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Jewish Poet Hails Palestine’s Tamimi, Compares her to Anne Frank

Jewish Poet Hails Palestine’s Tamimi, Compares her to Anne Frank

Thursday, 25 January, 2018 - 09:30
Palestinian teenager Ahed al-Tamimi appears before an Israeli court. (Reuters)

Prominent Israeli writer and poet Jonathan Geffen praised Palestinian teenager Ahed al-Tamimi’s courage against Israeli soldiers, comparing her to Jewish girl Anne Frank, who was killed in the Holocaust.

His post on Instagram drew the ire of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who on Tuesday instructed army radio to censor Geffen.

Tamimi, 16, was arrested in December for slapping two Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, in an incident caught on video.

She has been charged with 12 counts including assault and ordered kept in custody until the end of the legal proceedings.

Hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel's occupation, Tamimi has also caught the attention of the Israeli left.

"A pretty 17-year-old girl did a terrible thing, and when a proud Israeli officer once again raided her home, she slapped him," Geffen wrote on Monday.

"She was born into that, and in that slap there were 50 years of occupation and humiliation," he wrote.

"On the day the story of this struggle is told, you, Ahed Tamimi, red-haired like David who slapped Goliath, will be on the same page as Joan of Arc, Hannah Szenes and Anne Frank," Geffen said on Instagram.

In posts on his own social media accounts, the outspoken Lieberman lashed out at the writer, whose songs -- for adults and children -- are very popular in Israel.

"I've instructed the commander of army radio to stop playing or interviewing Jonathan Geffen in all the station's broadcasts, and I call on all media in Israel to do the same," the defense minister said.

"The State of Israel won't give a platform to a drunkard comparing a child (Frank) who was killed in the Holocaust and a hero warrior (Szenes) who fought the Nazi regime to Ahed Tamimi, the brat who attacked a soldier," he said.

"Geffen's pursuit of headlines is sickening and infuriating," Lieberman continued, say the Lebanese ‘Hezbollah's’ al-Manar television channel would be a more suitable venue for Geffen's "nonsense".

Other right-wing politicians condemned Geffen, with Minister of Culture and Sport Miriam Regev saying that it was “disgusting” for him to compare Tamimi to Szenes, Frank and King David.

“She is not innocent, but a criminal who supports terrorism and she is now in jail,” she added.

Israel's military radio station is under the command of the army chief and ultimately the defense minister -- but not on matters relating to content of what is broadcast.

The justice ministry issued a statement reiterating that Lieberman "has no legal authority to intervene in the content of the station's broadcasts".

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