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New York Times promotes “escape” to Israel
While it portrays itself as the “newspaper of record,” dedicated to reporting “all the news that’s fit to print,” the New York Times as a media institution is in the most fundamental sense maintained of, for and by wealthy financial elite that dominates the economic, political and social life of New York City and the entire United States.
This class orientation and bias often come through most blatantly in the non-news sections of the paper, from advertisements for jewelry that costs more than the annual income of the average New Yorker to a real estate section that presents million-dollar apartments as a bargain and a travel section that treats $500-a-night hotel rooms as the norm.
Then there is the “Escape” section published every Friday largely to give the wealthy hints on how to spend their money, much of it oriented to the purchase of multimillion-dollar “second homes.”
This Friday, the intersection of the personal, or more precisely, class interests of this financial elite to which the Times caters and the politics of the paper’s editorial board came through most clearly in the Escape section in an article entitled “Choosing Israel, Not the Hamptons.”
The Hamptons is the Long Island seaside watering hole where homes sell for tens of millions and sections of New York’s financial aristocracy spend as much as $100,000 a month on rentals.
“From downtown Tel Aviv to the heart of Jerusalem, foreigners—especially Americans— searching for second homes are redefining Israel’s high-end real estate market,” the paper declares breathlessly.
The article cites “deals like the $13 million purchase of a Tel Aviv triplex by Shari Arison, the Carnival Cruise Lines heiress,” and gushes about a new “gated community” of multimillion-dollar Tuscan-style mansions just a half-hour outside of Jerusalem called Eden Hills.
“Eden Hills is priced to appeal to buyers accustomed to living among the parks, tennis courts, artificial lakes, bike trails and tree-lined pedestrian malls typical of high-end American subdivisions,” according to the Times. “Such attributes, along with numerous synagogues, are designed to lure Eden Hills’s wealthy, Orthodox American target audience—and keep them there.”
“I hate sounding like an ugly American,” Dr. Allen Josephs, a 56-year-old New Jersey neurologist and future Eden Hills resident, told the Times. “But I want my creature comforts while still being in Israel.”
Eden Hill’s developer, Jake Leibowitz, a recent transplant from Flatbush, Brooklyn, apparently has no such qualms about how he sounds. “American Jews...can’t just be plucked down in the middle of nowhere,” he told the Jerusalem Post. “They are entitled to the best and are willing to pay for it. And this is what our project offers.” He accused Israeli opponents of his project of having a “socialist mentality.” “They don’t want to see successful Americans,” he said. “They resent us.”
Foreign buyers of Israeli real estate, the Times notes, are “taking advantage of a decrease in terrorism and property prices still far below Western levels” to scoop up their luxury vacation homes.
The “decrease in terrorism” is factored in as one might list beach erosion in the Hamptons. The word “Palestinians” is nowhere to be found in the article, though the expensive real estate deals and “gated communities” it touts are all founded upon land seized from a people who were violently dispossessed and turned into refugees nearly six decades ago.
The human suffering caused by the mass confiscation of Palestinian land that began in 1948 has only been intensified by the policies of the Israeli government, backed by Washington.