A prominent Israeli author, poet and journalist has come under fire after he compared teen Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi to Jewish icons, like Anne Frank and Hannah Senesh, in a poem.
Yehonatan Geffen posted the verses on his Instagram page. Here's the English translation, published by Israeli blogger Jonathan Ofir:
"A beautiful 17-year-old girl did a terrible thing
And when a proud Israeli officer
Once again invaded her home
She slapped him
She was born into it and in that slap
Were contained 50 years of occupation and humiliations.
And on the day the story of the struggle is told,
You, Ahed Tamimi,
With red hair,
Like David who slapped Goliath,
Will be mentioned in the same line
As Joan of Arc, Hannah Szenes and Anne Frank."
Geffen's poem is based on facts: Ahed, a child — in legal jargon, a minor — was taken from her home in the dead of night on Dec. 19 by at least 30 heavily armed Israeli troops. She was arrested for slapping a soldier, who had forcibly entered her driveway.
Also, the Tamimis, Ahed' s family, has a long history of being targeted by troops, especially for their frequent protests against the illegal grabbing of their lands by Israeli authorities for nearly five decades.
So far, so good.
The ending of the poem is what has drawn the ire of Israeli authorities — the part where Geffen compares Ahed to Joan of Arc, Hannah Szenes and Anne Frank.
However, the comparison is not unfounded. Many have compared Ahed to Joan of Arc and Anne Frank. The Palestinian teen activist, after all, is someone who has been standing up against illegal military occupation from a very young age. She should be able to peacefully attend school. But, thanks to the constant military presence, even that's no longer an easy task for Palestinian children.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, however, disagrees. Not surprising, since he is part of the government of the country whose occupation Ahed resists.
Lieberman has instructed Israeli army radio not to play songs written by Geffen or to allow him to be interviewed. He also recommended that “all Israeli media outlets do the same.”
Again, this utter disregard for freedom of speech is nothing new as anything that goes against the right-wing narrative of the Israeli government, especially if it's support for Palestinians, in any form, is heavily scrutinized and censored in the Middle Eastern state, which is supposed to be democratic — but isn't.