Trending Topics:

The ‘NYT’ turns Jaffa into an ‘ancient neighborhood’ of Tel Aviv revived by Israeli realtors and chefs

Media Analysis
on 38 Comments

Debra Kamin’s March 14, 2019 New York Times Travel section piece, “Jaffa Is Tel Aviv’s Unexpected Luxury Hotspot,” follows the familiar pattern of Zionist revisionist history that completely ignores Palestinian history.  The article refers to Jaffa only as an “ancient neighborhood” of modern Tel Aviv, and focuses on the upscale Jewish real-estate boom in the old Palestinian city, complete with gorgeous photos to accompany the piece.

The article offers a sanitized Jaffa that avoids any mention of the Palestinian point of view, likening the relationship between Jaffa and Tel Aviv to the famous American comedy duo:

Jaffa, the age-old Abbott to youthful Tel Aviv’s Costello, is an ancient port in the midst of a luxury renaissance. This 3,000-year-old harbor is a labyrinth of white stone alleys, hushed mosques and markets brimming with antiques and spices.

By fetishizing the old feel of the “hushed mosques,” and juxtaposing them to the modern “luxury renaissance,” Kamin draws a line from ancient to today, a “quiet intermix of ancient walls and sleek modern lines.”  But the article ignores the Judaized mode of gentrification of the Palestinian city that has also included altering street signs–all efforts to commodify and colonize any existing Palestinian land.

And it altogether erases Jaffa’s special place in Palestinian history: the “bride of the sea,” the largest Palestinian population center before the Nakba, from which leading cultural figures such as the late Ibrahim Abu-Lughod were ethnically cleansed when Zionists conquered the city in violation of the UN partition plan.

Kamin writes about three new upscale hotels, providing the unique history of each that never mentions the city’s Palestinian history:

The Setai Tel Aviv (in a former Ottoman prison with Crusader-era origins); The Jaffa (an Aby Rosen recreation of a former hospice for malaria victims) and The Drisco, a revival of Jaffa’s first luxury hotel, shuttered since 1940)–opened last year, within spitting distance of each other.

Hotels aren’t the only new addition, Kamin boasts:

And that’s not all: Add to the mix of this major makeover a new lush Japanese spa, a bustling night life district and a flea market packed with restaurants led by major Israeli chefs.

According to Aby Rosen, a New York-based real estate tycoon, Jaffa’s appeal is that it is both ancient and modern at once:

“Jaffa is the hottest area in Tel Aviv–the energy and authenticity, coupled with the creativity seen in the ancient architecture, the local artists, galleries and not to mention the amazing food and the sea–it’s all part of the appeal…Jaffa has all the components to be the next big thing.”

Israel loves its Palestinian cities, of course, because they contain fewer and fewer Palestinians.  The architecture is appropriated into background scenery, its visitors get a thrill as they sit in new shiny restaurants on top of ancient stones.  Everything before 1948 becomes prehistoric and mystified.  Any remaining Palestinians in Jaffa, if they’re referred to at all, are called Arabs–they’re from there but not really from there, part of the landscape but not its history.

It turns out that the erasure of Palestinian history was even a bit much for the New York Times.  The piece became a lightning rod in our progressive community; and the online edition included this Editors’ note on March 14, 2019:

The original version of this article, in focusing exclusively on the new high-end hotels and other additions, failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history–in particular, the history and continuing presence of its Arab population and the expulsion of many residents in 1948. Because of this lapse, the article also did not acknowledge the continuing controversy about new development and its effect on Jaffa. After readers pointed out the problems, editors added some of that background information to this version.

 And here’s the paragraph the editors added to the body of the piece to make things right:

The gentrification hasn’t pleased everyone. Jaffa for centuries has been a stronghold of Arab and Muslim life. In 1948, when the State of Israel was founded, most of Jaffa’s Arab residents were forcibly removed from their homes. Today the district is one of the few areas of the country with a mixed Arab and Jewish population, and as luxury projects have moved in, so have accusations that the city’s Muslim history is being erased.

But even the New York Times’s attempt at transparency includes a sanitized history.  This paragraph states that Jaffa had a strong “Arab and Muslim life,” yet the word Palestine or Palestinian is never used.  Jaffa still has a “mixed Arab and Jewish population,” but nothing is mentioned about Israel’s ongoing efforts to Judaize and colonize the city.  

Additionally, the added paragraph, intended to placate readers upset with the piece, only suggests that there are “accusations that the city’s Muslim history is being erased,” which only further contributes to the erasure of any mention of Palestinian life.

Instead, the article sticks to its sterile “ancient” history: a stone wall that dates “to the Crusader period, that had once formed the perimeter of a 12th-century fortress,” the “Ottoman-era clock tower,” and its ancient port, “said to be where Jonah set out to meet his whale.”

Ultimately, Kamin’s piece says nothing new. It’s another marketing opportunity for Israeli real-estate to cover up the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land and culture, another Orientalist fetish-fest whereby visitors amble and patronize the former Palestinian spaces, take in the cultural vibe without understanding its erasure.

The article perpetuates the newspaper’s commitment to preserving a Zionist myth that says these stones might be ancient, but the New York Times won’t talk about what’s happened there since. And why would they? They’re on their way to try the hip new restaurant starring an Israeli chef with a backdrop of ancient stone walls.

P.S. Kamin, who is said to live in Tel Aviv, a month ago tweeted a photograph of Ben-Gurion airport with this appreciation: “Back in the motherland and it feels so good.”

Debra Kamin’s appreciative photo of Ben Gurion airport, Feb. 15, 2019.


Liz Rose

Liz Rose is a Chicago teacher.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

38 Responses

  1. bcg on March 18, 2019, 12:31 pm

    Zochrot is always a good source on pre-colonised Palestine – here’s Jaffa:

    Jaffa was the largest city in historic Palestine during the years of the British mandate, with a population of more than 80,000 Palestinians in addition to the 40,000 persons living in the towns and villages in its immediate vicinity. In the period between the UN Partition resolution (UNGA 181) of 29 November 1947, and the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel, Zionist military forces displaced 95 percent of Jaffa’s indigenous Arab Palestinian population. Jaffa’s refugees accounted for 15 percent of Palestinian refugees in that fateful year, and today they are dispersed across the globe, still banned from returning by the state responsible for their displacement.

    • Lillian Rosengarten on March 19, 2019, 10:23 am

      I am so offended and disgusted. I will never return to Israel. I detest the article and am revolted by the decay of Zionism.

      • Misterioso on March 19, 2019, 11:41 am

        @Lillian Rosengarten

        “[I] am revolted by the decay of Zionism.”

        As the historical record clearly attests, Zionism was born rotten.

    • Misterioso on March 19, 2019, 11:24 am

      @beg, et al

      For the record re Jaffa, 1948:

      On April 25/48, in the early morning, the Zionist offensive against Jaffa began with a massive indiscriminate mortar bombardment throughout the city. The mortars were launched from the centre of Tel Aviv and the nearby Jewish settlement of Bat Yam by the Irgunists. A few weeks earlier they had raided a British camp, killed a sentry, and captured a large number of 3 inch mortars which had a much greater range and were more powerful than their Davidika version.

      During every daylight hour, for nearly four full days, dozens of mortar shells exploded all over Jaffa’s commercial and residential districts. Civilians were overcome with fear and hysteria and thousands wanted desperately to get out. As Sir Henry Gurney, the British Chief Secretary of the Palestine government wrote in his diary at the time: “The Irgun mortar attack was indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets and was designed to create panic among the population.” (Palumbo, The Palestinian Catastrophe, p. 89)

      Armed only with pistols, old rifles and some British 45 calibre tommy-guns, Jaffa’s defenders were unable to effectively return fire without mortars or artillery. So desperate to strike back, they even tried to find a way to use the ancient Turkish Ramadan cannon that was fired at sunset to let Muslims know they could break their fast. They were also plagued by the fact that much of their ammunition was useless. It was surplus British stock buried in the Egyptian desert at El Alamein after the war and then brought in by boat.

      With Jaffa cut off from the rest of Palestine by advancing Jewish forces who controlled the Jerusalem highway, civilians could only escape the relentless mortar barrage by sea. Shell-shocked and panic stricken, thousands of them jammed the port looking for any type of craft (even row boats) that could take them to Gaza or Lebanon and while they waited, many were cold-bloodedly murdered by Irgun snipers.

      Scores of those who managed to get on the overcrowded boats, yachts, and other vessels, fell overboard and drowned. Iris Shammout, who was then 12 years of age, recalled the scene vividly. “‘… bullets went through the bodies of people standing by the seashore…. Women and children were weeping and screaming’ as they filed into small boats in an effort to reach a Greek steamship that they hoped would take them to safety. Many people drowned because the tiny fishing vessels could not hold the multitude. Babies fell overboard and mothers were forced to choose which ones to save. The Shammouts were luckier than most since all members of the family were able to get aboard the Greek vessel which eventually reached Beirut. But many of those who attempted to sail to Gaza or Beirut in small boats were lost at sea. Their bodies were washed up along the coast of Palestine.” (Palumbo, pp. 89-90)

      These horrendous events were witnessed by British observers in the harbour. They noted in their reports that as had occurred in Haifa, “[r]efugees [were] fired on by Jewish snipers as they moved off.” (Palumbo, p. 90)

      On April 25, the Irgun attacked Manshiyya, the Jaffa neighbourhood that extended like a bottle neck along the sea into Tel Aviv. The Irgun hoped to cut it off from the rest of the city and assembled a force of about 600 men well supplied with arms, ammunition and mortars. Despite their greater numbers, the city’s defenders managed to push them back, but only after they had destroyed dozens of Arab homes.

      During the morning of April 27, with the Haganah providing additional mortar and small arms support, the Irgunists again attacked Manshiyya using explosives and barrel bombs. They blew up row upon row of dwellings and forced those Arab civilians still alive to run for their lives to the sea. By the morning of the 28th the Irgun managed to reach the sea and Manshiyya was cut off from the rest of Jaffa.

      Immediately after they occupied Manshiyya the Irgun ransacked and plundered Arab homes and businesses. To quote Zionist historian, Jon Kimche: “Everything that was moveable was carried off from Jaffa – furniture, carpets, pictures, crockery and pottery, Jewellery and cutlery. The occupied part of Jaffa [Manshiyya] was stripped…what could not be taken away was smashed. Windows, pianos, fittings and lamps went in an orgy of destruction.” (“Deir Yassin and Jaffa, April, 1948,” Seven Fallen Pillars: the Middle East 1915-1950)

      The Irgun’s pillaging and deliberate destruction of homes and businesses in Manshiyya together with the massive flight of Jaffa’s Arabs by sea caused the British, who were fearful of another Haifa debacle and its repercussions at Whitehall, to intervene militarily. On the 29th they shelled Irgun headquarters near Tel Aviv and fired on those Irgunists occupying Manshiyya, forcing them to pull out. But the British then handed Manshiyya over to the Jews by agreeing to patrol it jointly with the Haganah until the Mandate ended.

      On April 29, Haganah/Irgun units commenced Plant Dalet’s Operation Chamtez to first isolate and then capture Jaffa while avoiding conflict with British forces. They occupied the Arab villages of Tal al- Rish, Saqiyah, Salameh, Abu Kabir and al-Khairiyya that surrounded Jaffa and expelled more than 5000 inhabitants. On the same day, the British forced the Haganah to open the Jaffa-Jerusalem highway and as a result the civilian exodus exploded.

      Jaffa’s inhabitants knew their city would soon be in the hands of the Jews, so when the opportunity came to escape by land without coming under mortar fire, thousands took it despite appeals by the local Arab National Committee for them to stay. In a state of terror, a sea of refugees began fleeing the city in assorted vehicles heading for Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron, and Jordan. By April 30, more than eighty percent of Jaffa’s population had fled.

      The British commander at Jaffa, General Sir Horatius Murray witnessed the exodus: “I saw a scene which I never thought to see in my life. It was the sight of the whole population of Jaffa pouring out on to the road carrying in their hands whatever they could pick up. [They were heading south] as fast as their legs could carry them. It was a case of sheer terror…” (Palumbo, p. 87)

      By the beginning of May, Jaffa’s food supplies were severely depleted. With the electricity completely cut off and a lack of portable generators there was no refrigeration so meat and other perishables quickly spoiled. Soon there was no flour for bread and every family was down to its last bit of rice with none left in the stores. The usual source of fresh produce, meat, dairy products and other staples was cut off because farmers outside the city had been routed by the Jews. Some seafood was available thanks to the brave fishermen who refused to be intimidated by snipers. Thankfully, they also had some vegetables because nearly every family had a garden and the many artesian wells provided enough drinking water.

      On May 10, the Haganah entered Jaffa, which according to the British Commander, General Murray was like a ghost town: “It was as if a pied piper had been there. There wasn’t a soul. Gas stoves were still burning in the houses, the shops were full of goods, and the houses had obviously been left in a great hurry…. [It was] a city of the dead.” (Palumbo, p. 88)

      Jaffa was a very wealthy city. Its stores were full of all manner of merchandise and there were many beautiful homes containing all sorts of treasure, including fine furniture, jewellery, works of art and rare carpets. Within hours, Jewish troops were roaming everywhere looting and pillaging at will while their officers looked the other way and many shared in the spoils.
      Yosef Yaakobson, later an advisor to the Israel Ministry of Defence, told Ben-Gurion at the time that “…the army was removing goods from Jaffa property estimated at 30,000 pounds [then $120,000 U.S.] daily.” (Tom Segev, 1949, The First Israelis; 1986 p. 73.)

      Once again, as in Tiberias and Haifa and throughout the country, Jaffa’s Christian churches were desecrated and looted. Father Deleque, a Catholic priest described one such incident: “‘Jewish soldiers broke down the doors of my church and robbed many precious and sacred objects. Then they threw the statues of Christ down into a nearby garden.’ The Jewish soldiers laughed at the priest and ignored his protests. The cleric complained that Jewish leaders gave reassurances about respect of religious buildings ‘but their deeds do not correspond to their words.'” (Palumbo, p. 91)

      Along with their conquest of Jaffa and its environs, the Zionists seized all of the Arab-owned orchards, thereby taking control of one hundred per cent of Palestine’s fruit exporting industry which was worth $billions.

      They also plundered the city’s several financial institutions: The Barclay Bank, the Ottoman Bank, the Arab Bank, the Islamic Bank, the Italian Bank and the German Bank.

      As Jaffa was the centre of the fruit exporting industry, Palestine’s main source of foreign earnings, vast sums were deposited and kept in its banks. As had happened in Haifa, most of Jaffa’s Arabs were unable to gain access to banks in order to withdraw funds before they fled.

      Once the Irgun’s mortar bombardment began the streets were too unsafe for people to move about or banks to remain open. As a result, great numbers of individual and business bank accounts overflowing with deposits fell into the hands of the Jewish Agency.

      No precise figures are available, but Haifa’s banks were relieved of 1.5 billion pounds [$6 billion U.S.], so it is safe to assume that those in Jaffa had at least the same amount in deposits and probably much more. It is impossible to estimate how much in jewellery, foreign currencies and assorted valuables were stolen, but it must have been an immense sum as Palestine’s wealthiest families lived in Jaffa district.

      On May 13, Jaffa’s Arab Emergency Committee had no alternative but to sign an agreement in Tel Aviv with heads of the Haganah who dictated its terms. The agreement contained a clause stipulating “that anyone who left Jaffa and wanted to return could only do so ‘provided that Haganah command shall be satisfied that the applicant shall not constitute a danger to public security.'” (Palumbo, p. 92)

      Although contrary to international law, this condition provided the Zionists with what they saw as a means to justify their refusal to allow the city’s Arab residents to return to their homes. The Zionists now had another seaport on the Mediterranean that would prove invaluable and along with Haifa, it was put to immediate use receiving shipments of arms following Britain’s withdrawal.

      Within a few weeks after its occupation only about 3500 of Jaffa’s original Arab population of 75,000 remained.

      “By the time Israel declared independence on May 14th 1948 [effective May 15th] … Jews had chased Jaffa’s Arabs out of the city, leaving less than a 20th of the population behind. … Much of the Arab medina was bulldozed and grassed over. … [W]alking through Jaffa today you would never know it had once been Palestine’s Arab economic and cultural center. … Jaffa was eradicated like Troy.” (Book Review, White City, Black City: Architecture and War in Tel Aviv and Jaffa by Sharon Rotbard, The Economist, February 7, 2015)

  2. Brewer on March 18, 2019, 6:21 pm
    Jaffa. Alhambra Cinema. 1937

    If memory serves, Jaffa was not included in the Jewish portion of the Plan for Partition. The attack began about a month before the declaration of independence.

    • Misterioso on March 19, 2019, 11:33 am


      “If memory serves, Jaffa was not included in the Jewish portion of the Plan for Partition.”


      • Brewer on March 19, 2019, 12:58 pm

        Off-topic Mys but you might want bookmark this if you haven’t already got it.
        For years I have been looking for a concise summary of Israel Finkestein’s research:

      • Mooser on March 23, 2019, 12:39 pm

        “Those People in Gaza Where Do They Come From, And Why Are They So Mad?” Lawrence of Cyberia 2009

  3. Mooser on March 18, 2019, 8:22 pm

    “Debra Kamin, in 2018 at a TEDx talk on the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide. “

    Wonder what she had to say about that.

    • Keith on March 19, 2019, 10:49 am

      MOOSER- “Wonder what she had to say about that.”

      Since genocidaire Paul Kagame is a close ally of US/Israel, I would be astonished if Debra Kamin did other than lend strong support to the official imperial propaganda version of events.

      • Mooser on March 19, 2019, 12:21 pm

        Here you go. “Reclaiming the Narrative” The intro was enough for me:

        “Two decades after its horrific genocide, Rwanda is an African success story. Its cities boast high-tech hubs and luxury hotels. Its countryside is dotted with reconciliation villages, where Hutu and Tutsi live side by side. But in a country where no one emerged the genocide unscathed, triumph is not in spite of trauma. It’s because of it.”

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 19, 2019, 1:26 pm

        “genocidaire Paul Kagame”

        Kagame is a deeply dubious person in many ways – he has been described as ‘the worst war criminal still in office’ – but he is not a ‘genocidaire’. He was/is a Tutsi leader fighting against the Hutu genocidaires.

      • Keith on March 19, 2019, 3:53 pm

        MAXIMUS- “… but he is not a ‘genocidaire’. He was/is a Tutsi leader fighting against the Hutu genocidaires.”

        That is the official imperial propaganda version of events. He is the empire’s brutal dictator in Africa. A couple of quotes from reliable sources.

        “Left writers have been reporting for years that U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda bear primary responsibility for the deaths of as many as six million Congolese. Now a leaked United Nations report has confirmed that Rwanda’s crimes in Congo may rise to the level of genocide, since President Paul Kagame’s forces killed Hutu elderly, children and women without regard to nationality. Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s “mentors and funders in the U.S. government…must be held equally accountable.” (Glen Ford)

        “President Kagame is a war criminal with the blood of millions of his “African brothers and sisters” in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on his hands.

        In October 1990, he led Ugandan troops invading Rwanda. Many of them were the children of the Rwandan Tutsi minority who had fled the country during the 1960s after the Hutu majority came to power. After a four-year war and the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, Kagame’s army overthrew the Rwandan government and established a de facto Tutsi dictatorship, which falsely claims to have ended competition between the Hutu and Tutsi. The last 100 days of the war included the massacres of half a million or more Rwandans that came to be known as the Rwandan Genocide. Most of the world has never heard of the invasion and four-year war, only the last 100 days depicted in the oversimplified, decontextualized story told in the movie “Hotel Rwanda.”

        In 1996, and then again in 1998, Rwanda and Uganda invaded the vastly resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo, enabled by US weapons, logistics, and intelligence. They massacred hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees, expelled one president, assassinated another, massacred Congolese people and drove them from their homes to plunder their resources. Today, after the death of more than six million Congolese, parts of the country remain under de facto occupation by Rwanda. Rwandans have become officers in the Congolese army and many Congolese believe that the Congo’s President Joseph Kabila is himself a Rwandan Tutsi.” (Ann Garrison and Benedicte Kumbi Ndjoko)

      • gamal on March 19, 2019, 3:57 pm

        “but he is not a ‘genocidaire’. He was/is a Tutsi leader fighting against the Hutu genocidaires”

        Are you familiar with the whole of Paul Kagames career in Uganda and Congo? he is big focus in Herman and Petersons book the Politics of Genocide, that he is the worst war criminal still in office is a bit much though the worst war criminals are all in the imperial centre, Kagames a bit player Washingtons man in Central Africa,

        “Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame clearly is another “our kind of guy”: Like Suharto, Kagame is a double-genocidist, and one who ended any social democratic threat in Rwanda, firmly aligned Rwanda with the West as a U.S. client, and opened the door to foreign investment. Later, and far more lucratively, Kagame helped carve out resource-extraction and investment opportunities for his own associates and the U.S. and other Western investors in neighboring Zaire, the massive, resource-rich Central African country renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1997 during the First Congo War (ca. July 1996 – July 1998).

        For many years Kagame has been portrayed in the Western mainstream media as the savior of Rwanda, having allegedly terminated the genocide committed against his own minority ethnic group, the Tutsi, by the Hutu majority (April – July 1994) [5]. He and his supporters have long justified the Rwanda Patriotic Front’s military invasions of Zaire – the DRC as a simple pursuit of the Hutu genocidaires who had fled Rwanda during the war within, and Kagame’s conquest of, the country. This apologetic, long considered fraudulent by many marginalized dissidents, has finally come into question even within the establishment with the leak [6] and then wide circulation of a draft UN report prepared for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (i.e., “Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003”, June, 2010).

        Not only does this report catalogue the massive atrocities committed in the DRC over a ten-year period, it attributes the responsibility for the most serious of these atrocities to the RPF. “There is no denying that ethnic massacres were committed and that the victims were mostly Hutus from Burundi, Rwanda, and Zaire”, the draft report quotes the findings of a 1997 UN inquiry”

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 19, 2019, 5:19 pm

        Like I said, Kagame is a very distasteful character in many ways.

        However, he is not a ‘genocidaire’. That term is specifically used to refer to those involved in the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis. Since Kagame is himself a Rwandan Tutsi, it is just simply incorrect to refer to him as a ‘genodicaire’. He was and is many unpleasant things, but ‘genocidaire’ is not one of them.

      • Mooser on March 19, 2019, 5:34 pm

        The point being that Ms.Kamin seems to make a specialty of finding triumph in trauma.

      • Keith on March 19, 2019, 10:35 pm

        MAXIMUS- “However, he is not a ‘genocidaire’. That term is specifically used to refer to those involved in the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis.”

        Do you work for the US State Department? For starters, there was no genocide of the Rwandan Tutsis. Just because the State Department says it is so doesn’t make it so. Both Gamal and I have provided quotes where reputable sources refer to the Rwandan atrocities in Eastern Congo as approaching genocide. Black Agenda Report has for some time referred to Kagame as a genocidaire, yet you seem determined to defend someone primarily responsible for about 6 million deaths in the Eastern Congo in support of imperial objectives. Apparently the impact of official propaganda – both the US and Israel – runs strong and deep so that the Hutus are firmly fixed in your mind as committing genocide against the Tutsi, Paul Kagame a bad guy but not a genocidaire who, by definition, can only be Hutus. Kagame a leader fighting against the Hutu genocidaires. Interesting. Care to provide a few quotes and references? Bill Clinton? Shmuley Boteach? Ellie Wiesel? The US State Department? The movie “Hotel Rwanda”? Seriously.

      • gamal on March 19, 2019, 10:50 pm

        “However, he is not a ‘genocidaire’. That term is specifically used to refer to those involved in the genocide of Rwandan Tutsis”

        we can discuss via reiteration if you like seems pointless but here we go ..the last two words are good “factual material”, Paul Kagame and the RPF are the US’ local satraps you know all those one hears of dying in Congo/Zaire many of those are on Kagames’ and our account he is our Mobutu Sese Seko who did that for us for many years, after we killed Lumumba and Pierre Mulele ( )

        hotel rwanda is not history, remember katanga and all of the rest that we are doing to that country, it’s not just some distasteful African dude slaughtering in the dark continent its us.

        “In this upside down world, Paul Kagame is much admired in the West, although, according to Herman and Peterson, he is one of the most ruthless killers of our time. Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front were helped by US power. This power equation created a distorted picture of the tragic events in Rwanda. Herman and Peterson write: “The established narrative’s 800,000 or more largely Tutsi deaths resulting from a ‘preprogrammed genocide’ committed by ‘Hutu power’ appears to have no basis in any facts beyond the early claims by Kagame’s RPF and its politically motivated Western sponsors and propagandists.” (p. 59) In fact, “the alleged Hutu perpetrators of ‘The Genocide’ were the ones driven from power, with several million Hutus sent fleeing from Rwanda by July 4 [1994], the date by which the RPF had taken Kigali.” (p. 56) So it seems that the great majority of deaths were Hutus, possibly as many as two million.

        As a result of all these nightmarish events the US gained a strong military presence in Central Africa and access to the Democratic Republic of Congo with its rare industrial raw materials.

        Similar media-backed distortions manifest themselves in many conflicts around the world. The Balkans has been a major stage for Washington-led propaganda. Srebrenica is constantly used as a black-and-white tragedy where there is no doubt of who are the villains. Here’s Herman and Peterson’s comment: “Coming less than one month after the Srebrenica massacre, Operation Storm drove some 250,000 ethnic Serbs out of the Krajina along both sides of the Croatia-Bosnia border, killing several thousand, including several hundred women and children.” Herman and Peterson observe: “But as Operation Storm was both U.S.-sponsored and helped clear up Croatia’s Serb problem, it was minimally newsworthy and has been treated neither as a massacre nor as a genocide …” (pp. 82-83)

        Herman and Peterson also look at the Washington-approved versions of many other conflicts and massacres around the world. I started this article by saying “until recently”. Things seem to be changing. First Wikileaks and now the Palestine Papers have revealed, for those who didn’t know, how real world politics operate. Herman and Peterson’s book should be required reading for young journalists who are beginning their career at foreign desks around the world. It is often too easy to succumb to the lazy ways of the mainstream press where distortions are part of the daily routine. These distortions are now being exposed by readily available factual material.”

        the whole Tutsi genocide story is worth examining closely

      • Keith on March 19, 2019, 11:02 pm

        “For the truth is that Paul Kagame, his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and their allies are responsible for the Rwandan “genocide” of 1994 and the multiple follow-up genocides in what was then Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) from 1996 to the present. Kagame and the RPF, the very actors who claimed to be the victims and saviours, share this responsibility with those who allegedly came to their “aid”: i.e. the leading political figures in the United States, Britain, Canada, Belgium, Uganda, and Tanzania. The United Nations was also complicit, as were numerous Western NGOs, prominent American journalists and virtually the entirety of the Western corporate press.” (Christopher Black)

        “Paul Kagame and his mentor and fellow warlord in neighboring Uganda, President Woseri Museveni, were given the green light by the West to kill and steal at will in Central Africa. They are the two main architects of the genocide in the eastern Congo, where some estimate six million people have died since Rwanda and Uganda invaded the region, in the mid-Nineties. The soldiers of these two U.S. henchmen are still there, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, looting precious minerals for sale to multinational corporations under cover of tribal warfare – wars created and nurtured by Kagame and Museveni, themselves, for the sake of power and profit and the favor of the United States and Europe. Kagame and Museveni have more blood on their hands than any combination of men in Africa – which makes them heroes to the West.” (Glen Ford)

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 20, 2019, 6:04 am

        “. Apparently the impact of official propaganda – both the US and Israel – runs strong and deep so that the Hutus are firmly fixed in your mind as committing genocide against the Tutsi, Paul Kagame a bad guy but not a genocidaire who, by definition, can only be Hutus.”

        Why are you being so ridiculous, Keith? Every single post I’ve ever written here – maybe you’ve not read any – should make it clear that a parrot of Israeli or American propaganda is the opposite of what I am.

        As I’ve said twice, Kagame is responsible for all sorts of nastiness, but in this context, the French term ‘genocidaire’ refers to the Hutu genocide of the Tutsis. Specifically. So to use that word for someone who – whatever atrocities he may have committed elswhere – was on the other side of this particular war, is inaccurate.

        ” yet you seem determined to defend someone primarily responsible for about 6 million deaths in the Eastern Congo in support of imperial objective”

        I’m baffled as to how describing someone as one of the worst war criminals currently in office – as I did above – equates to ‘defending’ him. What I’m defending is the use of accuracy in language. But as you seem not to want to discuss this in a reasonable manner I’ll leave it at that.

      • Keith on March 20, 2019, 11:53 am

        MAXIMUS- “As I’ve said twice, Kagame is responsible for all sorts of nastiness….”

        “Nastiness” is a rather mild term for someone directly responsible for the death of up to six million people in the Congo. Mass-murderer would be more accurate, don’t you think?

        MAXIMUS- “… but in this context, the French term ‘genocidaire’ refers to the Hutu genocide of the Tutsis.”

        The French term “genocidaire” generally refers to someone involved in committing genocide. The propagandistic use of the term to assert by labeling that the Hutus committed genocide against the Tutsis is to turn reality on its head. The US has now joined France as a sponsor of mass-murder in Africa. That is the reality. Your insistence that “genocidaire” accurately refers to a Hutu genocide of the Tutsis which, you claim, Kagame put an end to, is utter BS. Your argument that it must be true because proper word usage makes it so is nuts. The State Department also defines anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism, but you don’t accord that State Department definition as an accurate depiction of reality, do you?

        MAXIMUS- “What I’m defending is the use of accuracy in language.”

        No, you are defending the State Department/media/doctrinal system propagandistic label. Gamal and I are defending the accurate depiction of the facts on the ground, not imperial propaganda. To go along with an inaccurate label is to accept official propaganda at face value. Once you go along with the spurious definition of “genocidaire” as referring to the non-existent Hutu genocide of the Tutsi, then reality goes into the dumpster and there is nothing left to discuss. And to defend this as “accuracy in language” is beyond the pale. And when you give excessive credence to imperial labels EXCEPT for Palestine, then perhaps Israel and Palestine is the one area where you are in opposition to empire.

      • gamal on March 22, 2019, 4:54 am

        Greg Maybury puts the whole Congo/Rwanda genocide narrative into some context, whats that Stevie Wonder track “when you believe in things that you don’t understand”..a close reading MDM

        “The backdrop to this narrative are the events which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Zaire), a modern-day catastrophe which had its genesis back as far as the early fifties, but whose dark history of colonial and imperial exploitation goes back several centuries. Without further ado, the following is my bespoke take on the DRC/Zaire, whilst keeping at the forefront of our minds in the process, America’s more recent role in keeping the home fires burning in same, wherever the “home fires” require ‘lighting’ and ‘fuelling’. Such as in Venezuela now, Libya in 2011, Syria in 2012, and in 2014 in Ukraine, to name just a few infamous, more contemporary examples.

        The stories of US involvement in the political affairs of foreign countries are as legion as they are of course familiar. At least they are for those of us with few illusions about America’s status as “a force for good in the world”, and places such as Cuba, Guatemala, and Iran are prime examples”

        it is longish and full of links and details a close reading is bound to be rewarding

      • Mooser on March 22, 2019, 1:18 pm

        The point being …oh, never mind.

      • Keith on March 22, 2019, 4:24 pm

        GAMAL- (Maybury quote)- “Such as in Venezuela now, Libya in 2011, Syria in 2012, and in 2014 in Ukraine….”

        There is a recent development which I find profoundly depressing. Both Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib tweeted support for the anti-Assad “rebels” on the anniversary of the “uprising.” (see Ilhan Omar below)

        “The people of Syria revolted against Assad’s repressive dictatorship 8 years ago today, demanding a more just and free government. Peace loving people around the world stand in solidarity with them in this struggle!” (Ilhan Omar)

        Bad enough, but this was followed by Eric Draitser over at CounterPunch “defending” Ilhan Omar from responses to her tweet by essentially saying that those who continue to oppose empire in Syria are rubbing elbows (at the least) with right-wing, fascistic anti-Semites. His article is so fundamentally dishonest that I was shocked. Gamal, we are in World War III, it has gone that far. This is but a part of the empire’s full spectrum attack on the entire Third World, particularly those countries not vassal states. The entire political spectrum and public discussion is moving to the right at a fast pace. I am assuming that Eric Draitser (and others) who drift to the right are following the example of Christopher Hitchens and changing at least some of their views to accommodate funding realities and give the piper what he wants to hear. The link to Draitser is below.

        Link to Draitser article-

      • gamal on March 23, 2019, 11:57 am

        “Both Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib tweeted support for the anti-Assad “rebels” on the anniversary of the “uprising.” (see Ilhan Omar below)”

        Yes I know among English “Labourite” leftists in the UK many have been oppining that well they, Tlaib and Omar are “Sunni” Muslims and that Assad is “Shia”, which is pretty vacant of them, but yes they are very disapproving of her stance.

        But you have to be realistic these women are already stirring up a hornets nest, it is not really possible for them to take the side, whatever they actually believe and there are not a few Muslims and Arabs who for some reason believe all the plucky Syrian democrats revolt fantasy, like the brigadoon of Rojava, one of the reasons for that is the grim toll the last 30 years has had on the Muslim and Arab worlds, but for these women they can’t really afford to be supporting forces that may actually end up fighting the US forces, the US is way too totalitarian for that to be an acceptable stance for an American political functionary to adopt, especially when Black/Brown and Muslim, but yes electoral politics is always a bit depressing the limitations and compromises are very real especially for marginal people.

    • Marnie on March 22, 2019, 3:17 am

      Probably didn’t mention that the Hutus received munitions from Tel Aviv.

  4. Nathan on March 18, 2019, 9:08 pm

    This article ends with a little P.S, quoting a tweet (“back in the motherland and it feels so good”) and showing a photograph of inside the airport near Tel-Aviv. Actually, it’s all quite trivial and really very uninteresting – so I just couldn’t imagine why on earth the author of the article felt that it should be brought to our attention. I looked at the photo very carefully, and I noticed the sign that says “Welcome to Israel”. That seems to make sense, of course. A tourist landing in Israel would probably get a real shock if the sign said “Welcome to Ashtabula”. Our poor tourist would conclude that he boarded the wrong flight, and he might make a big scene. The photo shows an Israeli flag, and that seems to make sense as well. If the sign says “Welcome to Israel”, one would expect to see an Israeli flag (and not the flag of the European Union).

    Obviously, it is really very unsurprising that in the tweet we learn that a person is happy to return home. Whenever I travel abroad, I always miss home and my family and my natural surroundings, so it makes sense to me that someone would be happy to be “back in the motherland” and that “it feels so good”. So what’s the story here?

    And then I figured it out. Liz Rose simply can’t imagine that someone would be happy to be in Israel. Since she hates Israel, it’s obvious to her that everyone hates Israel. It’s obvious that we live in a planet in which we all share the same point of view – so the news being brought to our attention is that someone actually loves Israel (her own home country), defying the laws of the anti-Israel universe.

    Maybe one day there will be an article here in which the author succeeds in demonstrating that he (or she) understands the in’s and out’s of intelligent debate. In other words, an author can have a point of view and an ideology while at the same time he (or she) recognizes that others have a different point of view and a different ideology. Anyway, allow me to be the first one to reveal the surprising news to our author (I hope she’s sitting down): Many people are happy to come to Israel, and at the airport there is a sign that says “Welcome to Israel”. And P.S. this is a normal phenomenon.

    • CigarGod on March 18, 2019, 11:37 pm

      Well Nathan,
      I noticed like Debra, you couldn’t bear mentioning the ethnic cleansing of the Jaffa 100,000, nor mention who they were.
      Unmentionables, eh?
      I do understand. It would get in the way of the old ‘land without a people’ thing.
      But you did manage a marvelously boring little stumble all around the airport lobby.
      Good show!

    • RoHa on March 19, 2019, 1:34 am

      “he (or she) understands the in’s and out’s of intelligent debate. In other words, an author can have a point of view and an ideology while at the same time he (or she) recognizes that others have a different point of view and a different ideology. ”

      I think most of us can recognize that. But recognizing that another person has a different ideology does not preclude condemning that ideology as evil.

      And Zionism is an evil ideology.
      If there are are people who think it isn’t, they’re wrong.

    • eljay on March 19, 2019, 7:43 am

      || Nathan: … an author can have a point of view and an ideology while at the same time he (or she) recognizes that others have a different point of view and a different ideology. … ||

      People who advocate justice, equality and respect for human rights and international laws do recognize that others – like Zionists – believe selectively in injustice and immorality.

      So what do you really mean by “recognize”? Are you suggesting that these unjust and immoral “different points of view and different ideologies” should be validated?

      If ‘yes’, do you validate the “different point of view and different ideology” of anti-Semitism? Of pedophilia? Of gential mutilation? If not, why not?

      If ‘no’, how exactly should these unjust and immoral “different points of view and different ideologies” be “recognized”?

    • Talkback on March 19, 2019, 12:04 pm

      I wondered, why Nathan would write such a lengthy commentary about nothing relevant. So what’s the agenda here?

      And then I figured it out. He (or she) hates Liz Rose (actually all Jewish antizionists). And since he (or she) hates Liz Rose he (or she) would write anything to insinuate that Liz Rose “hates Israel”.

      Maybe one day there will be an comment here in which Nathan succeeds in demonstrating that he (or she) understands the in’s and out’s of intelligent debate. In other words, a commenter can have a point of view and an ideology while at the same time he (or she) recognizes that others have a different point of view and a different ideology.

      This may also remove his (or her) plank in the eye.

    • Misterioso on March 19, 2019, 12:55 pm


      Keep at it!! With silly, childish, desperate, meaningless comments like yours, fascistic/racist Zionism is demonstrably well on its way to the dumpster.

    • Peter in SF on March 20, 2019, 1:29 am

      Debra Kamin’s home country is the USA, not Israel. She is a foreign correspondent writing for an American newspaper. Under such circumstances, it is not usual to refer to the country she has been sent to as “the motherland”. That quote and image were included here to contrast with how the expelled residents of Jaffa are never Welcomed to Israel. It is striking that your long comment completely avoids the main subject of the post. It’s as if you don’t even understand what Liz was trying to communicate by including that quote and image.

  5. RoHa on March 19, 2019, 1:39 am

    That photo puts the “Welcome to Israel” sign into context. It still has a Ming the Merciless feel, though.

    • Mooser on March 22, 2019, 1:10 pm

      ” It still has a Ming the Merciless feel, though.”

      Oh yes, very much so. Just imagine how a Jewish person who has no administrative proof of Jewishness would feel facing it.

  6. Ossinev on March 19, 2019, 8:18 am

    “Obviously, it is really very unsurprising that in the tweet we learn that a person is happy to return home. Whenever I travel abroad, I always miss home and my family and my natural surroundings, so it makes sense to me that someone would be happy to be “back in the motherland” and that “it feels so good”. So what’s the story here?”

    You may have a point eg a most moral Waffen SS trooper returning to the motherland in 1938 after a little foreign holiday ?

    • marc b. on March 19, 2019, 5:07 pm

      And then writing a travel piece in the NYT about what a great place Munich is with the “hushed synagogues”. I think ‘Nathan’ must have gone in the side door of the university he attended.

  7. Tonja on March 20, 2019, 8:59 am

    Thank for trying to divert focus from a past (and now at least by suppression the narrative) ethnic cleansing to a trivial point of feeling about “coming back home”, but unfortunatly for you even there there’s interesting things to pick. :
    Personnally something shocks me in this lobby (well not anymore since the basic racial law passed recently). Arab was an official language before this law..
    The lobby says welcome in Hebrew and in English (only), better erase arabic from the picture…

Leave a Reply