Liberal Zionists can’t talk about the shooting of Mohammed Tamimi
|James North and Philip Weiss on January 13, 2018|
As everyone knows, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi slapped a heavily-armed Israeli soldier occupying her property in Nabi Saleh on December 15, and was arrested a few days later. She has now spent over three weeks in prison.
What many people do not know is that the young woman’s confrontation followed within hours the shooting by an Israeli soldier of her 15-year-old cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, during a demonstration. A rubber bullet entered his head under his nose and got lodged in his skull; a family member told Al Jazeera blood poured from his head “like a fountain.”
Last week Haaretz posted a moving video, below, of an interview with Mohammed in which he states that he was going to a protest of Trump’s Jerusalem announcement on his village’s lands when he was shot by a soldier he did not see; that he underwent a six-hour operation and spent a week in a (medically-induced) coma; and that he cannot go out of the house for the next few months because he now lacks bone in part of his skull.
The liberal Zionist group J Street has now posted two anguished blogposts about Ahed Tamimi slapping the soldier. Neither mentions the injuries to Mohammed Tamimi.
The head of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, did a post on Ahed Tamimi in late December that related mixed feelings about the episode, but expressed greater sympathy for the Israeli soldiers than for the young Palestinian:
On the one hand, we truly honor and respect the individual men and women – teenagers and young adults really – who day-in and day-out serve their country dutifully in the Israel Defense Forces.
We can relate to the love and respect that every Israeli family has for their teenage children who are sent to carry out difficult and dangerous assignments put on their young shoulders by the nation’s leaders – whether they agree with them or not.
On the other, we feel compelled to criticize and fight the very policies that these brave young men and women are enforcing – often at great personal risk – every single day.
No mention of Mohammed Tamimi.
A few days ago, J Street did a second post on the case that was more sympathetic to Ahed Tamimi: “What I learned in Ahed Tamimi’s living room,” by Rabbi Hannah Goldstein of Temple Sinai in Washington DC. The rabbi met the Tamimi family last summer. On the one hand, the Tamimis reminded her of protesters in Birmingham, Alabama — “victims of dogs and fire hoses who were part of America’s awakening to the injustice of the Jim Crow South.”
But Goldstein also had misgivings about what she called the Tamimi parents’ willingness to expose their children to risk, and she concluded by equating Palestinian children and Israeli soldiers.
It was challenging to sit in the living room of a person [Bassem Tamimi] who had been involved in violent uprisings before embracing a new strategy of resistance. A person who makes videos that promote a kind of anti-Zionism that can so easily cross over into anti-Semitism and make the world a more dangerous place for Jews. It was difficult to imagine encouraging one’s children to throw stones at soldiers. And it was disturbing to watch the Israeli military respond with tear gas and violent arrests.
Likely, all of them were teenagers. . . . I do know that the occupation drafts teenagers on both sides into a war that they should not be waging – with little hope for an end in sight.
No mention of teenager Mohammed Tamimi, shot in the face, and surely requiring a lot of reconstructive surgery, with bones grafted on to his skull, so that he might lead a semblance of a normal life.
Mohammed Tamimi in a hospital in Ramallah in mid-December after a bullet was removed from his head. Photo posted on Al Jazeera.
P.S. Bret Stephens of the New York Times likes to say that Trump’s December 6 Jerusalem announcement has not roiled the Arab world, as feared. The Tamimi case shows that it has roiled Palestine. Yesterday marked another day of demonstrations against Trump’s recognition.