Sarah Silverman got slammed for supporting a Palestinian teen — and she stayed strong.
Photos by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Turner, Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images.

Sarah Silverman has never exactly shied away from the outrageous, whether in her comedy or on Twitter. But when she stood up for a teen activist last week, the backlash was intense, even for her.

On Feb. 15, Silverman tweeted out a link to an Amnesty International petition to free 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi accompanied with the following message: "Jews have to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government."

Pro-Israel advocates tweeted that Silverman should stick with comedy and "stay out of politics,” while others accused Silverman of being complicit in pro-Palestinian terrorism. You read that right: For some, supporting an outspoken young girl = terrorism.


If you’re asking yourself what the big deal is, buckle up: Silverman tiptoed onto the internet’s third rail.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been deemed one of "the world’s most intractable conflicts" and continues to be a polarizing issue among many Americans. While the region is highly significant to three major Abrahamic faiths, to some, the conflict raises questions of who belongs in the Holy Land, as well as the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state in Palestine.

So what does Tamimi have to do with all this? She became the face of the global Palestinian solidarity movement when she was arrested in December 2017 for slapping an Israeli soldier.

Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images.

The moment in question came just minutes after another Israeli soldier shot her 15-year-old cousin Mohammad in the face. He was unarmed and engaged in peaceful protest against President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

After Mohammad was shot, two Israeli soldiers forcefully invaded their home with the intention to use their yard as a base to shoot at other activists protesting. The armed soldiers refused to leave, and when they attempted to force their way into their home, Tamimi slapped one of them. For her, this was an act of resistance.

In addition to her cousin being shot, Tamimi spent much of her childhood witnessing her relatives shot, tortured, imprisoned, and killed by Israeli soldiers and police. Her mother was shot in the leg and imprisoned four times, her father has been imprisoned three times, her 12-year-old brother was choked and beaten by an Israeli soldier, her uncle was fatally shot in the stomach, and one of her other cousins was shot in the head and killed.

Ahed Tamimi, A Teen in Search of Freedom

Tomorrow is Ahed Tamimi's 17th birthday and she will be spending it in an Israeli prison. Her trial is set for February 6th. There are currently more than 300 Palestinian children, as young as 13-years-old in Israeli prisons.

Posted by Institute for Middle East Understanding ( IMEU ) on Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Despite being a teenager, Tamimi has been denied bail and is currently undergoing trial for what some believe was merely defending her home.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called for her release. According to the Institute for Middle East Understanding, there are currently more than 300 Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons. Furthermore, there are no basic fair trial protections and Palestinians face a 99.7% conviction rate in Israeli military courts. Tamimi is a part of that statistic.

No matter where you fall in the Zionist conversation, the fact is that this is daily life for the native inhabitants of Palestine. And it’s brutal.

Since the War of 1967, Israel gained control and occupied Palestinian land — the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

Under the occupation, Israel has built more than 500,000 illegal settlements, eventually forcing many Palestinians to flee their homes. In fact, there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees worldwide and about 5 million of them are eligible for humanitarian assistance from the United Nations.

In their June 2017 report, Human Rights Watch said that Israel has violated multiple international human rights laws. These include "forced displacement, abusive detention, the closure of the Gaza Strip and other unjustified restrictions on movement, and anti-Palestinian discrimination." It also referred to instances where a child was "imprisoned by a military court or shot unjustifiably," and checkpoints that bar Palestinians exclusively.

Silverman is not alone for standing behind Tamimi. More than 25 celebrities and civil rights icons have signed a letter supporting the imprisoned teen activist.

Dream Defenders, a civil rights group associated with the Movement for Black Lives, released a letter this month condemning Tamimi's detention and their public support for Palestinians "in their righteous struggle." "The Tamimi family stands up to Israel's brutality because they believe Palestinians, like ALL people, should be free," the letter read. "Dream Defenders stands with them and all Palestinians in their righteous struggle."

Some of the signees include entertainers Vic Mensa, Talib Kweli, Jesse Williams, Tom Morello, and Rosario Dawson; scholars Cornel West and Michelle Alexander; and civil rights icons Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Patrisse Cullors, and Alicia Garza.

Image via Dream Defenders.

The letter highlighted the parallels of the Palestinian community and the black community, both of who've notably been on the receiving systemic violence and social injustice:

"While our struggles may be unique, the parallels cannot be ignored. US police, ICE, border patrol and FBI train with Israeli soldiers, police, and border agents, utilizing similar repressive profiling tactics to target and harass our communities. Too many of our children quickly learn that they may be imprisoned or killed simply for who they are. From Trayvon Martin to Mohammed Abu Khdeir and Khalif Browder to Ahed Tamimi — racism, state violence and mass incarceration have robbed our people of their childhoods and their futures."

The letter also endorsed a revolutionary bill introduced by U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum that calls on the protection for Palestinian children from "widespread abuse by Israeli forces." The signees urged congressional members to join the other 22 cosponsors and sign the bill.

If you’re moved to support Tamimi too, there are other ways you can show your support.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.