Ahed Tamimi flips Zionist mythology on its head

The story of David and Goliath is a central Zionist myth. The case of Ahed Tamimi shows that while Israel still thinks it’s David, in reality, it’s Goliath.

By Gil Gertel

Who is David and who is Goliath? Ahed Tamimi faces down a soldier in Nabi Saleh. (Haim Shwarczenberg)

Who is David and who is Goliath? Ahed Tamimi faces down a soldier in Nabi Saleh. (Haim Shwarczenberg)

After the images from Nabi Saleh surfaced earlier this week, Minister of Education Naftali quickly made himself judge, jury, and executioner, declaring that the two Palestinian girls “should spend their lives in prison.” But why? Young Israeli settlers routinely disrespect soldiers and flout the rule of law. And that’s exactly the point: Ahed Tamimi did what’s reserved for Israeli settlers alone.

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What, for Israelis, was most embarrassing about the pictures of Ahed Tamimi slapping an Israeli soldier? A woman hitting a man? A Muslim hitting a Jew? A civilian hitting a representative of law and order? A student hitting a trained fighter? That with her bare hands she hit someone fully armed and armored? That she hit the force that denies her rights? From the responses on social media, it seems all of the above. Ahed Tamimi flipped the traditional roles in the myth of David and Goliath, which was and remains a foundational myth of Zionist education.

The “new Jew” according to the story of David and Goliath appears in Theodore Herzl’s 1902 utopian novel Altneuland. At the beginning of the story we meet David, “a poor boy, freezing in the cold with tattered shoes,” a beggar in the alleyways of Vienna. After 20 years, we meet David again, this time in Haifa: “a free man, healthy, educated, serious-minded,” respectable and respected by mankind. How did this switch happen?

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In his 1903 essay, “Hebrew Education,” Ze’ev Jabotinsky writes, “there was an instance in Odessa when we prepared for a pogrom. I was one of the scouts, and with a group of two other friends I wandered through the markets for signs that something had gone wrong.” During these outings, when passing through the masses of local people, “we would try to put on our best Russian expressions, and speak with a Muscovite accent.” Not out of fear, Jabotinsky recalls, but out of habit of hiding their Jewishness. At the end of the street he encountered an old Jewish peddler, with a beard and side-locks, dressed in the traditional long, black coat. The old man looked terrified of the mass of people, yet he did nothing to hide his Jewishness.

“He who was afraid,” Jabotinsky writes, reflecting on the experience, “saw himself in that moment as freer than all of us. We, perhaps, were unafraid, yet we hid instinctively what he had revealed for all the world to see.” The old man, even in a moment of terror, held fast to his Jewish identity, while they, in theory, had compromised theirs. The moral of the story has become the core of Jabotinsky’s educational philosophy: “a national basis is presently needed as the center of the education of Jewish youth, in order to excise self-hatred and revivify national self-esteem.” Revivify national self-esteem: is this not also what Ahed Tamimi did?

All of the streams of Zionist thought shared the idea of Jewish pride, which occupied a central place in the state of Israel’s first educational curriculum in 1954. Teachers were asked “to provide student with the knowledge that our people, among the smallest of the nations, refused to submit to stronger nations and their cultures.” Refusal to submit. Ahed Tamimi?

This is not just a historical matter. Seventy years of independence, with a victorious and conquering army, and we still have not weaned ourselves off the need for national pride. For this reason, students receive a distorted historical mishmash of David, Judah Maccabee, and the war of independence. This year, the Ministry of Education’s Hanukah webpage states, “if we had been in David Ben-Gurion’s position, a minority against a majority, weak against strong, and the realistic chances of success were zero, would we have embarked on this historical process? Or would we have followed reason’s recommendations and opposed the creation of the state? From Hanukah we learn that if we just take that first step, a miracle will occur. We need to do all that we can not to be merely satisfied with the present.” Not to be satisfied with the present? Is this not what Ahed Tamimi showed?

A year ago, the educational TV channel produced a series on the Bible that included an episode on David and Goliath, to be used in the school system. In the video, Tzvika Hadar explains to the students:

It is not a coincidence that the fight between David and Goliath has become a symbol of fights between unequal sides. How many fights like those there were, even here! 1948: the small state of Israel, not even a day old, was attacked by the massive armies of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia. And Israel, this tiny country with a brand new army, the few against the strong and the many…but in this war David defeated Goliath.

This is not the place to point out the historical inaccuracies in the text, but to emphasize the message: the small and the daring won. Ahed Tamimi?

Since we’re already making a mess of history, we can’t forget the Holocaust. Here are Naftali Bennett’s remarks at a ceremony commemorating the Warsaw ghetto uprising: “We might ask what was the sense in a rebellion that never stood a chance…the few against the many fought a hopeless struggle for Jewish people’s national honor.” National honor—Ahed Tamimi?

Nabi Saleh children try to prevent Wa'ed Tamimi, inside the vehicle, from being taken away. The blonde girl with the ponytail is his sister (credit: ActiveStills)

Nabi Saleh children try to prevent Wa’ed Tamimi, inside the vehicle, from being taken away. The blonde girl with the ponytail is Ahed (credit: ActiveStills)

Here’s more of what appears on the Ministry of Education’s website. This time, a social studies lesson plan for high school students on Jewish courage for the occasion of Hanukah: At a forced labor camp for women during World War Two, women improvised a hanukiyah, which they lit with what little oil they could find. One night, the siren to turn off the lights rang before the candles had gone out. The candlelight exposed them, and an SS guard broke into the room, shouting threats. The women explained to her that they were commemorating the holiday of the Maccabees, when “a few Jews defeated many gentiles.” And here was the miracle: not only were they not punished that night, but they even received more respectful treatment from the guards in the days that followed. In light of the story, the students are asked to clarify the meaning of courage, and the teachers are instructed to conclude: For us, as Jews, courage is the triumph of the spirit. Triumph of the spirit—Ahed Tamimi, or is that only for “us, the Jews?”

Finally, last Friday morning, just a few hours after Ahed Tamimi made headlines, the settler newssite “Srugim” published a Hanukah song by Ronit Shir. Here are two verses of the song:

Few against many, / weak against strong. / Seeing the image of their father Abraham, / leading his charges against the world’s might. / Their quivers are empty, no arrows remain. / They put a few stones in a slingshot / Analysis says their fight is lost. / The fight of Abraham, the brothers, surely Maccabees. / But against the voice of reason stands “Jewish reason.” / That works a little differently; it’s more about faith. / Ignores the calculation of chances / and puts its trust in God. / Together with increased spirit, belief and vision / it turns out you don’t always have to listen to the voice of reason.

Whose “quivers are empty,” really, in the occupied territories? If you read the song reasonably, it describes Ahed Tamimi much more than the armed and armored in the settlements — and for this, Naftali Bennett will never forgive her.

Gil Gertel is a scholar of education and a blogger on Local Call, where this article was first published in Hebrew. Read it here.

Magda Fernandez: Protecting the Harbor

This is 2017 – California was taken from Mexico in 1848. Good that she is where she is now but she should have been the 50th or more.

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Magda Fernandez, San Diego Harbor Police

Magda Fernandez is the first and only Latina in the San Diego Harbor Police Department to hold the position of Sergeant. Andrea Lopez-Villafaña | La Prensa San Diego

As the only female and Latina Sergeant for the San Diego Harbor Police Department, Magda Fernandez, is not only serving her community but also paving the way for future generations.

Sgt. Fernandez has been with the Department for 16 years and works within the investigations and intelligence section of the Harbor Police, which handles criminal cases.

Currently, she oversees criminal detectives and a task force group, which are detectives assigned to work with other agencies like the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Being an officer for this specific department in San Diego requires versatility because the Harbor Police is responsible for police services and marine firefighting for the Port of San Diego, the San Diego International Airport, and the San Diego Bay.

Harbor Police duties can range from traffic enforcement and general patrolling tasks to airport security or vessel patrolling in the coastal areas.

“There’s not a thing routine or typical of what we do, there’s no routine day,” Sgt. Fernandez said.

Sgt. Fernandez laid out her firefighting gear on the table and shared that marine firefighting requires a different mindset. Andrea Lopez-Villafaña | La Prensa San Diego

The Department also trains all officers in marine firefighting, something that she said is exciting and requires a mindset shift.

“You’re working with a lot of adrenaline and excitement,” Sgt. Fernandez said. “So it’s taking off one uniform and getting out of one role and entering another role, which is just as equally or more important.”

The ability to carry out vehicle patrolling, vessel patrolling, airport enforcement, search and rescue, and marine firefighting all in one job is a requirement that appealed to Sgt. Fernandez because of her professional background.

Originally from Nogales, Arizona, Sgt. Fernandez recalls not making the best decisions as a teenager. However, her father played a role in encouraging her to follow a different path.

She became a volunteer at a hospital with the help of her father, who was a nurse, and she eventually moved to the emergency room as an emergency medical technician.

It was there that Sgt. Fernandez was exposed to the idea of pursuing a career in law enforcement. Watching police officers enter the hospital with victims and prisoners piqued her interest, she said.

She joined the Santa Cruz Search and Rescue Team as a diver and then joined the United States Coast Guard. Eventually she joined the San Diego Harbor Police Department.

Sgt. Fernandez said the department was right up her alley because of the different skills required that she possessed like diving, and firefighting, which she had experience in having volunteered as a firefighter.

“It covered all of my interests, it satisfied all of my needs,” she said.

Going on 17 years with the Harbor Police, Sgt. Fernandez has experience as a boating collision investigator, environmental crimes investigator, and a marine safety investigator.

She helped establish the Harbor Police Department’s Terrorism Liaison Officer Program, which focuses on educating officers and members of the port community on being aware of potential terrorism and criminal activities.

The program seemed of value to her, she said, because she believed it was important to educate the community on alerting the department of suspicious activities.

In 2008, Sgt. Fernandez was named Officer of the Year for her dedication and work for the Department.

Sgt. Fernandez’s three boys look up to her achievements and she said they are interested in pursuing careers in law enforcement as well. Andrea Lopez-Villafaña | La Prensa San Diego

“I’m very proud of my accomplishments and it hasn’t been an easy journey,” she said. “Nothing in this life is easy unless you work hard for it and we’re going to hit those rode bumps and we just got to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and keep going and those are the times that you realize what you’re made out of.”

Aside from her personal achievements, she is passionate about watching young officers succeed in their careers through their mentoring and training at the department. Sgt. Fernandez said it is not about duplicating yourself but instead duplicating the efforts back into the community through them.

Her greatest motivation, although she laughs and shares that there are many, is making her three children proud and ensuring the safety of her community.

“I want to make my community proud, continue to make my Latino community proud, and be an example for young Latina ladies,” Sgt. Fernandez said.

US ambassador to Netherlands describes own words as ‘fake news’

fool not on the hill

New ambassador Pete Hoekstra then denied saying he’d used the phrase in interview with Dutch TV

The US ambassador to the Netherlands faced an excruciating moment on television when he denied ever saying that there were no-go zones in the Netherlands, calling the suggestion “fake news”.

Trump’s new choice for ambassador, Pete Hoekstra, who was only sworn in by the vice president, Mike Pence, on 11 December, was being interviewed for current affairs programme Nieuwsuur by reporter Wouter Zwart.

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Li Yang


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404 NOT FOUND

Li Yang 李扬 was born in 1984 in a desert city called 404. Located in the Gobi desert in Western China, this city is nowhere to be found on any map. 404 was built in the 1950s, when China initiated its first nuclear weapons testing.

“404 was the first and the largest nuclear technology research base supporting nuclear bomb projects in China,” explained Li. “During its days, there were about 50,000 people living in this city. Just like other cities, it had all governmental departments — bureau of public security, of land, of public education and Intermediate People’s Court, etc. However, as opposed to other cities, the residential area of 404 was only 1 square kilometre. When the city was built, elites from all around the country were selected to move to 404. At that time, the city had the best nuclear scientists, technicians, chefs, teachers, and doctors.”

“I am the third generation of 404, and every scene in this series is related to my own experience. The scenes include my kindergarten, my primary school which was the same school my parents graduated from, our weekly public bathroom which was also an important social place for local people.” Li had to leave his hometown to attend college in Beijing. When he came back with his camera in 2014, he attempted to capture the contradictions between abandoned yet familiar empty places filled with memories.

Li graduated from China’s Southwest University of Science and Technology, majoring in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HAVC) in 2007. Between 2007 and 2013, he designed the HAVC system of the nuclear power station in the China Nuclear Power Engineering Co., Ltd. Since 2013 he has been working as a freelance photographer based in Beijing. His photographic series “404 NOT FOUND” won the Best Photography Award at the 7th Dali International Photography Exhibition.

More information: liyangphoto.com

Dominique Darbois


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— Written by Françoise Denoyelle

Dominique Darbois (1925-2014) was the daughter of a major specialist of Asian arts and a novelist. She participated in the Free French Forces during the Second World War in 1941. Being a member of the resistance and Jewish, she was arrested and imprisoned at the Drancy camp for two years. In 1944, she continued to fight against the occupiers and received the Resistance Medal. In 1945 France was liberated and Darbois left for Indochina via Shanghai. Although she was only twenty, she had already lived several lives. After the war ended, she came back to France and became the assistant of the French photographer Pierre Jahan, which prompted her career as a photographer.

In 1951, she organized an expedition to Amazonia and Guyana with Francis Mazière and Wladimir Ivanov, from which originated four publications: “Parana le petit Indien” (1952), “Les Indiens d’Amazonie” (1954), “Mission Tumuc-Humac” (1954), “Yanamalé village of the Amazon”. The first publication was translated into eight languages. She then began the collection “Enfants du monde” [Children of the world], a series of twenty volumes containing images and texts by Darbois herself. This collection offered a world tour not from an ethnographic standpoint but rather as a photographer committed to meet children in a world where not everyone was born equal. She surveyed over fifty countries.

If she spent only a few days in Mongolia in 1957, she actually stayed much longer in China during the Hundred Flowers period [during which the Communist Party encouraged its citizens to openly express their opinions of the communist regime]. Thanks to the French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson – who photographed the last days of the political party Kuomintang in 1949 – she obtained a visa only a few people would get at that time. She accompanied an archaeological expedition that led her to photograph the Maijishan Grottoes in Gansu province as well as the Gobi Desert. She captured daily life in both cities and the countryside, while seizing traditions: acrobatics, games of chance, operas, puppets shows… and the new oil refineries around Lanzhou, oil wells around Yumen, political posters, and even the lives of prisoners in labour camps.

In 1960 she published “Les Algériens en guerre” [Algerian at war]. She completed reportage on the maquis and the training camps of the National Liberation Front [the socialist political party in Algeria] in Tunisia. This reportage was forbidden in France. Darbois was interested in the moving world and in ancient civilizations. She published “Kaboul, le passé confisqué. Trésors du musée de Kaboul, 1931-1965” [Kabul, the confiscated past. Treasures of the Kabul Museum, 1931-1965] (2002).

While she could have put aside her cameras, started to manage her archives, once again she committed herself to women in France and in Africa. She published then “Afrique, terre de femmes” [Africa, land of women] (2004) and “Terre d’enfants” [Children’s Land] (2004), with a text written by Pierre Amrouche. This was her ultimate work.

Dominique Darbois donated her whole archive to the French scholar and historian of photography Françoise Denoyelle. Since then, Denoyelle has been compiling an exhaustive inventory and started to document Darbois’ life and career. Due to the diversity and the richness of the primary material, this study of Darbois’ oeuvre will require several years of research and will be turned into exhibitions, articles and publications.  

Unexplainable Photos of Freddie Mercury Riding on Superman’s Shoulders in Queen Concerts in 1979

Freddie is being carried by “The Man of Steel” Superman while performing “We Will Rock You” in Queen concerts during Crazy Tour in November and December 1979.

After the release of the single “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, the band decided to change the concert dynamic they used to do the last years. In this tour Queen would revisit smaller venues, many which held fewer than two thousand seats.

The Crazy Tour is generally considered by fans to be Queen’s strongest tour they ever did in terms of performance quality.

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Prostituting israelis in Jerusalem east..

Strange days… getting tranger

nadiaharhash

A few months ago, two of my young Jewish students came to visit me in my place in Beit Hanina (East side of the city). On the soft train station, the security person stopped them, and they had to call me to come and pick them up because the security warned them that this could be a hazardous area for Israelis to be in.

Yesterday, I was surprised to see two young women stepping out of a car on the junction between Beit Hanina and Shu’fat, with one of them wearing a very short shorts and what looked like a strapless shirt or even just a bra. I was confused by the fact that we are in the middle of a freezing time of winter and these teenager likes are wondering like this. I thought she must be an American Arab visitor, even the though the weather thing remains hanging in my head. of course you cannot…

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