Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday instructed an army radio to censor a prominent author that compared a Palestinian teen facing trial, Ahed Tamimi, to Anne Frank.
Tamimi, 16, was arrested in December for slapping two Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank in an incident caught on video.
She has been charged with 12 counts including assault and has been ordered to be kept in custody until the end of the legal proceedings.
Hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel’s occupation, Tamimi has also caught the attention of the Israeli left, including prominent writer and poet Jonathan Geffen, who dedicated an Instagram post to her.
“A pretty 17-year-old girl did a terrible thing, and when a proud Israeli officer once again raided her home, she slapped him,” he wrote on Monday.
“She was born into that, and in that slap there were 50 years of occupation and humiliation,” he wrote.
“On the day the story of this struggle is told, you, Ahed Tamimi, red-haired like David who slapped Goliath, will be on the same page as Joan of Arc, Hannah Szenes and Anne Frank,” Mr. Geffen said on Instagram.
In posts on his own social media accounts, the outspoken Mr. Lieberman lashed out at the writer, whose songs — for adults and children — are very popular in Israel.
“I’ve instructed the commander of army radio to stop playing or interviewing Jonathan Geffen in all the station’s broadcasts, and I call on all media in Israel to do the same,” the defence minister said.
“The State of Israel won’t give a platform to a drunkard comparing a child (Frank) who was killed in the Holocaust and a hero warrior (Szenes) who fought the Nazi regime to Ahed Tamimi, the brat who attacked a soldier,” he said.
“Geffen’s pursuit of headlines is sickening and infuriating,” Lieberman continued, say the Lebanese Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television channel would be a more suitable venue for Mr. Geffen’s “nonsense”.
Israel’s military radio station is under the command of the army chief and ultimately the defence minister — but not on matters relating to content of what is broadcast.
The justice ministry issued a statement reiterating that Mr. Lieberman “has no legal authority to intervene in the content of the station’s broadcasts”.