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Bassem Tamimi Tag

I appeared on the Mark Levin radio show on Wednesday night, December 14, 2016, to talk about my post, VIDEO: Activists manipulate third-graders into hating Israel. Video of the event is at the link above, which also has extensive background. The short version is that Ariel Gold from Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace arranged for Bassem Tamimi to appear before the third grade classes at an elementary school in Ithaca, NY. Tamimi is best known for using children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers in the hope of creating viral photos and videos. Tamimi urged the children to become activists and "freedom fighters for Palestine."

Anti-Israel activism by faculty at colleges and universities receives a lot of media attention in part because campuses generally are open to the public and college students are able to report on what happens. Faculty-inspired anti-Israel activism, however, is not limited to colleges and universities. I hear many parents and students complain that by the time many students reach college, they already have been turned against Israel. Far under the radar, the attempt to demonize Israel is moving down the educational chain even into elementary schools, pushed by activists who accept no boundaries even for young children. Yet because such activities take place in schools to which access is limited, and the young students are not developmentally able to report on what happens, it's rare to obtain hard visual proof. We have such proof.

On Friday morning, September 18, 2015, the third grade classes at the Beverly J. Martin School in Ithaca, NY, heard a presentation on “human rights” by Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi and local anti-Israel activists, led by Ariel Gold. In fact, through the investigative and litigation efforts of Legal Insurrection, it has become clear that the Tamimi event was an anti-Israel propaganda event targeting young children, and as we just learned, caused at least one student to suffer nightmares.

The Attempt to Portray the Tamimi Event as Loving and Promoting Peace

On Sunday night, September 20, Legal Insurrection broke the story, Anti-Israel activism hits elementary school in Ithaca, NY. Because of Tamimi’s notoriety for exploiting children in videotaped confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Tamimi’s mere appearance in a third grade class raised suspicions about the event.

The Ithaca Journal has an article today about my court victory against the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) seeking records under the NY Freedom of Information Law regarding the anti-Israel 3rd Grade event. The Ithaca Journal article, discussed below, reveals that ICSD spent over $20,000 in its fight to avoid having to disclose video and documents regarding the event. I laid out the history and the court ruling in my post, Another Legal Insurrection victory: Ct orders video released of anti-Israel 3rd Grade event. The short version is that for the second time, the court granted virtually all my requests, including forcing ICSD to release a video of the event. Before the litigation began I suggested the video be redacted by ICSD to protect student privacy, but ICSD refused to release ANY portion of the video or audio, even the portions that didn't contain student images or voices.  Instead, ICSD produced a partial transcript with obvious gaps.

On Friday morning, September 18, 2015, the third grade classes at the Beverly J. Martin School in Ithaca, NY, heard a presentation on “human rights” by Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi and local anti-Israel activists, including Ariel Gold of the local chapter of the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (she also is a full time employee of Code Pink), and Mary Grady Flores. The event was arranged through third grade teacher Brooke Burnett, a friend of Gold and Flores. Bassem Tamimi Beverly Martin School Ariel Gold redacted w border

I have documented how some Palestinians, such as Bassem Tamimi, have created an industry of exploiting children for the cameras in a very dangerous way. They have the children confront soldiers with the cameras rolling, hoping for a reaction and viral video or image. The video and images are crucial in the propaganda war on Israel. Here is another example. A young child, maybe 3 years old, was photographed heroically confronting Israeli border police. It had all the hallmarks of a viral shot, tweeted by anti-Israel Twitter account Abbs Winston and retweeted by "Hamas Lawyer" Stanley Cohen and over 150 others: https://twitter.com/AbbsWinston/status/759052506605293569

You may recall the name Janna Jihad. Janna is a member of the Tamimi clan from Nabi Saleh. Among the more infamous Tamimi members is Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who organized the Sbarro Pizza restaurant suicide bombing in 2001, and then broke out with a huge smile when she learned that more children actually were killed than she thought. The Tamimi clan also has a sophisticated media operation. Under the guidance of Bassem Tamimi and his wife, Tamimi and other village children are used as media props to confront Israeli soldiers for the cameras, including throwing rocks, hoping to create a viral image or video.

Bassem Tamimi has been on these pages quite frequently in the past half year, most of it related to his appearance at an Ithaca, NY, third grade class as part of an anti-Israel propaganda event organized by local Jewish Voice for Peace activist Ariel Gold (now employed by Code Pink) and one of the teachers. Tamimi is best known for using children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers in the hope of creating viral video and photo images. He has been quite successful at this, and many of the images resulting from these provocations have become international hits, such as this video of his daughter from several years ago: And this more recent incident:

A group of Palestinians led by professional provocateur and propagandist Bassem Al-Tamimi has filed suit against a slew of Americans, American businesses, American organizations, international businesses and Israeli entities.  The Complaint is embedded at the bottom of this post. Altogether nineteen Plaintiffs have brought claims against fifty-three defendants.  Plaintiffs' attorneys are Martin F. McMahon, a colleague in his law firm, and Sameer Jarrah, who claims a license to practice law in Jordan. Al-Tamimi is a familiar figure.  He is at the heart of LI's ongoing battle with Ithica, New York's public school system (where he encouraged third-graders to become "freedom fighters for Palestine"), peddles the blood libel that Israel harvests and sells Palestinians' organs, and uses his own daughter (and other children) as props in his war against Israel (more here).

As detailed in a prior post, my Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) regarding Bassem Tamimi’s appearance before third graders at the Beverly J. Martin School (BJM) encountered a completely unexpected problem:
In brief, and incredibly, the teachers union in the Ithaca school district appears to have instructed its members not to produce records responsive to my FOIL Request contained on personal electronic devices and email accounts.... So I went to court and obtained a Temporary Restraining Order preserving records pending a court determination on the merits.
After responsive motion papers from ICSD and the Ithaca Teachers Association [ITA], in which ITA disputed some of ICSD's allegations, and my reply, the case was argued on January 25, 2016, before the N.Y. State Supreme Court (the trial level court in NY) in Ithaca. I was pro se in the case. ICSD was represented by a large Syracuse law firm, and ITA by the legal department of New York State United Teachers, the statewide teachers union. In a decision issued today, the Court granted most of the relief I requested, including injunctive relief requiring ICSD to make specified efforts to obtain records contained on the personal electronic devices of ICSD employees. (Full embed at bottom of post.) But first, some background for those of you not familiar with the third grade incident.

There is no sadder commentary on why peace is not yet possible than the exploitation of children by Palestinians in the war against Israel. It's a lot more than the types of confrontations staged by Bassem Tamimi, where young children are sent to confront Israeli soldiers in the hope of creating a reaction that will generate a viral video or photo. A recent parade in Bethlehem in which a child paraded with a mock suicide belt reflects the pathology. MEMRI reports, Children Sport Dummy Explosive Belts, RPG Launchers In Bethlehem 'Fatah Day' Parade:

This would be funny, if it didn't represent a sad reality. We have focused repeatedly not just on incitement to violence in Palestinian society by the Palestinian Authority leadership, but particularly on the indoctrination of children. Here is another example, involving both the PA and children. Israeli customs just seized 4000 dolls being imported to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The dolls idealized rock throwing and had a rock in hand, as reported in The Times of Israel:
Some 4,000 plush toys of rock-throwing men dressed in Palestinian garb were intercepted Tuesday at the Haifa port by Israeli authorities, who said the dolls were headed for the Palestinian Authority and were part of an incitement campaign. Each toy has its face hidden by a keffiyah, with one arm raised and clutching a tiny toy rock. They hold banners in Palestinian colors proclaiming “Jerusalem is ours” and “Jerusalem we are coming.” Customs officials found the dolls in a container that arrived from the United Arab Emirates and destined for the Palestinian Authority. According to the accompanying paperwork, the shipment was supposed to be clothing, rugs, and plastic products.
Rock throwing is deadly in itself.

On Friday morning, September 18, 2015, the third grade classes at the Beverly J. Martin School in Ithaca, NY, heard a presentation on "human rights" by Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi and local anti-Israel activists, including Ariel Gold of the local chapter of the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace. On Sunday night, September 20, Legal Insurrection broke the story, Anti-Israel activism hits elementary school in Ithaca, NY. Because of Tamimi's notoriety for exploiting children in videotaped confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Tamimi's mere appearance in a third grade class raised suspicions about the event. After our report, a firestorm of controversy erupted, with the Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), Dr. Luvelle Brown, conducting an investigation, after which he issued a statement that the event was "politically skewed, inflammatory, and not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District.” The Superintendent's statement, though, contained few details of his investigation. But now Legal Insurrection exclusively has obtained documents pursuant to a Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) request that show the event was even worse than we thought.

A storm of controversy erupted when the Ithaca, NY, chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace brought Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi to a third grade class. Tamimi is best known for the viral videos and photos he creates by sending children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers. Tamimi, who argues that it is the “duty” of children to engage in acts of resistance, was on a now-concluded U.S. national tour co-sponsored by JVP and the Chicago branch of Amnesty International. [caption id="attachment_146972" align="alignnone" width="600"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qrE-MRBPs [Image capture Ithaca Week video][/caption]The Superintendent of the Ithaca school district, after an investigation, denounced the visit,finding that Tamimi was not invited by the school and the event was “not developmentally appropriate for third graders, nor aligned with the New York State standards. The statements were politically skewed, inflammatory, and not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District.”

Incitement on social media is fueling the current epidemic of knifings, firebombings and stonings against Israeli Jews. That incitement comes from the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as people on social media. The incitement involves not only fabricated claims of Israeli intentions as to the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa Mosque, but also false claims which portray Palestinian attackers as random innocent victims of Israeli aggression. The cumulative effect is to so inflame young Palestinians, including children, that they attack Jews for being Jews. Now a famous Palestinian activist has joined in. Bassem Tamimi is the internationally-famous Palestinian activist from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh who is best known for the viral videos and photos he creates by sending children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers.

We have dealt many times with the issue of promoting children to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers. It was one of the reasons there was such an uproar when Bassem Tamimi appeared before third graders in Ithaca, NY, and advocated the children become "freedom fighters for Palestine." It's also one of the dramatic aspects of the current violence -- whether called an "Intifada" or not. Young children and teens are pushed to the front or take it on themselves to attack. Like the 16 year old who stabbed two elderly Jews in Jerusalem and went after police before he was shot dead: https://twitter.com/IdoDaniel/status/652775896143806464 Then I saw this tweet.

A firestorm of controversy erupted in Ithaca, NY, hometown of Cornell University and Ithaca College, when it was learned that local anti-Israel activists brought highly controversial Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi to third grade class. Tamimi is best known for using children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers to create viral video and photo opportunities. He also is an advocate of children taking part in resistance activities, including stone throwing. To pro-Palestinian activists, however, he is a symbol of Israeli repression. The third-grade presentation was skewed and biased against Israel, according to a statement issued by the Ithaca City School District Superintendent, after an investigation. Among other things, after seeing videos and hearings stories of how Palestinian children suffer at the hands of Israelis, the third graders were urged to become "freedom fighters for Palestine."

The misnamed "Jewish Voice for Peace" (JVP) has launched a national campaign along with other anti-Israel groups to claim that "pro-Palestinian" speech is stifled around the country. In fact, The accusation of speech stifling is a passive-aggressive move to preclude legitimate criticism. As we demonstrated, what JVP and other such groups really want is Freedom from Criticism. Two events in Ithaca and Rochester, New York, are being used by JVP to claim a "wave of censorship and bullying is sweeping upstate New York." As we demonstrate below, JVP has seriously misstated what happened, and those events show the contrary to what JVP is claiming.

JVP's Anti-Israel Event to Third Graders in Ithaca

One of, it not the first, actions JVP took in furtherance of the "stifling" campaign is unfolding in upstate New York. In ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ defends anti-Israel Third Grade event, we explained that the local Ithaca JVP branch, run by anti-Zionist (and now Code Pink) activist Ariel Gold, is defending bringing the highly controversial Bassem Tamimi to a third grade class as part of a one-sided presentation demonizing Israel.
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