Only three days ago, popular singer and songwriter Mordechai Werdyger, known by his thousands of Orthodox Jewish fans as Mordechai Ben David, or just MBD, shot and distributed a video clip depicting the destruction of his neighborhood, Sea Gate, at the southwestern tip of Brooklyn, NY, in an effort to raise awareness—and donations—to rebuild this once thriving Jewish community.
The video starts at MBD’s basement recording studio, which has been totaled by the flood of ocean water—noting that the water only reached up to the level where pictures of famous rebbes were hanging. MBD then goes out to the beach, walking over the broken slabs of asphalt and concrete, surveying the astonishing damage.
Now rumor has it that MBD has decided to move to Israel, where he has purchased an apartment in a 330-unit residential complex being built at the T’nuva Compound, in the neighborhood of Romema, Jerusalem.
In what appears in hindsight as nothing short of a stroke of prophecy, Jewish Press Online blogger Tzvi Fishman, a devoted advocate of Jewish immigration to Israel, has called on MBD and others just this week to turn the misfortune of Sandy into an opportunity:
“Brothers and sisters of New York and New Jersey– rebuild your washed-out communities in Israel! Mordechai Ben David, Avraham Fried, and Shwekey – we have beautiful recording studios in Israel, as dry as can be! Instead of coming here for concerts on Chol HaMoed Sukkot and Pesach, come here to live, and give your holiday concerts in Brooklyn instead! It’s a lot safer living in Israel!”
“There’s nothing like a photograph of an innocent child caught up in military conflict to elicit sympathy, rage, and at times, international intervention.
On a media stage far away from Hollywood, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where photographers gather every Friday to document repetitious scenes of Palestinian residents and international activists clashing with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian activists are placing their children in ever-more-visible roles. Unlike scenes in “Wag the Dog,” a black comedy, there’s nothing funny about parents exploiting their own children to score propaganda points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Days later, photos of the distraught girls appeared in Australia’s Fairfax media outlets alongside a Page-1 article charging the Israeli army with the routine abuse of Palestinian children. “An Israeli soldier restrains a Palestinian girl crying over the arrest of her mother during a protest over land confiscation in al-Nabi Saleh,” stated one caption in the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Slamming the article’s “unnamed sources, hearsay and propaganda,” Philip Chester, president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, also charged that the Palestinian leadership “blatantly use[s] children” and “presents a fable where Israel’s curtailing of violence is tantamount to abuse of children.”
Chester was not specifically addressing the photographs of the appealing young Tamimi girls under the thumb of the Israeli military, but he may as well have been.
A’hd is the daughter of Narimen and Bassem, prominent activists in the Popular Resistance, and Marah’s father is Naji, another leader in the weekly demonstrations.
In other words, the girls’ parents are among those who determine the protests’ strategies. Rather than keeping their children at a safe distance from the often-violent clashes, the parents encouraged their children to play highly visible roles in the confrontation with the army.
Narimen is a participant in B’Tselem’s video project, in which the prominent Israeli NGO distributes video cameras to Palestinians to “present the reality of their lives to the Israeli and the international public.”
This is not the first time she has exploited children and distorted reality. In a 2011 video of the arrest of an 11-year-old stone-thrower, Narimen filmed as a Palestinian man instructed the boy’s mother not to join him on the police vehicle, even while Israeli authorities repeatedly asked her to board the van. Later media reports falsely claimed that the Israeli police forbade his parents from accompanying him.
Despite complaints about her cynical exploitation of Palestinian children in order to produce anti-Israel propaganda, Narimen has not stopped using children as props. To the contrary, she has since enlisted her own daughter.
In a 16-minute video posted on the Nabi Saleh Solidarity blog, the two girls can be seen leading a crowd marching toward a spring that the army has deemed off-limits. A’hd and Marah are filmed at length, cursing the soldiers and trying to get around them. Marah can be seen running some distance to approach and confront soldiers. And when Narimen and two other women are arrested, the girls refuse to let go, interfering with the arrests. An army spokesman later said that the detainees, who were held for a few hours, had been throwing rocks.”
Here’s a screen capture from the video.
Here’s photo taken that day promoted on pro-Palestinian sites.
The site where the photo was published, Nabi Selah Solidarity, added the following:
“The actions of A’hd Tamimi and Marah Tamimi, the two young girls who attempted to prevent the arrest of non-violent resistance leader Nariman Tamimi by Israeli Occupation Forces on Friday, was recognised on Monday. A’hd is the daughter of Nariman and Palestinian non-violent resistance leader Bassem Tamimi who was jailed for over year for leading the non-violent resistance in Nabi Saleh. Marah is the daugher of Naji Tamimi, another Nabi Saleh non-violent resistance leader who was also jailed for over a year for his non-violent opposition to Israel’s military occupation.”
But, the exploitation of the two girls has not ended.
“A video shot at a Friday protest in the village of Nabi Salih, in the central West Bank, captured a striking image: that of a young Palestinian girl [A'hd Tamimi] attempting to provoke Israeli soldiers. Soon thereafter the girl is joined by many other seemingly young-looking people from the village.
A senior IDF source told Ynet that intelligence indicates that pro-Palestinian activists pay Palestinian children from Nabi Salih and other nearby villages to confront the soldiers. “The soldiers are briefed on the fact that these protests are staged for the sake of provocation, so that they could be filmed acting violently and so that those videos could be distributed worldwide in an effort to harm the IDF’s image,” the officer said.
According to Ynet, Abir Kubati, spokesperson of the popular protest coordination committee, said: “I don’t understand what the army wants – they send soldiers into a Palestinian village and then dare to depict themselves as victims because the residents don’t welcome them.”
“You’re a traitor! I know you speak Arabic. Our soldiers are stronger than you! I’ll smash your head,” the 10-year-old girl is heard in the video screaming at the soldier in Arabic, according to a translation provided by Ynet.”
Placing innocent Palestinian children in potentially dangerous situations, cynically hoping for a media coup stemming from any overreaction by IDF soldiers, is indeed shameful.
However, such provocations by the Tamimis pale in comparison to an antisemitic Palestinian political culture which consistently sends messages to their youth that martyrdom – dying, or even murdering Israeli Jews, to advance the Palestinian cause – is one of the most important political values they should aspire to.
Here are a few clips of chilling child abuse, routinely sanctioned by Palestinian society, which the Guardian won’t report.
A video in support of President Obama produced by the sister of comedian Sarah Silverman will begin airing in Florida.
The video by Rabbi Susan Silverman, a Reform rabbi who lives in Jerusalem, posted last week on Facebook shows Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in an interview and Israelis throughout the country praising Obama’s support for Israel’s security.
A 30-second version is scheduled to run in Florida television markets on Monday during the foreign policy debate between Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Susan Silverman, who lives in Israel with her husband, Arava Power CEO Yosef Abramowitz, and their five children, became involved in making the video after asking her famous sister to make a video about Israelis’ support for Obama.
Sarah Silverman made “The Great Schlep” video in support of Obama four years ago to convince her grandparents and other grandparents to vote for Obama. Earlier this year she made a video asking casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to switch his support to Obama.
The video comes on the heels of an Op-Ed published in the Jewish Press in which Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt criticizes Sarah Silverman for being “crude” and “vulgar.” He suggested that she channel her energy into marrying and having children. The Silvermans’ father, Donald, responded with a vulgar statement of his own.
Greta Berlin, founder of the Free Gaza Movement, published a tweet at the beginning of October that directly blamed Zionists for the Holocaust. “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews,” Berlin tweeted through the official Twitter feed of the group.
The link was posted with the tweet to an anti-Semitic video by Eustace Mullins, a conspiracy theorist and anti-Semite who claims the Jews are at war with the Western World. In the video, he claimed that the word “Nazi” is translated to mean “National Socialist” and “Zionist.”
The tweet was later retracted. Berlin stated: “I shared it without watching it. I am sorry that I just sent it forward without looking at it. It won’t happen again.”
The tweet has already caused embarrassment among supporters of the Free Gaza movement. One supporter, Larry Derfner, quoting Greta Berlin, believes the post was simply a discussion over the horrors of propaganda: “[the post] came from Greta’s private Facebook page and was shared with a group of people who were discussing propaganda and racism, and this link was an example of the terrible propaganda that could be spewed on websites” he quoted on his blog.
The tweet has led to the resignation of at least one Free Gaza board member, Naomi Klein, a Canadian author and social justice activist. In her own tweet, she cites leadership challenges as the reason for her resignation.
Egypt’s Channel 1 broadcast a video of Egyptian Cleric Futouh Abd Al-Nabi Mansour, Head of Religious Endowment of the Matrouh Governorate leading an Islamic prayer service attended by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, during which he asked Allah to kill all the Jews and all of their allies around the world.
Appearing earnest in prayer, Morsi sat cross-legged, eyes closed, open hands raised in front of him, listening and answering “amen” as Mansour led a large group of worshipers in the October 19 prayer.
Middle East media watchdog Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated the clip of Mansour’s speech:
“Oh Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us, and grant us victory over the infidels. Oh Allah, deal with the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder. Oh Allah, demonstrate your might and greatness upon them. Show us your omnipotence, oh Lord.”
Morsi’s visit to Egypt’s northwest was his first since ascending to the presidency. Following the prayer, Morsi delivered a speech about Egyptian unity.
Morsi has said he will maintain Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Morsi’s new ambassador to Israel presented his credentials to President Shimon Peres last week, sending along a note which raised a firestorm of controversy in Egypt, due to the perceived warmth of its tone. Morsi’s office confirmed the authenticity of the letter following the insistence of the Muslim Brotherhood that the letter was a “Zionist fabrication”.
“Great and good friend,” Morsi wrote in his letter to Peres, “being desirous of maintaining and strengthening the cordial relations which so happily exist between our two countries, I have selected Mr. Atef Mohamed Salem Sayed El Ahl to be our ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary.” Morsi signed off in commonly-used diplomatic language with “highest esteem and consideration.”
In July, Morsi wrote his first letter to Peres saying “I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle East peace process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including [the] Israeli people,” and added “It was with deep thanks that I received your congratulations on the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan.”
Correction: Memri released an updated video with corrected translation. The new version says “Deal with the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder,” instead of “Destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder.”