How the Guardian inserts ‘the occupation’ into even the most mundane Palestinian acts

Every day, millions of people – including Palestinians – practice some form of yoga in order to improve their physical, mental and spiritual health.

Palestinians practice yoga on a West Bank hilltop

Palestinians practice yoga on a West Bank hilltop

No, we never thought we’d be forced to ponder something so anodyne in the context of our blog’s mission of promoting accuracy in the UK media.  Indeed, an Aug. 27th Guardian story on the putatively increased prevalence of the eastern practice in the Palestinian territories wouldn’t have grabbed our attention if not for the characteristic narrative the author (Lubna Takruri) chose.


First, Takruri explains the problem:

A lack of yoga teachers, and a social stigma from the confused belief that the practice had something to do with a foreign religion, meant that until recently not many Palestinians had exposure to yoga or meditation.

Enter the requisite international volunteers and a Western NGO with a grant to help solve the problem:

In 2012 and 2013, Farashe [community yoga centre in Ramallah] was boosted when Washington DC-based nonprofit Anahata International ran teacher training for Palestinian women to take the self-care techniques into their communities on the West Bank. With training from Farashe and others, over the last three years, about 80 men and women have become yoga teachers.

Today, yoga-based practices are integrated into community centres and gyms, not only among the elite of cosmopolitan Ramallah, but also in the small villages. It’s used in health clinics in crowded refugee camps, and in classes at small private studios led by new teachers trained by international volunteers.

At this point, the Israeli occupation makes its first appearance.

Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation face stresses that affect their psychological and physical health. The merging of the 4,000-year-old tradition of yoga with the modern science of stress relief is giving West Bank residents the tools to manage their day-to-day wellbeing.

Then, there’s the requisite UNWRA confirmation of the desired narrative:

Basma Abu Sway, a board member of Farashe and former general director of the family and children department in the Palestinian ministry of social affairs, started teaching yoga in a village north of Jerusalem through a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) programme at the beginning of the year. A report by UNRWA cites chronic lifestyle illnesses among the population as their main health concern, exacerbated by extreme restrictions in movement for Palestinians. “Yoga that can help us with these circumstances,” Abu Sway says.

Finally, the reminder – which, evidently, most readers need – that yoga alone won’t solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

But Abu Sway cautions against giving yoga a bigger role than it deserves. “It’s not a solution for ending the occupation,” she says. “It doesn’t solve our problems.

Of course, we can think of other stresses some Palestinians may be trying to ameliorate while assuming the lotus position, such as the stress caused by their misogynistic, homophobic and religiously oppressive culture, and living under the yoke of an autocratic regime which doesn’t tolerate dissent, led by a president currently serving the 11th year of his 4 year term, for instance.

Or, maybe they’re simply trying to relieve the stress of everyday life.

But, as former AP Jerusalem correspondent observed about coverage of the region, reporters covering Israel and the Palestinian territories understand quickly that the only thing that matters in the broader Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. “If you follow mainstream coverage,” he adds, “you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society…or investigation of Palestinian government.”

Finally, we’ll note that some friends of this blog have suggested that we post an occasional satire post to lampoon the often risible coverage of Israel.  

However, in addition to the fact that other blogs already claim such territory, Guardian stories such as these suggest that the UK media will continue to provide a supply of unintended parodies to satisfy those of us who can’t help but laugh in the face of reporters’ bizarre fixation on Israel’s putative role in shaping even the most mundane Palestinian acts.

33 replies »

      • ” hilarious pics”

        Thinking of hilarious pics Miranda, the one that comes up when you ‘click’ on your name.
        Did you take it at the Royal Welsh Show to demonstrate what a fat old cow looks like aftyer she has been ravaged by Mad Cow Disease?

          • Ahh how nice, Dumb and Dumber are re-united and supporting each other.
            Two anti-Israel toss-pots united by their stupidity.

            Jonathan, Miranda and the rest of your fellow travellers.
            To paraphrase Karl Marx;

            “Anti-Israel wankers of the World unite, you have nothing to lose but your brains.”

      • I think it’s hilarious you continue to insist that I don’t understand you. That I (gasp) say that you say things that you claim not to say.

        And yet here you are doing what you do oh-so well again.

        1. Ignore the subject.
        2. Find a link that purports your usefulness in Israel bashing.
        3. Insist you’ve got a point to make.

        Go see a doctor. You really are a fucking ingrate, and seriously, I mean that as nicely as possible.

        • Koufartmatzah, You may not like it, but Israeli kids are being taught to be every bit as militaristic as their Palestinian neighbours.

          • Really, Jonathan? Do they play dress-up in summer camps? I’m sure you’ve got photos of that. In fact, Jonathan, as part of Oslo, state education in Israel is supposed to stress co-existence. I’m sure you’ve got lesson plans that prove otherwise. Just be sure this comes from a State sponsored school in order to back up your points that Israelis teach their children in the fashion you insist they do.

            • @koufaxmitzvah –

              Re: ” Do they play dress-up in summer camps?” (and other gaps in your knowledge):

              In two global reports on child soldiers – @ and – the following information was contained in their sections covering Israel:

              * “Israeli children received familiarization and military training well below the age of recruitment. Most schools had uniformed teacher-soldiers and youth guides on their staff who provided a link between the education system and the military establishment. Official pre-recruitment activities started at the age of 15–16 (tenth grade).”

              * “Gadna, or youth battalions, ran a one-week military training program on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base as part of the curriculum for 16–17-year-olds at most Jewish state schools.”

              * “The Gadna also organizes a summer program for American Jewish and Israeli 14 to 18 year olds in cooperation with the scouts (Tzofim), the Ministry of Absorption and the Jewish Agency. The program involves ‘learning first hand what every Israeli soldier experiences’ as well as cultural and educational activities.”

              * “Every year 27,000 young people aged 16 to 18 attend week-long Gadna … courses run by the education wing of the armed forces, which are intended to prepare them for military service.”

              * “The armed forces also directly administered schools, including the Beit Biram Military Boarding School in Haifa, which accepted students from age 14. Pupils were called cadets and wore military uniforms.”

              * “The Israeli Air Force (IAF) ran four technical schools for children aged 13 and above. Amal High School in Ramat David was a joint military-civilian facility for children aged 13 and older based on an IAF base.”

              I don’t know what (if anything) has changed since those reports spanning 2001-2007 were published, but given the continuing I/P conflict and continuing military conscription, it would, I think, be rather surprising if the changes were all that substantial.

              • Yup. You and your links.

                1. Everything you say is biased.
                2. You and Jon are silly little people.
                3. Your links are silly and come from biased sources.
                4. Israel still has a draft. Israel still clothes its ARMY with uniforms.
                5. Technical schools are not camps.

                Not too hard to consider you more batshit than I did yesterday if only because you have a prepared comment for retorts such as this.

                Bottom line? You’re a hate monger. You always have been. You take words and you give them new meanings in order to prove your point.

                Miranda (yes, I’m using your “real name”), you have never approached any of the facts laid out here for your pretty little eyes to read. And you never will. Because to you

                1. Israel is evil
                2. Jews are occupiers
                3. Zionists are warmongers.

                This is basic stuff. No one, and I mean no one who matters, takes your “evidence” on first look because we all know the BDSholes like you MAKE your own evidence, parse it, and the distribute it as sustainable fact.

                IDF soldiers are drafted at 18. They are given uniforms, and this is a big part of Israeli life ONLY BECAUSE of the FIVE WARS STARTED AGAINST ISRAEL since 1947.

                And your reports are from 10 years ago!

                WOW. You really are sad woman. I fear for people who actually give a shit about you. Do they know you are so fucking nuts?

                • Just so we’re on the same page…..

                  Attacking Israel with hate and children =
                  Israel defending itself with a constricted army

                  Blowing up pizzerias with depressed 15 year olds in order to perform a resistance =
                  IDF preparation courses

                  Mostly though, what I learned is that

                  BDS does not equal KKK
                  However, BDS thoughts = KKK thoughts.


          • Jonathan Campguard would you be able to point out an Israeli schoolbook, childprogram on Israeli TV inciting to murder Palestinians or anybody else? You wouldn’t because they don’t exist. So please take your neo-nazi propaganda to its proper place, Mondoweiss, Stormfront, David Duke or the Guardian, you will be warmly welcome. This is a blog for ant-Nazis – your enemies.

            • @peterthehungarian –

              “This is a blog for ant-Nazis”

              Wow – I didn’t know that. Would these by any chance be soldier ant Nazis? Or merely drones of the worker ant type?

              • Miranda I’m not surprised at all that the only ability of Jew-haters is to masturbate on a spelling mistake.

                  • “You probably can’t even masturbate”

                    An activity on which you are doubtless not only an expert but also an obsessive practitioner.

                    By the way is it ‘Jonathan’ or ‘Jonathen’ ?
                    Try and make up your mind.

  1. It’s not news unless you can blame Israel and/or the Jews. What’s a few hundred thousand dead Arabs if they are killed by other Arabs? Now if a Jew buys an apartment on the east side of Jerusalem that is a matter for the UN Security Council.

  2. There’s no stalemate. They’ve been losing all along and badly, and when considering their political goals and polled sentiments, they should be losing.

  3. While Miranda is busy giving 2000 Zionists an earful of her screeching meemie claims, there are more dead Arabs trying to escape Syria. Nice to see the human side of Miranda because she cares so much for downtrodden Arabs that she spends her whole life bitching about Israel.

    It’s a wonder, then, that 5 years into Syria’s Civil War, we get the pleasure of Miranda and her fellow BDSholes raising KKKane about the Israelis. Yup, World, these are your people.

    • In all honesty, when one doubles down on hatred, one deserves to be laughed at, ignored, and, yes, even ridiculed. Although I won’t talk about your physical presence, Miranda, your social presence on this board makes you as pretty as David Duke’s poop shaft.

      • Do Israelis blow themselves up in a form of political protest? No. When Israelis do attack Arabs, large outcries against the attack are felt nationwide. Does that matter? Not to Miranda, and why should it?

        When one is a hate monger, one makes a life to deliver hatred. Did the mothers of the 3 Israeli teens demand that Gaza be wiped out in the name of their children? No, the Gaza war was based on 19000 missile strikes over a 50 day period.

        Little things like that are hard to determine when the entire premise of one’s existence is to continuously bash Israelis and their supporters.

        Miranda and her ilKKK aren’t interested in peace on Earth. They are interested in a war to obliterate all the Jews from the Middle East.

        It’s pretty obvious, Miranda, that you’re a war monger and an Israel basher. Chan,ces are you’re also an anti-Semite. Or, at least, a Klan sympathizer.

        When your “Jewboy” Jonathan decides to make empty accusations w/o any evidence, and then you “back him up” with some lengthy, “fact laden” comment of utter bullshit (this evidence was taken during 2000-2007 and I’m not sure it applies to now…. = 10 lbs of BULLSHIT) it’s pretty obvious that you spend a whole lot of energy to… .what? Take me down?

        Whatever. The next Syrian toddler washed up on a beach, I think, should be dedicated to you.

        • @ koufaxmitzvah –

          Re: ‘Chan,ces [sic] are you’re also an anti-Semite…your “Jewboy” Jonathan decides to make empty accusations…then you “back him up”…’

          If ever I refer to you or anyone else as “Jewboy” – no matter how angry they make me – you’ll be able to say with CERTAINTY that I am an anti-Semite. Till then – and I guarantee it will be an eternity – you’d best keep a bar of carbolic soap in your mouth.

          • Oh, yes, Miranda…. She of the Jews=White and Arabs=Brown analogies, as well as her Israel Can Do No Right constant haranguing, is so offended by the term Jewboy.

            Get over your sad self.

  4. @koufaxmitzvah –

    “She of the Jews=White and Arabs=Brown analogies.”

    Oh dear – fantasizing again. I won’t ask how that particular lie snuck into your addled brain, because – as usual – you won’t have a clue and will keep on repeating it like a demented parrot anyway.

    • So, Miranda, why do you think Zionists hate Palestinians?

      Why do you think there is an Apartheid of Palestinian people?

      Why is it okay, again, to blame Matisyahu for both the perceived and exaggerated actions of the Israeli state?

      How is it that Jews control America with AIPAC?

      And, lastly, just how is it that Zionists really do hate gay people?

      These are all subject matters in which you have decided to chime in about on this website over the past few months. Your assessments have been noted. Ironically, it’s through your assessments of these and other subject matters that I have deemed your perspective as distractions from the topic at hand.

      This is, after all, the MO of the pro-Palestinian narrative. Israel shouldn’t be there; therefore, anything positive Israel does is to be ignored because it shouldn’t have happened. And any transgression of Israeli life can be debatable as carrying some sort of purpose.

      You know, Crazy Lady, today is the 43rd anniversary of the massacre at the Munich Games. I have no doubt that you approve the actions of Black September. You’re just that type of chicKKK.

      • @ koufaxmitzvah –

        Since – as you claim – “note” has been taken of my views on the “subject matters” you list, some record must – surely – exist of the “assessments” I’ve – allegedly – delivered. But – yet again – not even the vaguest hint is given by you of where these “chime-ins” can be found…

        For the TRUE record: I don’t recognise a single one as being a view I ACTUALLY hold – and in at least three cases out of the five you “paraphrase” don’t recall addressing the matters AT ALL.

        One especially baffling item in the latter category was your demand for an explanation of why I thought it was “okay … to blame Matisyahu for both the perceived and exaggerated actions of the Israeli state”. Not till I googled “Matisyahu” after reading this demand did I even know what the word meant. Was it the title of an organisation, or some sort of punning reference to Netanyahu, or the name of some individual…?

        So how can you possibly have “noted” my “chime-in” on him (yes – thanks to you, I’m NOW fully up-to-speed on the singer’s life story, views about Israel, etc) unless you were hallucinating, speculating idiotically, or just plain lying, when you made that “note”?

        • Here’s the thing about PARAPHRASING you. You don’t provide but a VAGUE retorts of real and perceived Israeli action. Actions that you choose to blame on all of Zionism.

          This is what you do. Regularly. You do not provide a logical base to support debate. You are pathetic.

          And by You, I mean all BDSholes who have done nothing but try to destroy all type of normalization between Arabs and Jews.

          Go fuck yourself, Racist.

    • “Demented little parrot.”

      Amazing hypocrisy coupled with tone deafness. Those are prime qualities of pro-Palestinian batshittery.

      Electronic Intifada is a great example. Set up to bash Israel repeatedly through exaggeration and innuendo; named after the actions of blowing up pizzerias and dance halls in the name of resistance.

      Oh…. Have I mentioned this before? Maybe it’s because this is the crux of your hate monger tendencies.