Harriet Sherwood parrots ugly smear about Israel


In June 2007, Hamas violently took over Gaza, overthrowing the Palestinian Authority. In its place, Hamas, committed to the annihilation of Israel, set up a radical Islamist entity.

Supported by Iran, Hamas used Gaza as its launching pad to conduct terrorist attacks against Israel, and amassed an extensive armed force which included thousands of rockets.  By late 2008, Hamas rockets could reach some of Israel‘s largest cities.

Between 2007 and 2008 Israeli citizens were bombarded by over 5,000 rockets and mortar bombs, deliberate attacks which caused deaths, injuries, and terrorized tens of thousands of Israelis.

In 2007 alone, 15 Israelis were killed, and 578  injured, by rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel pursued numerous non-military efforts to try and stop attacks, including appeals to the U.N. Secretary General as well as diplomatic overtures.

On Dec. 25, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued an appeal to Palestinians in an interview with the Arabic language satellite channel al-Arabiya, saying “Israel would not hesitate to respond with force if the attacks continued”.

The attacks didn’t cease and Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27.

What other nation on earth would fail to defend itself from constant rocket attacks launched by a designated terrorist movement on its borders? 

It’s a simple story of a nation defending its citizens – as it is morally obligated to do – from enemy rocket fire, right?

Well, if you’re the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, and you’re contemplating any act or policy by the Jewish state, you’re inclined to see darker motives.

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report, on Nov. 11, is ostensibly about the latest round of violence from Gaza, but also includes news of IDF warning shots fired into Syria in response to a number of Syrian shells from their civil war which landed in the Golan over the past several weeks.

The piece, titled ‘Israel fires warning shots into Syria as violence escalates in Gaza, focuses on the Syria dimension for several paragraphs before pivoting to the Gaza situation, thus:

“In the south, dozens of rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza between Saturday evening and midday on Sunday by militants from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other organisations. Six Palestinians, including four civilians, were reported killed in at least nine separate Israeli air strikes.

Netanyahu warned that the military was ready to intensify its response to rocket fire from Gaza following the escalation of attacks and counter-attacks.

The round of violence followed a similar spike almost three weeks ago, which subsided after intervention by Egyptian mediators. But some observers believe Netanyahu may be more inclined to order a robust approach in the runup to Israel’s general election on 22 January. [emphasis added]

While we’ll likely never learn the identity of the sage “observers” Sherwood is referring to who believe that Netanyahu is likely to launch a war to boost his prospects of being re-elected, they obviously influence her thinking a great deal, as she employs their political logic in the next passages as well:

“Militants in Gaza were “sustaining harsh hits” from the IDF, Netanyahu told ministers at Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit with its hands tied in the face of attempts to harm us. We are prepared to intensify our response.”

Operation Cast Lead, the three-week assault on Gaza in which about 1,400 Palestinians were killed, was launched in the build-up to Israel’s last election in 2009.” [emphasis added]

In these paragraphs Sherwood reveals one of the more telling polemical ticks often employed by Guardian journalists reporting on Israel: using blurry language which conveys an idea in a manner which is clear to those who understand the context, but without explicitly advancing the narrative – a journalistic version of ‘plausible deniability’.

While it is narrowly true that Cast Lead was launched on Dec. 27, 2008, and the Israeli elections were held on Feb. 10, 2009, Sherwood’s attempt to connect the dots – noting that the war “was launched in the build-up” to the election, without including even a word about the thousands of rocket attacks which preceded the war – represents ideologically driven propaganda at its worst.

The crude Israeli caricature Sherwood conjures, of an aggressive, hostile, violent state cynically ‘beating the drums of war to gain political points, or divert attention away from other issues, indeed often colors the Guardian’s analysis of the region, particularly in their coverage of the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Sherwood’s latest narrative of Israeli villainy is merely a more sanitized, “respectable” version of the explicitly anti-Zionist malice expressed on sites such as Mondoweiss, CounterPunch and Indymedia.

One of the most chilling cartoons (published by Indymedia and elsewhere) involving Cast Lead depicted Olmert cradling a dead Palestinian baby while dreaming of the votes he’ll garner as the result of Zionist infanticide, suggesting that not only do Israeli leaders intentionally kill Palestinian children, but also that such child murder can help Israeli politicians get elected.

The cartoon was the work of an extreme left antisemitic activist named Carlos Latuff. (Open link and scroll to section on Latuff.)

If you think my suggestion that the anti-Zionism of “mainstream” journalists at the Guardian at times overlaps with such extremism is over-the-top, here’s a cartoon the Guardian published during their ‘Palestine Papers’ series, on the apostasy of Mahmoud Abbas.

This cartoon, conveying the idea that Abbas was a traitor for allegedly expressing a willingness (during peace negotiations with Israeli leaders) to compromise on the refugee issue, by depicting him as the most loathsome possible figure, a religious Israeli Jew, was a Carlos Latuff production.

When, as a media institution, you’re willing, in the name of leftist solidarity, to make common cause with political extremists, antisemites, terrorists, and their apologists it is inevitable that some of your “journalists” will begin to normalize, at times even advance, elements of their radical, racist ideology. 

74 comments on “Harriet Sherwood parrots ugly smear about Israel

  1. Israel needs to kick out this Islamo terrorist supporter Harriet Sherwood.
    She’s another flotilla.
    Sherwood would find a way to defend this Islamo Nazis.

    http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=663&fld_id=663&doc_id=5832

    Female Palestinian terrorist does not regret murder of 15 civilians at Sbarro pizza shop that she planned
    Terrorist Ahlam Tamimi led a suicide bomber to the Sbarro pizza shop in Jerusalem in August 2001. 15 people were murdered in the attack, many of them children. In October 2011, Tamimi was released from Israeli prison as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal brokered between the Israeli government and Hamas.

    Transcript:
    PA TV shows Israeli Channel 1 TV re-broadcast of interview:
    Israeli interviewer: “Who chose Sbarro [restaurant, as the target of the attack]?”
    Tamimi: “I did. For nine days I examined the place very carefully and chose it after seeing the large number of patrons at the Sbarro restaurant. I didn’t want to blow [myself] up, I didn’t want to carry out a Martyrdom-seeking operation (i.e., a suicide attack). My mission was just to choose the place and to bring the Martyrdom-seeker (i.e., the suicide bomber). [I made] the general plan of the operation, but carrying it out was entrusted to the Martyrdom-seeker. … I told him to enter the restaurant, eat a meal, and then after 15 minutes carry out the Martyrdom-seeking operation. During the quarter of an hour I would return the same way that I had arrived. Then I bade him farewell. He went inside, he crossed the road and went to the restaurant, and I went back the way I had come… You have to know something: a Martyrdom-seeker has a very special character, and I was amazed at his great wish to carry out the operation, his great wish to pass over to a different life. How beautiful it is when you make a person – [starts the sentence again] [Suppose] there’s a poor person and you give him a lot of money. He will be happy and you yourself will be happy that you realized for him the happy life that he wanted. My job was to realize, for this Martyrdom-seeker, the happy life that he wanted.”
    Interviewer: “Didn’t you think about the people who were in the restaurant? The children? The families?”
    Tamimi: “No.”
    Tamimi: “I have no regrets, and no Palestinian prisoner regrets what he or she has done. We were defending ourselves. What are we supposed to regret? Should we regret defending ourselves? Should we regret that the Israelis killed one of us so we killed a different one of them? We have no regrets.”
    Interviewer: “Do you know how many children were killed in the restaurant?”
    Tamimi: “Three children were killed in the operation, I think. [Smiles.]”
    Interviewer: “Eight.”
    Tamimi: “Eight?! [Smiles.] Eight.”
    Palestinian TV (Fatah) Oct. 23, 2011

    • 1,400 palestinians were killed in Israeli military operation Cast lead, including more than 300 children.

      This is a fact.

      • Nat doesn’t understand the difference yet between warfare as self-defense and wanton targeted murder of innocents. He doesn’t yet understand the difference between someone wants to murder, and is willing to carry out murder, and those committed to defending against murder. That’s Nat in a nutshell.

        • Fritz, some of the Palestinian children killed in Israel’s operation Cast Lead were toddlers.

          Can you please explain how toddlers and newborns can be “organised in the various terror formations”?

          Are you one of these people who hate children?

        • Can you also explain why you never, ever mention deaths and injuries of Palestinian children?

          Both Israeli and Palestinian children have the right to live. Both Israeli and Palestinian lives are precious.

    • Targeting civilians as Palestinian armed groups do when launching rockets from Gaza is a violation of international law.

      I note that CIF watch seems to have forgotten to mention one important fact in its story above: Israel occupies the Palestinian territory (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip).

      • “In these paragraphs Sherwood reveals one of the more telling polemical ticks often employed by Guardian journalists reporting on Israel: using blurry language which conveys an idea in a manner which is clear to those who understand the context, but without explicitly advancing the narrative – a journalistic version of ‘plausible deniability’”

        This paragraph is unreadable.

      • “I note that CIF watch seems to have forgotten to mention one important fact in its story above: Israel occupies the Palestinian territory (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip).”

        Quick Nat, how many Israelis currently reside in the Gaza Strip?
        How many Israeli troops are now stationed in the Gaza Strip?
        Where are the offices of the Israeli high command in the Gaza Strip, and who are the Gazan’s charged with carrying out the Israeli military’s orders?

        • Jeff, the Israeli army controls about one third of Gaza’s arable land. It also controls Gaza’s airspace, nearly all of its land crossings but one, and nearly all of Gaza’s territorial waters. Israel also retains controls over the circulation of people, goods and humanitarian aid to and from Gaza.

          • “Jeff, the Israeli army controls about one third of Gaza’s arable land.”
            How and why?

            “It also controls Gaza’s airspace, nearly all of its land crossings but one, and nearly all of Gaza’s territorial waters. Israel also retains controls over the circulation of people, goods and humanitarian aid to and from Gaza.”

            As well it should considering the security threat.

    • Ed, Israel is a democracy. We do not “kick out” journalists because we abide by a basic principle called freedom of the press.

      Do you have a problem with the Israeli democracy, Ed?

      • Ed, Israel is a democracy. We do not “kick out” journalists because we abide by a basic principle called freedom of the press.
        WE?! Are you an Israeli Nat? But a month ago you bragged about your inside knowledge of Lebanese bars and hookers, before that you ranted about your personal experiences in Gaza with your Jewish friends. My God you must be a Mossad hitman!
        Must be very inconvenient to forget your previous lies…

        • Peter, your insults against Lebanese women are disturbing, amd so are your attacks against Israel’s democratic principles.

          • Cut the bullshit liar and answer: Are you an Israeli and the same time familiar with the nightlife of Beirut? Yes or No?

          • Ed, Israel is a democracy. Your attacks against Israel’s freedom of the press are disturbing, and so are your insults aimed at Lebanese women. Peace in the Middle-East can be reached only through mutual understanding and a firm commitment to the principles of peace, security and protection of all civilians.

  2. These anarchists reject the 23 state solution.
    22 Arab states and 1 Jewish state.
    Only 23 Arab fascist states will make they happy.

    • Ed, the Palestinian people has the right to live in its own state. Why do you want to deprive four million human beings of this basci human right?

      • “Ed, the Palestinian people has the right to live in its own state. Why do you want to deprive four million human beings of this basci human right?”

        Really? A basic human right? The same right that many a passionate, “peace activist” protester wants to take away from Israelis?

        • Jeff, both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace and in security, in their own state and inside secure borders, as defined by the Road Map for Peace.

          Don’t you agree?

          • “Jeff, both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace and in security, in their own state and inside secure borders”

            Yes, I do.

  3. According to Sherwood, firing rockets on Israeli cities is what? An act of diplomacy? Blowing up buses and Pizzeria’s full of civilians. A PR statement? You don’t get more criminal than this. But its Sherwood’s beloved pallys doing it so I guess they can literally get away with murder.

  4. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=839

    I was wrong about Hamas
    David Keyes,
    November 16, 2011

    I was wrong about Hamas and I admit it. For years, I have consistently said that Hamas is a radical terrorist organization that must never be negotiated with. After much reflection, I now realize that Hamas has moderated its positions and can be an ally in peace.

    Consider the dramatic changes in rhetoric by Hamas leaders. Back when he was a extremist in 2007, Hamas parliamentary Deputy Speaker Ahmad Bahr said that Jews were “apes and pigs” and should all be killed. “O Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters,” he cried out. “O Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. O Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one.” But weeks ago, Bahr moderated his position and now calls Jews the “siblings of monkeys and pigs.” He hasn’t called for genocide against Jews in months and now simply urges his brethren to “sweep them out of our land.” From genocide to ethnic cleansing in just four years? Imagine what 2012 might hold! Perhaps calling merely for the enslavement of Jews? Indeed, anything is possible if we remain hopeful.

    Back in 2008 when Hamas parliamentarian Yunis al Astal was an extremist, he called for the conquering of America and Europe. In a moment of youthful indiscretion — and who hasn’t had a few of those? — he termed Jews the “brothers of apes and pigs.” Today he has changed his tune almost entirely. In May, on Al Aqsa TV, he said, “All the predators, all the birds of prey, all the dangerous reptiles and insects, and all the lethal bacteria are far less dangerous than the Jews.” Jews, he added, have been brought to Palestine so that Muslims “will have the honor of annihilating the evil of this gang.” Notice how he entirely dropped the global conquest rhetoric? Today he speaks modestly and moderately of slaughtering Jews only.

    In 2008, Hamas parliamentarian Fathi Hammad berated the Arab world for allowing 300 million people to be subjugated by a few million Israelis — the “brothers of apes and pigs” in Hammad’s then radical words. Fast-forward to today and Hammad, as interior minister, has had to deal with the realities of governing Gaza. His rhetoric has seen a commensurate shift toward moderation. “The Jews have become abhorred and loathed outcasts, because they live off corruption and the plundering of the peoples — not only the Arab and Islamic peoples, but all the peoples of the world,” he said last December on Al Aqsa TV. Who can doubt that “abhorred and loathed outcasts” is a step forward from “brothers of apes and pigs”?

    When Hamas Culture Minister Atallah Abu al-Subh was a radical back in 2008, he spoke of the “evil of the Jews, their deceit, their cunning, their war-mongering, their control of the world, and their contempt and scorn for all the peoples of the world …” Today, Subh, too, has moderated his message. “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth,” he said in April on Al Aqsa TV. “Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come …”
    If Hamas keeps up this dramatic transformation, one can imagine a world in the not too distant future in which Jews are no longer hatefully called “apes and pigs” but rather moderately called “second cousins once-removed of apes and pigs.”

      • “Ed you are getting over excited. Perhaps you should go lie down a while.”

        Ah yes, rz, a little deflection vis a vis the old ad hominem. Sure, I understand.

  5. A list of “some observers [who] believe Netanyahu may be more inclined to order a robust approach in the runup to Israel’s general election on 22 January.“

    Harriet Sherwood
    Phoebe Greenwood
    Chris McGreal
    Etc.

    • The Guardian correspondents have direct access to sources at the highest level of the state of Israel.

      You do not.

      • Your funniest yet, Nat. So you are suggesting that “sources at the highest level of the state of Israel” told Sherwood and her pals that they plan to win votes by killing Palestinians? Even if that outrageous slander was true, do you really think they’d be fricking thick enough to divulge this to a hack from the Guardian?

        You truly are barmy.

  6. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1033728/posts

    Palestinian woman beaten for refusing to explode (Beaten by Hamas terrorists)
    Jerusalem Post ^ | 12/4/03
    A Palestinian woman arrived at the Tarkomiya checkpoint and complained to soldiers that she had been beaten by 4 Hamas terrorists for refusing to serve as a suicide bomber.
    The terrorists then escaped in the direction of Kiryat Gat. Southern command police are presently searching for the perpetrators.

  7. Interesting. Some folks defend this and that murder of Israelis. Some nuts defend the murder of this and that murder of Arabs by Jewish terrorists. Hey ho here we go. Bicker bicker bicker. Same old same old.

    Interesting analysis of Obamas attitude. He doesn’t regard it as part of his job to prevent Israel from commiting suicide. If Israel is hell bent on one state he isn’t going to lie on the tracks to prevent it.

    • Every child, man and woman has the right to live, regardless of their race, religion and nationality.

      Sadly some people here are blinded by hatred and ignorance.

  8. So now I understand what will be is hands off attitude. He plans to let Bibi lie on whatever bed he makes. Sounds like fun.

  9. Sorry, this is slightly administrative, but still:
    Any chance, Mr. Levick, you could remove off-topic blather, cut-n-paste bleats, by such here, as “Nat”, “realzionist”, &c?

    • I personally think that some commenters inadvertently help our cause. It’s almost as if some of these folks are secret Zionist trolls attempting to discredit the anti-Zionist cause by consistently advancing absurd arguments. Anyway, I think I’ll maintain my laissez faire policy for now.

      • RZ, nat and their fellow travelers here are the best supporters of Cifwatch’s cause demonstrating the true face and intention of “pro-Palestinian” activism. Censoring them would be an error.

      • That’s an interesting theory Adam. It is almost persuasive but is let down by one fatal flaw. That is, you are unable to point to one single thing I have said, here or anywhere else that is antizionist.

        • As Adam Levick has come BTL here to effectively call realzionist an “anti-Zionist”, I’d likewise be interested to see him back up that comment.

          • Ok, here’s one after a quick search:

            Rz argues that Israel is uncivilized (sorry, “uncivilSed”). That’s about as classic a form of delegitimization as you can find (with “apologies to Finkelstein” of course).

            “Not at all groovy. My position is perfectly clear and unchanging.

            Viz ( apologies to Finkelstein ) Israel is a state. Thats the law. Nowadays states are expected not to engage in colonial enterprises beyond their internationally recognised frontiers, and the civilised ones don’t. Were Israel to go with this it would, so far as I am concerned, be game over. Move on.”

          • @ Adam Levick

            You cannot be serious. Comments like “the civilised ones don’t …” are made all the time with regard to countless countries.
            a) It doesn’t mean the poster is actually calling said country/culture uncivilised.
            b) It does not constitute “classic delegitimization.”
            c) You’re going to have to do far better than to validate your claim that RZ is “anti-Zionist.”

          • @ Adam Levick re. “Israel is uncivilized”

            I mean – is it really necessary to stoop to Withnail’s level?

            “How dare you call me inhumane!”

        • “So now I understand what will be is hands off attitude. He plans to let Bibi lie on whatever bed he makes. Sounds like fun.”

          Sounds anti-Zionist.

      • Dear Mr Levick,

        how long will you apply your “laissez faire policy” to people whose posts are often offensive and racists?

        For instance, I feel disturbed any time someone posts a comment insulting women journalists, or writes sheer racist comments.

        Why don’t you ban these people from your forum?

        • “how long will you apply your “laissez faire policy” to people whose posts are often offensive and racists?”

          How long do you want to stick around?

          • Jeff,

            I think it is important to remind people of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and to stress the need to reach a two-state solution that will allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live in their own respective states, in peace and within secured borders.

            Don’t you?

    • Commentary,

      why do you want to censor comments based on international human rights law and international humanitarian law?

  10. Pingback: UK media coverage of the rocket fire onto the south of Israel | Anne's Opinions

  11. This thread became a competition between Nat having the intelligence of a bacteria and realzionist – a psychopath with some obsession regarding Jonathan Hoffmann.The good news that they have pretzelberg as an objective referee .

    • Peter, I think the real issue here is that you seem to understand neither international humanitarian law, nor international human rights law.

      • Well, what Nuts calls his understanding of law has place on a stamp of an letter sent by a terrorist cell.

        • Fritz, I think it is important to remind people of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and to stress the need to reach a two-state solution that will allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live in their own respective states, in peace and within secured borders.

          Don’t you agree?

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