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“In the past nineteen days, Israel’s military has killed more than 1,033 Palestinians, including 335 children, and injured more than 4,850,” she added. “Many of the dead are still under the rubble of schools, mosques, markets, police stations, and apartments.”

Gores has been a fierce critic of American mainstream newspapers for what she views as their pro-Israeli bias. In March 2005, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights released a lengthy study of the way the Portland Oregonian had covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Overall, our analysis of The Oregonian headlines demonstrates a significant inaccuracy in the reporting of Palestinian versus Israeli deaths,” it concluded.

“While Palestinians in the last four years have consistently been killed at a rate three times greater than Israelis — and 10 times greater during the study period — The Oregonian headlines have portrayed the conflict in a way that minimizes the difference. Readers were given the impression that the Israeli death toll was greater than it was and the Palestinian death toll was considerably smaller than its reality.”

In a July 2007 interview with Willamette Week, Portland’s alternative newspaper, Hala Gores discussed possible reasons for the bias. “The Israeli lobby has been written up as the most powerful lobby in Washington, D.C. And there are certain newspapers, when they report a more balanced view of Israel, there is tremendous pressure put on them, financial and political, to stop that kind of reporting,” she said.

Asked by the paper whether she ascribed the problem of media bias against the Palestinians to “Jewish media ownership,” Gores replied, “I am always really nervous to talk to anybody about news ownership by any religious group. To prevent us from talking about the truth, all one has to do is label one an anti-Semite and the discussion stops there. I’m not saying that [Jewish media ownership] exists or doesn’t exist. The focus is on why the news media tends to focus on one side of this conflict.”

Although she is clearly proud of her cousin Tom’s purchase of the Union-Tribune, Gores is cautious when discussing him. She declined to talk about whether he shares her views on the situation in Israel or has ever given money to support her pro-Palestinian activities.

“I am not a representative of the family,” she begins when recently reached by telephone at her Portland law office. “I don’t get involved in discussing Tom’s personal life with newspapers. I’m not authorized to, I’m not asked to. I don’t step into that role.”

She adds, “I can say he’s been absolutely amazing with respect to close family members as well as distant family members. He’s just a tremendous human being. I can tell you that Tom as an individual, in his relationship with everyone around him, he has a heart of gold. Tremendous. Whenever he hears about anyone needing any assistance, I’ve never heard him say no to anything to anybody. He’s just the most decent human being I know.”

By many accounts the Joubran and Gores families have always looked out for one another, through hard times as well as good. Tom Joubran’s immigration to the United States was sponsored by his uncle, Tom Mansour, another Nazareth native, in whose Flint-area grocery store Joubran labored before opening his own business, Tom’s Supermarket, in 1957, the Flint Journal has recounted.

“Tom [Joubran] was kind of the trailblazer for the family,” recalls his nephew Brian Joubran in a recent telephone interview. “He became very successful in Michigan, and he is a very family-oriented person. He helped out the family a lot in Michigan, which meant that if we needed work and we needed help getting some type of income, Tom would hire us or we would go to Tom and ask him if we could work in one of his grocery stores and he would help us out, and he was very accommodating.

“I think that’s why Tom and Alec [Gores] attribute most of their success to Tom Joubran, because there was a lot of teaching and learning that was being exchanged from family member to family member.”

In 2002, the two Gores brothers, by then living in California, gave $250,000 to their alma mater, Genesee High, to replace the old cinder track with one surfaced with asphalt and rubber. The contribution was recognized with a plaque honoring Tom Joubran and his wife Julia on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

“The thing about Mr. Joubran is that he’s basically brought so many of his relatives and family members here,” notes Shriner, the former Flint Journal reporter who covered Joubran and his run-ins with the law during the 1980s and 1990s. “Just dozens and dozens of people he’s brought here over the years.

“He’s been an interesting character for a long time, I’ll give him that,” Shriner continues. “He came here, had like $25 to his name, couldn’t speak a word of English, did the immigrant thing — worked hard and eventually bought his own grocery store and kind of grew things from there.

“He’s owned several bars, but the big one that everybody remembers him for was the Mikatam,” says Shriner. “It was named after his son Michael, his daughter Kathy, and his youngest daughter Tammy: Mi-Ka-Tam.

“That was a huge bar, and he did business like nobody else. Frankly, what he did, I thought, was brilliant. What he would do was that he would charge a $10 cover charge, and this place would hold 5000 people. He told me he could easily get 3000 to 5000 people in there without a problem. Now, it was packed, mind you, but he would do it if he could, and he frequently did.

“He would sell draft beer. You would get 10 glasses of draft beer for like $5. They’d bring them to your damn table. The problem was, you’d have fucking 20 or 30 glasses of beer getting warm on your table.

“I asked him about it, ‘How can you do that?’ Because no other bars did that. He said it was all about volume. He said a glass of draft beer cost him 6 cents. So, hell yeah, he’d sell ’em 10 for $5 because it cost him 60 cents! And the cover was pure profit.”

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SurfPuppy619 May 13, 2009 @ 10:53 p.m.

I bet the paper will post huge profits next year and then sold to the highest bidder.

By Johnny

I'll take that action with a C-note.

And let me know if you want to raise that bet.


monaghan May 13, 2009 @ 8:36 p.m.

Wow. The Union-Tribune as a Palestinian mouthpiece. Will editorial page editor Bob Kittle replace his bow tie with a chequered scarf as he goes about his chores? The mind races to think about the possibilities....What an amazing story about the new owners of America's Finest City's only newspaper. Nice job, Matt Potter.


Ponzi May 13, 2009 @ 8:59 p.m.

They say there is a crime behind every fortune. These dudes didn't make billions without one. This story has a big gap between the time they worked in a little hometown market making nothing to bidding on billion dollar high tech companies. Exactly how did they get from Point A to Point B?


Johnny May 13, 2009 @ 9:55 p.m.

I think you all have it wrong this is a total business transaction. Does anyone know the terms of the sale? How much did they buy the paper for? I don't think Mr. Gores has a political agenda. If you look at past Gores transactions the companies he has purchased have been made profitable and then sold for huge profits. I bet the paper will post huge profits next year and then sold to the highest bidder.


Ponzi May 14, 2009 @ 11:18 a.m.

The partnership includes an operator of The Honolulu Advertiser, a paper in Akron, Ohio and several papers in British Columbia. So they may be trying to build a news paper empire afterall. Only time will tell. At least the Copley era is over.


Ponzi May 14, 2009 @ 2:30 p.m.

They can turn the newspaper around and increase ad revenue when...

The can compete with craigslist; free ads.

When they can get people paying to advertise yards sales and other items in their classified.

When people stop using Monster.com and other websites to look for jobs. When people stop using Autotrader and other sources to shop for cars. When people stop using all the online resources to find rentals and homes for sale.

The classifieds were a gold mine and it's pretty much gone. As the circulation declines, the ad rate they can get for display ads falls also.

Basically when they can offer free ads and make money. So that is going to be some magic to perform. They have their work cut out for them.


SurfPuppy619 May 14, 2009 @ 5:17 p.m.

When they can get people paying to advertise yards sales and other items in their classified.

They really raped people on the classified advertising.

I had to use it to sell some Southwest Airline vouchers and it was like $25-$30 for a three line ad.

Man, just thinking about that rip oiff still gets me upset-I'm glad the classifieds are history. One less scam from Big Business.


violadace May 15, 2009 @ 2:34 p.m.

I would LOVE to subscribe to a hometown paper. There's so much I miss about the city by not having a local news source. Voiceofsandiego.com is too amateurish and "Let's Make a Paper!" gee-whiz. The READER is only big story. I refused to support the U-T because it had been a prime player in San Diego's stupidity and corruption for the last 80 years. Maybe now the Copleys are gone, I'll hafta subscribe to the new U-T. . .


Flintexpats May 17, 2009 @ 10:29 a.m.

Tom Joubran's Mikatam was a Flint legend for a lot of reasons. Here's a link to a post on Flint Expatriates about the bar. The comment section reveals a lot about the Joubrans, Flint, and this locally famous bar:



PeterCavanaugh May 31, 2009 @ 3:51 p.m.

Matt Potter's May 13th feature article on Tom Joubran and his Gores nephews was quite encompassing, understandably only scratching the surface in recounting highlights in the life of a Great American. Observing several subsequent comments on much of the information being "hearsay", might I offer the following "eyewitness" testimony from "Local DJ", published in 2002 and now optioned as a film project by MIchael Moore and Kathleen Glynn?

From "Local DJ"--Page 298

“The Mikatam” in Genesee was owned and operated by Tom Joubran, a Palestinian immigrant and self-made millionaire. Tom couldn’t understand why everyone else wasn’t getting rich in America. He also was amazed that no one else could seize opportunities as he did and profit accordingly. Tom would say, "Look at me! I rode a goat to the boat!" The truth was that few people could work twenty hours-a-day with the energy and drive that Tom considered a matter of normal routine. Sleep? What’s that??

Tom owned laundromats, apartment buildings, pizza parlors, grocery stores and lots else. His first love, however, was show business. He proved to be a gracious host and extraordinary client. He brought a number of relatives over from the old country and there were a few confusions from time to time. I was visiting Tom one night at "The Mighty Mikatam" when we both noticed everyone being turned away from the door by a young nephew who had been instructed to check for I.D.s. He was demanding passports."

End of excerpt.

With best wishes,

Peter Cavanaugh Oakhurst, California WildWednesday.com


happilyretired May 31, 2009 @ 7:14 p.m.

I worked with Alec at Executive Business Systems in the 80's and it turned out to be a fabulous experience. All of us who worked with him knew he was special and would be a very rich man someday. He was a very smart, ambitious, fair and generous business owner. Alec had about 25 employees when I started and about 125+ when Contel purchased his business. His ego was not out of control and he could be trusted. He worked very hard and was quite inventive. He really deserves his success and I wish him the best. He had my respect then and I respect him today. I would like to know how what has happened to Marie, Samira, Susie and Linda.


Neal April 15, 2011 @ 8:52 a.m.

When Platinum Equity purchased the fastening division from Textron, Mr. Gores’ senior leadership guys approved a plan that effectively got rid of the (2) only Iraqi Americans who worked so hard for many years.


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