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Palestinian source for feel-good ‘NYT’ story on Haifa says newspaper censored his political views

US Politics

The New York Times today ran an interesting piece on hipster Palestinian culture in Haifa by Diaa Hadid that portrayed a vibrant secular community of young Palestinians in the city — but the article was at least partly designed to make Israel supporters feel good about what an inclusive modern society they’ve created. Haifa is

 a comfortable place for liberal Palestinians who want not only to escape the constraints of conservative Arab communities but also to be among their own people.

The featured quote from the article was about how Palestinians in Haifa are allowed to be gay. Ayed Fadel runs Kabareet, a nightspot:

“We want a gay couple to go to the dance floor and kiss each other, and nobody to even look at them,” he said. “This is the new Palestinian society we are aiming for.”

Well, Fadel has responded angrily and eloquently on Facebook that the Times wrenched his comment out of context. The entire article removes Palestinian Haifa from the broad struggle of cultural resistance to Israeli Zionist domination; Fadel objects to being used to “pink wash” Israel; (the word means exonerating Israel of its oppression of Palestinians by citing freedom for gays):

Yes I did say that, but it was a whole build up for the conversation until I reached this sentence, and I was actually trying to explain how Haifa became a place where everyone can feel safe and comfortable, so I used one of the most extremist views that our society could accept. Also mentioning the Kooz queer film festival that we hosted without mentioning that one of the most important topics in it was the Israeli pink washing – IS MISLEADING – especially when I’ve been totally used as a “pink washer” with the quote above!!

In fact, Fadel said, his interview with Hadid was mostly about Palestinian cultural resistance — but the Times censored his political comments.

90% of the interview we were talking about how the culture of the cultural resistance is growing and taking a place in so many levels, such as music, art, spaces etc. And how the Palestinian underground scene is being bigger and bigger and full of creativity and how literally it is being a place full of intelligence and rebel agenda.

The words “resist” or “resistance” don’t appear in the article. Fadel concludes that the Times was behaving like “white media.”

I don’t know if what I am writing now is even enough to cover all what have been written in this article, but hopefully that could explain the situation and make it more clear that it was another trap by the white media, that is always trying to show us as the cool yay hipsters full of tattoos and piercings – far away from the grounded reality that we are facing and fighting every day!

We agreed to do this [interview] thinking the results would be different but they weren’t. Last chance given to white media and media in general, next time we’ll be more cautious, and we don’t allow anyone to categorize us under “Israeli City of Haifa, a Liberal Palestinian Culture Blossoms” – dear editor, please liberate your liberalism aspects.

When Ayed Fadel posted his remarks, he gave a co-byline to another person quoted in the article, Fidaa Hammoud, who said in the Times that she had freedom in a Jewish community she would not have in an Arab one — her published remarks will also comfort Israel supporters. Though Hammoud does not specifically respond to the article here, we sense that she also feels quoted out of context. Hammoud is opposed to Israeli apartheid on her Facebook page; she doesn’t get to say so in the article.

P.S. The outgoing Jerusalem bureau chief for the NYT, Jodi Rudoren, just got a sendoff in Jerusalem. And not surprisingly, a lot of very powerful Israelis toasted her.

A settler leader applauds her work as “great”.


About James North and Philip Weiss

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13 Responses

  1. CigarGod
    January 4, 2016, 11:59 am

    NYT gives Journalism a Bad Name.

    • Emory Riddle
      January 4, 2016, 4:23 pm

      The Boston Globe gave a big editorial to Daniel Pipes today to sell his Muslim hating propaganda with no mention of just who this guy is (other than saying he was from the blandly named Middle East forum).

      Should cause a big outrage but its business as usual in America 2015

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      January 5, 2016, 10:43 am

      Disgraceful. When will the NYT stop lying to its readers. Censored journalism is a symptom of fascism.It’s all too familiar when reflecting on the 1930’s in Germany

  2. a blah chick
    January 4, 2016, 1:07 pm

    I had a bad feeling about the feelgood article when I read it, especially since it was written by Hadid who’s been like Jodi’s handmaiden. Wonder if her subservience comes with the job for NYTimes reporter. And wouldn’t you all the hasbarists took to Twitter to exult all the freedoms the little Arabs have in the Glorious State of Israel.

    I once saw a picture of a group of the Palestinian intellitgensia hanging out in a coffee shop back in the thirties or forties. This is NOT new, it was a part of Palestinian culture before that society was destroyed in the ’48 war. But you’d never know that reading Hadid’s tripe.

  3. Froggy
    January 4, 2016, 4:42 pm

    Palestinian source for feel-good ‘NYT’ story on Haifa says newspaper censored his political views

    Why am I not surprised!

    The US MSM is nothing more than a medium to disseminate Zionist propaganda. For news I have long found the NYT to be worse than worthless.

  4. Stephen Shenfield
    January 4, 2016, 4:53 pm

    This article lies at the intersection of two genres of hasbara. One is “Haifa hype,” which uses the atypical relative tolerance of Haifa to give Israel a “cosmopolitan” image. The other is a contemporary version of the old claim (going back at least to the British Mandate) that the Zionist presence in Palestine assists social and cultural progress in Arab society. Neither of these ideas is completely devoid of truth, but then good propaganda is built not on lies but on exaggerated, isolated, and decontextualized elements of truth.

    • a blah chick
      January 4, 2016, 10:38 pm

      “The other is a contemporary version of the old claim (going back at least to the British Mandate) that the Zionist presence in Palestine assists social and cultural progress in Arab society.”

      I see that argued a lot. 972mag had a story some weeks back about two Palestinian women who owned movie theaters during the Mandate. Makes you wonder how many Palestinian lost their businesses as a result of the Nakba. Then there was a Palestinian Israeli woman whose father had an interview with the police after she was arrested during a demonstration. And the police wanted to know why he wasn’t controlling his daughter. Didn’t he see how she was bringing shame onto the family by demonstrating in the street?

  5. JLewisDickerson
    January 4, 2016, 7:32 pm

    RE: “Palestinian source for feel-good ‘NYT’ story on Haifa says newspaper censored his political views”

    MY COMMENT: Pity the “Old Gray Lady”; she’s showing her age! That poor New York Times is suffering severely from “Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrom”*. As of yet, there is no known cure.

    * “Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome”, a/k/a “post-purchase rationalization”, is a cognitive bias [i.e. in essence, a type of defence mechanism] whereby someone who has purchased an expensive product or service overlooks [i.e., is in denial as to] any faults or defects (while exaggerating the positive attributes) in order to justify their purchase [thereby diminishing any “buyers remorse” (i.e., sense of regret / second guessing / cognitive dissonance)]. It is a special case of “choice-supportive bias”*.
    ● Post-purchase rationalization, a/k/a Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome –

    * Choice-supportive bias
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In cognitive science, choice-supportive bias is the tendency to retroactively ascribe positive attributes to an option one has selected. It is a cognitive bias. For example, if a person buys a computer from Apple instead of a computer (PC) running Windows, they are likely to ignore or downplay the faults of Apple computers while amplifying those of Windows computers. Conversely, they are also likely to notice and amplify advantages of Apple computers and not notice or de-emphasize those of Windows computers.
    What is remembered about a decision can be as important as the decision itself, especially in determining how much regret or satisfaction one experiences.[1] Research indicates that the process of making and remembering choices yields memories that tend to be distorted in predictable ways.[1] In cognitive science, one predictable way that memories of choice options are distorted is that positive aspects tend to be remembered as part of the chosen option, whether or not they originally were part of that option, and negative aspects tend to be remembered as part of rejected options.[1] Once an action has been taken, the ways in which we evaluate the effectiveness of what we did may be biased.[2] It is believed this may influence our future decision-making. These biases may be stored as memories, which are attributions that we make about our mental experiences based on their subjective qualities, our prior knowledge and beliefs, our motives and goals, and the social context. True and false memories arise by the same mechanism because when the brain processes and stores information, it cannot tell the difference from where they came from.[3] . . .

    • Mooser
      January 4, 2016, 8:51 pm

      JLDickerson you can diss’ Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome all you want, but I don’t know where I’d be if my wife hadn’t come down with it.

      • JLewisDickerson
        January 4, 2016, 10:51 pm

        I wish Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome worked for me. No matter how rigorously (i.e., obsessively) I research a product before deciding to buy it, after purchasing it I will inevitably find some shortcoming for which I will ruthlessly blame myself. It is truly a living hell.
        Have I ever mentioned how much I hate to pay retail?

    • JLewisDickerson
      January 6, 2016, 7:47 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “When Facts Fail: Can We Change Hearts and Minds?” | by Amée Latour | | January 5, 2016

      [EXCERPT] . . . I’ve long been interested in finding effective ways to talk to people with whom I disagree. I try not to go into such conversations with the conviction that I am right and they are wrong; they may have information or insight or perspective that I do not. By exchanging such wares, perhaps we can move closer to one another. Maybe one of us will change our minds. Or maybe we’ll just understand one another a bit better. It’s an exercise of understanding first, and convincing second (if at all).

      But recently I’ve found myself embroiled in “conversations” in which I cannot, in any way, understand the other, and he or she cannot understand me. Facts and reasoning hold no sway and we yell across a chasm that grows the more we speak. This is my hell, the opposite of what should happen, a direct challenge to my faith.

      The first step is to understand.

      Why Do Facts Fail?

      Fortunately, those better equipped than I are already attempting to do so. A study conducted between 2005 and 2006, entitled “When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misconceptions,” sought to analyze the impact of factual information on participants’ misconceptions (including the ideas that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, G.W. Bush banned stem cell research and tax cuts increase government revenue). Researchers found that, among the most ideologically conservative participants, receiving factual information about the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the lack of correlation between tax cuts and increased government revenue not only failed to correct their misconceptions, but actually strengthened their belief in them. The researchers called this “the backfire effect.” Among liberals, misconceptions were neither corrected nor strengthened by access to information to the contrary.

      The study authors suggest that the phenomenon of “motivated reasoning” may explain why misconceptions were not corrected, and in some cases were even strengthened, by contradicting information. Motivated reasoning is the unconscious process by which people interpret, accept and dismiss information in a way that contributes to some goal, and is the focus of much of Yale Law professor Dan Kahan’s research. Kahan explains that motivated reasoning can have diverse goals, including preserving one’s position within a group, maintaining a certain self-image and abating anxiety or dissonance. There are a number of ways in which motivated reasoning plays out: biased information search (seeking out or giving more weight to information that confirms one’s stance), biased assimilation (discrediting evidence to the contrary of one’s stance) and identity-protective cognition (dismissing evidence that would cause one anxiety or dissonance) are three primary styles noted by Kahan. . .


  6. Philip Munger
    January 4, 2016, 11:29 pm

    Dani Dayan, the guy who put the “ass” in ambassador” to Brasilia.

  7. Blake
    January 5, 2016, 8:15 am

    Hence I never read past the introduction which began with “The Israeli city of Haifa”

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