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Beating of Florida teen in Jerusalem is getting attention in U.S.

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CAIR rally outside White House

Rally outside White House

The beating and arrest in Jerusalem of Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, a Florida high school student, is getting considerable attention in the U.S. The State Department has issued a “profoundly troubled” statement calling on Israel to investigate the beating and provide “full accountability,” and there was a White House rally about the case yesterday attended by relatives of the boy– photo above, thanks to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is following the matter closely. The story was on ABC News this morning, the Baltimore Sun has published a sympathetic story, in part because Abu Khdeir was born in Baltimore. And the New York Times has covered the case twice now–Jodi Rudoren and Robert Mackey.

Some clips. First, from the Baltimore Sun’s Susan Reimer: 

A 15-year-old Baltimore native of Palestinian descent who appears to have been beaten by Israeli paramilitary police during riots in East Jerusalem was released from jail and placed under house arrest Sunday.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, who lived in Baltimore for nearly a decade before moving with family to Florida, was visiting family in East Jerusalem. He will be restricted to a relative’s home for nine days as the result of a decision by an Israeli judge….

Family members in Baltimore, including an aunt and an uncle and cousins, attended a protest outside the White House Saturday against violence against the Palestinian community in the aftermath of the death of three Israeli teens killed while hiking on the West Bank.

The State Department issued a statement on the case, from Jen Psaki, yesterday:

We can confirm that Tariq Khdeir, an American citizen, is being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. He was visited by an official from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem today.

We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force. We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.

We reiterate our grave concern about the increasing violent incidents, and call on all sides to take steps to restore calm and prevent harm to innocents.

Matt Duss at ThinkProgress reports from Jerusalem that not everyone is stepping up.

Suha Abu Khdeir, Tarek’s mother, said that the family had received good support from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. Asked whether the family had been contacted by either their member of Congress, Rep. Kathy Castor, or their Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, with words of support, she said they had not.

Here are excerpts of a statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations:

CAIR Relieved at Release of Florida Teen Brutally Beaten by Israelis
Muslim civil rights group calls for safe return of Tariq Khdeir to America

(TAMPA, FL 7/6/14) The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida) today expressed relief that Florida high school student Tariq Khdeir has been released from custody after he was brutally beaten and detained by Israeli forces. Despite his release, he was placed under house arrest.

“We are relieved that Tariq Khdeir was released and may receive the medical treatment he was denied by Israeli authorities,” said CAIR-Florida Chief Executive Director Hassan Shibly. “It is unacceptable that Tariq has been sentenced to house arrest while those who beat him so brutally remain free.”
He thanked all those worldwide who expressed support for the family and said the international community needs to value the lives and safety of all children, regardless of their ethnicity or religion.
Shibly noted that CAIR-Florida also issued an action alert calling for Tariq Khdeirs safe return to the United States.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization had called on American officials to press for Khdeirs release, and the U.S. State Department subsequently issued a statement…

Israel claims it is opening a probe of the beating.

Oh and here is ABC News this morning. Good report. “Why would you attack me like that? Why would you do anything to me if I didn’t do anything to you?” Tarek Abu Khdeir asks of Israeli authorities in an interview with Alexander Marquardt in Jerusalem after his release to house arrest.

Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer is put on the defensive in an interview by Martha Raddatz. Shown the video of Abu Khdeir’s beating, he accuses the boy of throwing Molotov cocktails:

Obviously it is very disturbing… From what I understand about this particular incident, this boy was one of six boys who attacked police with petrol bombs, Molotov cocktails. Our police are under extreme threat, in the Jerusalem area, they’re facing mobsters [?] and rioters.

The youth denies this. There is more footage at the ABC site in which Marquardt asks Abu Khdeir: Were you throwing rocks, as the police said? Abu Khdeir:

No. I was watching them.

Q. You were walking by with your friends and cousins?

No I was watching them… I’m very angry. I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say to them.

Palestinians on social media are voicing the obvious: this happens all the time to Palestinians, yet nobody seems to care.  Abu Khdeir’s case is receiving widespread attention because it was captured on video–and, perhaps more-so, because he is an American teen. His family recognizes this:

As Ali Abunimah points out, what happened to Abu Khdeir is far from unique:

Human Rights groups, including Israel’s B’Tselem have reported that Palestinian children detained by Israeli occupation forces are routinely subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of mistreatment including rape threats, amounting to torture.

Israeli forces who attack Palestinians are almost never held accountable due to a pervasive culture of impunity.

Update: This post originally stated that the rally at the White House was organized by CAIR. We stand corrected.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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28 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka on July 6, 2014, 1:50 pm

    “[n]either their member of Congress, Rep. Kathy Castor, [n]or their Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, [called] with words of support”

    Not surprised. They all know who they work for, and it ain’t us Americans.

    • LuLu on July 6, 2014, 6:15 pm

      Next time voting comes, people should not vote for them, just like what happened to Congressman Eric Cantor will end up happening to them. (I NEVER voted in my life nor will I, they all lie) It is VERY troubling that Congress really does not put Americans interest before Israels…

      • MRW on July 6, 2014, 11:46 pm


        (I NEVER voted in my life nor will I, they all lie)

        Then write in someone’s name. But vote. At least your vote contributes to a smaller percentage of the gross for the winner. Stop thinking that you’re so small that you don’t matter. You do.

      • Walid on July 7, 2014, 6:39 am

        Agreed, MRW, everyone should vote but in the States but LuLu isn’t alone in not voting , there are a million potential voters there (and another 7 million worldwide) that refuse to vote for any form of government as well as trade unions simply because their religion tells them not to; they say that they’ll vote only once they are in the kingdom of heaven.

      • just on July 7, 2014, 7:29 am

        Walid– are you talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses?

        That people choose not to vote is obviously their right, but I believe it to be a wrong choice.

      • Walid on July 7, 2014, 7:41 am

        Yes, just.

  2. seafoid on July 6, 2014, 2:10 pm

    I can just imagine the facepalms in the torture/police station when the staunchly Zionist police who had performed their duties so well were informed that the dirty Arab kid with the broken nose was in fact American.

  3. chet on July 6, 2014, 2:16 pm

    Mavi Marmara Redux.

    The brutalizing thugs will be shown to be victims.

  4. amigo on July 6, 2014, 2:18 pm

    Why would they keep him under house arrest unless they intend to charge him or , they are hoping the swelling will reside because his face will be all over the media.This story cannot be hidden under the carpet.

    He will also be able to talk about the horrible manner in which his cousin was burned to death.

    Israel must be quaking in their jackboots at the possible PR screw up on this one.

    Look for the Border police to appear to be dealt with in a serious manner.

  5. Walid on July 6, 2014, 2:56 pm

    French press covering the stories on Mohamed Khdeir and Tarek Khdeir in all the gory details. Israelis not being at all spared in the reporting. Israel being shown for what it really is with photos of Tareq’s disfigurement. Crif is going to have to do a lot of explaining (or lying).

    • LuLu on July 6, 2014, 6:18 pm

      I have never seen so much media coverage and protest against the Zionist regime as we have been seeing in the past couple years, mainly this year. I think everyone is finally realizing that in no longer can be ignored nor not reporting it, or they risk loosing their watchers when they are trying to not cover the Palestinian-Zionist issue, being labeled as not real journalism and bias.

  6. just on July 6, 2014, 4:06 pm

    Dermer’s bs is just the sort that the hasbara brigade has been shoveling via their keyboards forever.

    Same script.

    • Kay24 on July 6, 2014, 7:40 pm

      Dermer is really a disgraceful liar. I don’t know if he thinks all viewers are dumb, but he lies looking sorrowful, hoping the sympathy factor will make people ignore the truth. He mentions that the Palestinians keep sending rockets, but failed to mention Israel pays back a hundred times worse with fighter jets, he keep mentioning the crime against poor Mohammed Abu Kdheir as a revenge killing for the murder of the three Israeli kids, but failed to mention the 2 Nakba commemoration day killings which should have been asked of him.

      Does anyone notice, but their is absolutely no word about the investigation to the killings of the 3 Israeli kids? No suspects, no one knows who did it, and Israel is strangely silent about it. If it turns out those responsible were not Palestinians or Hamas, it would look pretty bad for the Israelis, and all that violence against the Palestinians would be in vain.

      • a blah chick on July 6, 2014, 8:05 pm

        They announced today that they had arrested someone in Hebron over the kidnapping, but it wasn’t one of the named suspects.

      • Kay24 on July 7, 2014, 8:23 am

        Thanks for the info. It still seems murky to me, and we know if Israel had solid proof it was Hamas or some other Palestinian faction, it would have been all over the media in seconds.
        Bibi will have a difficult time trying to save face, if the criminals did not turn out to be even close to his accusations.

  7. amigo on July 6, 2014, 4:13 pm

    This story featured on Irish TV this Sun eve.The video was shown three times.That,s good but what is annoying is when they informed the audience that the American Palestinian kid was related to the Murdered Palestinian Kid they forgot(??) to mention he was Burned to Death and only stated that he was killed by Jewish “extremists”.

    Job one tomorrow morning is a chat with RTE (Radio Telefis Eireann.)

    They also got nietanyahu in , claiming Israel will apply the same law to Jews committing such crimes as they do for Palestinians.Unfortunately the announcer was clearly not well versed with Israel,s system of laws.

    In any case it is good that this shit is getting out into the MSM.

  8. concernedhuman on July 6, 2014, 4:18 pm

    This case at least has shed light on how Israel treats palestinian children.

    But offcourse there are hundreds and thousands that are tortured by IDf who are not as privileged as this kid who is American-Palestinain , suffer in hands of IDF .

    Still long way to go !!

    • Kay24 on July 6, 2014, 8:19 pm

      I hope everyone, especially the American people get this point. Imagine how those poor Palestinian kids are treated. Human Rights agencies have reported they are treated inhumanely, and suffer without legal representation in Israeli jails.
      SHAME on our politicians, who kiss up to Israel, and ignore these crimes.

  9. Kay24 on July 6, 2014, 6:15 pm

    Talking of Florida, we should remember Congresswomen Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, who has made sure that we keep showering love and money on Israel, and has taken the lead in making sure resolutions and bills are passed favoring Israel, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and of course, the other Israeli loyalist, who works tirelessly making sure Israel can continue the occupation, and commit human rights abuses, and while we are thanking them, let us not forget Barbara Boxer, who wants to make sure MORE Israelis can come in and out of our nation without visas.
    The entire congress should be shown all videos, including the one of Tarek Khaider, being beaten by those who wear the uniform of the country they are protecting, and supporting, with our money, and weapons. Next time they vote to pass a resolution showing unwavering support for this rogue nation, let these videos remind them, we are enabling a military occupier to continue it’s brutality.
    They made this monster called Israel, and others suffer for it.

    • Abierno on July 6, 2014, 6:56 pm

      Actually, they should view the autopsy photos of his cousin – the intense calcination process which occurred as a result of burning from the inside (as a result of being forced to drink the gasoline) simultaneous with his burning from the outside resulted in the corpse total body weight being 30 kilos. The pain threshold before he died must have been unbelievable. This transcends the verbs “to kill” or “to burn”. Hopefully at some time, the American public who so generously subsidizes these settlers can also view the autopsy photos.

      • Frankie P on July 6, 2014, 8:42 pm


        This transcends the verbs “to kill” or “to burn”. ”

        Let’s try nouns then. He was a human conflagration, a human holocaust.


      • MRW on July 7, 2014, 2:51 am


        Let me get this straight: they forced this kid to drink gasoline, doused him on the outside of this body, then set him on fire?

        Is that right?

        You have a link to the autopsy photos?

      • annie on July 7, 2014, 3:21 am

        i saw one photo, but it was so bad i couldn’t post it and didn’t save it. but the body looked so small, this makes sense if he lost that much weight. it looked the size of a 6-7 yr old.

      • MRW on July 7, 2014, 3:44 am

        I’m in shock, annie. Really. This is so barbaric. We have to preserve this evidence, even if you give a warning about how bad it is.

  10. Kay24 on July 6, 2014, 8:41 pm

    It is so sad and I try not to even think of the ugly details of his gruesome death.
    My heart breaks for this young kid, a child, who did nothing when he was snatched away by demons who wear the face of human beings.
    Chances are, the Israeli propaganda machine will kick in any time, perhaps when the long weekend is over, and our zionist media will play this down.
    We have to stop feeding this monster called Israel, it has become an uncontrollable violent nation that has leaders calling on their people, to act like murderous thugs.
    All that they have accused other neighboring nations of, now suddenly seems to be their own crimes. This from the nation that pretends to be a democracy.
    What a load of bull.

  11. lysias on July 7, 2014, 10:10 am

    That culture of impunity existed in the Jim Crow South. Lynchers and murderers of civil rights activists were almost always acquitted by Southern juries (when they were tried at all).

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