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.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.