The Return of the Valkyrie
Ahed Tamimi was finally released after spending eight months in an Israeli prison for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier. The video of the incident became world-famous, and she became even more of a media star than she already was.
With her light brown (now a dirty blonde?!) hair and blue eyes, she is hardly phenotypically representative of the average Palestinian. I have seen one ugly remark about who her father was, but let's dismiss that out of hand.
Her father, Bassem Tamimi, has blue-gray eyes, and were it not for his strong Arab accent, he could easily pass for an aging English rocker. One could easily imagine him saying how he had played backup bass guitar for the Spice Girls when they were starting out in the 1990s.
It is clear that some European blood has infiltrated the Tamimi clan at some point in history, whether by the Crusaders or by some Balkan Bushak immigrants. A lot of Ahed's relatives have Nordic or Celtic features, including her cousin, the pixie-ish, green-eyed supposed reporter "Janna Jihad," whose real surname is also Tamimi, along with Ahed's cousin Nour, who resembles a lass who just came out of some peat fields in the Highlands of Scotland.
These girls are used by Palestinian groups primarily because they pass for Euro-American children and can generate feelings of identification and sympathy that no other duskier Palestinians can.
Whatever sympathies on might have for Israel, Israel has not managed this well.
The pro-Palestinians side has noted:
A. Israeli soldier "Ben Deri ... was sentenced to nine months in prison on Wednesday for the fatal shooting of a Palestinian teenager[.]"
The relatively light sentence was handed down as part of a plea deal with the prosecution. The court found the shooting unjustified because the youth was not posing any threat to Israeli forces when he was shot.
B. Another Israeli soldier got a similarly "light" sentence.
Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier convicted of killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, was released Tuesday after serving nine months in prison.
Pro-Palestinian supporters note – with probably a degree of truth – that these soldiers were tried only because third-party video caught them in the act.
So the Palestinian side wondered how Ahed Tamimi was given her sentence when Israeli "killers" were let off lightly.
Aggravating the matter is that, "supposedly," Ahed Tamimi had slapped the solder after another one of her cousins was shot in the head, making her reaction seem all the more sympathetic. Israel tried, at first, to claim that the horrific damage to the skull was caused by a bicycle accident. Israel later had to embarrassingly retract the claim. It turns out the boy may have concocted the bicycle story to place himself away from the scene of the disturbance so that he would not be arrested, but who knows?
The pro-Palestinians claim that the sight of her cousin being shot is what motivated Ahed to slap the soldier.
C. Israel then bungled it further by arresting some artists for painting a picture of Ahed Tamimi on the Arab side of the separation wall – a rather odd charge when the whole wall is cluttered with graffiti.
But the pro-Israelis have an arsenal of embarrassing facts.
A. The Tamimi clan in Nabi Saleh has spawned a host of notorious terrorists, who have killed Israelis and have taken casualties as well.
For just one short example:
[T]wo Tamimi family members [including Nizar, see below] were convicted of the 1993 murder and subsequent burning of Chaim Mizrahi, who was reportedly a religious student in Beit El who went to the Tamimis to buy eggs.
B. Ahed Tamimi and her family showed up for the marriage of Ahlam Tamimi, one of the participants in the Sbarro attack (15 dead), to Uncle Nizar, convicted of the murder above.
Ahlam and Nizar were deported to Jordan, and they got married soon after. The two wed in a fancy ceremony that was posted online. Ahed, Bassem, and Nariman feature prominently in the wedding.
The video shows Nariman and Ahed standing on a stage with Ahlam as Ahed gazes worshipfully at her baby-killing aunt.
Note: This whole clan is so interrelated that it is hard to know if they are first, second, or third-cousins, or uncles, aunts, or both. Sources are not clear. But if any terrorist comes out of Nabi Saleh, he may be a cousin of Ahed.
I am not saying Ahed Tamimi has murdered anyone herself, but this clan is not the source of Gandhian pacifists it claims to be.
Israel is not handling any of this rightly.
Ultimately, one has to see this image of Ahed's mother, Nariman. She is wearing a hijab.
Is this the freedom Ahed is fighting for? The freedom to be trapped in a hijab? If her father Bassem is in favor of liberation, why doesn't he tell his wife Nariman to lose the hijab?
Female genital mutilation may not be as common among Arabs in the contested areas as it is in Egypt, but there are no reliable figures. I doubt that Ahed was clipped, but one cannot be sure. Is this what she is fighting for?
In the Middle East, the practice occurs in Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as in Iraq, Iran, the State of Palestine and Israel.
Is honor-killing what Ahed is fighting for?
You see, ultimately, I do not expect exemplary consistency from either the Arabs or the Israelis. Humans are too flawed for that.
We can argue all day whether Israel was too tough on Ahed Tamimi compared to how Israel was light on soldiers who killed those who were not threatening them. We can argue if Ahed should be painted with the broad brushstrokes of the crimes of her relatives.
What is not up for debate is the barbarity of Arab civilization, particularly the way Arabs treat their females.
It is hard to watch these Tamimi girls and not wonder what their future holds in an Arabic society, or to wonder if they have already been mutilated for honor's sake. Victims of abuse often embrace their abusers. It is the notorious Stockholm syndrome. So I can understand why Arab women embrace their culture.
What I cannot understand is why the West accepts this barbarism as noble.
The Tamimi girls are stupid, abused, or brainwashed. Even if they opposed Israel on rational nationalist grounds, a genuine love of freedom would require that no Tamimi female wear a hijab. They are not heroes. Heroism requires a free agency, which Muslim civilization does not allow.
Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish better in high school, lo those many decades ago. He runs a website about the Arab community in South America at http://latinarabia.com.