Monday, September 16, 2019

“Disneyfication”? NY Times’ Jerusalem Cable Car and the Architecture of Bias - by Simon Plosker

Ultimately, this story is typical of the New York Times: what is at its core a scheme to improve access to historical tourism sites in a city with significant transport challenges is instead critiqued not on grounds of architecture, design or effectiveness but on political grounds. The cable car may not be to everyone’s taste and is certainly contentious but the New York Times and Michael Kimmelman have created a framework where Israel’s plans are sinister and malevolent; designed specifically to maintain an “occupation” of its own capital city and to promote the Judaization of Jerusalem.

Simon Plosker..
Honest Reporting..
15 September '19..

The New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman accuses Israel of carrying out the “Disneyfication” of Jerusalem in reference to a planned cable car network connecting the Old City. The article, however, is less “Disneyfication” and more politicization on the part of the writer.

The scene is set in the opening paragraph:

The skyline is still dominated by the city’s great Muslim and Christian shrines: the gold, glistening Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was said to have been buried.

For it is these sites that Kimmelman evidently sees as the legitimate religious identity of Jerusalem at the expense of its Jewish sites. Kimmelman is clearly an architect rather than an historian for in his second paragraph, he inaccurately describes the Western Wall as “the holiest site in the Jewish world.”

In fact, while the Western Wall is the holiest site that Jews are allowed to pray, the Temple Mount, the site of two ancient Jewish temples is, in fact, Judaism’s holiest site. The New York Times itself has previously corrected this error, prompted by HonestReporting.

Kimmelman is perfectly entitled to critique the Israeli cable car plan on the grounds of architecture and design. Indeed, one of the critics he interviews is Moshe Safdie, the architect responsible for many Israeli building projects including within Jerusalem. But Kimmelman goes further:

(Continue to Full Column)

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