Photo Credit: Memri

{Originally posted to the author’s website, This Ongoing War}

August is a hard time in our family.


The Hebrew month of Av, which is now, is traditionally a period associated with some of the hardest moments in Jewish history down through the ages. But then, as it crescendos on the 9th day of Av (that’s this coming weekend), the collective mood quickly eases and the month takes on an altogether different, comforting character.

Not for us. The 20th day of Av is when our daughter Malki was murdered in a Hamas terror attack, along with her closest friend and thirteen other innocent victims inside the Sbarro pizzeria which was located back then in the very center of Israel’s capital city. The anniversary comes out this year (since we observe it according to the Hebrew calendar date) on August 24 as we noted here. That’s when as a family and a community we remember our loss.

According to the civil calendar, however, the fifteenth anniversary of that cruel act of savagery is tomorrow, Tuesday. A number of articles have emerged today, marking the day and what it signifies.

Two of the best happen both to focus on the work of an American journalist who has lately made a name by airbrushing out the nauseating sides of barbarous Palestinian Arab jihadism, leaving behind a fabricated confection of brave, blond, innocuous fighters for freedom, justice and rights.

First, over at Tablet Magazine, the modern historian Petra Marquardt-Bigman has a featured article “Was Ben Ehrenreich Bamboozled By a Palestinian Terror Clan?“, referring to the vicious Tamimis and their self-promoting booster, publicist and propagandist whose Jewish-sounding name serves to give a certain edginess to his views with in some circles.

Ehrenreich’s work, which has gotten boosted by backers at the New York Times [see
[“17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns“] takes a despicable line, ignoring those aspects of this remarkable family of in-bred jihadists he finds inconvenient, while promoting them, Amnesty International-style, as fighters for freedom, self-determination and Apple Pie. His admiration for their values and their violence amounts to a kind of obsequious fawning that seems to infect the ranks of self-styled progressives. No one should be surprised that we find his views and his manner of pushing them repellent.

We shone a torch into some of the especially dark and ugly aspects of his oeuvre, focusing on a recent Ehrenreich book which has gotten favorable reviews at LARB, The Economist and Telegraph UK. We gave expression to those aspects in a post of several weeks ago, “24-Jul-16: Sociopaths, savagery and the seductiveness of Palestinian Arab victimhood“..

Ehrenreich is hardly alone in bringing together unabashed enthusiasm for jihadist thuggery while masquerading as a holder of progressive-ish views. We think of them as card-carrying members of the pampered moral narcissists brigade. Often treated as belonging to the forces of peace and human rights, thos among them whose work focuses on the Arab/Israel conflict tend to be driven by a sense that they are in a struggle towards victory, where winning means the defeat and destruction of another people’s state by whatever means, legitimate or foul, are available to them.

The second artiucle, in which historian Petra Marquardt-Bigman again plays an enabling role, is a blog-post-and-video assembled by the indefatigable Elder of Ziyon and streamed from his busy blog site. It’s entitled “Ben Ehrenreich shares his love for the Sbarro massacre mastermind’s family“.

It begins with these words:

This Tuesday will be the 15th anniversary of the infamous Sbarro pizza shop bombing, masterminded by Ahlam Tamimi. The attack, on August 9, 2001, killed 15 people and injured 130. Among the dead were a pregnant woman and seven children – some counted eight, including an 18 year-old who had just finished school; the injured also included one young mother who was left in a permanent vegetative state.For the families of the victims, this year’s 15th anniversary of the attack may well be particularly grim, because of a fawning book that has been recently released by Ben Ehrenreich, lionizing the murderous Tamimi clan. Who would have ever imagined that an American writer would come out with a book that presents the family of Ahlam Tamimi – the Sbarro massacre mastermind – as simply wonderful people?

We’re wondering the same. But the evidence in front of our eyes is – people who think like Ehrenreich are hardly in short supply. Their upward mobility reflects a catastrophic malaise going well beyond moral narcissism that we think is not well understood. This video will help.

We endorse Elder’s words:

For a glimpse of the intense Jew-hatred and the ardent support for terror that animates Ben Ehrenreich’s protagonists, watch the video below [link] that will introduce you to the four people Ehrenreich lists first in the Acknowledgements for his book: Bassem and Nariman Tamimi, and Bilal and Manal Tamimi.

(We are busy with preparing a feature-length post to share some of what the past fifteen years since the Sbarro disaster have taught us.)


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Frimet and Arnold Roth began writing and speaking publicly soon after the murder of their fifteen year-old daughter Malki Z"L in the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre, August 9, 2001 (Chaf Av, 5761). They have both been, and are, frequently interviewed for radio, television and the print media, including CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, and others. Their blog This Ongoing War deals with the under-appreciated price of living in a society afflicted by terrorism which, they contend, means the entire world. Frimet is a native of Queens, NY while her husband was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. They brought their family to settle in Jerusalem in 1988. They co-founded the Malki Foundation in 2001 and are deeply involved in its work as volunteers. They can be reached at [email protected] .