Who is Mya Guarnieri?

A guest post by AKUS

A new star being used to bash Israel and the USA has appeared in the not very illustrious constellation of the Guardian’s Jewish anti-Israeli contributors to CiF.

The woman with the curious name, Mya Guarnieri, has twice hit the jackpot on CiF by focusing on two topics guaranteed to  generate numerous clicks thus endearing her to the Guardian’s marketing department:  an article demonizing Israel for proposing to repatriate children of foreign workers and one claiming that the Ku Klux Klan is taking over America.  Both were thoroughly mocked by readers, particularly for the generalizations in her over-the-top final paragraphs: “The scene was a reminder that a state [Israel] “so white and so ugly” was established long ago – the children are just the latest victims” and “Gainesville’s struggle is a mirror for the country {USA]. And so are my memories. In the past, there was antisemitism, roiling just below the surface. Now, there is Islamophobia.”

What her efforts to disparage Israel and America lack in quality, she makes up for in quantity and self-promotion. As she claims, apart from two articles in the Guardian,  her writings have appeared in the Huffington Post (following which Hawkeye pointed out here that unable to take criticism of a misleading article about freedom of the press in Israel she threatened legal action against Brothers in Judea in an attempt to shut them down) and the Jerusalem Post (At home and Abroad – surprise – a sympathetic article of the sort the Guardian will never publish). The list she maintains of media and blogs that have published her columns reads like a who’s-who of Israel hate: Ha’aretz, The Jewish Daily Forward, Maan News Agency, Common Ground News Service, and Mondoweiss. Her blog roll of favorites blogs includes Dicky Silverstein’s vile “Tikkun Olam”, and, believe it or not, the Guardian’s Brian Whitaker’s feeble “Al- Bab”!

She boasts that her “work” has appeared in Al Jazeera English and been “offered” to the BBC. A search on a Dubai paper/blog which laps up her nasty articles about Israel reveals 20 articles, most presenting Israel in as bad a light as possible, especially concerning treatment of foreign workers. This is a topic she seems to have made a central concern in her weird universe and about which she is claiming to write a book. One can only wonder at the irony of a newspaper in a Gulf State, all of which have such notorious records of mistreating of foreign workers, indignantly publishing articles by Guarnieri about the treatment of foreign workers in Israel!!

So who is Mya Guarnieri?

She claims to be Jewish and is “a Tel Aviv-based journalist and writer” with Israeli citizenship .  Like two other Guardian favorites, Seth Freedman and Rachel Shabi, she seems determined to live in the very Tel-Aviv bubble she scorns in a country which faces daily challenges she prefers to ignore.”.

In addition to her writings in other media, she runs her own blog: http://www.myaguarnieri.com/. She states that she is “a graduate of Florida State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, which The Atlantic Monthly has ranked as one of the top ten creative writing programs in the United States”. Modesty is not one of her strong suits.

I will pay her (or her teachers at FSU) a compliment – she seems to write her own material rather than regurgitating articles from the Israeli English Language press. Looking at a couple of articles she has written, it appears that she may even be able to speak and understand Hebrew, rather an important qualification for a “Tel Aviv-based journalist”. She actually appears to interview real people and provides their names. These characteristics set her apart from Freedman, Shabi, or the Guardian’s ace plagiarist, Harriet Sherwood. Occasionally she seems to find art to enjoy in Israel, though of course those articles do not make their way into Georgina Henry’s Culture Gulag – for example: A wildfire of Art in Tel Aviv.

On the other hand, we are dealing with a sort of Israel-based Seamus Milne. As I commented on Adam Levick’s excellent deconstruction of her Ku Klux Klan article: “from her writing she is an example of arrested development stuck in a sort of 12 year-old teenager view of the world – someone who seems to have discovered off-the-wall loony-left views in college and never grown out of them. Why on earth did she feel she needs to live in Israel? ” Having reviewed her track record and continuous attempts to promote herself  I think the answer to my question is that, as with Freedman and Shabi, she realizes she is more marketable as a Jew writing anti-Israel articles from Israel than she would be from Florida.

For the psychoanalytically inclined, make what you will of these extracts from her writings:

http://www.bowlofmilk.com/Binge/27/Spring_2008/Guarnieri.htm

Shards

I.
There was a whole year I couldn’t stop buying light bulbs. ….

II.
I stood staring at the light bulbs wondering what it would feel like to put one in my mouth and to slowly slowly apply more and more pressure just the right amount of pressure until it popped and shattered into my gums. I wondered how the shards would feel and how they would crunch if I chewed. It’s funny, I never thought about swallowing them, but I never thought about spitting them out either.

III.
I envisioned myself chewing light bulbs on a fairly regular basis. Don’t worry, I never did it, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Maybe that’s just about right, for that time in my life. I was in my late twenties and just divorced….

(“and just divorced” … I can’t think why …)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mya-guarnieri/reporters-notebook-my-pol_b_584465.html

I’m not sure I should be saying this publicly, but I’ve not been writing much lately because I’ve been in a bit of a depression.

A political depression, that is. Interviews, research, press releases, and headlines pile on top of me, one after another, leaving me heavy and defeated. Two Palestinian-Israeli activists were arrested and, initially, news of their detainment was gagged. As proximity talks began Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed, on Jerusalem Day, that building will continue in Jerusalem and that the capital will remain “united.” And, in annexed East Jerusalem, Palestinians receive appallingly few services from the “unified” municipality.

Sometimes, I feel so thick with it all I can’t find the strength to write about it. Etc.

(So stop …)

http://web.mac.com/renkat/Winter_08-09/Mya_Guarnieri.html

Jerusalem Syndrome

I want my feet to bleed on to these stone streets. Then I will rest, I will sleep under the buildings, I will root myself into the earth.

Etc.

Mya Guarnieri – a very strange person indeed. If ever I have come across someone who seems talented but deserves the characterization of “poor mixed up kid”, she qualifies. It’s a pity she does not grow up and stop taking the easy route to modest success by demonizing Israel – one senses that she alone of the Guardian’s stable might have something valuable to say.

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