Harriet Sherwood’s latest report, Mitt Romney’s remarks reflect dwindling faith in two-state solution, Sept. 18, represents another example of the Guardian Left’s capacity to reject even the most basic logical statements about the Middle East — the ones “absolutely necessary to understand reality” — and rule them out-of-bounds.
According to Romney, the Palestinians are committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel and have no interest in peace;
She then adds, in a manner suggesting that the Guardian Jerusalem correspondent may be auditioning for a future role as spokesperson for the Palestinians:
His characterisation of the Palestinians is wrong. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation, acknowledged as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people, recognises the right of Israel “to exist in peace and security”. The Palestinian leadership is committed to a negotiated solution and opposes armed struggle.
One statement purportedly attesting to the Palestinians’ peaceful ways?
Well, that’s enough proof for her!
Such parroting of Fatah ‘hasbara’ is remarkable even for Sherwood, whose sympathy for the Palestinian cause is rarely ever disguised.
Whatever Palestinian leaders say occasionally in public (in English), the role of a reporter is, of course, to see through such unserious platitudes, and Sherwood, in her latest report, doesn’t even go through the motions of such basic fact checking.
If Sherwood would have done so much as search Google she would have determined that Fatah – who attempted or carried out (through various terror groups affiliated with its movement) more than 1,500 attacks during the Second Intifada - has never changed its charter supporting terrorism and rejecting Israel’s right to exist.
Fatah has not changed to its internal charter calling for the “complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” through violence.” (Article 12). Other articles which still stand include:
Article 17, which states: “Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.”
Article 19, which states that “armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”
In addition, Fatah:
- Still refuses to accept Israel as a Jewish state and insist on the right to resettle millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants within Israel’s pre-67 borders.
- Denies Israel’s Jewish history, condemning its “falsification” of history, calls for “the return of Palestinian sovereignty over the whole of the soil the city of Jerusalem” and insists on the evacuation of Jewish communities in Jerusalem.
- Continues to endorse the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade – responsible for numerous suicide bombings and terrorist attacks– as its armed wing.
If Sherwood had an interest in objectively analyzing Romney’s claims, she could have easily come across mounds of evidence attesting to a Palestinian political culture which glorifies terrorism, promotes antisemitism and rejects the very idea of peace and co-existence with the Zionists.
As Palestinian Media Watch reports:
“Since the Palestinian Authority was established it has systematically indoctrinated young and old to hate Israelis and Jews. Using media, education, and cultural structures that it controls, the PA has actively promoted religious hatred, demonization, conspiracy libels, etc. These are packaged to present Israelis and Jews as endangering Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity. This ongoing campaign has so successfully instilled hatred that fighting, murder and even suicide terror against Israelis and Jews are seen by the majority of Palestinians as justified self-defense and as Allah’s will. The PA presents Jews as possessing inherently evil traits. Jews are said to be treacherous, corrupt, deceitful and unfaithful by nature. These Jewish “attributes” and traditions are presented as the unchangeable nature of Jews. Forgeries and fiction masquerading as history are used to document and support the libel that Judaism is in essence racist and evil. Jews are said to be planning and executing heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more.
The PMW report continues:
“The PA assigns responsibility to the Jews for all the problems in the world: Wars, conflicts and civil wars are all said to be triggered by Jews. Indeed, the oppression suffered by Jews throughout history is presented as the legitimate response of nations seeking revenge for the injury caused them by the Jews living among them. The creation of the State of Israel is said to have been a European plot, in order to be rid of their Jews and save Europe from the evil of Jewish presence in their countries.
The Palestinian Authority makes no attempt to educate its people towards peace and coexistence with Israel. On the contrary, from every possible platform it repeatedly rejects Israel’s right to exist, presents the conflict as a religious battle for Islam, depicts the establishment of Israel as an act of imperialism, and perpetuates a picture of the Middle East, both verbally and visually, in which Israel does not exist at all. Israel’s destruction is said to be both inevitable and a Palestinian obligation.
the Palestinian Authority foment violence against Jews and Israelis, presenting it as legitimate and even heroic self-defense.”
“PA terror promotion takes many forms. Nationalistically, the PA actively elevates violence as a valid and heroic means to achieve political goals, while religiously, fighting and killing Jews has been presented repeatedly by PA religious and academic leaders as Allah’s will. On the social level, Palestinian leaders and society honor even the most loathsome of murderers portraying them as heroes and role models.”
Additionally, Sherwood could have reported a 2012 Palestinian poll indicating that if a presidential election were held today Marwan Barghouti—a terrorist who founded the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, jailed over his role in directing suicide bombings —would garner the most votes.
She could have also reported the results of another poll in 2010 which found that 59 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank (and 63 percent in Gaza) eventually hope that one state − Palestine − will replace the Jewish state. (The same poll indicated that only 23 percent of Palestinians said they believed in Israel’s right to exist as the national homeland of the Jews.)
She could have noted that 47.5% of Palestinians still support terrorist attacks inside pre-1967 Israel.
Or, Sherwood could have cited a 2011 poll indicating that 73% of Palestinians “believe” the Islamic Hadith that preaches it is Islamic destiny to kill Jews.
In fact, a bit of searching on YouTube and the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent may have found the following clip of ‘moderate’ PA leader Mahmoud Abbas admitting that he ordered terrorists to carry out their “operations“.
Later in her Sept. 18 report, Sherwood goes beyond merely shilling for Fatah, and makes a claim about Hamas’ supposed willingness to embrace a ‘peaceful solution’ which their own leaders don’t even pretend to support.
“The official founding charter of Hamas, the Islamist faction that rules the tiny Gaza Strip, still calls for historic (ie pre-1948) Palestine to be liberated. However, its leaders have repeatedly indicated, albeit sometimes opaquely, that they can live with a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.” [emphasis added]
This is simply a lie.
As recently as April 2012, senior Hamas member Mousa Abu Marzook told the Jewish Forward - a leftist publication which would have likely accepted even the most risible claims as to the group’s “moderation” – that Hamas will never recognize Israel as a state, but will only accept a hudna - a tactical temporary cease-fire.
The Hamas covenant is unequivocal:
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad. Initiatives, proposals, and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”
Further, the Hamas covenant doesn’t just call for the destruction of the Jewish state, it openly calls for the murder of Jews as such. As recently as last month, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Sheik Ahmad Bahr, called for the annihilation of Jews.
A woman doesn’t need permission from her husband, nor a “servant his master’s permission,” in order to engage in jihad, Bahr told his flock. This, he says, is “in order to annihilate those Jews.”
Moreover, if Harriet Sherwood has ever, in her entire career at the Guardian, written a report dealing seriously with Palestinians’ extreme antisemitism – a culture which often promotes the murder of Jews – I’ve never seen it.
The truth is, however, that Harriet Sherwood does not represent an anomaly.
For much of the elite media the Palestinians exist merely as an abstraction. If Israelis continue to be obsessively scrutinized by much of the world – their every act and decision placed under a microscope – the Palestinians are, inversely, one of the least examined, and under-scrutinized, political or national groups.
If Harriet Sherwood and her colleagues were to bookmark Palestinian Media Watch, visit the site regularly and honestly report what Palestinians actually say to each other in Arabic, rather than uncritically accepting the scripted lines they dutifully report to Western journalists, Guardian readers would be unable to continue trumpeting the Palestinian cause with quite the same vigor.
They’d be forced, perhaps, to empathize with Israeli concerns that a future Palestinian state may likely devolve into yet another terrorist run polity, and wouldn’t, in fact, deliver “peace and security”.
In short, such inconvenient facts about the true nature of Palestinian culture would disabuse many of their fanciful notions regarding the “root cause” of the conflict.
In a revealing blog post in 2011, Guardian Assistant Editor Michael White, writing about media self-censorship, made a revealing admission.
White, who’s been with the Guardian for over 30 years, wrote:
[The Guardian has] always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive tribal habits of the working class, which is more easily ignored altogether.
Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and US Republicans are more straightforward targets.
White concluded, thus:
And remember, dear reader, that we are also striving much of the time to tell you what you’d rather know rather than challenge your prejudices or make you cross.”
By exposing Palestinian racism and their culture of violence – thus giving lie the fiction of a peaceful, progressive national liberation movement – the Guardian would be challenging their readers’ considerable prejudices about Jews and Israelis.
In such an extremely unlikely scenario, of course, the institution would actually be able to honestly lay claim to the genuinely liberal values they now so egregiously and consistently undermine.