Best known for exploiting children, including his own, to incite confrontations with Israeli soldiers to obtain viral video and photos.
Bassem Tamimi is a Palestinian activist best known for using children, including his own, to confront Israeli soldiers in the hope of creating viral video and photo images.
Tamimi has been quite successful at this, and many of the images resulting from these provocations have become international hits. This video of his daughter gained international fame, and a prize for her from the Islamist prime minister of Turkey:[embedded content]
While Tamimi often is portrayed as a peace activist, in fact he spread the blood-libel that Israel arrests children in order to harvest their organs.
We have written about Tamimi many times, including when Jewish Voice for Peace agitator Ariel Gold snuck him into a third grade classroom in Ithaca, NY, where he urged the children to become “freedom fighters for Palestine.” One of the third graders suffered from nightmares after the event. Legal Insurrection’s reporting on the event sparked huge national and international controversy, particularly Tamimi’s call for the children to become “freedom fighters for Palestine.” The Superintendent of the Ithaca City Schools condemned the event and apologized:
“The Ithaca City School District’s position is that such statements [at the event] are not developmentally appropriate for third graders, nor aligned with the New York State standards. The statements were politically skewed, inflammatory, and not endorsed by the Ithaca City School District.”
After a year of litigation, we finally obtain a partial video of the third grade event, and it was much worse than anticipated, VIDEO: Activists manipulate third-graders into hating Israel:[embedded content]
Tamimi is unlikely to get another chance to appear in an American classroom, since the U.S. subsequently denied him a visa for failing to disclose prior convictions, as we reported, Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi barred from U.S.:
It looks like Tamimi also will not be visiting third grade classrooms in Australia anytime soon, either. ABC News Australia reports, Visa of Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi revoked hours before travel to Australia:
Bassem Tamimi, 50, had his visa cancelled hours before he was due to travel to Australia, on the grounds his opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could provoke anger in the community.
He had been given permission to travel to Australia on Tuesday, but the following day the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) revoked his visa.
The ABC has obtained official departmental documents explaining the reasons for its decision.
“The department has recently been made aware of information that indicates there is a risk that members of the public will react adversely to Mr Tamimi’s presence in Australia regarding his views of the ongoing political tensions in the Middle East,” the DIBP stated.
A Petition has been launched to reinstate the visa, but as of this writing it only has fewer than 2000 signatures, which is minimal considering that “pro-Palestinian” public petitions usually get 10,000 signature quite easily.
The department’s decision is completely legal – the immigration minister holds broad powers to cancel visas. And the department is probably correct in that the visit would have been divisive. Tamimi is a vocal critic of Israel, and an advocate of the illiberal Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. His views are likely to be strongly opposed by many Australians, and particularly those in the Australian Jewish community who think BDS singles out Israel and its citizens. But this is hardly a valid reason to deny his visa.
Will Australia let Bassem Tamimi into the country eventually? If they do, hopefully they’ll at least keep him away from third graders and other potential recruits to become “freedom fighters for Palestine.”