May 25, 2020

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14-Feb-19: A prince, a princess, four Tamimis – and murderous violence
Image Source | February 6, 2019: Ahed Tamimi is the speaker.
Princess Rym Ali is seated in the front row

Ahed Tamimi, a young Palestinian Arab woman from Nabi Saleh, a hamlet a few kilometers from our Jerusalem home [“17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns“] has been busy traveling and speaking to attentive crowds these past few months.

Just before she started an eight month sentence in an Israeli prison a year ago, the result of a plea bargain her handlers made with the authorities, we noted here [“24-Dec-17: Nabi Saleh, the media and a Tamimi child’s journey“] that she is

the young woman many call Shirley Temper, a photogenic performer who for at least eight years now has been the central figure in a long-running propaganda performance orchestrated by her father Bassem Tamimi and his publicity business, Tamimi Press.

Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s manager/father and long-time producer/director, asserted some months back [“Palestinian Ahed Tamimi ‘banned from travelling abroad’“] that Israel was standing in the way of the globetrotting he had in mind for her. Yet somehow the young woman, frequently referred to via overblown noms-de-guerre (“Palestine’s Joan of Arc“, “Ahed Tamimi, Palestinian protest icon“, “I know I am a symbol of Palestinian resistance“), managed to pull-off well-publicized visits to Spain, France, Tunisia, Greece and Jordan in September and October 2018. She became the subject of a photo spread in the October 2018 Arabic version of Vogue magazine along the way.

She’s been busy. And the drum-beating and orchestrating have paid dividends.

After years of wildly zig-zagging media estimates of her age [outlined here: “28-Dec-17: So how old is the Tamimi girl?“], there’s little doubt she’s now come of age and is an adult for all legal purposes (her 18th birthday was two weeks ago). This may become relevant if she repeats or enlarges on calls for more Arab-on-Israeli thuggery like those she made in front of her mother’s Tamimi Press video camera [“04-Feb-18: The embarrassing violence of Ahed Tamimi and its fig-leafers“] a year ago.

Meanwhile, she’s turned up again in Jordan where she gave a speech a few days ago, asserting in some little publicized comments

that the Palestinian people’s struggle is to obtain their freedom, and not to gain the world’s sympathy or compassion. During a meeting with the Jordan Media Institute’s (JMI) students, in the presence of JMI founder HRH Princess Rym, Tamimi added that she works to convey a message for the need to support Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom and national unity. She also explained that she was subjected to various psychological and physical pressures both during the 16 days of investigations, and after being transferred to prison. She said she underwent deprivation of sleep and food, as well as threats to arrest or kill her relatives… [“Ahed Tamimi addresses students at Jordan Media Institute“, Jordan Times, February 6, 2019]

There’s similar coverage in Jordan’s Arabic media here and here as well as on the website of her hosts, the Jordan Media Institute. About that last entity, we have some experience.

The JMI’s English language report mentions only in passing Nariman Tamimi, Bassem’s wife and Ahed’s mother, who was in attendance. The Arabic version (but not the English) adds this somewhat repulsive piece of Tamimi self-promotion:

As for the anti-public campaign against Ahed, her mother Nariman al-Tamimi pointed out that the great support for Ahed came because of the spread of the video [Nariman’s video] slapping the Israeli soldier and Ahed Tamimi’s ability to resist in spite of all circumstances… adding that her constant contact with media professionals over the past ten years to contribute to the promotion of justice in the Palestinian cause has helped increase support for Ahed… [Jordan Media Institute – Arabic language report of the Tamimi event on their premises, February 6, 2019]

Think about that. The mother seems to be boasting about the fact (and it is a fact) that she and husband Bassem Tamimi began grooming their daughter to be a fist-thrusting, slogan-spouting, street activist and provocateur from when the child, already blonde and still somewhat Western looking, was a very vulnerable 8 years old. In most places, this would be viewed as child abuse and the parents as derelict and likely culpable criminally.

But Nariman Tamimi’s ethics, whether as a mother or any of the other things she calls herself, descend to greater depths. She has no qualms, for instance, supporting the murderous violence of her cousin, the bomber Ahlam Tamimi. In her own words

…What she [Ahlam Tamimi] did was an integral part of the struggle. Everyone fights in the manner in which he believes. There is armed uprising, and there is popular uprising. I support every form of uprising… [“11-Sep-15: How devoted to non-violence are the villagers of Nabi Saleh really?“]

Ahlam Tamimi returned the favour a year ago [“05-Jan-18: In Jordan, the FBI fugitive Ahlam Tamimi pays tribute to her slapping/taunting/kicking Tamimi cousin“]. Standing before a Jordanian audience, flanked by Jordanian dignitaries including a former Jordanian prime minister, she praised Nariman’s daughter Ahed Tamimi who had been detained by Israeli authorities (Nariman was too) some days before. Both were facing charges and an Israeli prison sentence. Somewhat vaguely (based on the reports we saw), Ahlam Tamimi congratulated Ahed Tamimi for “breathing new life” into the cause of female prisoners and children prisoners.

We remarked on how disturbing it was to see

…very prominent Jordanians, members of the country’s political elite, [who] have no problem sharing a public platform with a confessed killer of Israeli children who is also an FBI fugitive and the subject of American efforts to have her extradited to the US to face serious federal charges. Can you imagine this happening anywhere else? She’s a wanted criminal but not in Jordan where she’s a hero. [Source]

Most readers of this blog know Ahlam Tamimi [“17-Nov-11: A monster walks the streets and she has many accomplices“] confesses repeatedly, publicly and with evident pride to being the mastermind of the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria massacre where 16 innocent Jews, among them our daughter Malki, were killed. Ahlam Tamimi was serving a prison sentence of 16 consecutive life terms right up until the catastrophic Shalit Deal that Israel transacted with Hamas in 2011.

That’s when she was freed and returned to the land of her birth: Jordan.

We have written hundreds of blog posts and op eds about Ahlam Tamimi, who was born in Jordan and lives there today – not in hiding but out in the open. She has become a celebrity [“24-Nov-18: How Jordan’s mainstream media showcase a couple of role-model jihadist murderers“] who speaks often in public forums and on Jordan’s media. She is a fugitive from the FBI, charged by the US Department of Justice with Federal crimes and with a $5 million reward for her capture and conviction. She is the subject of an extradition request which the Jordanian government has rejected [“20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom’s courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over“], notwithstanding the extradition treaty that has been in effect between the two countries since 1995.
It’s interesting to us that of all the possible venue options, Ahed Tamimi was a guest last week at the Jordan Media Institute. It’s also striking that Princess Rym Ali, a former CNN on-camera reporter before she married into the Hashemite royal family, was there, seated in the front row.

This reminded us of how the princess’ husband, Prince Ali bin Hussein who is the half brother of Jordan’s ruler, posted a Tweet emotionally urging support for… Ahed Tamimi in December 2017 before she went to prison. (Posted here; archived here.) Ahed is no Jordanian and most other Jordanian royals seem to have wisely taken care not to get entangled with the Tamimi clan.

We have had disturbing experiences with the JMI and the unique interplay of professional aspiration and tolerance for extreme violence that we believe the school represents.

We’re referring to how we discovered four years ago, and then did our best to publicize, that the very privileged students of this prestigious institution had publicly declared Ahlam Tamimi – the boastful Hamas agent who set out to kill as many Jewish children as possible and succeeded – as their “success model”. We ended up persuading several of the school’s international funders, including some governments, to drop their support. But we never succeeded in getting the school’s management to respond to us, or to be open about what we had discovered. Their preference was to engage in a rather sad and pathetic cover-up.

The details are in the posts below:

What happened at the Jordan Media Institute and the scandalous way it was hushed up by its management ought to be factored into people’s thinking when they wonder about the state of democracy, human rights and terrorism in the Arab world.
Given the strange role played by an ambitious school like JMI, this seems a good time to be thinking about how very badly journalism serves the Palestinian Arabs (most Jordanians can be described that way). And how their reporters and their editors fare under the thumb of the powers that be.
Screen capture from the Gatehouse site

A typically incisive article today by Khaled Abu Toameh for the Gatestone Institute gives some exposure to the plight of a young woman working as a reporter in the Hamas-afflicted Gaza Strip:

Hajer Harb… is currently standing trial before a court in the Gaza Strip for exposing corruption in Hamas-run ministries and institutions. Harb, a cancer survivor, has been repeatedly summoned for interrogation by Hamas security forces for her role in reporting on corruption in medical and housing institutions… She is accused of “failing to display objectivity, fairness and accuracy” in her reporting… Instead of interrogating and prosecuting the corrupt officials whose identities were mentioned in her reporting, Harb is the one who is now standing trial for telling the truth. Her lawyer, Baker al-Turkumani, described the charges against her as “flimsy.” The charges, he said, are an “assault on the freedom of the media and expression, which are protected by the law. The law and justice are the journalist’s weapon against corruption. The law cannot be used to limit the work of a journalist or freedom of expression.” [“Palestinians: “Journalism” Hamas Style“, Gatestone Institute website, February 14, 2019]

Abu Toamah unpacks the Hamas charges against the reporter and calls them disingenuous and laughable:

It is disingenuous because it is coming from Hamas — a group for whom the terms objectivity and accuracy are wholly inimical. It is laughable because it allows Hamas to set the standards for objectivity and accuracy… For Hamas, objectivity in the media means that journalists shut their mouths about their leaders and government officials. For Hamas, “accuracy” means that a journalist working in the Gaza Strip will show Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the worst possible light — regardless of the facts.

He’s no less blunt about Hamas’ rivals, the Abbas-controlled Fatah/PA:

Since the beginning of this year, the Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested 10 Palestinian journalists in the West Bank for their “negative” reporting and alleged criticism of Abbas and other senior Palestinian figures… The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate regularly chooses totally to ignore the plight of the journalists arrested by the Palestinian Authority security forces. The only evils the Syndicate sees are those that can be linked to Hamas or Israel. That is because its heads and senior staff are affiliated with Abbas’s Fatah faction… Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, with the help of its associates in the syndicate, is apparently seeking to control the news and narrative to make sure that journalists direct their criticism only against Israel. Like Hamas, the Palestinian Authority has been relatively successful in its effort to limit the flow of information from areas under its control. A Palestinian journalist living in Ramallah will think at least a dozen times before he or she writes or says a word that could rile Abbas or one of his senior officials.

Ahlam Tamimi boasting about her life as a Hamas terrorist
[Image Source: Video capture from Kuwaiti TV]

A great shame that all those ‘activists’ agitating for ‘Free Palestine’, for BDS and for “Palestinian rights” don’t direct their energies, criticisms and fury at the two ham-fisted Palestinian Arab regimes that bear almost all the responsibility for what’s wrong with the lives of the people living under their boots.

And for the extreme violence that many people think about when the word “Palestinian” enters the discussion.

Also a great shame that the Ahed Tamimi phenomenon continues to get so much unjustified backing in parts of the Arab world where a little more inward-focused retrospection would do so much more for the problems that beset their lives.

And ours too.

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