The 16-year old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi has become a cause celebre across the world after she slapped an Israeli soldier who had entered her family compound. This was after “an Israeli soldier shot Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber-coated metal bullet during a demonstration against the ongoing military occupation”. In retaliation, the Israeli authorities arrested her and she remains in custody.
As Robert Mackey writes, if that were not bad enough Michael Oren who is Israel’s senior official in charge of diplomacy and was at one time that country’s ambassador to the US, has been part of a bizarre propaganda campaign to smear Tamimi and her family, going so far as to accuse them of not being a real family but a paid group of actors.
MICHAEL OREN, ISRAEL’S senior official in charge of diplomacy, was roundly mocked on Thursday for admitting that he had opened a formal investigation of a family of Palestinian activists based on an internet conspiracy theory, which claims that they are not a real family but a troupe of actors paid to pretend that the occupation of their land in the West Bank upsets them.
Oren’s strange admission to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz came in response to a wave of negative publicity for the Jewish state following the arrest last month of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, Ahed Tamimi, who was filmed by her mother slapping an Israeli soldier outside their home in the village of Nabi Saleh.
The arrest of the young activist prompted international outrage and led to somewhat frantic efforts at damage control from Israelis seeking to discredit this sympathetic face of unarmed Palestinian resistance to Israeli military rule.
Asked to explain what led him to open a classified investigation of the conspiracy theory that the Tamimi family is “not genuine, and was specially put together for propaganda” purposes, Oren told Haaretz that he suspected that “members of the family were chosen for their appearance,” an apparent reference to the fact that Ahed and her younger brother Mohammed are blond and fair-skinned. He also found their clothing suspicious, calling their jeans and T-shirts “a real costume. American dress in every respect, not Palestinian, with backward baseball caps. Even Europeans don’t wear backward baseball caps.”
“It was all prepared. It’s what’s known as Pallywood,” he added, referring to an American blogger’s conspiracy theory that all video documenting incidents in which Israeli soldiers are caught on video abusing Palestinians is staged fiction.
Oren went on to cite various internet memes that had been easily debunked. Oren should become Israel’s ambassador to the US again. His lying would be a perfect fit with the Trump administration.
The attacks by Israel on Palestinian children should come as no surprise. A friend of mine sent me this article about how Israel’s former leader Ariel Sharon was so obsessed with assassinating Yasser Arafat that, when he was defense minister, he was willing to shoot down a plane carrying 30 injured children because he thought Arafat was on it. The children were “survivors of the massacre that the Lebanese Maronite Christian Phalange militia had perpetrated in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut a month before”, an appalling crime that Sharon was responsible for allowing to happen.