CBC Reporter Whitewashes Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi as “The New Face of Palestinian Resistance”

February 4, 2018

HRC today sent the following complaint to CBCNews.ca Executive Producer Lianne Elliott and Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire, in light of CBC Mideast Bureau Chief Derek Stoffel’s unfair and biased report on Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who physically assaulted Israeli soldiers, regularly incites violence against Israelis and is a provocateur and actor in the Pallywood industry.

Dear Ms. Elliott,

I am writing to bring our concerns to your attention regarding a Derek Stoffel report published today entitled:  “Meet 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, the new face of Palestinian resistance” (emphasis added) and his CBC Radio and CBC National report also broadcast today.

In the lead of his CBCNews.ca report, Mr. Stoffel writes: “To Palestinians and their supporters, hers is the face of a hero, a new symbol of resistance. But many Israelis call 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi “Shirley Temper” after viewing videos showing the girl angrily lashing out at Israeli soldiers.” (emphasis added)

In the body of his report, Mr. Stoffel writes:

“The Tamimi family is well known in international circles that support Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation, which has spanned half a century. The Tamimis are usually out on the hilly roads of Nabi Saleh for Friday protests against the Israeli settlement of Halamish, a mere 500 metres away. Those demonstrations frequently end in clashes between the protesters and Israeli security forces.” (emphasis added)


“Asked about his daughter’s starring role in the resistance movement, Tamimi said that he feels “proud.”” (emphasis added)

In his CBC Radio and CBC National reports, Mr. Stoffel claimed that the “Tamimi’s are at the forefront of the resistance movement” and that “… the Palestinian resistance movement has a new face.”

CBC National anchor Adrienne Arsenault also claimed that Ahed Tamimi has a “resume as a resistance icon…” (Watch the CBC National report by clicking immediately below.)

On Twitter, Mr. Stoffel wrote:

The term “resistance” is a commonly-used Palestinian euphemism for attacking Israelis, often civilians, in events such as suicide bombings, rocket attacks, shootings, stabbings, and restaurant explosions.

We strongly take issue with the CBC’s appropriation of this Palestinian term into your journalist’s official lexicon. The offhanded nature of Mr. Stoffel’s remarks implied that “resistance” was legitimate.

Mr. Stoffel’s use of this term is not in attribution and as he himself observes, it’s the Palestinians who see her as a “new symbol of resistance,” or as described by her father Bassem, a “freedom fighter”. Palestinians are entitled to their opinions, but why is the CBC’s journalist claiming that Tamimi is part of the “resistance” movement? This term is highly prejudicial, not neutral and certainly not objective. Mr. Stoffel himself observes: “The long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always been about competing narratives,” so why is he adopting the Palestinian narrative?

Stoffel writes that: “The Tamimi family is well known in international circles that support Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation, which has spanned half a century…” Regrettably, he fails to mention that Tamimi herself comes from a family of notorious Palestinian terrorists. Ahed’s aunt, Ahlam Tamimi, murdered 15 Israelis, (half were children) as a suicide bomber at the Sbarro pizzeria. She was just 20-years-old when she carried out this odious terror attack in Israel. Meanwhile, Ahed’s mother, Nariman, regularly incites terrorism against Israeli Jews on social media. Nariman spends her time by educating Palestinians on the best place on the body to stab Israeli Jews. Though parents are tasked to safeguard their children and not put them in the path of potential danger and yet, Ahed’s Father, Bassem, indoctrinates his daughter to be on the front lines, a would-be “martyr” for the Palestinian cause.

Furthermore, Mr. Stoffel ignores the role of Palestinian families in inciting and putting their kids on the front lines facing violence, instead of teaching kids peace.

With respect to the incarceration of Palestinian teenagers, Mr. Stoffel ignores how Palestinian leaders who incite their kids to throw molotov cocktails and rocks at Israelis (civilians or soldiers alike) aren’t apprehended and imprisoned by Palestinian police. Importantly, an Israeli four-year-old, Adele Biton, was killed when the car driven by her mother was struck by a barrage of stones thrown by Palestinians on March 14, 2013. If Canadian teenagers punched Canadian soldiers or threw rocks at motorists causing fatalities, they would be dealt with in full accordance with the law.

Lastly, Stoffel observes:

“Ahed’s arrest has also shone a spotlight on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank. The advocacy group Defense for Children International Palestine estimated that about 375 young Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 were detained by Israel’s military in 2016, often for throwing stones.”


“Military Court Watch, an NGO in the West Bank, studied the arrests of 127 Palestinian children and found that in 98 per cent of cases, the detentions occurred near Israeli settlements, which most nations, including Canada, view as illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.”


“If the politicians in Israel decide to put 400,000 Israeli civilians into the West Bank,” said Military Court Watch co-founder Gerard Horton, “and you give the job to the military of guaranteeing their protection, then the tactics employed by the military generally include suppressing and intimidating the villagers living next to those settlements.””

Importantly, Mr. Stoffel does not include a quote from an official Israeli source to answer to these serious allegations, nor is any context given about the credibility (or lack thereof) of these highly political NGO’s.

NGO Monitor has exposed the anti-Israel biases and faulty methodologies of Defense for Children International and Military Court Watch (MCW) challenging their methodologies, biases, and agendas. And yet, CBC Reporter Stoffel takes their claims at face value.

NGO Monitor notes that Defense for Children International supports the BDS movement against Israel, regularly accuses Israel of committing “war crimes” and has apparent ties to outlawed terror group PFLP.

NGO Monitor observes the following about Military Court Watch:

  • Military Court Watch is an opaque organization that claims to work on issues related to ensuring children are protected under international law. In reality, MCW’s activities are part of a broader non-governmental organization (NGO) propaganda campaign that exploits concerns over children’s rights to demonize Israel.
  • NGO Monitor’s research on Military Court Watch (MCW) indicates that its allegations and publications about the Israeli Military Justice System are methodologically, factually, and legally flawedMCW’s October 2017 Briefing Note and its November 2017 Update are prime examples of this phenomenon, and as such, NGO Monitor has systematically analyzed the claims therein, demonstrating why they are false and misrepresent both domestic Israeli law and international standards.
  • An April 2015 MCW document alleged that arrests of Palestinian children were “In order to guarantee the protection of nearly 400,000 Israeli civilians living in over 200 illegal West Bank settlements…. In other words, the military detention of Palestinians is an essential element in ensuring the viability of the settlement project” (emphasis added). MCW disregards the circumstances that lead to such arrests, such as terror activity and violence.
  • While MCW relies on unsubstantiated data and exploits the language of international law, it is  often quoted as fact by international diplomats and policy makers, thereby contributing to the demonization and isolation of Israel. For example, MCW’s allegations were quoted in an EU document, “Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in Israel Progress in 2014 and recommendations for actions.” Official Israeli sources were not consulted.
  • Relies on its unverifiable testimonies, along with information from politicized NGOs, to make submissions to a variety of UN forums.
  • MCW repeats the testimonies of the Palestinian minors without verification, with claims that lack factual basi For example, according to MCW, 60% of Palestinian minors are arrested at night. In contrast, IDF statistics show that on average, from 2013 to 2015, 21% of Palestinian minors were arrested at night.
  • Presents meaningless statistics that lack context. MCW states that 331 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli detention at the end of May 2017. Without providing any comparative data, the reader is incapable of determining whether 331 is a large or small number; whether the Palestinian minors were arrested for terror or other serious crimes, or why 0.000331% of Palestinian minors in the West Bank should be considered excessive.
  • Compares bail statistics between the Israeli domestic system and the military system without noting that the Israeli domestic system deals with a spectrum of juvenile offenses, whereas the military system predominantly deals with violent crimes.

In short, Mr. Stoffel’s report was unfair, biased and stood in violation with CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices. We ask for immediate corrective action to be undertaken.

We look forward to your reply.


Mike Fegelman
Executive Director
HonestReporting Canada


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