Middle East studies in the News
Ithaca Third Graders Learn About "Israeli Occupation"
Anti-Israel activists are gloating on social media that they were able to get Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi—who is known for encouraging Palestinian children to confront Israeli soldiers so he can capture the interactions on video—invited to give a presentation to a third-grade Ithaca classroom.
Legal Insurrection reports that Tamimi's presentation took place at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca, New York on Friday morning. The speech was apparently arranged by "Community Activist" Ariel Gold who works towards the cause of "delegitimizing zionism." Gold has two children aged 12 and 14, but they do not attend Beverly J. Martin Elementary School.
Social media posts from those involved speak to the overtly political nature of Tamimi's talk.
Mary Anne Grades Flores, a local political activist who accompanied Tamimi to the school, posted on social media that "Bassem Tamimi, father of 4, of Palestine and 12 yr old Ithacan [________] Gold spoke to BJM 3rd graders about Palestinian children struggling living under Israeli occupation. I am a witness to the gentle way the discussion happened and I am a witness to what is happening in Palestine. Denial of Human Rights by Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza."
As this video reveals, Tamimi's work in Palestine consists in encouraging local Palestinian children—including his own son and daughter—to deliberately provoke Israeli soldiers by shouting at them, waving fists in their faces, at times even making physical contact, in hopes that they will react with force and the resulting videotaped encounter can be used to disparage the IDF.
Legal Insurrection, which reported on the story, describes his work:
Tamimi's son, Mohammad, was the subject of a recent media frenzy after he threw rocks at Israeli soldiers and when they moved to arrest him, a soldier was set upon by local women and children, all as the video rolled. Rock throwing has become a serious problem, with numerous motorists killed and injured as a result, yet it is an activity Tamimi encourages (for which he has been arrested).
This all is a very dangerous exploitation that puts the children at risk. Yet Tamimi glorifies and encourages the use of children for such purposes...
In 2012, an Israeli court convicted Tamimi of recruiting protestors to throw stones at Israeli soldiers from the rooftops of an Arab Village in Nabi Saleh. A relative of his, Ahlan Tamimi, is known for escorting the 2001 Sbarro suicide bomber to the attack site. That attack killed 15 people.
Despite repeated inquiries from the media including Legal Insurrection's William Jacobson, the school has yet to respond to questions about why Tamimi was allowed to give a one-sided political presentation to elementary school students and why the third grade class he visited was chosen.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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