I do not make a habit of visiting the Daily Beast. I simply don’t care much for their editorial policies. But an article published today on an alleged video of a police interrogation of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi is worth taking a look at.
Before I get into the details of the report, let me just comment, as an aside, that for a while now it has seemed to me that we are witnessing a growing rift among Jews over the policies of the state of Israel. The rift is primarily between Jews who live in the West and Israeli Jews who by and large support the policies of apartheid.
For instance you might want to go here to read an article, published a bit over a week ago at the ultra-Zionist Aurtz Sheva/Israel National News website–an article which assails Ronald Lauder over a mildly-worded comment in which the president of the World Jewish Congress criticized “Israel’s capitulation to religious extremists” while at the same time referencing a “growing disaffection of the Jewish diaspora.”
Israel’s policies and all the boycotts they are generating, in addition to making it increasingly hard to cast Jews as victims, are bound to be causing headaches for Jews who oversee vast business empires in the West–empires which depend upon public goodwill for continued profitability. And this is probably a major source of the “growing disaffection” Lauder refers to.
Now comes the Daily Beast article.
Written by a Jewish writer, Jesse Rosenfeld, the article offers a rather realistic view of the occupation, describing Ahed Tamimi’s village of Nabi Saleh as a place where “unpleasant daily encounters with Israeli settlers and soldiers are a fact of life.” Rosenfeld also makes reference to “vitriolic condemnations” heaped upon the Tamimi family by “hardline Israeli politicians” and by “national activists,” and he additionally cites figures showing that the conviction rate of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli military courts is “near one hundred percent.”
It’s almost sounds as if the Daily Beast is championing the cause of Ahed Tamimi!
But let’s get into the nuts and bolts of the article, which you can read in full here. Rosenfeld apparently was given access to a video of an interrogation of Ahed that took place on December 26. The video, he says, is nearly two hours long, and in it the two Israeli interrogators show no regard for her rights as a minor.
“Handcuffed and sitting at a desk in a police office, Ahed watches and withstands the security officials’ escalation from theatrical displays of good cop-bad cop and creepy attempts at flirting to terrifying threats against her family,” he writes, noting additionally that Ahed remains silent throughout it all.
From the viewpoint of what appears to be a camera on top of a computer, in the corner of a police office, Ahed is led into the room and seated at a desk. She is offered water and a sandwich but refuses.
With a nonchalant expression her face, she says nothing while asked a series of routine questions. Even when asked to state her name, she asserts her right to remain silent. As the interrogation gets underway, the main interrogator—an Israeli Jew of Middle Eastern origin who is overheard saying he is from military intelligence, appears to be in his late 20s to early 30s, and sports a buzz cut, grayish shirt, blue jeans, and a gun on his waist—tries to engage Ahed in conversation.
The interrogator tries flirting with her, telling her she has “eyes like an angel,” but when this fails to produce a cooperative prisoner, the second interrogator takes over and begins threatening her family.
Throughout most of the interrogation Ahed maintains a relatively blank and at times tired and bored expression. However, it is when the interrogator starts threatening to arrest her family and friends that Ahed’s expression melts into a look of horror followed by melancholy.
Psychologically trying to wear her down, the interrogator tells Ahed, “I don’t want to bring those children here,” and then adds: “I pray that you take the easy way. You don’t want me to speak with those children, right?”
Rosenfeld notes that Ahed was not physically tortured during the interrogation–but the psychological torture was probably immense. Yet through it all she refuses to cooperate or answer their questions. It would suggest that such characterizations of Ahed as “the lioness of Palestine” are not altogether unjustified.
As for the Daily Beast, I suspect the international attention Ahed’s case has garnered, along with the girl’s growing status as a symbol of Palestinian resistance, had a lot to do with their decision to publish an article such as this. Yet at the same time, Israel’s practice of shooting Palestinian children in the head with rubber bullets while proclaiming itself the Jewish state has got to be perceived as a liability by Jews trying to maintain a veneer of professionalism and respectability in America. Will this translate into increasing numbers of Jews abandoning AIPAC and joining the BDS movement? I guess that remains to be seen.
But the rift does seem to be growing.