The London Magazine

The London Magazine promotes Ben Ehrenreich’s ode to Palestinian terrorists.


A guest post by Petra Marquardt-Bigman

As readers of The London Magazine will learn in the latest issue of the publication, the American writer Ben Ehrenreich thinks “that the word ‘terrorism’ forms this very powerful narrative function in silencing Palestinian voices and giving the soul authority to Israelis.” Well, Ehrenreich probably meant “the sole authority,” but the lack of editing and proof-reading is definitely the least disturbing aspect of his defense of Palestinian terrorism published by “England’s oldest literary periodical.”

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The magazine describes itself as “[e]clectic in taste, promiscuously interested and unapologetically intelligent” and claims to offer “unmissable reading for anyone with an interest in literature, culture and ideas.”

What the magazine doesn’t tell its readers in the article on Ehrenreich is that his “idea” has long been that “Zionism is the problem;” arguably, this “idea” helps to explain Ehrenreich’s obvious sympathy for Palestinians who agree with his view and devote themselves to “solving” this “problem” once and for all.

Among the Palestinians Ehrenreich admires most are the Tamimis of Nabi Saleh – they have hosted him and are the main protagonists of his book; indeed, four prominent Tamimi clan members are listed first in Ehrenreich’s Acknowledgements and credited with making his book possible with their “abundant help, generosity, hospitality, kindness, laughter, encouragement, insights, and wise counsel.”

There is no doubt that the Tamimis agree with Ehrenreich that “Zionism is the problem;” they also have very clear ideas about how to “solve” this “problem,” and they have freely expressed these ideas on social media.

Given Ehrenreich’s professed concern about the “silencing” of “Palestinian voices,” and given that Claire Kohda Hazelton, the author of the London Magazine article, promoted it on Twitter as highlighting “media bias, power imbalances and resistance in Palestine,” it seems only fair to let the Tamimis speak for themselves.

So let’s turn to the outspoken Manal Tamimi, whom Ehrenreich describes in his book as a “popular resistance activist and a leader in the village protest movement;” she is also named as a member of the Tamimi “media team” who provides a “steady outpouring of tweets” in broken English to keep Tamimi fans updated about the clan’s “resistance.”

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Regarding the last image (archived here)  – which is, unsurprisingly, popular among Jew-haters – it should be noted that an obviously well-meaning Twitter user responded to Manal Tamimi in Arabic, pointing out that she had posted “a picture of Nazism [sic]” and arguing that “the Palestinians are more honorable than the Nazis, they are defending their land and their freedom.” Yet, Manal Tamimi decided to stick with her comparison of Nazis and Palestinians and firmly rejected any criticism: “The important thing is the idea, we the Palestinians are the ones who are going to teach Israel a lesson, we are going to hurt them and we will achieve victory over them as well.”

It is also noteworthy that whenever I documented Manal Tamimi’s tweets, she responded directly by reaffirming her views and expressing pride in them. As I have pointed out previously, it is also important to realize that if one considers the publicly available social media posts of other prominent Tamimi clan members (see also this EoZ video), it is clear that Manal Tamimi’s output on Twitter is quite representative of the hatred and extremism they all regularly exhibit. Moreover, since the prevalence of similar attitudes has been documented in Palestinian opinion surveys for almost two decades, it would be wrong to see Manal Tamimi’s tweets just as a reflection of what the Tamimis stand for. If so-called “pro-Palestinian” activists – as well as Ben Ehrenreich and his admirers – demand that more attention should be paid to Palestinian voices, the outspoken Manal Tamimi should definitely count as an important Palestinian voice that can tell you all you always wanted to know — but were rightly afraid to ask — about Palestinian “resistance.”

If anyone has an interest in “silencing” or ignoring Palestinian voices like Manal Tamimi, it is Ben Ehrenreich and the reviewers who have heaped uncritical praise on his book. The Tamimis’ relentless praise for murderous terror attacks – even if the victim is a sleeping 13-year-old girl slaughtered in her bed – is of course an embarrassment for a writer like Ehrenreich who wants to transmit his infatuation with the Tamimis to his readers. So I was not the least surprised to find out that Ehrenreich was reduced to trying to insult me when I asked him – very politely – a few questions before the publication of an article marking the 15th anniversary of the Sbarro bombing. 

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To be sure, Ehrenreich doesn’t complete ignore this atrocity; here is what he tells readers of his book about the Sbarro massacre mastermind (page 37-38):

“More than half of the nearly 700 Israeli civilians killed during the Second Intifada would die in suicide attacks. In one early bombing in August 2001, a woman named Ahlam Tamimi, a twenty-year-old journalism student from Nabi Saleh, escorted a young man named Izz al-Din al-Masri to a crowded Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. Shortly after she left him there, he detonated an explosive, wounding 130 people and killing himself and 15 others. Eight of the dead were children. Ahlam was sentenced to sixteen consecutive life sentences and released in 2011, when Israel traded 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been captured by Hamas five years earlier. Ahlam was exiled to Jordan, where she now works as a journalist on a Hamas-run television station. Her relatives in Nabi Saleh still speak of her with great affection.”

What Ehrenreich prefers not to tell his readers is that Ahlam Tamimi had also chosen the target of the attack precisely because it was a popular restaurant; he also prefers not to tell his readers that her relatives in Nabi Saleh don’t just continue to “speak of her with great affection,” but they also continue to praise what she did as an admirable act of “resistance” and they remain in contact with her: they attended her wedding, they are her Facebook “friends,” and they sometimes share or “like” her posts cheering and inciting new terror attacks.

It would have taken reviewers of Ehrenreich’s book just a few seconds of Googling to find out that Ahlam Tamimi is infamous for the obvious pleasure she displayed when she learned that she had helped to kill not just three children – as she thought – but eight. It would have been equally easy to find out that she has boasted about her role in the Sbarro massacre over and over again, reveling in the bloodbath she helped to bring about with great pride.

And it would have taken just a little bit of additional searching to find out that Ahlam Tamimi is now married to another convicted Tamimi terrorist – Nizar Tamimi, a nephew of Bassem Tamimi – who was also released in the Gilad Shalit deal. And by reading all the way to page 241-244 of Ehrenreich’s book, reviewers could have realized that there was yet another convicted Tamimi murderer – Said Tamimi – who had no regrets and was loved by his family just as much as the other murderous Tamimis.

Given these hints in Ehrenreich’s book and the easily available evidence that shows the Tamimis for what they are – a family that cheers and incites terror and Jew-hatred and includes several unrepentant murderers of Israeli civilians – it is utterly shocking to see the book so uncritically promoted.

Claire Kohda Hazelton’s article in The London Magazine was actually not the first time that she promoted Ehrenreich’s book: already in August, she wrote a very short review for the Financial Times about this “unforgettable book on life in Palestine.” It will likely not diminish Hazelton’s enthusiasm for Ehrenreich’s writing, but since her London Magazine article quotes him as asserting that “the word ‘terrorism’ forms this very powerful narrative function in silencing Palestinian voices,” let me make it very clear that the only voices that are silenced are those of the victims of Ahlam Tamimi and her ilk. Voices like those of Malki Roth, who would have celebrated her 31st birthday just a day before Hazelton proudly announced her latest paean to Ehrenreich’s obscene whitewashing of Palestinian terrorism. But because of Ahlam Tamimi, Malki didn’t even get to celebrate her 16th birthday. Hazelton’s Guardian profile says she is a “writer and violinist,” so maybe she’ll be able to put her apparent indifference to the victims of Palestinian terrorism aside for a few moments to read about Malki’s love for music and the one song she wrote before her voice was silenced forever by the Palestinian terrorism that Ehrenreich is whitewashing to the applause of fawning reviewers.

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Let me conclude with an image that will surely be appreciated by a violinist like Claire Kohda Hazelton: Manal Tamimi’s celebration of the wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks last fall.

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15 replies »

  1. Double Standards and Hypocrisy Alert:
    Whenever Brits celebrate Palestinian Arab terrorism, they should be confronted with the logic of their position. If they support “Palestinian resistance” to the colonial-settler regime that they claim is Israel, then it follows that they also approve of IRA terrorism, including such “heroic” actions as the Omagh Massacre. If not, they should be made to explain why not. Certainly, the settler-colonial moniker applies better to the situation in Ireland which was indeed invaded and brutally colonized by the English and Scots, as opposed to Israel where the Jews were returning to their historical homeland. They also need to be reminded that the Arab and IRA terrorists were allies who trained together – so, they at least saw a commonality to their respective “struggles.”

  2. Dear Proper Charlie in NY, indeed let us talk about allies of, and those who funded IRA terrorists.

    “I am talking about the sympathy for the Irish Republican Army that persisted for decades in some Irish American communities and is only now fading away. Like British Muslim support for Muslim extremist terrorism, Irish American support for Irish terrorism came in many forms. There were Irish Americans who waved the Irish flag once a year on St. Patrick’s Day and admired the IRA’s cause but felt queasy about the methods. There were Irish Americans who collected money for Catholic charities in Northern Ireland without condoning the IRA at all. There were also Irish Americans who, while claiming to be “aiding the families of political prisoners,” were in fact helping to arm IRA terrorists. Throughout the 1970s, until Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asked President Ronald Reagan to stop them, they were the IRA’s primary source of funding. And even after that they were widely tolerated.

    I concede there is one major difference: The Irish terrorists were setting off their bombs across the ocean and not in New York or Boston, which somehow made the whole thing seem less real. But in Britain the explosions were real enough. In 1982 — the year an IRA bomb killed eight people in Hyde Park — four IRA men were arrested in New York after trying to buy surface-to-air missiles from an FBI agent. In 1984 — the year the IRA tried to kill the whole British cabinet in Brighton — an IRA plot to smuggle seven tons of explosives was foiled, an action that led to the arrests of several Americans. As recently as 1999, long after the IRA had declared its cease-fire, members of an IRA group connected to an American organization, the Irish Northern Aid Committee (Noraid), were arrested for gun-running in Florida.

    The range of Americans who were unbothered by this sort of thing was surprisingly wide. Some were members of Congress, such as Republican Rep. Peter King of Long Island, who stayed with IRA supporters on visits to Northern Ireland and drank at a Belfast club called the Felons, whose members were all IRA ex-cons. Some were born in Ireland, such as Michael Flannery, Noraid’s founder, who once said that “the more British soldiers sent home from Ulster in coffins, the better,” and whose flattering obituary in 1995 described him as a man who “treated everyone he met with gentle respect.” Some were Americans of Irish descent, such as Tom McBride, a businessman who is still the chairman of the Hartford chapter of Noraid, and who still refuses to condemn IRA terrorism. “I think they are protecting a segment of the population that needs to be protected,” he told me over the phone.”

    • Don’t blame Zionists for the despicable IRA.

      The terrorist IRA sides with terrorist PLO, Hamass.

      Ireland during WW2, led by their despicable president de valera was more than sympathetic with Socialist SHITler. de valera sent a message of condolence to National Socialist nazi Germany on the death of Socialist SHITler.

      The Irish Nationalist And The Nazi: When Eamon De Valera Paid His Respects To Adolf Hitler
      http://www.ibtimes.com/irish-nationalist-nazi-when-eamon-de-valera-paid-his-respects-adolf-hitler-1403768

      • Crazy Eddie where in my post above are Zionists blamed for the IRA?

        I am aware, as are many others, of the actions of the American born President of Ireland de Valera.

    • Gerald,
      I’m not sure I understand your point here. Is it because Charlie mentioned “Brits?”
      I must admit, I never knew about Peter King’s admiration for the IRA, but knew many Irish families who did support it, which I always found somewhat creepy.
      But what has that at all to do with British persons who support of Palestinian terrorism? I don’t think I ever saw the MSM here giving the constant barrage of slander to the UK over Ireland that I see in the (lack of honest) coverage of Israel.

      • jeff21st no I do not have a problem with the use of the word “Brits”.
        My post is in response to the issue raised in the last sentence of his post about “…need to be reminded that the Arab and IRA terrorists were allies…” I do not dispute that fact.
        As his post is titled “Double Standards and Hypocrisy Alert.”, let us not only remember that Arab terrorists were allies of the IRA, but remember that the IRA had other allies who were also for a long time their main source of finance. No doubt a certain amount of that finance used to support IRA terrorism was raised in New York.

  3. Ehrenreich is a writer and therefore concerned with words. Perhaps he ought to turn his attention to actual acts of terror and note the word “terrorism” actually means something. I’ll just add that IMO such a society which promotes, glorifies and glories in acts of terror and hatred as the Arabs now calling themselves, quite unoriginally, “Palestinians” do, richly deserves never to be listened to. What they deserve is the disdain of thinking people with a moral compass, such as those claiming the exalted title of “writer.”

    P.S. I found Ehrenreich’s response tweet above to Petra nothing more than an announcement of his insatiable appetite for his own sanctimonious stupidity in his adolescent love affair with exotic, violent hate mongers.

  4. I have to wonder what relations are between Ben and hs mother Barbara Ehrenreich, a distinguished writer and activist for the rights of the marginalized in American society, Look her up; buy her books. (I have no personal connection; just respect.)

    • Do you think that Barbara Ehrenreich will be an activist for the rights of Jewish students at American universities now that they are suffering such wide attacks? Or do the ‘marginalised’ need to belong to certain defined categories in order to gain her advocacy?