Activism and BDS Beat 18 January 2021
A video blogger who has repeatedly identified as Israeli is now claiming she is only a US citizen, following a secret visit to Lebanon earlier this month.
Alyne Tamir is the partner and colleague of Nuseir Yassin, the creator of the viral videos under the name Nas Daily.
Tamir travels around the world with Yassin and makes frequent appearances in his videos.
Last month, The Electronic Intifada published an exposé of how the pair push pro-Israel propaganda and help Israel fight the boycott movement.
The couple recently moved to the United Arab Emirates where they are working to boost the country’s image after its normalization deal with Israel.
Tamir has her own social media outlet called Dear Alyne, and a combined social media following of three million people.
On 2 January, Tamir published a picture of herself on Instagram saying she hadn’t posted much of late “because I went on a secret trip.”
In the photo, she is holding an American passport with a partially visible boarding pass sticking out. Some information on the boarding pass is also redacted in the photo.
Despite the redaction, the flight number and the airport codes of the two cities are visible. It appears to be Emirates flight 958 from “BEY” to “DXB” – Beirut to Dubai.
In a screenshot of a chat shared by Tamir, the video blogger reassures a friend that she hasn’t been active on Instagram “because I was in a country where I need to be careful.”
Lebanon strictly forbids Israeli passport holders or travelers who have Israeli visas or stamps in their passports from entering the country.
Israel also generally prohibits its own citizens from traveling to Lebanon and other “enemy states.”
However, this is a provision Israel has habitually used to target and persecute Palestinian citizens of Israel who have traveled to Arab countries.
Israeli Jewish visitors to Arab countries by contrast are often viewed in Israel as intrepid trailblazers for normalization.
Tamir posted other pictures from the trip, teasing them as a “useless hint” about where she had been.
Lebanese blogger Gino Raidy identified one of the pictures as a location outside the building of Lebanon’s power company Electricité du Liban, near Beirut’s port.
With mounting speculation that Tamir was in Lebanon, several reports raised the alarm that an Israeli had apparently bypassed Lebanese security to enter the country.
“The secret is out,” Tamir wrote on Facebook on 11 January, confirming that she had indeed been in Beirut.
She posted a video titled “24 Hours in Lebanon” on the same day.
It is the usual Nas Daily-style fare, highlighting beautiful scenery, delicious food and smiling people. She also mentions last August’s massive port explosion that devastated many parts of Beirut.
Tamir describes Lebanon as “a country that even when dealing with hardship, like civil wars, blasts and inflation, is so full of history, amazing experiences and beautiful people.”
Typically for Tamir, her lightning-fast history skips over some of the biggest hardships Lebanon has faced: Israel’s frequent devastating invasions and occupations of the country and Israel’s campaigns of terrorism and assassination that have killed, injured and displaced hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians.
While Tamir has consistently whitewashed Israel’s crimes, she asserts that “The reason I didn’t want to post about this trip while I was there is because a lot of people think I’m an Israeli citizen (I am not) and Israelis are not allowed in Lebanon (politics).”
“I have only one passport and citizenship: American,” she states on Facebook.
She adds in another post on Instagram that she was born in Santa Monica, California.
Tamir blames others for spreading what she calls “fake news” that she is an Israeli citizen.
But there is a good reason for that belief: She and her partner Nuseir Yassin have repeatedly described her as “half Israeli” or even just “Israeli.”
In a 2017 Facebook post with a video about Tamir, Yassin describes her as “half Israeli, half American.”
In a 2019 interview posted on Medium, Tamir said she was from Los Angeles, and that “my dad is Jewish Israeli and my mother is Mormon. I have lots of family on both sides.”
And in an episode of the Nas Talks podcast last July, Tamir says, “My dad is Jewish. His parents are like Orthodox Jewish. They’re like super Jewish, Israeli. Moved to Israel when it became a country, right at the beginning.”
In his co-authored memoir Around the World in 60 Seconds, Yassin describes Tamir as “an all-American girl (with a dash of Israeli thrown in).”
“I’m Palestinian and she’s Israeli,” Yassin said in a Nas Daily video last year, leaving little room for ambiguity.
If that wasn’t clear enough, images of Palestinian and Israeli flags are superimposed over the couple as Yassin speaks these words.
In one Instagram story Tamir posted in December, she enthusiastically films Israeli tourists on the streets in Dubai.
“So crazy. Israeli passports were literally banned for years!” she says in an accompanying caption.
“I speak Hebrew, I’m half Israeli/Jewish – that’s why I’m so excited,” she adds.
In a bizarre exchange in a Nas Talks episode from October, Yassin and Tamir compare their “privileges.”
“I’m not a US citizen like you, I don’t have the privilege of being a US citizen like you do,” Yassin tells his partner.
“Obviously I have citizenship privilege. Obviously, actually not, Israeli citizenship is just as good. I’m literally the same race as you,” Tamir responds.
“Are you Arab?” Yassin replies in jest.
“I’m half Israeli,” Tamir responds.
It is unclear what Tamir means by being “racially” Israeli.
What is clear is that she and Yassin have frequently and unambiguously identified her as “Israeli,” but she is now denying it when that identification appears to be inconvenient.
Tamir did not respond to The Electronic Intifada’s request for comment.
Tamir speaks Hebrew and visits her father in Israel “every summer” since he moved back there after a divorce.
Her LinkedIn profile shows she worked at a language training center in Utah in 2013 teaching Hebrew to an FBI agent.
She writes that her training was “contracted through the FBI” and that she taught the “client about Israeli life and culture.”
Tamir considers herself so familiar with Israel that she has a travel guide on her website about it.
It includes a “quick history” of Israel that completely omits the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Zionist militias.
It also fails to mention Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank or its siege of Gaza, although she mentions how “security is an important matter in Israel due to terrorism.”
Moreover, she considers Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to be part of Israel.
Yassin and Tamir even tried living in Tel Aviv, but Yassin found it to be “difficult” and Tamir said she “didn’t adjust that well,” so the pair moved on to Dubai.
While Tamir pretends to challenge stereotypes, her travelogue reveals her own biases and misconceptions about the Middle East.
In the Lebanon video, Tamir seems surprised that Arab Christians exist.
“When you think of the Middle East, you usually think of Muslims. But here in Lebanon, there are actually a lot of Christians,” she says.
Through this video and other behind-the-scenes clips on Instagram, Tamir whitewashes and glamorizes the French colonization of Lebanon.
“The city is known for its gorgeous European and Middle Eastern style architecture,” she says of Lebanon’s capital. “Beirut was once called the Paris of the Middle East.”
In another picture she posted on Instagram of her holding up a jacket, she wrote, “They were colonized by the French and now are a center of fashion.”
And for Tamir, Beirut’s famous Raouche Rocks evoke “Italian coastline vibes.”
She seems unable to view Lebanon outside of a colonial European lens.
Tamir’s trip to Lebanon comes in the context of accelerating efforts to normalize ties between Israel and Arab regimes.
Israel and the US even appear to be aiming at bringing Lebanon into the normalization club.
Tamir has appeared in Yassin’s videos in which he has attacked Arab countries for refusing to normalize ties with Israel. In others, she celebrates the fruits of the UAE-Israel normalization deal.
“Looks like a fun trip!! I’ll go there one day!” Yassin, who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, commented on his partner’s Instagram picture of her by the Raouche Rocks.
While Tamir’s video purports to celebrate Lebanon and its people, she bares her contempt for Lebanese citizens who raised concerns over an Israeli possibly entering their country.
Tamir accuses them of “just getting high off anger.”
Given the death and destruction Israel has caused in Lebanon decade after decade, any such anger is entirely understandable.
And nor is the threat over: Israel still frequently violates Lebanese sovereignty, flying drones and warplanes over the south of the country and even its capital.
Following last August’s catastrophic explosion at Beirut’s port, Israel exploited the tragedy to erase its own crimes against Lebanon, distract from military occupation and polish its image.
Whatever the truth about her citizenship, there’s no doubt that Tamir – like Nas Daily – is 100 percent on board with Israel’s propaganda messaging and came to Beirut eager to help spread it.
Ali Abunimah contributed reporting.
Nuseir Yassin (Nas)
Permalink Social J. Warrior replied on
Around August 2019, NICE Ltd. hired Nas for 10s of thousands of dollars for an internal propaganda campaign intended to use his influence to boost the company's employment reputation. Not long before, I was at an intimate dinner in the US with one of the NICE CEO's Israel-based senior-most direct reports, who casually mentioned that he had never seen a noticeable military presence in Israel. Yeah, right. That was almost certainly a lie, but even more so it was probably abetted by the fact that he had almost certainly never left his bubble and visited Area C or even B. In the case of NICE, they claim to employ a minimal number of Palestinian citizens, but how many of those are from the Occupied Territories? Few to probably none. To be clear, BDS hasn't focused enough on Israel's tech companies. NICE's CEO puts a shiny PR spin on things, but have no doubt that he and the company are complicit in apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Do we trust a supposedly "progressive" company whose leader was a member of Israel's Unit 8200 technical intelligence arm? Add NICE to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions list!
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