NGO Campaigns for Ahed Tamimi, and Against the Rights of Children
Today (February 13), Ahed Tamimi’s trial begins. She is charged with assaulting a soldier, incitement to terrorism, among at least nine other charges; some of her alleged crimes were caught on video, others on social media, including comments that “Whether it is stabbings or martyrdom operations or throwing stones, everyone must do his part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine.”
A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been participating in a campaign celebrating and defending Tamimi. Despite the video evidence, they insist that Israel has no grounds for trying and imprisoning her. Although these NGOs claim to promote human rights and the rule of law generally, and protect the rights of children specifically, in Ahed Tamimi’s case they ignore the exploitation and recruitment of children as “soldiers” in a propaganda war against Israel.
Support for Tamimi is also part of a broader campaign accusing Israel of “systematically” violating children’s rights.
As demonstrated in NGO Monitor’s analysis, Israel’s prosecution and treatment of Tamimi falls well within international law and norms for such charges and given such conditions.
Examples from NGO Campaigns:
- Amnesty has issued multiple press releases in support of Tamimi.
- On February 12, 2018, released a media advisory calling for Israel to release Ahed Tamimi. Amnesty refers to Tamimi as an “activist” and falsely states that “the Israeli authorities have shown nothing but contempt for their obligations under international law to protect children.” As noted, Tamimi’s indictment includes charges of assaulting a soldier incitement to terror – charges which would result in similar sentencing in other Western countries (see NGO Monitor’s blog “Amnesty International ignores the Weaponization of Palestinian Children”). The media advisory further mimics language used in the Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) led “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign (see below).
- Website featured the slogan “Free Ahed Tamimi” and a call to action to “tell Prime Minister Netanyahu to release Ahed Tamimi and commit to protecting Palestinian children from detention.”
- States that “For years, she and her family have bravely stood up against the Israeli occupation.” The extended family includes Ahlam Tamimi – responsible for carrying out the 2001 Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing in Jerusalem that resulted in the 15 fatalities (half children) and 145 people injured. Her aunt, Manal Tamimi, regularly posts virulently antisemetic and violent imagery on her Twitter (see here). Her father, Bassem Tamimi, was convicted in 2012 of encouraging Palestinian youths to throw stones at Israeli soldiers. In a Facebook post, Bassem Tamimi argued that Israelis kidnap Palestinian children to steal their organs (blood libel).
- On February 12, tweeted “Ahed Tamimi has become a powerful symbol of Palestinian resistance. Before her trial tomorrow, help us put global pressure on Prime Minister @netanyahu to #FreeAhedTamimi immediately → http://amn.st/6011DPZjv #FreeAhedTamimi.”
- On February 12, 2018, Amnesty International at Cornell held a rally with Students for Justice in Palestine to free Ahed Tamimi.
Ahed Tamimi has become a powerful symbol of Palestinian resistance.
Before her trial tomorrow, help us put global pressure on Prime Minister @netanyahu to #FreeAhedTamimi immediately → https://t.co/75qOGu4vVs #FreeAhedTamimi pic.twitter.com/LAO3YZY2He
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) February 12, 2018
Today is the trial of Ahed Tamimi. She has become a powerful symbol of Palestinian resistance, and #Israel wants to punish her for that. But she is just a child who has suffered the consequences of war and violence. Call on Israel to #FreeAhedTamimi → https://t.co/75qOGu4vVs pic.twitter.com/OEn91hDmFE
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) February 13, 2018
Human Rights Watch
- On January 14, 2018, Bill Van Esveld (Senior Researcher, Children’s Rights Division) published a dispatch titled “Israeli Prosecutors Throw Book at Palestinian Child Protester,” advocating for Tamimi to receive bail.
- On February 12, 2018, Van Esveld published a dispatch titled “Palestinian Girl’s Detention Raises Rights Concerns” stating that Tamimi’s pre-trial detention is “both a violation of international law and unnecessary. Her case raises concerns that Israel’s military justice system, which detains hundreds of Palestinian children every year, is incapable of respecting children’s rights.”
- Twitter activity from Omar Shakir (Israel and Palestine Director, examples here, here, and here), Zama Neff (Director of HRW’s Child Rights Division, here), and Sarah Leah Whitson (Director of HRW’s Middle East Division, here).
Ahed Tamimi turned 17 two weeks ago. Today's she's back in military court, which treats her with contempt. @hrw on how her nearly two month pretrial detention violates int'l law & highlights entrenched discrimination in Israeli military court system https://t.co/k0lt7MqaX4 pic.twitter.com/CTE8c54Qlz
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) February 13, 2018
.@HRW – 26 days of unjustified pretrial detention of 16-year-old #AhedTamimi so #Israel can make an example out of her… Key hearing tomorrow – and chance to release her on bail https://t.co/CHkUeTd4YQ
— Sarah Leah Whitson (@sarahleah1) January 14, 2018
- On January 2, 2018 Addameer posted an article titled “Ahed Tamimi charged with assault, and several other counts,” referring to Tamimi as a “human rights defender.” The article states that “A campaign of support has already started to gain momentum, and we call on all supporters to assist in whatever way they are able….Only through concerted, international pressure can we ensure that these human rights defenders to not end up serving jail time for the crime of seeking the right of self-determination.
- Links to Avaaz campaign (see below).
- On January 18, 2018, posted an article titled “Palestinian child prisoner population doubles over last three years,” stating that “while the focus on Ahed Tamimi is important and her commitment is something that we should all admire, it is essential that there is focus on the situation for all children in the occupied Palestinian territory. Ahed Tamimi’s case, and her treatment, is not exceptional; it is, unfortunately, the norm.”
Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P)
- On January 4, 2018, Brad Parker spoke on The Real News discussing “widespread & systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees like #AhedTamimi.”
- On January 10, 2018, DCI-P tweeted “Ahed Tamimi Has Become the Symbol of a New Generation of Palestinian Resistance by @BenEhrenreich via @thenation http://bit.ly/2moczXU #FreeAhedTamimi #nowaytotreatachild.”
- On January 11, 2018, Brad Parker was interviewed on AJStream about “why Israel is jailing Palestinian minors like #AhedTamimi.”
- On January 26, 2018, tweeted “This week, Canadian MP Hélène Laverdière called on the Canadian government to press Israel to comply with international law in its treatment of Palestinian child detainees. http://bit.ly/2EaLeA6 cc @HLaverdiereNPD #nowaytotreatachild #freeahedtamimi.”
- On January 17, 2018, B’Tselem posted an article “Ahed and Nariman Tamimi remanded in custody as military prosecution requested,” referring to Israel’s enforcement of the law as “the routine of oppression that Israel employs against Palestinians.” The article does not mention the alleged crimes committed by Ahed Tamimi.
- B’Tselem spokesperson Amit Gilutz wrote a TOI blog where he failed to acknowledge the relevant legal agreements, such as the Oslo Accords, that dictate legal jurisdiction and the necessity of military courts in the West Bank. This blog similarly does not mention the allegations against Tamimi.
- On February 12, B’Tselem sent out an email about Ahed Tamimi that makes numerous false claims regarding Israel’s treatment of minors in military courts. In repeating these typical NGO claims, B’Tselem fails to tell the reader that Palestinian minors in the West Bank are tried in military courts due to jurisdictional agreements, and not based on discrimination. B’Tselem further fails to note that these courts deal only with violent crimes and that they provide the same legal guaruntees – right to remain silent, right to consult with a lawyer, etc. – awarded to Israeli minors in Israeli courts. (Email on file with NGO Monitor.)
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
- On January 26, 2018, shared the Avaaz call.
- On January 26, 2018, tweeted, “”Freeeee Ahed” (Growing number of photos & messages at http://FreeAhed.org ) JVP chapters and allies across the country are planning actions answering a call from her family and supporters to bring awareness to her detention and planned first day of trial Jan 31, her birthday.”
- On January 20, 2018, participated in the Women’s March in New York, carrying signs to “Free Ahed Free Palestine.” The event was held alongside Adalah NY and Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.
- On February 12, held “Valentines for Ahed Tamimi” where they screened “ Thank God It’s Friday,” a documentary on Palestinian villagers of Nabi Saleh who have protested every Friday against the Israeli occupation,” and “sign[ed] Valentine’s Day cards in support of 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi.”
Feb 13 is the new date for Ahed and Nariman Tamimi's trials. Where they'll be tried by their occupiers in Israeli military court with a 99% conviction rate. #FreeAhed #FreeAhedTamimi
Feb 12, noon ET tell @netanyahu to #FreeTamimiFamily
Art by @Hanz_revo https://t.co/Pw3nHASeDb pic.twitter.com/9pN0MiYmRA
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) February 12, 2018
- Campaign titled #FREEAHED: “ For the damage Ahed caused to their sense of masculinity, Israel is exacting revenge. Ahed has spent the past week and a half in various Israeli prisons. Most of her time has been in a freezing cold isolation cell with a camera monitoring her every move.”
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
- On January 4, 2018, Josh Ruebner, Policy Director for US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, wrote an article titled “American Dollars Must Not Be Spent On Ahed Tamimi’s Arrest.” According to the article, “With US munificence to Israel expanding, the very least we can do is to ensure that this assistance is not being used by Israel to abuse Palestinian children through a separate-and-unequal military court system.”
- On January 5, 2018, Leah Muskin-Pierret, USCPR Government Affairs Associate, wrote an article titled “In 2018, I resolve to dismantle the system denying Ahed Tamimi her childhood,” calling for people to contact their members of congress to aid in “tearing down Israeli apartheid” as it is “high time that we build our political power to end US complicity in Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children.”
- In a letter organized by the Florida-based group, Dream Defenders and a number of singers, authors, and actors signed a letter demanding the release of Tamimi. The letter made absurd parallels between racial profiling in the US and Israel’s military justice system, claiming that “ICE, border patrol and FBI train with Israeli soldiers, police, and border agents, utilizing similar repressive profiling tactics to target and harass our communities. Too many of our children quickly learn that they may be imprisoned or killed simply for who they are. From Trayvon Martin to Mohammed Abu Khdeir and Khalif Browder to Ahed Tamimi – racism, state violence and mass incarceration have robbed our people of their childhoods and their futures.”
Breaking the Silence
- On January 23, 2018, Yehuda Shaul wrote an article in Liberation titled “Ahed Tamimi or the impasse over the occupation of the Palestinian Territories,” stating that “ The image of Ahed Tamimi facing the soldiers is a reminder: the new generation of Palestinians will not submit. We can, we must close this chapter and start another, and give young people – on both sides – the opportunity to live in dignity, freedom and respect.”
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- On January 13, 2018, called on the public to join them to “leaflet the public to inform them and ask them to protest the imprisonment of Ahed and other child prisoners in Israeli jails.”
Rabbis for Human Rights
- On January 1, 2018, Rabbis for Human Rights wrote an article titled “THE COMPROMISING OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND ISRAEL’S STATUS IN THE WORLD,” stating that “Tamimi’s ongoing detention is receiving worldwide attention, damaging Israel’s global image.”
Stop the Wall
- In January 13, 2018, Stop the Wall held a protest in Nabi Saleh to “ask for the release of its prisoners, in particular 17 year old Ahed Tamimi, who has been taken to prison with her mother after a video that showed her a slapping a fully armed Israeli soldier went viral.”
- Held campaign to “Send Ahed a Personal Birthday Message of Support Before Her Trial Begins.”
- On January 19, 2018, tweeted “One day in prison is too long. One month is unconscionable. #FreeAhed #FreeAhedTamimi”
- On January 31, 2018, held a rally to “fight back against these extreme threats and show Ahed that the American Jewish community stands with her. Let’s show those who dehumanize Ahed that there is a global movement that will fight until all Palestinian teenagers like Ahed don’t have to spend their childhood facing the brutal reality of the Occupation on a daily basis.”
CODEPINK/Jewish Voice for Peace/Youth Against Settlements
- Held campaign to “Free the Tamimi Women.”
International Solidarity Movement
- On February 13, the day of Ahed Tamimi’s trial, ISM-NorCal will host a screening of the film “Radiance of Resistance” – a film featuring Ahed Tamimi and Janna Ayyad. Ahed Tamimi’s father, Basem Tamimi, will participate in a panel discussion following the film. Friends of Sabeel is a co-sponsor of the event.
Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB)
- IFPB delegates held a campaign to “Free Ahed” that included delegates holding signs that read “Free Ahed.” According to one delegate, “In this #MeToo moment, we support you in facing down and striking out at the most stark and menacing form of hyper-masculine violence: an army of occupation and colonization. Those who truly wish to an end to these injustices will follow your lead.”
Al-Awda/CODEPINK/Youth Against Settlements/Jewish Voice for Peace/American Muslims for Palestine
- Organized a day of action titled “Mobilization to Free Ahed Tamimi and All Palestinian Prisoners.”
- On December 19, 2017, Daniel Seidemann, director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, tweeted, “I empathize with IDF soldiers, whose government put them in an impossible situation, I have endless admiration for Ahed Tamimi, 16 yrs old and under arrest for her courage in resisting occupation. A slap is not a war crime – we Israelis have “earned” the right to be humiliated.”
Jewish Voice for Peace/Middle East Children’s Alliance/NorCal Friends of Sabeel
- On January 31, 2018, held a rally to Free Ahed Tamimi and celebrate her “resistance on her birthday.”
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
- On December 20, 2017, sent a letter to Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP stating that “As lawyers committed to the protection and promotion of Palestinian human rights, we write to request that the UK Government urgently intervenes with Israeli authorities in regard to the appalling arrest and detention of the 16 year old human rights defender and activist, Ahed Tamimi, and her mother, Nariman Tamimi, on 19 December 2017.”