Posted tagged ‘tourism boycott’

Interview with comedian Mark Thomas published on Electronic Intifada

April 14, 2011

Mark Thomas (image c/o Mark Thomas/Phil Stebbing)

An interview I conducted with activist-comedian Mark Thomas last month has been published on Electronic Intifada, check it out here. It’s both an interview with Mark and a review of his new show/book Extreme Rambling. Walking Israel’s Barrier. For Fun.

If you came here via EI looking for the full interview transcript, I just want to let you know that it will be posted in the next couple of days, once I’ve had a chance to clean it up.  Check back or follow me on Twitter to see when it’s posted. UPDATE: The interview is now online here.

In the meantime, as predicted yesterday, the Irish Times gave a right-of-reply to the Palestinian Mission in Ireland over the Goldstone issue, and finally the letters page sees a couple of letters critical of the Israeli tourism puff-piece published. Alas, I’m informed that publishing these letters is “as good as a retraction” from the perspective of the Ombudswoman for accurate reporting. How ridiculous is that?

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The Irish Times “clarifies” one error in the Israeli tourism puff-piece – and gives an op-ed to Apartheid’s Ambassador

April 13, 2011

As noted in my posting a couple of days ago, the Irish Times recently published a scandalous Israeli Tourism Ministry sponsored puff-piece, a piece that wiped Palestine off the map and falsely claimed East Jerusalem and Jericho as Israeli territory.

Well today, the Times published a “clarification”. Kind of. The following appeared in the ‘Corrections and Clarifications’ section of the paper:

“A map accompanying an article on Israel in last Saturday’s Go illustrated wrong territorial boundaries.”

Weasel words spewing forth from a mealy-mouth! It’s like when Fr. Jack ‘apologised’ to Bishop Brennan in Fr. Ted. The Times maintains that the article was about Israel, when the majority of sites mentioned are on Palestinian land occupied by Israel since 1967. Nor does it say which “territorial boundaries” it got wrong. Totally and utterly  inadequate.

The Times is on a bit of a pro-Zionist roll this week it seems. Yesterday’s paper featured a 1,000 word op-ed from Boaz Modai, Israel’s Ambassador, on the Goldstone ‘reconsideration’ (which the Times also published in full last Saturday). Modai – Apartheid’s official propagandist in Ireland –  explains why those of us who accuse Israel of committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead should all say “sorry”. He also manages to get a dig in at the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (along with many, many, many, many others – including members of the UN fact-finding mission Desmond Travers and Hina Jilani) have already published statements and articles rebutting Goldstone’s so-called “reconsideration” (not a “retraction”, not a “revision”). Of course they are all worth reading – but apparently the Times thinks its readers deserve only to hear to the Israeli side. Though there will probably be some kind of right-of-reply from the Palestinian Mission to Ireland tomorrow – the Times playing the familiar game of ‘balance’.

And this Irish Times facilitation of Israeli “normalisation” comes in a week when at least 19 Palestinians have been killed by occupation forces in Gaza.

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The Zionist Times? – Ireland’s “paper of record” erases Palestine from the map

April 10, 2011

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism will be pleased that their latest €9 million hasbara offensive is already paying dividends. Conscientious readers of the Irish Times on the other hand will have been sorely disappointed that Ireland’s alleged “paper of record” chose to participate in the apartheid state’s propaganda campaign – and in so doing, wiped the Palestinians off the map. Literally!

The cover story of this Saturday’s Go travel section in the Times is dedicated to “Getting to the heart of Israel”.  Over a gushing two-page spread we learn that Israel’s “heart” is in fact Occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem, although the author Cian Traynor neglects to let his readers know Jerusalem’s actual status under International Law. As it turns out, Mr. Traynor was – according to a short note at the end of the piece – “a guest of the Israel Government Tourist Office”, so it’s little wonder he failed to point out that East Jerusalem was illegally annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move recognised internationally by no one but itself.

"Floating around Israel?"

"Floating around Israel?"

The cover image (above) shows a woman floating in the Dead Sea while reading a brochure showing an image of the Dome of the Rock – the headline is “Floating around Israel”. Traynor and the Times then inform us that Jerusalem is “at the country’s heart … an epicentre of faith and tension where souls and soldiers co-exist”. Had he bothered to visit the neighbourhoods of, for example, Silwan or Sheikh Jarrah he could have seen this “co-existence” first-hand as Palestinian residents are evicted to make way for illegal Israeli colonial settlers as part of the Zionist project to “Judaize” East Jerusalem. In the world of Cian Traynor it seems Palestinians do not actually exist, as despite visiting lots of East Jerusalem and passing through Jericho (also in Israel apparently) on his way to the Dead Sea, the word “Palestinian” does not appear once. Yes he meets a falafel maker in the “Muslim quarter” and passes some “shanty Bedouin communities”, but there’s not a Palestinian to be seen in a land home to nearly five-and-a-half million of them.

It’s difficult to know whether Traynor is actively pro-Zionist , or whether he is merely one of Israeli Apartheid’s “useful idiots”. If the latter, then the City University of London should be asking for their MA in Journalism back for, according to his website (where he invites “feedback” should you like to provide him with some), that is where he was trained in the noble arts of the Fourth Estate. Perhaps he bunked off his fact-checking classes.

However, the redrawing of political geography doesn’t end with Traynor. One must give serious props to the Irish Times ‘Premedia’ department for producing a map (below) of the area that simply erases the Occupied Palestinian Territories. While I personally would certainly like to see a one-state solution, we’re definitely not there yet. One has to ask how on earth this map got green-lit by the editor?

The Occupied West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights have magically disappeared!

The Occupied West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights have magically disappeared!

Finally, it is worth quoting the Palestinian Boycott National Committee on the issue of Israeli tourism: “Supporting Israeli tourism comes at the cost of further destruction to Palestinian communities, heritage and culture. Tourism is used by the occupation to promote a ‘progressive’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘multicultural’ [Israeli] face to the world despite the daily crimes committed against the Palestinian people. In the campaign against tourism to Apartheid South Africa, activists sought out tourist exhibitions or agents promoting travel to the regime under the slogan ‘Apartheid is NO Holiday’”.

If they are indeed capable of feeling such an emotion, the Irish Times should be ashamed of themselves for printing this tripe. It’s almost as if this was a puff-piece sponsored by the Israeli government… oh wait!

Incidentally, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign has written a letter to Gerladine Kennedy, the Irish Times’ editor, demanding a retraction. It is doubtful such a retraction will be issued – but even if it is, it will be too little, too late.

UPDATE 13/04/2011: The Times printed a (totally inadequate) “clarification” today, read more here.

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