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Humans

The unbearable double standards of the Israeli occupation   

April 16th, 2018
in: Humans
by: Ithamar Handelman Smith
located in: Israel
tags: Ahed Tamimi, occupation, Palestine

Last December, right-wing Israeli cynics were horrified by the "crime" of the 17 year old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi.  Tamimi slapped an Israeli army officer in the face while he was invading her front yard, just moments after another Israeli soldier of the same unit shot and severely wounded her 15 year old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, at close range with a rubber-coated steel bullet.

While Tamimi, arrested at her Nabi Salih home at night just after the incident and detained in an Israeli prison ever since, the Hebron settler Yifat Alkobi, after countless documented attacks on both Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, including breaking the teeth of a 9 year old Palestinian child, has never been detained or tried. This is only one of many examples. But, while Tamimi belongs to the oppressed, occupied side, Alkobi represents all the ugliness and unbearable double standards of the Israeli occupation. 

The cynicism with which the right-wing Israeli and international media portray Tamimi as the "poster girl" of the Palestinian popular struggle is horrifying. She is not a “poster girl” or a tool in the war of symbols, but is simply the real thing. Ahed Tamimi did to the soldiers who invaded her home what until now was reserved only for national orthodox settler girls like Alkobi and other far right Israeli activists. The biggest difference between them is that Tamimi struggles for a very just cause while settler girls are fighting for a mad messianic ideal. And of course, Tamimi was arrested, and the settlers rarely are.

Ahed Tamimi is a hero. What is a hero? A hero is a person who does not settle for words alone but gets up and acts, even at the price of risking his or her life, for a higher cause. Ahed Tamimi, showed unimaginable courage to stand alone in front of heavily armed Israeli officers. She has already been compared (even amongst Israelis) to other female heroes throughout history, from Joan of Arc to Emmeline Pankhurst. If there is any hope in this horrific ordeal, it is that Ahed Tamimi is the future. One day Ahed Tamimi will be free and I have no doubt that she will grow up to be a new kind of Palestinian leader.

Talking about leaders of a different kind, Ahed Tamimi’s story brings to mind the Polish Jewish solidarity movement leader, the great late Marek Edelman. In his youth, Edelman was one of the leaders of the Bund (the Jewish Labor Bund, a secular Jewish socialist party in Eastern Europe before the Second World War). Later on, during the dark years of the holocaust, Edelman was Mordechai Anielewicz’s deputy in the leadership of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the de facto commander after the death of Anielewicz. After the war, Edelman returned to his hometown of Lodz, Poland, where he served as a cardiologist for 30 years. He was also a well-known critic of the Communist regime and became one of the main figures of Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement. On his death in 2009, Edelman, a truly important historical figure in any aspect, received a Polish state funeral, but his life and death have been completely ignored by the Israeli state. Why? Well, Mark Edelman was an avowed anti-Zionist to begin with. He also strongly opposed the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories (while condemning Palestinian terrorism as well). But, statements such as the one cited at the beginning of this article have led to Israel's disregard of Edelman at best, and at worst made him a "persona non grata" in the Zionist State. And so, while Aneilewicz is held as a national hero with streets and even a Kibutz bearing his name, Edelman is virtually forgotten by Israeli society.How come Edelman is not part of the Israeli narrative? Because people whose hearts are cold with the imprisonment of a 17-year-old girl who protected her house with her bare hands against armed soldiers cannot uphold a person like Edelman. Too many Israelis are either indifferent to or support the imprisonment of Tamimi. Their understanding of Judaism was not Edelman's Judaism.

Article written by:
Ithamar Handelman Smith
Author
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This is only one of many examples.
Embed from Getty Images
The cynicism with which the right-wing Israeli and international media portray Tamimi as the "poster girl" of the Palestinian popular struggle is horrifying.
Embed from Getty Images
Ahed Tamimi is a hero. What is a hero? A hero is a person who does not settle for words alone but gets up and acts, even at the price of risking his or her life, for a higher cause.

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