahed Tamimi, also developing while Lorde was weighing this decision. Ahed, a girl of 16 from the village of Nabi Saleh, has been part of a family that has been at the forefront of protests against the Israeli occupation. For years, their village has protested the encroachment of an expanding illegal Israeli colony onto their land and Israeli soldiers, the henchmen of occupation, routinely use violence to repress the villagers on a weekly basis. Ahed has watched several of her family members die at the hands of this violent Israeli repression over the years and watched others get dragged away to Israeli prisons.
Last week, a video of Ahed slapping an Israeli soldier in front of her house went viral. Shortly before that recorded moment, Israeli soldiers had fired a rubber coated bullet into the face of one of her younger cousins, 14 year old Mohamed. The bullet was fired at a close enough range to shatter Mohamed’s jaw, leaving blood pouring from his face and resulting in emergency surgery to reconstruct his jaw and a medically induced coma. After the video of Ahed hitting the soldiers went viral, Ahed, her cousin and mother were arrested and are being held, for days now, without charge.
Meanwhile, what was the response in Israeli society to video of a girl who has lost so much putting her life on the line before a soldier, who could take it in an instant? It was not to ask “How dare we?” but rather “How dare she!”

Israel’s Defense Minister, a settler himself, declared “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve.” Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the guy responsible for educating Israel’s children, said this Palestinian child should spend the rest of her days in prison. This is the same Minister who said that an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who committed cold-blooded murder captured on video, should not serve a “single day in prison”. But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Michael Oren, a Knesset member and former American and Ambassador to the US questioned whether the Tamimis were even a real family, and focused on Ahed’s suspicious American clothes. Apparently, Palestinians that don’t fit neatly into the racist stereotypes in Oren’s mind must be mythical.
Judging by the words of their leaders and the press, Israelis by and large were unable to see this moment in Nabi Saleh for what it was: an instance of a brutal military occupation. Instead, they saw an unarmed 16 year old girl as the aggressor, and the heavily armed agent of occupation, whose army kills and arrests her family members and facilitates the theft of her land, as, somehow, the victim. “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed,” said Miri Regev, an Israeli Cabinet minister and former military spokeswoman, who called the episode “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” Think about that for a moment. Israelis, with the world’s largest per capita nuclear arsenal and one of the most capable and powerful militaries in the world that wields its advanced planes, tanks and ships against stateless Palestinians, was left dishonored, crushed and humiliated, not by another army but by the empty palms of a 16 year old girl.
Things like the reactions of Israelis to Ahed Tamimi or their lack of response to the killing of Abu Thuraya demonstrate how the Israeli conscience, when it comes to the Palestinians it controls, has withered, rotted and died.
And it is moments like this that demonstrate exactly why the decision Lorde made is so important and justified.
Israeli leaders argue to their people that their policies and behavior toward the Palestinians are justified. They are aided and abetted in this enterprise by an international community that instead of sanctioning Israel has trade relations with them, and by a United States which instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations, continues to send $3.8 billion in aid year after year.
In other words, Israeli society is being told both internally and externally that their brutal oppression of Palestinians is A-OK. If Israelis are ever going to end their oppression of Palestinians, it needs to start with dramatic wake up call to Israeli society, leading to a realization that there are costs to denying freedom and equality to millions of Palestinian human beings. Palestinian civil society has embraced non-violent economic action in the form of BDS as tactics to convey this message and calls for international solidarity in doing so.

Lorde’s choice to heed this call helps send Israel the message that this situation is not normal and cannot be normalized, and that they cannot continue to ignore the injustices that they visit upon Palestinians. She joins a growing list of artists and performers who have made the same decision, and many more will follow in her footsteps.
Just as in the case of South Africa, artists have an important role to play in the quest for peace and justice. And, just as in the case of South Africa, some of the same arguments that defenders of Apartheid South Africa used unsuccessfully against BDS efforts then are being recycled today to defend Israel’s apartheid policies in the West Bank. These efforts, too, will be unsuccessful.
One of those arguments deployed against Lorde’s decision has come from the “Whataboutist” camp. On Twitter, opponents were quick to point out that the singer is canceling her concert in Israel but not in Russia, also guilty of human rights abuses, and thus her boycott efforts and those of BDS more generally are hypocritical. This too is recycled South African Apartheid regime propaganda. In those days, anti-boycott advocates would point to other countries in Africa and Asia with poor human rights records, just as Israel defenders engage in whataboutery today to displace responsibility for the denial of Palestinian rights. The truth is, Apartheid South Africa did not have the worst human rights record in history, but it was the worst human rights abuser of native South African blacks. Likewise, Israel may not be the worst or only human rights abuser in the world today, but it is the worst human rights abuser of Palestinians.
Tactics like boycotts are specific to the context and are deployed for their utility. These tactics were embraced by Palestinian civil society, and increasingly international civil society, because the international state system has failed to hold Israel accountable for its violations. Unlike Russia or other states like North Korea, Myanmar or others where the US and others have deployed economic sanctions, Israel receives billions in weapons from Washington and receives blanket protection at the United Nations. With that said, should an oppressed population anywhere in the world organize a call for international solidarity against their oppressors who are flouting international law and have nonetheless found a way to evade any accountability from the state system, like sanctions or arms embargoes, then cultural icons should heed their call, just as they did for South Africans and just as they should for Palestinians.
One day, freedom, justice and equality will finally reign for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Then we can all sing and dance without a backdrop of racism, discrimination and brutality. I dream of the first concert in my homeland after freedom, when all the artists who boycotted can finally come back and play. I look forward to seeing Lorde there as part of a historic line up alongside Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and many, many more.
This freedom concert will be well worth waiting for precisely because freedom is something well worth fighting for.
Yousef Munayyer, a political analyst and writer, is Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.
Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/390845/thank-you-lorde-for-standing-up-for-palestinian-human-rights/


Thank You, Lorde, For Standing Up For Palestinian Human Rights

When I heard that the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and record producer Lorde was reconsidering a decision to play in Israel I had a gut feeling that she would cancel the show. This weekend, she did just that. “[I]’ve received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and i think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” she said in a statement.
I believe history will look back at her decision as an important step on the path to freedom, justice and equality in Palestine/Israel.

Palestinian rights activists were quick to show their support. But not everyone agrees with Lorde’s decision, and a glance at social media reveals the beginnings of the backlash that has already begun from Israel supporters. Roseanne Barr called Lorde a “bigot”, while others have slammed her for giving in to BDS “pressure” — curious language given she responded to a letter from fans and decided to forgo what would have surely been a lucrative concert.
If anything, the incentives were structured very heavily in favor of her playing Tel Aviv, as they are for every artist facing the decision to forego a lucrative opportunity. Any pressure she faced came only from her own conscience after learning, weighing and discussing the issue carefully. Lorde also seems to have taken into consideration the requests of fans, like an open letter by Jewish and Palestinian New Zealander fans of hers requesting she cancel her show, which is well worth reading.
Still, many have questioned her decision. One of her Israeli concert producers found a way to insult her in the process of explaining her decision, saying he was “naive to think a singer of her age could handle the pressure.” Keep in mind, Lorde is 21, and in Israeli society, 18-year-olds are conscripted and deemed perfectly capable of handling the responsibility of making life and death decisions while armed with heavy machine guns frequently directed toward Palestinian children. Not only is Lorde an adult fully capable of making her own decisions, she made the right one and a much wiser one than some other artists who have regrettably failed to heed the boycott call.
I believe that all artists should make the same decision Lorde did. And it has never been more urgent for them to do so than now.
Let’s take a moment to review the context in which Lorde’s decision took place. In the days and weeks ahead of this decision, President Trump made his Jerusalem declaration. The Israeli response to ensuing Palestinian protests have been typical of its brutal military occupation.
A few cases in particular are worth reflecting on. Take the murder of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya for example. A double amputee, Abu Thuraya had lost both legs in an Israeli airstrike a decade prior. Last week, he was shot by an Israeli sniper in the head while protesting inside the encaged Gaza Strip.
It should go without saying that there is no reason whatsoever to use lethal force against an unarmed double amputee. It should go without saying that his murder should shock the public conscience. But it didn’t. As per usual, the Israeli military investigation found no wrongdoing and Israeli society didn’t even blink. Some have even claimed Abu Thuraya was a terrorist; a wheelchair-bound man who provided for his family by washing cars and was known for climbing a power tower to display the Palestinian flag on high during protests really just had it coming to him.

Next, consider the case of Ahed Tamimi, also developing while Lorde was weighing this decision. Ahed, a girl of 16 from the village of Nabi Saleh, has been part of a family that has been at the forefront of protests against the Israeli occupation. For years, their village has protested the encroachment of an expanding illegal Israeli colony onto their land and Israeli soldiers, the henchmen of occupation, routinely use violence to repress the villagers on a weekly basis. Ahed has watched several of her family members die at the hands of this violent Israeli repression over the years and watched others get dragged away to Israeli prisons.
Last week, a video of Ahed slapping an Israeli soldier in front of her house went viral. Shortly before that recorded moment, Israeli soldiers had fired a rubber coated bullet into the face of one of her younger cousins, 14 year old Mohamed. The bullet was fired at a close enough range to shatter Mohamed’s jaw, leaving blood pouring from his face and resulting in emergency surgery to reconstruct his jaw and a medically induced coma. After the video of Ahed hitting the soldiers went viral, Ahed, her cousin and mother were arrested and are being held, for days now, without charge.
Meanwhile, what was the response in Israeli society to video of a girl who has lost so much putting her life on the line before a soldier, who could take it in an instant? It was not to ask “How dare we?” but rather “How dare she!”

Israel’s Defense Minister, a settler himself, declared “Everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve.” Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the guy responsible for educating Israel’s children, said this Palestinian child should spend the rest of her days in prison. This is the same Minister who said that an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, who committed cold-blooded murder captured on video, should not serve a “single day in prison”. But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Michael Oren, a Knesset member and former American and Ambassador to the US questioned whether the Tamimis were even a real family, and focused on Ahed’s suspicious American clothes. Apparently, Palestinians that don’t fit neatly into the racist stereotypes in Oren’s mind must be mythical.
Judging by the words of their leaders and the press, Israelis by and large were unable to see this moment in Nabi Saleh for what it was: an instance of a brutal military occupation. Instead, they saw an unarmed 16 year old girl as the aggressor, and the heavily armed agent of occupation, whose army kills and arrests her family members and facilitates the theft of her land, as, somehow, the victim. “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed,” said Miri Regev, an Israeli Cabinet minister and former military spokeswoman, who called the episode “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” Think about that for a moment. Israelis, with the world’s largest per capita nuclear arsenal and one of the most capable and powerful militaries in the world that wields its advanced planes, tanks and ships against stateless Palestinians, was left dishonored, crushed and humiliated, not by another army but by the empty palms of a 16 year old girl.
Things like the reactions of Israelis to Ahed Tamimi or their lack of response to the killing of Abu Thuraya demonstrate how the Israeli conscience, when it comes to the Palestinians it controls, has withered, rotted and died.
And it is moments like this that demonstrate exactly why the decision Lorde made is so important and justified.
Israeli leaders argue to their people that their policies and behavior toward the Palestinians are justified. They are aided and abetted in this enterprise by an international community that instead of sanctioning Israel has trade relations with them, and by a United States which instead of holding Israel accountable for its violations, continues to send $3.8 billion in aid year after year.
In other words, Israeli society is being told both internally and externally that their brutal oppression of Palestinians is A-OK. If Israelis are ever going to end their oppression of Palestinians, it needs to start with dramatic wake up call to Israeli society, leading to a realization that there are costs to denying freedom and equality to millions of Palestinian human beings. Palestinian civil society has embraced non-violent economic action in the form of BDS as tactics to convey this message and calls for international solidarity in doing so.

Lorde’s choice to heed this call helps send Israel the message that this situation is not normal and cannot be normalized, and that they cannot continue to ignore the injustices that they visit upon Palestinians. She joins a growing list of artists and performers who have made the same decision, and many more will follow in her footsteps.
Just as in the case of South Africa, artists have an important role to play in the quest for peace and justice. And, just as in the case of South Africa, some of the same arguments that defenders of Apartheid South Africa used unsuccessfully against BDS efforts then are being recycled today to defend Israel’s apartheid policies in the West Bank. These efforts, too, will be unsuccessful.
One of those arguments deployed against Lorde’s decision has come from the “Whataboutist” camp. On Twitter, opponents were quick to point out that the singer is canceling her concert in Israel but not in Russia, also guilty of human rights abuses, and thus her boycott efforts and those of BDS more generally are hypocritical. This too is recycled South African Apartheid regime propaganda. In those days, anti-boycott advocates would point to other countries in Africa and Asia with poor human rights records, just as Israel defenders engage in whataboutery today to displace responsibility for the denial of Palestinian rights. The truth is, Apartheid South Africa did not have the worst human rights record in history, but it was the worst human rights abuser of native South African blacks. Likewise, Israel may not be the worst or only human rights abuser in the world today, but it is the worst human rights abuser of Palestinians.
Tactics like boycotts are specific to the context and are deployed for their utility. These tactics were embraced by Palestinian civil society, and increasingly international civil society, because the international state system has failed to hold Israel accountable for its violations. Unlike Russia or other states like North Korea, Myanmar or others where the US and others have deployed economic sanctions, Israel receives billions in weapons from Washington and receives blanket protection at the United Nations. With that said, should an oppressed population anywhere in the world organize a call for international solidarity against their oppressors who are flouting international law and have nonetheless found a way to evade any accountability from the state system, like sanctions or arms embargoes, then cultural icons should heed their call, just as they did for South Africans and just as they should for Palestinians.
One day, freedom, justice and equality will finally reign for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Then we can all sing and dance without a backdrop of racism, discrimination and brutality. I dream of the first concert in my homeland after freedom, when all the artists who boycotted can finally come back and play. I look forward to seeing Lorde there as part of a historic line up alongside Roger Waters, Lauryn Hill and many, many more.
This freedom concert will be well worth waiting for precisely because freedom is something well worth fighting for.
Yousef Munayyer, a political analyst and writer, is Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/390845/thank-you-lorde-for-standing-up-for-palestinian-human-rights/

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Prominent Israeli journalist incites violence against Ahed Tamimi & women of Nabi Saleh


Dear friends,
as you will be aware, 16 year old Ahed Tamimi, along with her mother Nariman and her cousin Nour are currently under arrest by the Israeli military and state for the crime of humiliating the masculinity of Israeli soldiers (see my previous post here).

In response to Ahed's defiant stance and her arrest, Zionists fueled by the Israeli media has been baying for her blood.  Both are more outraged that Ahed would have the audacity to slap an occupying soldier than by the fact that her 14 year old cousin was shot in the face by the Israeli military less than a half hour before or that the Israeli military were acting illegally by attempting to enter her house.

One of the worst incidents of the hypocrisy and utter bankruptcy of the Israeli media is the call by prominent Israeli journalist, Ben Caspit who in an article for the Israeli daily Maariv wrote in regard to Ahed and Nour:
“In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”.

This has, unsurprisingly, been widely interpreted as incitement to rape and sexual assault of the two young women (and/or any young women who defy Israel's occupation forces).  Caspit,who also writes for Al-Monitor, has since tried to back track and claim he was making no such suggestion. 

Israeli writer and activist, Jonathan Ofir has been covering Caspit's comments for Mondoweiss and I have included both of his articles below.

In solidarity, Kim

*****

***

‘We should exact a price’ from Ahed Tamimi ‘in the dark,’ Israeli journalist says

Israel/Palestine
on MONDOWEISS


Israeli society became incensed this week with the video of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi and her 20-year-old cousin Nour, who slapped the Israeli soldiers occupying their family yard in Nabi Saleh. The story of the women’s 15-year-old cousin Mohammed being shot in the head by soldiers (and put into coma) just prior to that hardly played any part in what the mainstream media was focusing upon – the humiliation of the soldiers, as it were. As Yossi Gurvitz noted, “the Israeli media did not pay any attention to an Israeli jackboot firing a bullet at the head of 15 years old. As everyone knows, daily events are not news. Nothing to report.”

The discussion amongst Israelis became all about the humiliation suffered by heavily armed soldiers, from a fearless 16-year old girl and her bare hands. Culture Minister Miri Regev said: “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed”. She called the incident “damaging to the honor of the military and the state of Israel.” She was echoing her own words from 2015, when Ahed also appeared in a viral video, wrestling a masked Israeli soldier, who was holding her little brother in a headlock and pressing him down on a rock, his broken arm in cast. 

Then Regev was “shocked to see the video this morning of Palestinians hitting an IDF soldier,” adding that, “It cannot be that our soldiers will be sent on missions with their hands tied behind their backs. It’s simply a disgrace!….We must immediately order that a soldier under attack be able to return fire. Period.”  

There was a range of suggestions of what should happen with Ahed and the other girls. Education Minister Naftali Bennett suggested that they “spend the rest of their days in prison”. 

But a prominent journalist had a somewhat more cunning suggestion:
“In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”,
Ben Caspit wrote in his article (Hebrew) on Tuesday.
What might this price exactly be, considering that he is referring specifically to teenage girls? We are left to wonder. Perhaps he wishes to leave it to the imagination of the soldiers who would invade the home at night, ensuring that no cameras are filming. 
Ben Caspit’s suggestion is a sly and wretched one, and it comes with the smugness of congratulating the soldiers for their moral strength, as it were, for not having acted back with force against the girls – on film, that is. “There is no stomach which does not turn when witnessing this clip”, Caspit says, referring to Zionist stomachs, that is.  “I, for example, if I were to encounter that situation, I would have long ago been in detention until end of procedures”. In other words, Caspit is saying he would run amok on the girls to a degree that would get him arrested. That’s what he’s indirectly suggesting would be ‘normal’, because he would do it… 
We are again left to wonder what it is exactly that the creep would do, especially if he thought there were no cameras around. Caspit’s suggestion resembles that of Defense Minister Lieberman, who also said on Tuesday that “whoever goes wild during the day, will be arrested at night”, adding that “everyone involved, not only the girl but also her parents and those around them will not escape from what they deserve”.
Caspit hails the soldiers’ ‘restraint’, hardly believing they can manage it:
“The combatants stand there and demonstrate extraordinary restraint, do not respond, do not defend, do not speak.” 
Caspit is actually speaking quite similarly to the Peace Now, who also hailed the soldiers’ ‘restraint’ and their demonstration of “moral fortitude in the face of an attempted stunt to blacken Israel’s image”. Note – that’s the Israeli left right there.  
Indeed, also for Caspit, this ‘restraint’ is worthy, not because of itself (in the dark and with no cameras it would be a different story, remember), but because of the PR value:
“Sometimes also restraint is power, and in the case before us, the combatants are worthy of a medal of honor, not reprimand. To keep one’s restraint in this impossible situation is far more difficult than applying force, especially when the bitter enemy in front of you is three girls who do everything to get beaten up, knowing fully well that any laying of a hand by armed combatants upon supposedly innocent girls will serve as a deadly propaganda weapon in the endless war fought for hearts on social media.” 
Caspit is exalting the image of the ‘good soldier’. Those soldiers were doing nothing – the girls were just asking for a beating. Yet as Orly Noy writes in +972 Magazine, shattering the ‘good soldier’ myth:
“The two soldiers may have acted according to their consciences in refusing to beat Ahed Tamimi, but the army in which they serve later broke into the Tamimi home in the middle of the night to arrest Ahed, and then arrested her mother when she accompanied her daughter to the police station. In other words, regardless of their best intentions, their encounter with the Tamimis began with violence and ended with violence. From the moment they put on their uniform, their ethical sensibilities ceased to be a factor.”
The IDF was unsatisfied with this image of ‘restraint’. It was too emasculating. The soldiers were repeatedly being called “gays” and “trannies”. Like when Elor Azarya wrote in July 2014, near the beginning of the onslaught on Gaza: “Bibi you transvestite what ceasefire? Penetrate their mother!!!” So when the IDF arrested Ahed on Monday, they filmed it and posted it publicly with official logo (a highly irregular practice in such cases) – to show everyone that the IDF is masculine, as it were. The IDF can arrest 16-year-old girls if it wants to, and we’ll film it ourselves, just watch us…
But this is not exactly what Ben Caspit had in mind. His suggestions were a bit more insidious, and not for filming.
Caspit’s remarks have been noticed in mainstream media, but they have not received the seriousness they deserve. These are not just words. It’s like when last year, an Israeli former chief educator suggested in a Sheldon Adelson paper that Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström  might get the ‘Bernadotte treatment’ (assassination), for daring to suggest that Israel might be applying a policy of extrajudicial assassinations. The author, Zvi Zameret, later said that he didn’t actually suggest her assassination. Just like Caspit was not actually saying Ahed Tamimi should be beaten or raped. The details of the crime can be left to the wild imagination of those perpetrating it, “in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”.
P.S. Ofer Neiman is calling on al-Monitor to stop publishing Caspit’s work. “He can’t have it both ways– writing for a liberal peace-oriented outlet and inciting rape/murder/violence.”

****

Israeli journalist who called for unspeakable acts against Ahed Tamimi tries, and fails, to backpedal

Israel/Palestine on
Prominent Israeli journalist Ben Caspit caused international furor last week, when he wrote in his Maariv article that “in the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”.

Caspit has certainly felt the heat in response to his insidious suggestions, and probably began fearing not only for his reputation, but possibly for his job, which besides Maariv also includes the respected Al-Monitor. Israeli activist Ofer Neiman tweeted: “He can’t have it both ways– writing for a liberal peace-oriented outlet and inciting rape/murder/violence.”
Caspit’s article was in Hebrew, but now he is trying to backpedal and ‘clarify’ in English – in a Jerusalem Post article from yesterday.

Caspit titles his piece “Fighting a shaming campaign with the truth”, framing himself as a victim who has simply been misunderstood. He describes his ‘ordeal’:
“Within hours you discover that you’ve turned into Public Enemy No. 1, a modern day pariah; a man who calls for the rape of young girls and destruction of families; a contemporary Nazi. A rare combination of circumstances, a phrase taken out of context, an inaccurate translation and a great deal of evil intention have planted in your keyboard things you never said, and in your brain, things you never thought. All that is left it to chase after the eternal wind in the cyber willows.”
I am proud to say I am one of those who have publicly and critically referred to his first article, though not the first. The critical and most egregious sentence mentioned above, had appeared in mainstream media a day later – for example AP and CBS. The translation was accurate and furthermore, in my article, I provided a greater context than was available otherwise, precisely in order to relate to Caspit’s greater message of incitement, and how that phrase played into it.
The other quote, which Caspit does not refer to at all in his ‘clarification’, is this, as I had written:
“There is no stomach which does not turn when witnessing this clip”, Caspit says, referring to Zionist stomachs, that is.  “I, for example, if I were to encounter that situation, I would have long ago been in detention until end of procedures”. In other words, Caspit is saying he would run amok on the girls to a degree that would get him arrested. That’s what he’s indirectly suggesting would be ‘normal’, because he would do it…
You see, Caspit’s unspecified suggestion for a “price” to be “exacted”, is conditioned by his incitement mentioned here. We don’t know the details of the actions which Caspit imagines would get him arrested. And do we even want to know them? If Caspit suggests he would do those unspeakable actions in the daytime, even if there were cameras filming – what are we to think of the things he, or the others influenced by his suggestions, might do in the dark?

Caspit seeks to portray himself as a ‘man of peace’, who couldn’t possibly suggest that such insidious things be done to Palestinian girls:
“No one bothers to ask him/herself whether or not you’ve devoted your entire career to the peace cause, supported and continue to support the peace agreements and proposals, support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, see the settlements an enterprise that has caused more harm than good and is considered in Netanyahu’s office as one of the right’s greatest media enemies”, he bemoans.
In other words, Caspit is trying to point out that all these “leftist” points should count, and that if they were counted, they would ostensibly outweigh any ‘misunderstanding’ of his text. Yet as I have pointed out earlier this month, an Israeli ‘leftist’ general, interviewed extensively on the same Maariv, was calling for ‘tearing the Palestinians apart’ and ‘tossing them across the Jordan’. Being an Israeli leftist proves nothing of the kind that Caspit seeks to prove.

Caspit reduces the whole filmed episode of the soldiers occupying the Tamimi lawn to a “meeting”:
“What’s this all about?”, he asks. “A meeting between two IDF soldiers and the Tamimi family from the village of Nabi Saleh that was leaked to thee Israeli media last Monday”, he answers himself.
One is almost persuaded to think that the Tamimis sat at their kitchen table with two IDF soldiers, perhaps discussing politics and daily trivia. But no, this was not it at all. As Ahed’s father, Bassem, wrote in his excellent piece in Newsweek two days ago,
“Less than half an hour earlier, a soldier shot Ahed’s 14-year-old cousin in the face at close distance with a rubber coated steel bullet, causing severe injuries and leaving him in a coma. Then, two soldiers had jumped the wall of our backyard and forced their way on to our property when Ahed confronted them in an effort to make them leave.”
For Caspit, the video of Ahed slapping the soldier was infuriating: “The video made every Israeli’s blood boil, regardless of his/her political inclinations”, he writes. But this is not true. I am an Israeli, and it was not the video itself that caused my blood to boil. Rather, it was the madness and incitement sweeping across Israeli society, leadership and media – including, in particular, Caspit’s vile incitement.

Caspit is arguably more dangerous than the rightists who regularly bark racist statements against Palestinians (like for example lawmaker Oren Hazan, Likud, who yesterday got on an ICRC bus of Palestinian family relatives from Gaza traveling to an Israeli prison, calling their children “dogs”). It’s precisely because Caspit wears the cloak of a respectable, leftist journalist, that such suggestions coming from him can carry weight also for those ‘peaceniks’ (whose blood nonetheless boils when 16-year-old girls provoke them…)
Caspit tries to argue that actually, he wasn’t inciting at all, quite the opposite, as it were. He claims that the essence of his article was hailing ‘restraint’:
‘In the article itself, I praised the IDF soldiers, for their “superhuman restraint” against Palestinian provocation’, he writes.
There is of course no provocation whatsoever in all this, from the soldiers, in Caspit’s rendering (let us also put aside the seldom mentioned slap from the Israeli soldier which hit Ahed 5 seconds before she slapped him). Anyway, in Caspit’s original Maariv article, he wasn’t actually hailing their restraint for itself, but rather for its PR value:
“Sometimes also restraint is power, and in the case before us, the combatants are worthy of a medal of honor, not reprimand. To keep one’s restraint in this impossible situation is far more difficult than applying force, especially when the bitter enemy in front of you is three girls who do everything to get beaten up, knowing fully well that any laying of a hand by armed combatants upon supposedly innocent girls will serve as a deadly propaganda weapon in the endless war fought for hearts on social media”, he wrote last week (as I had also quoted in my earlier piece).
Caspit is bewildered as to how people (of the “social media masses”) could possibly have misunderstood him so badly:
“Where, then, did the social media masses find the story, according to which I had proposed that the IDF should rape Ahed Tamimi under the cover of darkness? Where did the Satanic plan – accredited to me – to make Palestinian families disappear or to carry terrible crimes on them in the dark come from?”, he asks.
Well, I for one did not say that Caspit necessarily suggested that the girls would be raped. But his suggestion, with its insidious language (paired with the above mentioned additional incitement), certainly left a huge open space for creeps and their wild imagination. On this I wrote:
These are not just words. It’s like when last year, an Israeli former chief educator suggested in a Sheldon Adelson paper that Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström might get the ‘Bernadotte treatment’ (assassination), for daring to suggest that Israel might be applying a policy of extrajudicial assassinations. The author, Zvi Zameret, later said that he didn’t actually suggest her assassination. Just like Caspit was not actually saying Ahed Tamimi should be beaten or raped. The details of the crime can be left to the wild imagination of those perpetrating it, “in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”.
Caspit suggests that all this “misunderstanding” came exclusively from non-Israelis:
“No one in Israel understood my article in this light because it was read in the right context – regarding the argument over the timing of Ahed Tamimi’s arrest”, he writes.
Whoa. I’m an Israeli. I understood it “in this light” (or rather darkness). Ofer Neiman, who by the way recently started a petition to hold Caspit to Press Council discipline, has certainly understood it “in this light”. Shani Litman asks today in Haaretz (Hebrew):
“Did the hand of Ben Caspit tremble when he wrote these lines? In polished, clerk-like language, and without saying anything explicitly, the prominent journalist Ben Caspit managed to write a sentence which in its entirety is a threat of chilling violence against the young Tamimi women.”
Litman additionally quotes Caspit who wrote that “the IDF has sufficient capabilities, creativity and means to create such inputs, without paying an exorbitant public price”, and Litman then asks:
“Did the editor hesitate when they read this sentence, the thickness of the words “girls”, “in the dark, without witness and cameras” and “creativity”, and feel totally comfortable with it? How is it possible that no one stopped for a moment to digest these words, that no one’s stomach turned?”, Litman writes (echoing Caspit who wrote that “there is no stomach which does not turn when witnessing this clip”).
These are Israeli people, folks. We’re not that stupid. And Caspit, in his desperate attempt to backpedal, is providing an even more pathetic article, which suggests that its just the goyim who didn’t understand Israeli jargon. So take it from us, the ‘other’ Israelis – you didn’t really misunderstand him. He is now trying to convince us that his whole suggestion was just about timing – arrest them in the night, rather than in the day, as it were (and remember, no cameras, and be creative). Nothing to look at folks, move quietly on.
No, there’s a lot to look at here, and Caspit should be doing a major soul-searching, rather than investing time in such tiring self-apologia.

Towards the end of his Jerusalem Post article, Caspit shows his ‘reasonable’ and ‘merciful’ face concerning Ahed Tamimi:
“As this article is being written, it has been announced that Ahad Tamimi’s custody has been extended by four days. Just as I had originally thought that it was best to arrest her quietly, I now believe that it is unnecessary to keep her for so long in custody.”
So now Caspit is complaining that Ahed is being treated too harshly! Crocodile tears? The system is simply being ‘creative’ – isn’t that what Caspit was suggesting? Ahed Tamimi has been carried around to various prison facilities, put in cold cells, and not even allowed a change of clothes at least in her first 6 days of detention. Israeli-Palestinian lawmaker Ahmad Tibi tweeted yesterday (Hebrew):
‘Ahed Tamimi aged 16 is detained for 6 days and despite the decision of the court President to provide her clothes, this has not been done. “The system” is exacting revenge’. 
That ‘revenge’ is the ‘price’ that the system is now ‘exacting’ upon Ahed Tamimi and her family. It is happening in the darkness of cold cells, where there are no cameras or witnesses. And Ben Caspit has been a part of the incitement leading to all this.