Feb 14 2018

AHED TAMINI – TWO FACED HYPOCRISY

 

We are posting this article by Tony Greenstein about the Ahed Tamini Affair. It was first posted at:- https://www.weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1189/two-faced-hypocrisy/

 

TWO-FACED HYPOCRISY

 

Ahed Tamimi: her treatment highlights the true nature of Zionism

Over the past month a 16-year-old girl, Ahed Tamimi, has become a Palestinian heroine compared to Joan of Arc. Israeli Zionists – both ‘doves’ and ‘hawks’ – were in uproar when on December 15 Ahed was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier. He had invaded the grounds of Ahed’s house in the village of Nabi Saleh, a militant village of around 600 people, about 12 miles from Ramallah. It is a village that has seen its lands and even its sole freshwater spring confiscated by the nearby settlement of Halamish.

Violence against Palestinians is taken for granted. But the slapping of an Israeli soldier? This was a shock to the Israeli psyche – a national humiliation and completely unacceptable. A teenage girl challenging a heavily armed soldier and forcing him out of the grounds of her house caused national apoplexy.

The fact that Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin Mohammed had been shot in the face with a rubber bullet half an hour before and had to be put in an induced coma in order to survive was not, of course, made much of in Israel. Such things happen. Death or serious injury of Palestinian children is not a matter of any great interest. But slapping a soldier? This is completely unacceptable to the Herrenvolk.

The reaction of leading Israeli politicians was as if a stake had been driven through the heart of Zionism. ‘Culture’ minister Miri Regev – a virulent racist who has compared Israel’s African refugees to ‘cancer’ and who subsequently apologised to cancer victims1 – was livid. “When I watched that, I felt humiliated, I felt crushed,” she said. The incident was “damaging to the honour of the military and the state of Israel”.2

Naftali Bennett, the far-right racist who masquerades as education minister, was full of righteous anger. Ahed and her fellows should “finish their lives in prison” he said.3 A life sentence for a slap! Of course, no Israeli Jewish child should suffer such a penalty: it is the Untermenschen who must be taught to respect their masters.

Michael Oren MK, the former ambassador to the United Nations, had a different take on the matter. The problem was that Ahed Tamimi not only wears western clothes, as opposed to traditional Arab dress, but she is white with blonde hair. This poses a problem. She might be mistaken for a Nordic Aryan. Even worse, people in the west might identify with her. Oren claimed that Ahed had been dressed by her family in western clothes. The Tamimi family were suspected, with their “blond hair, freckles and western clothes”, of not being ‘real’ Palestinians.

Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, who has been arrested many times and even tortured, asked:

How did such a fool get to be your ambassador to the United States? How does the state of Israel allow such a thing? If that’s your elite, I’m not sure how you manage to beat us … The fourth strongest army in the world is afraid of a family and a girl … When your enemy is angry and nervous, it means you’re on the right track.4

The Zionist reaction is, of course, understandable because Palestinians are sub-human in Israeli eyes and as such do not have western-style families or the kind of emotional attachment we are used to. According to deputy defence minister Eli Dahan, they are “animals”.5

‘Liberal’ journalist Ben Caspit had a slightly more sophisticated approach. He wrote in Maariv: “In the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity – in the dark, without witnesses and cameras.”6 This has been widely interpreted as a call to sexually abuse Ahed – and we know that she has been verbally and physically abused by women prisoners in her many shuttles between different Israeli prisons.

One of the charges being presented at my hearing against expulsion from the Labour Party is calling MP Louise Ellman a supporter of Israeli child abuse. This execrable woman, vice-chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, defended Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children in a debate in the House of Commons in January 2016.7 The treatment of Ahed and other Palestinian children has not even been mentioned by those intrepid fighters against ‘anti-Semitism’, the JLM. Always eager to conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, the British wing of the Israeli Labor Party has gone silent over the treatment of Palestinian children – including, of course, the proposed expulsion of African refugees from Israel.

Harsh treatment

Shortly after the slapping incident Ahed was arrested. Heavily armed soldiers arrived in the early hours of the morning at her house, dragged her out of bed, handcuffed and blindfolded her and took her to a military detention centre. There was a determination by the military and political echelons that this slight 16-year-old would be made to pay for having humiliated the Zionist military machine.

By all accounts her treatment in custody has been harsh. She has been kept in cold cells, without access to her parents (her mother too was arrested when trying to visit her) or a lawyer, deprived of sleep and sanitary products. To understand the racism involved, compare this to an Israeli Jewish child living in a settlement on the West Bank, who would have immediate access to a lawyer, their parents and social workers. There would be no question of being shackled. And slapping a policeman or soldier? This would not even be considered a crime. But then Ahed’s real crime is being a Palestinian and resisting the occupation.

On the evening of December 28, family members and friends of Ahed gathered in the courtroom at Ofer military camp. Gaby Lasky, the Tamimis’ lawyer, reminded the court of “the right to resist the invasion of one’s home” and “right to object to occupation.” While those like the Tamimis are being prosecuted for assault, incitement and violence, there was no mention of the soldiers’ violence during the trial, nor the fact that they were on land that is deemed to be occupied in international law. This is a military court where there is a conviction rate of 99.74%. In the West Bank there are two legal systems and two different court systems.

But, despite her ordeal, Ahed has not lost her sense of humour. At one remand hearing the judge asked her how she hit the soldier, to which she replied that if they took her handcuffs off she would be happy to demonstrate!

Ahed is one of over 300 Palestinian children who are currently detained by Israel. The images of Ahed’s “calm, precocious face, framed by the obdurate shoulders of uniformed guards, go round the world, radiating strength and resistance”.8

Ben Ehrenreich wrote in The Nation that the slapping has revealed Israel to the world as a bully and exposed “a hideous nerve” in Israeli society. Israelis are in “sheer denial”that their country has any responsibility for the “humiliation, violence, and terror of the occupation”.9

The Tamimi case has also exposed the utter paralysis of liberal Zionists, their inability to face what Israel has become.10 Phillip Weiss has noted that “the main response of liberal Zionists has been silence”. The three leading liberal Zionist organisations – Americans for Peace Now, the New Israel Fund and J Street – have had almost nothing to say about the case.

But, when they do have something to say about it, they praise the Israeli soldiers for not responding violently to Ahed Tamimi. Peace Now called the soldiers “heroes”. The reason for this closing of ranks by liberal Zionists is because they too are signed up to a Jewish state. They too accept the logic that such a state implies.

J Street is the leading liberal Zionist group. When it finally got around to mentioning the case, its leader, Jeremy Ben-Ami, wrote an anguished piece saying that the case exposes the “tragedy” of the conflict.11 As Weiss notes, the most prominent emotion in Ben-Ami’s article is “pride” in the Israeli soldier, whose “restraint prevented the situation from deteriorating further”. Ben-Ami did not mention the shooting of Tamimi’s cousin, nor the calls for violence against Tamimi. He did not demand that Israel should free Ahed Tamimi.

Contrast this with Gideon Levy’s fiercely argued support for Ahed in Ha’aretz. He asked “How is it that Israelis are totally indifferent to the plight of the blonde girl behind bars who could easily be their child?” As Levy notes,

Yet even Ahed Tamimi’s non-Arab appearance hasn’t managed to touch any hearts here. The wall of dehumanisation and demonisation that has been built through vile campaigns of incitement, propaganda and brain-washing against the Palestinians has trumped even the blonde from Nabi Saleh.

She could be your daughter, or your neighbour’s daughter, yet the abuse she suffers rouses no feelings of solidarity, compassion or basic humanity. After the outburst of anger over what she dared to do came the imperviousness. She’s a terrorist. She couldn’t have been our daughter; she’s a Palestinian.12

Feminism

A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Feminist silence over Ahed Tamimi exposes the racist consensus at the heart of western feminism’.13 In over a decade of blogging it has been my most popular article, attracting some 105,000 hits. Why? Possibly the guilty conscience of western feminists, who are all too aware of their own oppression as women, but fail to see the interconnections with the oppression of other women for whom their gender is not the totality of what it means to be oppressed.

Western feminism operates on the basis that there is a system called patriarchy, an all-encompassing oppression of women by men, whilst failing to account for the fact that women are divided by class, race, ethnicity and colour. Women living under the heel of imperialism or colonialism are thus not only oppressed as women, but as colonised people.

For women such as Ahed Tamimi or her mother, Nariman, the primary oppression they experience is not at the hands of the males in their family, but from Israeli soldiers, regardless of sex. Who, for example, could doubt that for a Rohinga woman the experience of being driven out of Burma (often with the help of Israeli arms) is more immediate and dangerous than the oppression they experience in their relationship with men? Or that the primary experience of Jewish women in the camps of Nazi Germany was not that of Jewish men, but the Nazi state? There is no evidence I have seen that Nazi guards who were female shared any sisterhood with Jewish women.

The relationship between feminism, racism and imperialism has been a vexed one for over 30 years. When the issue of Zionism first manifested itself in the pages of Spare Rib, the magazine of women’s liberation, in 1982, at the time of the invasion of Lebanon, it split the editorial collective in two. An article, ‘Women speak out against Zionism’, caused an explosion of fury amongst Zionist feminists, who asserted that support for the Palestinians and Lebanese was a form of anti-Semitism (shades of the Labour Party today!).

The debate has not gone away for the simple reason that, not only do different women experience different forms of oppression, but women can themselves be both the oppressors of other women and oppressed themselves by virtue of their gender. Although gender oppression will be felt most acutely by women who are least oppressed by virtue of class or race, it is of lesser importance to women for whom their status as an ethnic or racial minority is primary.

Can anyone doubt that in Israel Jewish women – like white women in apartheid South Africa before it – identify first and foremost with the system of racial supremacy they were born into? Racial oppression cuts across gender and thus we see, for example, in the United States that a majority of white women voted for Donald Trump despite his overt misogyny. They identified with his attacks on Mexicans and Latinos, amongst others.

In response to my own article, many women have argued that anti-colonial resistance had nothing to do with feminism.

Notes

  1. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-lawmaker-miri-regev-heaven-forbid-we-compare-africans-human-beings.
  2. www.nbcnews.com/news/world/palestinian-girl-ahed-tamimi-praised-hero-after-confronting-soldiers-n831571.
  3. www.haaretz.com/israel-news/idf-arrests-palestinian-teen-girl-who-slapped-soldiers-1.5629071.
  4. www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-ahed-tamimi-s-family-ridicules-israel-s-secret-probe-of-their-identity-1.5765380.
  5. www.timesofisrael.com/new-deputy-defense-minister-called-palestinians-animals.
  6. www.maariv.co.il/journalists/Article-614459;http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/should-israeli-journalist.
  7. http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/louise-ellman-mp-for-liverpool.html.
  8. http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/liberal-zionists-nothing/
  9. www.thenation.com/article/ahed-tamimi-has-become-the-symbol-of-a-new-generation-of-palestinian-resistance.
  10. http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/ending-crisis-zionism.
  11. http://jstreet.org/thoughts-tamimi-case-answer-isnt-arresting-16-year-old-girl-ending-50-year-occupation/#.Wno1CXzLiHt.
  12. www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-and-if-she-were-your-daughter-1.5630005.
  13. http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/feminist-silence-over-ahed-tamimi.html.

____________

also see:-

HOW TERRORISM CREATED MODERN ISRAEL

 

ANTI-SEMITISM HAS NEVER BEEN A PROBLEM FOR ZIONISM

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Feb 11 2018

TRUMP AND THE LEFT IN THE USA

Eric Chester wrote  the following article on Trump and the Left. It was originally posted on the Utopian e-zine

 

 

TRUMP AND THE LEFT IN THE USA

Resisting the Trump presidency has lead many on the broad Left to focus on electing Democrats. However, is Trump the central problem confronting us, or is he just a crude manifestation of the fundamental problem, a global capitalist system that is spiralling downward and veering out of control? Continue reading “TRUMP AND THE LEFT IN THE USA”

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Sep 20 2017

ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL and DON’T ABANDON THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE

In the first posted article article Pink Floyd performer, Roger Waters, highlights the attempts being made to close down the increasingly successful Boycott, Divestment and sanctions Campaign in the USA.

In the second  article, Tony Greenstein provides an analysis of what is going on the Labour Party over Palestine. Despite the change of leadership under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s desperate record when it comes to internationalism, appears to be holding up. This is becoming ever clearer, as Corbyn backtracks on support for Palestinian self-determination, in the face of Israeli state and right wing pressure. This does not augur well for any future Corbyn government. In the first article, Tony Greenstein provides an analysis of what is going on.

1. ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL – CONGRESS SHOULDN’T SILENCE HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES 

 

Roger Waters at Israel’s apartheid wall

Members of Congress are currently considering a bill that threatens to silence the growing support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian freedom and human rights, known as BDS. This draconian bill, the Israeli Anti-Boycott Act threatens individuals and businesses who actively participate in boycott campaigns in support of Palestinian rights conducted by international governmental organizations with up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Continue reading “ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL and DON’T ABANDON THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE”

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Jul 08 2017

DURHAM MINERS’ GALA – BIG MEETING GETS BIGGER

The 133rd Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday 8th July will see some 150,000 march through the ancient city. Dave Douglass, ex-miner and author of Stardust and Coaldust autobiographical trilogy looks at its  history and the ongoing significance.

 

BIG MEETING GETS BIGGER

 

 

A day of looking back and looking forward

Crowds are now back to the size they were in the immediate post-war years following nationalisation, when they celebrated the defeat of the hated private coal-owners. This mother of all miners’ galas, featuring both picnics and demonstrations, was the labour movement’s most prestigious public platform. The miners formed the bedrock among the proletarian, trade union and socialist ranks; they made up an army of labour that was strategically placed in terms of their bargaining power and influence – the politics of coal dictated much of politics per se. The position of the miners in the class war sent waves across the broad labour movement. Continue reading “DURHAM MINERS’ GALA – BIG MEETING GETS BIGGER”

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Jul 07 2017

NO G20, NO UK – SCOTLAND GOES TO HAMBURG

The SSP was involved in leading the socialist opposition to the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005. Connor Beaton is currently representing the Scottish Socialist Party at the anti-G20 protest in Hamburg. Here is his report posted on the SSP blog. (https://scottishsocialistparty.org/no-g20-no-uk-scotland-goes-hamburg/)

 

NO G20, NO UK – SCOTLAND GOES TO HAMBURG

 

The Scottish Socialist Party is proudly supporting and participating in the massive mobilisation against the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany this weekend.

Thousands of people from outwith Germany – a handful of SSP members among them – have responded to the call of Hamburg-based organisers for a bold, broad and borderless display of resistance to the latest international demagogues convention.

SUMMIT OF REPRESSION

When the likes of May, Trump, Putin and Erdoğan meet in Hamburg, they will be a stone’s throw from the city’s traditionally autonomist and progressive Sternschanze and St Pauli districts, where locals view the imposition of the summit as provocative, undemocratic and violent. Continue reading “NO G20, NO UK – SCOTLAND GOES TO HAMBURG”

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Jul 07 2017

TWO REVOLUTIONS?

Steve Freeman reports on the politics displayed at the Left Unity Party’s conference held on June 24th in London. This was first published as a letter in Weekly Worker (http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1162/letters/)

 

TWO REVOLUTIONS?

Jeremy quite happy with the Crown

On June 24, Left Unity members met in conference to consider the way ahead in the next period. Members are aware of the powerful forces pulling the party to the right. But conference revealed a struggle over whether the party should respond by moving to the right or shifting to the left. The general election sharpened up the issues. Should Left Unity carry on as before, or join the ‘Corbyn revolution’, or become the party of ‘democratic revolution’?

A resolution from Birmingham says: “The ‘Corbyn revolution’ has for the foreseeable future closed the electoral space to the left of Labour.” It has “unleashed expectations which can’t be met within the confines of the existing structures of the Labour Party”. This will spill onto the streets, in campaigns and communities. Like a whirlpool, this ‘revolution’ is pulling LU down the plug. Continue reading “TWO REVOLUTIONS?”

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Jul 07 2017

ADDRESS TO THE LEFT UNITY CONFERENCE ON JUNE 24th

Allan Armstrong was delegated at the RISE National Forum held in Edinburgh on 8th April to be its representative at the LUP conference on May 20th. Due to the General Election this was postponed to June 24th. Attached is the full version of the talk he prepared for the conference held in London. In the event, because of time constraints, the oral version was slightly abridged.

This was first posted on the LUP blog:- http://leftunity.org/rise-speaker-addresses-lu-conference/

ADDRESS TO THE LEFT UNITY CONFERENCE ON JUNE 24th

I would like to thank the LUP for providing me with the time to address your conference as a visiting representative from RISE.

Many of you here today are old enough to remember the heyday of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), which had a considerable impact throughout the UK. The SSP united the overwhelming majority of socialists in Scotland and at its height had 6 MSPs. It inspired the Socialist Alliance (SA) in England and Wales. Although the SP and the SWP managed to sabotage the SA the SSP’s downfall was an almost entirely Scottish affair. This can be largely laid at the feet of a certain Tommy Sheridan.

After 2004, socialists in Scotland were very divided. IndyRef1, though, provided an opportunity for socialists to regain political influence. Young socialists, largely unaffected by ‘Tommygate’, initiated the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) in 2012. This coalition, or united front, brought together, not only many of the previously divided socialists, but the Left in the SNP and the Greens and a majority not involved in any party. Continue reading “ADDRESS TO THE LEFT UNITY CONFERENCE ON JUNE 24th”

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Apr 25 2017

TURKEY – IT’S NOT OVER YET

This article by Even Uslu, a Turkish communist, exposes the fraud  involved in Recep Erdogan’s recent referendum designed to concentrate power in the Turkish Presidency.

TURKEY – IT’S NOT OVER YET

THE AKP GOVERNMENT IS IN CRISIS FOLLOWING THE RIGGED REFERENDUM 

Celebrating amid the fraud

The shambles that followed the April 16 referendum to amend the constitution confirmed the widely held expectations of the left: president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to gain sufficient support for the amendments giving the president huge powers, and have resorted to wide-scale voting fraud. Continue reading “TURKEY – IT’S NOT OVER YET”

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Apr 07 2017

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND

Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance and the Left Unity Party draws on the revolutionary democratic political tradition in England, linking the Levellers, the Chartists and the Suffragettes. He outlines its strengths compared with the social democratic and economist political tradition of Labour and most of the British Left sects. Steve argues that Socialists should be championing the revolutionary democratic tradition today.

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND

“Westminster? It’s old, defunct, a waste of time. I hate the place” – Mhairi Black MP *

Westminster does not look or work any better from the inside or the outside. In May 1991 Tony Benn MP proposed fundamental reform. He introduced the Commonwealth of Britain Bill in the House of Commons, intended to make Britain a federal republic. The current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP seconded the Bill. The Bill’s first hurdle on the parliamentary road to a republic was to get permission from the Queen to submit it to the Commons. Then there has to be majorities in the Commons, Lords and then finally with the royal assent the Bill becomes law.
Continue reading “THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND”

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Apr 06 2017

RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN STATEMENT – DEFEND DEMOCRACY

The Radical Independence Campaign has produced this new statement following Theresa May’s rejection of the right of the the Holyrood Parliament to hold a second Scottish independence referendum. 

 

DEFEND DEMOCRACY

 

The election of Trump, the chaotic handling of Brexit by an unelected Tory leader, and the ongoing crisis of the global economy, we believe our message is needed more than ever.

RIC will argue for a People’s Independence. The 99% have the most to lose from ongoing Tory rule from Westminster. Their votes will decide the referendum, and RIC will provide a platform to amplify their voices. We will be discussing new ideas for the coming campaign, rather than simply repeating our work from the last referendum. The situation has changed dramatically since 2014 – that means our tactics and approach must also change.
Continue reading “RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN STATEMENT – DEFEND DEMOCRACY”

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