‘Sophisticated’ Economist duped by Pallywood tale starring the Tamimis

The Economist fancies itself a sophisticated magazine, one which “offers authoritative insight” into news, politics, business, finance, science and technology.  However, as it pertains to Israel, they’ve sometimes proven themselves just as vulnerable to the mindless groupthink plaguing the rest of the media.  

A case in point involves their review of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine by Ben Ehrenreich (The view on the ground, June 11), a book featuring the Tamimis of the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh.  Though some British media outlets have caught on to the family’s well-choreographed ‘Pasbara’, the anonymous Economist critic barely shows even a hint of journalistic skepticism in the face of Ehrenreich’s risible narrative. 

[Ehrenreich] brings a novelist’s eye to his subject, framing the bulk of his book around one village, Nabi Saleh, 30 miles (48km) north-west of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and around a group of a few dozen protesters, most of them confusingly from the same extended Tamimi family.

The spring of the title is a real, not a metaphorical Arab spring; a water source used by the Tamimis and others in Nabi Saleh for many decades until, in 1976, the first Israeli settlers arrived and established a community they later called Halamish. Slowly Halamish expanded, as more and more of the land was taken, often for “military needs”, until in 2008 the spring itself was seized.

In 2009 the villagers of Nabi Saleh began what became a long series of marches to their spring; they were opposed by armed settlers, and then by the Israeli army as well, which, the author recounts, fired tear-gas grenades, often directly at the protesters at face or chest height, and rubber-coated bullets. The Tamimis, and Mr Ehrenreich, make a point of always calling them that, not “rubber bullets”. Consisting of a thin layer of rubber around a steel core, a rubber-coated bullet can break a jawbone. It can penetrate the flesh.

The Nabi Saleh marches, of course, achieved nothing. But they generated some media attention, and they drew activists and observers not just from Israel but from around the world. They have been, as Bassem Tamimi says, “a way to tell the world that we have the right to work our land…the spring is the face of the occupation, the occupation is illegal and we have the right to struggle against it.”

It is in the author’s descriptions of the Tamimis that the hope, and the love, are to be found; the dedication day after day to an effort that yields only failure, sometimes arrest and injury, and even death; and the concern that the Tamimis share for each other, waiting outside detention centres and hospitals for news of a relative.

As noted by our colleague Tamar Sternthal, Nabi Saleh is “where photographers gather nearly every Friday to document repetitious scenes of Palestinian residents and international activists clashing with Israeli soldiers” and where activists often place their children in danger to score propaganda points

Nabi Saleh’s most popular Pallywood child star, Ahed Tamimi (dubbed “Shirley Temper“), revived her recurring role as the symbol of Palestinian “resistance” last August, when she was seen attacking an Israeli soldier who had detained a rock-thrower. 


Ahed Tamimi (Seen on the far left)

The 15 year-old girl also stars in this video, from the most recent Nabi Saleh event on June 3rd.

Additionally, another family member, Manal Tamimi, whose part of the Tamimi media team and the one reportedly responsible for staging such protests, has, on Twitter, engaged in vicious antisemitism and openly expressed her support for the murder of Israeli Jews.

Tellingly, Ehrenreich is the same writer who (in a 2013 New York Times Magazine cover story) romanticized the culture of terrorism in the Tamimis’ ‘little village’ and whitewashed the crime of its most infamous resident, a woman named Ahlam Tamimi, one of the main terrorists responsible for the deadly Sbarro bombing in 2001.


Aftermath of Jerusalem Sbarro bombing in 2001.

The Economist review makes no mention of Ahlam Tamimi or the disturbing fact that, according to Ehrenreich in his NYT Magazine feature, she is still quite admired in the town. 

It’s actually quite extraordinary that a publication which prides itself on peeling off the superficial layers of a story to reveal the story behind the story published a review of a book featuring the Tamimis without giving readers even the slightest inclination that the family, and the protests they stage, represents something akin to Palestinian street theater, a Pallywood production packaged as real news.

50 replies »

  1. Some background on Butt Orenrite (I think that’s the author’s name for the book the Economist slurped spit all over, I’m not going to check the spelling): he’s the son of a far-Left but immeasurably more talented writer named Barbara–and gets attention for being the progeny of someone with ability despite having none himself, much like almost all of Max Blumenthal’s spotlight came because his dad Sidney is a close friend of Bill & Hillary Clinton–and he’s a believer that Israel should be eliminated and replaced with a Palestinian-ruled single state. So yes, he is this era’s stale vomit.

      • I really don’t know, or honestly care, how financially successfully Barbara Ehrenreich is. She’s very much a Leftist but unlike nearly everyone who has declared that tag since around 2000, she is an incredibly talented author as well; her book “Nickel and Dimed” is one of the best non-fiction tomes I’ve ever read (however, her de facto sequel to it, “Bait and Switch”, is equal parts more hard-Left/less plausible and compelling). If she’s on the third base of publishing, her mentally retarded son was born there, he just thinks he hit a triple. He’s a waste of this planet’s limited resources.

        • It’s very relevant. Rich ‘socialists’ are the worst hypocrites, so it tells you a lot about their position on many political and social issues.

    • Cut the Billions of Aid to Pal-e-SWINE. Ask Suha Arafat, the former first lady of Pal-e-SWINE what happened to those billions her late husband received.

  2. I met the Economists Israel reporter recently and the best way I can describe him is both ‘institutionally’ and ‘actually’ anti-Israel. There are no other words to describe it

  3. By ‘international activists’, do you perhaps mean spoiled, ignorant eternal right-on students, often having a ‘problem’ with strong independent Jews?

  4. The funniest thing about the Tamimis is that they’re descended from an Arabian tribe, the Banu Tamim. Their last name proves they are not natives. Most “palestinian” families can be traced back to a specific arab tribe or tribal confederation. Every clan mentioned on the wikipedia page “palestinian people” is not native.

  5. Those rotten and murderous Tamamis have been given too much slack by the Israeli security forces,they need to be reeled and yanked in….Banksy must have used shittyyy temple as his model for that mural…. of the wall…..

  6. Shitty Temple is blond…..Is her daddy or mommy blond????????? Are there any palestinians who are blond?????? I know that there are a lot Israelis who ARE blond……

      • Leah please don’t employ concepts you don’t understand. A category mistake occurs when a notion is allocated to one logical category when it properly belongs to another. So for example you might say ” he climbed the floor.” That’s a category mistake. Floors are not the kind of thing one climbs. The alleged mistake you are highlighting is not a category mistake but an alleged empirical falsehood. Jezuz I really should start charging for this.

    • Mustafa Tamimi was hit by a tear-gas canister when participated in a violent demonstration. Shit happens even to shits Bellamy.
      He probably belonged to the same hamoula of illegal immigrants from a foreign Arab country masquerading as “native” Palestinians.

        • Yes Bellamy this the way to describe it based on hard facts. Mustafa is only one of the Palestinian victim of you and comrades who are inciting them to violence at Nabi Saleh.
          The usual numbers of the participants in the weekly Pallywood production there:
          Violently demonstrating Palestinians attacking the IDF = 30
          Foreigners and media inciting them from a secure distance = 200
          You are happily looking at this tragedy from the Quaker House in London – fighting the Jews using others’ blood.

            • Exactly what I said. You sent in the Palestinians to die and looked at their suffering from a secure distance. That this secure place is in London or only about 100 meters from the events (equipped with a foreign passport) is irrelevant, you remain the shit.

  7. That picture up there of an Israeli soldier being bitten by that rabid Tamimi (I hope that soldier was not infected in any way) blond just goes to show that these feral Tammimis are running wild….No other state on earth would or could be expected to tolerate such disgusting behavior towards it’s security forces….You do that in the palestinian territory and you will end in hospital in traction drinking from a straw..Or it has happened a lot lot worse….

    • DM…….”Zionism is a racist ideology”….. DM you are desperately in need of a bath a very very hot bath..And make sure that you use lots and lots of soap….

      • Islamofascism is a racist ideology – that’s why Socialists embrace and defend Islamofascism.

  8. Mustafa Tamimi was throwing rocks,not pebbles not stones nor cotton balls….He was throwing decent sized ROCKS,he could have killed an Israeli soldier….Instead he got killed…The choice is very clear….. I have no sympathy for him…

    • He was throwing whatever he was throwing at a heavily armoured IOF vehicle that was speeding away from him. But hey ho here we go. Ever so high. Anyway I was rather looking forward to Adam’s account.

      • Bellend perhaps you would like to give an account of your appalling racism.
        You have confirmed that you despise Israel, which calls into doubt everything you write and claim about Israel and its actions.
        You listed some of the Jewish organisations in Britain that you also despise, in an earlier thread in response to a question from me.

        Now anyone, with a strong stomach, who visits your excruciating website ‘BumBitersRuS’ will read that also among those you despise most are American Jewish Organisations. I quote from one of your rants against the EUMC Definition of anti-Semitism, which considering you claim it never existed you spend a lot of time going on about ad nauseam.

        “There is not such a thing as an EUMC definition of antisemitism, and there NEVER has been such a thing.

        The creation and perpetuating of the myth was, and is, the work of a handful of disengeneous# and highly motivated ultra Zionist NGOs chief among them The American Jewish Committee ( hence all the American spellings)and our very own Community Security Trust ( CST).”

        Which only goes to provide even further evidence, if any were needed, of what a contemptible and loathsome racist twat you are.

        #Bellend it is spelt disingenuous. Perhaps before you mock ‘American spellings’ you should correct your own first.

      • So a he didn’t afraid to throw stone to the supposedly brutal child-killers. You are very lucky Bellamy not being aware of your own extreme stupidity….
        BTW Try to throw a stone to any other armed soldier of any other country during a violent confrontation. You may learn something new – true your new knowledge wouldn’t be very long-lived.