Guardian

Tel Aviv homeless upset at (Mya Guarnieri-style) far left hypocrisy


This is cross posted at Point of No Return

Kfar Shalem - the common man's struggle against encroaching redevelopment

With Israelis camping out in the streets in protest against a chronic shortage of affordable housing, who should jump on the bandwagon but Mya Guarnieri, al-Jazeera’s woman in Tel Aviv [and occasional CiF contributor]. Guarnieri wonders why the media have been ignoring the good citizens of Kfar Shalem, an area of south Tel Aviv threatened with demolition which she wrote about in February.

Kfar Shalem may not be familiar to most Israelis but it is certainly known to readers of this blog, when Point of No Return covered the mostly-Mizrahi residents’ struggle to fight eviction in 2007.

Young anti-Zionist radicals like Guarnieri can’t resist politicising what is essentially nothing more sinister than the common man’s universal fight against encroaching urban gentrification and redevelopment.

In her article for +972 blog, Israel has manipulated the poor Mizrahim for political ends, exploiting them to keep Palestinians from reclaiming their homes:

Now an economically depressed neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, Kfar Shalem, was once a Palestinian village, Salame. Jewish forces ran the Arab residents out in early 1948, months before Israel was established and (what some refer to as) the War of Independence began.

The young state gave the empty Palestinian homes to impoverished Mizrachi Jews. The idea, some residents of Kfar Shalem admit today, was to discourage dispossessed Palestinians from returning. The Jewish occupants were to “guard” the houses.

These new residents also created facts on the ground and, after the 1948 War, the municipality of Tel Aviv annexed Jaffa and Salame—both of which were destined for a Palestinian state under the partition plan approved by the UN in November of 1947.

Not a word of course, about the Arab aggression that caused the ‘War of Independence’. Nor is Guarnieri remotely troubled by the thought that the impoverished Mizrahi Jews could have themselves been dispossessed of their homes in their Arab countries of birth. For Guarnieri, Arabs can only ever be victims.

This blog has already drawn attention to the double standard among far-leftists for whom Arab property rights invariably trump Jewish rights, for example in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah. These leftists are only ever exercised by injustice against Jews when the Ashkenazi-dominated ruling elite can be blamed.

Curiously enough, however, this form of leftist hypocrisy has not escaped some of the residents of Kfar Shalem themselves: they obviously find the attentions of anti-Zionists like Guarnieri rather irksome. She herself admits, but was too cowardly to include in her report for Al-Jazeera:

.. many of the Jewish Israelis I interviewed were upset with their fellow citizens for not doing more to help them in their battle against homelessness. Some also expressed frustration with the Israeli left because they felt that such activists reserve their sympathies only for Palestinians and foreigners.

Good for you, residents of Kfar Shalem, for making a stand against the leftist manipulation of your grievances to advance their own political agenda.

5 replies »

  1. Mya Guarnieri it is well known that you lurk here.
    (what some refer to as) the War of Independence
    I would like to repeat my question to you. What do you call the American War of Independence in order to be politically correct?

    • Actually most of the people living in Kfar Shalem were squatters, not put there by anyone, but just found empty cottages, near the Sh’khunat Hatiqva ma’abara transit camp (refugee camp) and settled in them. Of course, they had squatters rights, having lived there for decades, so were offered payment for eviction, probably not very generous payment, but still. Agreements were reached, documents were signed between the residents and the authorities and contractors. Then what happened was that all sorts of nasty criminal elements forced out some of the weaker of the original Kfar Shalem residents, who hadn’t left yet, took over their homes and demanded exorbitant renumeration in return for their eviction. Violence broke out between these people (and some of the original residents who decided they had got a raw deal and wanted more money), and the contractors goons. All this meant that things became dragged out.

      Being a squatter village meant it was very run down in the first place and the situation there got worse and worse.

      I’m not sure where things stand right now. I know that a lot of the area has been rebuilt already. Only parts of the original village are left.

      About her version of the Independence War – well, I actually have in my family an eyewitness to the violence of Jaffa Arabs at that particular time. They attacked. They fought. They lost. They ran. Sad for those who weren’t involved in the violence, but there you are. Said eyewitness remembers people walking along Allenby corner of Ben Yehuda in Tel Aviv being shot dead indiscriminately by Jaffa snipers. Her father was shot at on Balfour Street when he ventured out one night to buy medical supplies. Now if you know Tel Aviv a bit you will understand how far reaching this was into Tel Aviv. She also remembers the Jews of Jaffa fleeing the violence of their Arab neighbors and having to live in the entrances to apartment buildings in Tel Aviv and (the lucky ones) in tent camps.

      Salame was not in Jaffa but just down the road. I’m sure my eyewitness could tell me if they were also involved in the fighting.

      • According to Eliyahu commenting on my blog the inhabitants of Salame attacked Hatikvah even before the ‘War of Independence’. The rest, as you and Akus say, is history.

  2. “They attacked. They fought. They lost. They ran.”

    This article points up the inevitable Arab follow-up:

    “Just because we lost this time doesn’t mean you should not give us back what we lost, or that we should not be allowed to go back to the starting position and try again”.

    Hence the incessant demands for the RoR and for Israel to go back to the 1967 lines, hoping for a “better” result next time.