Promote the blood libel? Check. Glorify terrorism? Check. Celebrate Israeli deaths? Check. Ahed Tamimi and her family aren’t fighting for peace, and they’re not just fighting the occupation: They’re fighting to destroy Israel, and their fight is seasoned with Jew-hatred
~ Haaretz 1/4/18
That is how Petra Marquardt-Bigman begins her article published yesterday in Haaretz, Israel’s leading liberal news outlet.
Titled Ahed Tamimi and Her Family Aren’t the Palestinian Saints You Want Them to Be, the author builds a case against the entire Tamimi family and lays out a history rife with supposed Jew-hatred, terrorist-cheerleading, and overall anti-Israel and anti-peace naughtiness.
And just like with any bit of quasi-respectable modern-day trolling and professional bloggery, Marquardt-Bigman adorns it with a set of screenshots from Twitter (apparently now deleted), eye-witness accounts and videos as evidence for this malice.
As if extracted from a Hasbara manual or the syllabus of a PoliSci101 class on propaganda, the article uses an array of fear mongering techniques to present a decontextualized and one-sided narrative in which the Tamimis in general and Ahed in particular deserve everything that is coming to them at the hands of Israeli forces, and then some.
Nothing about the occupation or international law, zero words about the Tamimis’ many tragedies at the hands of Israeli soldiers, no mention of the entirety of the incident that led to Ahed’s arrest, i.e. the soldier’s shoving prior to Ahed’s notorious slap. The article exists in the Zionist reality in which the Jews (represented by the Israeli soldiers) were viciously hounded and attacked by a little Palestinian snake, enemy of the state number one and of the Jewish people, no less – Ahed Tamimi.
And it is an especially effective piece of propaganda for three reasons:
- The piece was published in Haaretz, Israel’s leading liberal outlet, right after Israel indicted Ahed Tamimi with a range of offenses, including the grave charge of “incitement”. It is thus meant to quell any kind of Israeli and Jewish resistance to her charges and ongoing incarceration, which may last for many years, especially coming from liberals and centrists who comprise the majority of Haaretz’s readership.
- In contrast to the blatantly misogynist coverage and outrageous statements made by Ben Caspit in the right-wing Ma’ariv media outlet about Ahed Tamimi herself, Marquardt-Bigman tries to tarnish the reputation of the entire Tamimi family, and by extension implicating Ahed. She does so by using an array of fear-mongering techniques, which include accusations of terrorism and Nazi sympathy. This technique mirrors Israel’s villainization of all Palestinians as “terrorists” , “snakes” and even “cancer”, while failing to present their resistance within its appropriate historical context and thus assume responsibility for the crimes of Zionism.
- Marquardt-Bigman attempts to tarnish all of Ahed’s supporters as terrorist supporters by implicating pro-Palestinian Israeli activist Miko Peled. Notably, the author has a history of smearing Peled.
But Marquardt-Bigman is no stranger to attacking opponents of Israel and Zionism. In fact, she has made a career out of it. Typical of run-of-the-mill Hasbara propagandists, she frequently conflates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and regularly publishes articles flimsy in actual historical facts and rich in hyperbole and ad hominem attacks.
In a recent article published in The Algemeiner, she blames Max Blumenthal of having:
“…fans on neo-Nazi forums and many other outlets that cater to Jew-haters”.
But it is in fact Marquardt-Bigman, who toes the Zionist line that has served as inspiration for far-right groups in Europe and alt-right fascists in the United States such as Richard Spencer, who has called himself a “White Zionist”.
Her infatuation with Nazis is further expressed in the same piece, where she also goes after Columbia University historian Joseph Massad, who speaks with Blumenthal about the Zionist-Nazi collaboration in the 1930s known as the Haavara agreement. Marquardt-Bigman presents zero evidence to refute Massad’s claims, but instead goes on to call him a “Jew-baiting professor”, and maliciously twist his words, stating that:
“The obvious implication of Massad’s view is that it’s a pity that the Nazis killed only six million Jews — after all, if those evil Zionist Jews hadn’t escaped Europe on time and did whatever they could to enable others to join them, the Nazis might have succeeded in killing some more.”
The question is why is Haaretz, a supposedly liberal outlet, publishing a one-sided, decontextualized smear piece on the Tamimis by a known propagandist at this present time, i.e. when Ahed and Nariman Tamimi are still in jail?
The answer appears to be that Haaretz is desperately attempting to appear “balanced” by catering to readers on the right. But in effect what Haaretz is doing is preparing public opinion for the potentially dystopic reality in which a Palestinian 16-year-old teenage girl may go to jail for the crime of slapping her oppressor for a much longer period than Elor Azaria – an IDF soldier who was filmed summarily executing an unarmed and incapacitated Palestinian man and will likely be released very soon to receive a hero’s welcome.
Marquardt-Bigman’s piece is a response to the broad and growing support for the Tamimis in general and for Ahed in particular. It is an attempt to minimize resistance from Zionist liberals in the case of the continued incarceration of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi. What’s more, it villainizes those who have adopted Ahed as a symbol of resistance as enemies of Jews, Zionists and the state of Israel.
Liberal Jews everywhere must make a choice – support Zionist fear-mongering, oppression and propaganda, which openly colludes with the rise of neo-fascistic forces worldwide, or embrace the call for equality and justice for Palestinians and all oppressed peoples.