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‘NYT’ photo feature on women in Gaza ignores Israel and Palestine

on 18 Comments


In what might be justified by the New York Times as an attempt to “depoliticize” and “humanize” Palestinian women in Gaza the paper ran a photo essay this past Sunday titled “Female in Gaza.” However the article obfuscates, covering up Israeli oppression and obscuring Gaza’s connection to the West Bank and to Palestinians in general.

The introductory text for the article mentions Gaza eight times, but never uses the word “Palestinian” or “Palestine” and mentions Israel only once, despite mentioning towering concrete blast walls, barbed wire, drones, patrolling soldiers, border controls, etc..  “I have been photographing in Gaza for several years, initially to cover the conflict with Israel, but over time returning because I am mesmerized by the women, and their strength,” author Monique Jaques explained. Gaza is portrayed as a disconnected disembodied place in conflict with Israel where residents seem to have some undefined interest in the West Bank, “Her dream is to sing in Ramallah, a city in the West Bank.”

The article also avoids mentioning Egypt, except for one photo caption which only appeared online: “A girl completed a jump at Al-Faisal Riding Club in northern Gaza. Horses are brought in from Egypt and are well cared for by elite families.”

In the 14 photos online there is a single mention of the word “Palestinian” in a caption that also appeared in the print edition: “A girl showed off her nails in the colors of the Palestinian flag.”

Only the first sentence of this caption was included in the print edition, so the word “Palestinian” does not appear in the print caption: “A woman walked by an anti-domestic violence mural outside Al-Shifa Hospital. According to a 2012 study, some 37 percent of married women in the Palestinian territories have been subjected to domestic violence by their husbands.”

This photo and caption mentioning Palestine were not included in the print edition, and there is no mention here of who bombed the school: “Nisreen Shawa, a worker for the Palestine Medical Relief Foundation, did exercises with students at the Hamza Bin Abd-el-Muttalib School after a bombing.”

And this photo and caption mentioning bombing by the Israeli army were not included in the print edition: “In November, 2012, when the Israeli Army heavily bombed parts of Gaza, refugees waited out the siege in a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school in Gaza City.”

Does the New York Times not want its readers to know Palestinians live in Gaza and Israel in addition to the West Bank? The Times article the other day on the arrest of Majd Kayyal called him an Israeli Arab, and only mentioned Palestinian citizens of Israel as part of quote from the organization Adalah. Again, no wonder NY Times readers are confused!

Patrick Connors

Patrick Connors is a member of Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

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18 Responses

  1. Kris on April 21, 2014, 6:12 pm

    I saw this photo essay online, on Sunday, and was disgusted. I don’t think the point was to ““depoliticize” and “humanize” Palestinian women in Gaza,” I think the point was to make Gaza seem to be a quirky, fun place, nothing to see here, just move along.

    No context, no Israeli siege mentioned, no mention of the horrors Israel continues to inflict on this defenseless, trapped population. Just this interesting third-world place where everyone seems to be having a great time.

    A sample: “In order to leave and enter another country you must be searched, inspected by an airport-style scanner, and lucky, as exit permits and visas to neighboring countries are hard to come by.” Doesn’t sound like such a big deal, really, when you leave out the part about Israel’s stranglehold on the Palestinians of Gaza.

    Watching Israel’s pointless and stupid cruelty towards the Palestinians is like watching a cat torment a mouse, and this photo essay seems to be in aid of making it seem as if the mouse isn’t really suffering that much, after all.

  2. Daniel Rich on April 21, 2014, 6:22 pm

    Note to editor:

    ‘Gaza is portrayed is a disconnected…’

    ‘Gaza is portrayed as a disconnected, …’

  3. Daniel Rich on April 21, 2014, 6:25 pm

    Q: Does the New York Times not want its readers to know Palestinians live in Gaza and Israel in addition to the West Bank?

    R: Who owns the NYT?

  4. tokyobk on April 21, 2014, 6:30 pm

    Every single one of the quotes shows the article is doing what the author says its not doing. (I understand the online version was edited down as is always the case.

    Depicting the full range of humanity of Palestinians weakens any attempt to make them more easily caged and bombed. But, it seems it is also threatening to a kind of Western activist who also needs his representative victims simply defined.

    • Citizen on April 21, 2014, 7:25 pm

      Anybody see on cable TV Anthony Bourdain in Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza?

      How’d that slip through?

    • annie on April 21, 2014, 8:49 pm

      Depicting the full range of humanity of Palestinians weakens any attempt to make them more easily caged and bombed. But, it seems it is also threatening to a kind of Western activist who also needs his representative victims simply defined.

      i think the authors point is that they didn’t mention gazans as palestinians. so how does that show them in a “full range” if it’s not even mentioned?

      don’t you mean it seems to you, a person who didn’t even address the point of the author, that the author is threatened? because it seems to me you are bending over backwards to evade the issue.

      it is called divide and conquer. there’s nothing certain israeli factions would like more than chipping away at palestine, specifically chipping gaza away from the west bank, this is a quite common sentiment. but very irresponsible journalism.

  5. a blah chick on April 21, 2014, 9:07 pm

    This seems to be standard operating procedure when doing “human interest” stories on Palestinians. To quote that great hotelier, Basil Fawlty, “don’t mention the war!”

    I read a similar depiction online recently. It had been published a few years ago and dealt with the sexual frustrations of Palestinian men on the West Bank. The article started out showing a group of men downloading porn onto their cell phones and went on the discuss how they had to postpone marriage. Seems they have a difficult time finding jobs and housing to start married life.

    Gee, what would be the reason for these issues? I don’t believe the article mentioned Israel or the occupation even once.

    • amigo on April 22, 2014, 9:08 am

      I wonder if the NYT would publish this article and include the Israeli Jewish children signing missiles before they are dropped on Lebanese Children.Does the NYT have the b-lls to show us what a sick society Israel is.

      Headline can read!!!

      Dear Lebanese/Palestinian/Arab/Muslim/Christians – Kids,

      Die with love.

      Israeli Kids

      • Rational Zionist on April 22, 2014, 11:09 am

        You are just trying to stir SH*T up.
        If you actually read the link you provided, at the bottom, it says “PS. The above message is imaginary”.

      • Woody Tanaka on April 22, 2014, 11:26 am

        No, it doesn’t. It says:

        “PS. The above message is imaginary. What they wrote is not necessary what I said above, it could be worse, could be sweet, sweet? Damn, what ever they write, these are bombs that are going to fall on innocent’s heads! The girls might be signing the bombs to be send to Nasrallah and Hezbollah, but the bomb are falling on civilian heads, not Nasrallh!”

        Which is exactly the point; what they wrote is irrelevant. The point is that these are really twisted people in a really sick society who get children to sign military weapons are going to be used to kill people.

  6. palijustice on April 21, 2014, 11:18 pm

    Great comment Kris. You hit the nail on the head on this one. The last paragraph should be tweeted around the world.

  7. Sumud on April 21, 2014, 11:50 pm

    Next up, from the archives: House & Garden visits with the new jewish community in Warsaw.

  8. Kay24 on April 22, 2014, 1:04 am

    According to the zionist media of the US, even NYT, Palestinians hardly exist, and should not be referred to, especially the word “occupation” is hardly used. Have we EVER seen any coverage of this conflict from the Palestinian side? Have we seen the miserable lives of the occupied, who have their homes bulldozed, have their water controlled, or the hardships of the Palestinian farmers, who have their orchards destroyed, making it impossible for them to earn a living? How about the trauma and psychological problems of depressed children, who know of no other life, but one under a brutal military occupation, guns pointed at them, check points, and the unmentionable horrors of being dragged away at night, and thrown into Israeli jails, joining over 700 other children? There are plenty of horror stories, that should make headlines, for our journalists to cover in the US, but they prefer NOT to go there.
    Hardly any of our so called “balanced” reporters DARE to criticize their mother ship, lest they lose their jobs and called antisemitic. They toe that line in the US.

  9. amigo on April 22, 2014, 8:50 am

    This reminds me of the Zionist freaks who dispute the claim that Gazans are under nourished because they are not showing bones or walking around barely alive.

    This article is a veiled attempt to make Gaza look normal.

    This type of reporting is vile and shameful.

    • Kay24 on April 22, 2014, 10:21 am

      They have tried various dishonest ways to make it look the long suffering Palestinians look like they are flourishing:

      “Health officials provided calculations of the minimum number of calories needed by Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants to avoid malnutrition. Those figures were then translated into truckloads of food Israel was supposed to allow in each day.

      The Israeli media has tried to present these chilling discussions, held in secret, in the best light possible. Even the liberal Haaretz newspaper euphemistically described this extreme form of calorie-counting as designed to “make sure Gaza didn’t starve”.

      But a rather different picture emerges as one reads the fine print. While the health ministry determined that Gazans needed a daily average of 2,279 calories each to avoid malnutrition – requiring 170 lorries a day – military officials then found a host of pretexts to whittle the number down to a fraction of the original figure.

      The reality was that, in this period, an average of only 67 lorries – much less than half of the minimum requirement – entered Gaza daily. This compared to more than 400 lorries before the blockade began.

      It does not need an expert to conclude that the consequence of this Weisglass-style “diet” would be widespread malnutrition, especially among children. And that is what happened, as a leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross found in 2008: “Chronic malnutrition is on a steadily rising trend and micronutrient deficiencies are of great concern.”
      There can be little doubt that the diet devised for Gaza – much like Israel’s blockade in general – was intended as a form of collective punishment, one directed at every man, woman and child. According to the Israeli defence ministry, “economic warfare” would create a political crisis leading to the overthrow of Hamas.”

      Devious Israel.

  10. DaveS on April 22, 2014, 10:25 am

    I had a similar reaction to this article and was writing a post about it when I saw this better one. The only additional point I would have made about the article’s failure to identify Israel as the cause of so much misery was this: Imagine a story about the teenagers of Sderot coping with rockets fired from “nearby” that fails to note that Palestinians from Gaza are launching them. In fact, a search of Sderot on the Times website gets 500 hits. I browsed through dozens, and not a single one talks about the rockets without identifying the agency behind them. In fact, that would be inconceivable.

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