Harriet Sherwood gets it right


I never thought I’d be writing these words, but Harriet Sherwood deserves credit for providing balance in a Guardian report on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Sherwood, whose Palestinian sympathies have been revealed time and again, wrote a piece on Dec. 3 (‘Israeli settlement move risks further isolation say Netanyahu opponents‘) which, to put it mildly, was unlike almost all of her other ones.

Of course, the main thrust of her report was consistent with the Guardian narrative on Netanyahu’s decision to build homes in the area known as E-1 (between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim), focusing on the possibility that such plans will isolate Israel diplomatically and framing the decision as an indication of the nation’s move to the right.

However, in the fourth to the last paragraph Sherwood pivots and provides context on Israel’s political environment rarely explored on the pages of the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free’.

Sherwood writes, thus:

“The Israeli public has moved steadily to the right over recent decades, and the political reach of relatively leftist and “pro-peace” parties has collapsed. Part of the explanation is disillusion in the so-called peace process and alarm at the rise of Islamist parties in Gaza and elsewhere in the region.”

While the definition of “right” is open to interpretation, Sherwood deserves credit for accurately characterizing Israeli disillusionment with the the logic underlying Oslo, and the general concern over the rise of radical Islamist parties in the region.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the Western and Israeli left, territorial concessions (particularly in S. Lebanon and Gaza) since Oslo have largely not produced the desire results.  Israeli withdrawals only strengthened Islamist terror groups (Hezbollah and Hamas), producing greater instability on the state’s southern and northern borders, thus undermining the rationale of the ‘land for peace’ formula.

Sherwood concludes her report by quoting a surprising source – and Israeli who doesn’t work for a radical NGO, nor otherwise identifies with the far left:

Increasing diplomatic isolation could indirectly shore up support for Netanyahu, according to Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent of the Jerusalem Post. “Israelis are under the impression that the entire world is against them, no matter what they do,” he said.

Most Israelis supported the expansion of “quality of life” settlements close to the pre-1967 Green Line, as distinct from ideologically hardline settlements deep inside the West Bank, he added. “By making such an uproar over a consensus issue, the international community is actually discouraging concessions in the future.”

On issues relating to Israel’s security and the Palestinians, “no one on the right can challenge Netanyahu. This strengthens him, it plays into his hands,” Hoffman said. “The international community has made that mistake time and time again. It’s not Netanyahu who’s shifting Israel to the right, but European politicians like [the British foreign secretary] William Hague.”

While Hoffman’s analysis is open for debate, it’s refreshing to read a Guardian analysis which gives voice to the overwhelming majority of Israelis who tire of the imperiousness and moral condescension consistently displayed  by the European left towards their nation – a hubris which manifests itself in the audacious belief that citizens of the Jewish state continually need to be ‘saved from themselves’.

40 comments on “Harriet Sherwood gets it right

  1. That Netanyahu’s decision to build homes in the Palestinian area known as E-1 (between East Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim) will isolate Israel diplomatically and is s an indication of the nation’s move to the right is not the Guardian narrative, it is the interpretation of every singe nation in the world, including Israel’s closest allies – the USA and Canada.

    That Mr Levick disagrees is irrelevant.

  2. E1 is not a ‘consensus issue’. It is a group of illegal settlements which Netanyahu plans to build in the territory of Palestine in violation of international law, and which will make a contiguous state of Palestine impossible.

    Mr Netanyahu’s settlement policy is taking Israel to a dead end – a binational state where Jews will be a minority in the Jewish state.

    • Peter, CIF Watch represents neither the views of Israel, nor the views of Israelis. It only reflects the views of a minority of hardliners who support the settlement policy and seem to reject the two-state solution.

      Israel is a democracy committed to peace. It is important to warn readers that CIF Watch only represents the views of a marginalized minority in the country,

      • I know that Nat. Israel’s views are represented on Cifwatch by you who until this moment couldn’t decide that you are a Lebanese from Beirut, a Jewish resident of Gaza(!!!), an Israeli or a British – in other words you are a pathological liar and an exceptionally idiotic version of a copy’n paste troll.

        • What if he’s a half-English, half-Lebanese Jew who took Israeli citizenship and moved to Gaza?

          Stranger things have happened. Not MANY stranger things, mind you.

        • Peter, you and CIF Watch represents neither the views of Israel, nor the views of Israelis. It only reflects the views of a minority of hardliners who support the settlement policy and seem keen on to rejecting the two-state solution.

          Israel is a democracy committed to peace. It is important to warn readers that CIF Watch only represents the views of a marginalized minority.

      • Each Cifwatch reader represents him / herself.

        The blog is monitoring a shift in the western world’s journalistic professionalism and or bias.

        It also monitor the use of liberal platform by fascists.

        Their methods of monitoring this are open to debate and as you can see here it is not getting it right all the time.
        But it is a private blog and not a UK major outlet like the Guardian.
        This is why the Guardian needs to clean its stables…

      • Hello Nat. Because you’re not a realzionist-Sanity type of poster (i.e., a troll who abhors facts, won’t change subjects and can’t change his mind), I wanted to comment on your previous remarks regarding the views of CiF Watch.
        This site was not created as a part of either left or right-wing politics. It’s purpose began as, and remains, the track record of reporting at CiF that ranges from biased and lacking context to outright lying. The resulting approval of rightists and dismay from leftists (or, in the RZ case, nasty trolling away from any point that shines a negative spotlight on his pet causes) says more about how they absorb and respond to CiF’s reporting than it does about the body politic in Israel.
        There are going to be posters who fit into the Venn overlap between “despise CiF’s embarrasingly bad reporting” and “believe that Israel should neither turn over most of the West Bank to a Palestinian state or officially take the WB and incorporate it, along with all of its residents, as part of Israel and Israeli citizens”. The latter is something I would personally disagree with but doesn’t make my agreement with the former fraudulent or un-representative. And the way that CiF Watch conducts factual analysis doesn’t make it marginal, because that makes no sense.
        Along those lines, telling people with legitimate views that they should shut up and be run over is not going to do a hell of a lot to help craft an argument that would actually bring them into a potential circle of peace, you know what I’m saying?
        Just as a BTW, the end game of a non-zero sum ME conflict involves two states, minor land swaps, Jerusalem as a shared capital in different areas, and absolutely no fraudulent right of Palestinian refugees into final-status Israel. That’s my POV, people can disagree or agree with it as they see fit.

      • Is that your official reason for hanging out here and shreiing?

        Since Israel is a democracy committed to peace, and the views here are those of a marginalized minority, what’s the problem? Everything should be going smoothly.

  3. Peace now became piss now because Arafat and the suicide attacks on innocent civilians. Your ‘hardliners’ are merely realists because a genuine peace cannot be made with enemies whose aim is to destroy you whatever it takes however long it takes.

    • Realist, Israel is a democracy and is committed to peace.

      The views expressed by ‘CIF Watch’ do not represent the views of Israel, only those of a minority of people who, for mysterious reasons, seem opposed to a two-state solution.

      • The Israeli people who oppose a 2 state solution generally oppose to it for 2 reasons:

        the majority oppose to the current Oslo accord which they deem was not made with a reliable partner.
        In essence these people will be willing to concede territories if they view the other side as a reliable partner.

        The other part are people who believe that the entire West bank belongs in Israeli hands for religious reasons or strategic ones.

      • I’m not opposed to a two-state solution.

        I’m not optimistic about getting it, but I’m definitely in favor of it as opposed to, well, most other options at this point.

      • “The views expressed by ‘CIF Watch’ do not represent the views of Israel, only those of a minority of people who, for mysterious reasons, seem opposed to a two-state solution.”
        What a ridiculous comment.

  4. Sherwood has, over the years, gone native – she is probably desperately seeking a Jewish ancestor so she can apply for citizenship. I suspect she would now be voting Meretz (well, perhaps not yet – maybe Hadash) if she could, having started out with Balad.

    She has gone from writing about Israeli cruelty to chickens to actually beginning to show glimmers of understanding and empathy for Israelis. Its amazing what a few rockets on Jerusalem when one lives there can do for one’s understanding of Middle Eastern affairs.

    • I’m not sure why a British citizen who’s not Jewish would apply for Israeli citizenship. The standard of living is higher is Great Britain and it’s more secure.

      • I know a few who left with their non Jewish partner back to Israel for one reason or another.
        Living in a Kibbutz is still not a bad life style, if you have a decent job.
        As for secure…
        What’s the daily murder ratio in the UK compares with that in Israel?
        What’s the life expectancy in Scotland compares with that of Israel?
        Currently in the UK the situation for middle classes working people is grim.
        I’m sure it’s similar in Israel if not worst, work wise, but you have to add everything up and see where the Conservatives are leading the UK?

    • Its amazing what a few rockets on Jerusalem when one lives there can do for one’s understanding of Middle Eastern affairs

      You’re so right. Suddenly they don’t seem like “harmless firecrackers” anymore.

  5. Sherwood:
    Part of the explanation is disillusion in the so-called peace process and alarm at the rise of Islamist parties in Gaza and elsewhere in the region

    Today’s arrival of Meshaal in the Gaza and his stated intention of becoming a martyr doesn’t exactly bode well for peace, does it?

    • “his stated intention of becoming a martyr”

      Will some unknown drone operator grant him his wish? For the benefit of his immortal soul, let us hope so ….

      Unfortunately, Pretzel, these bastards never become martyrs – they send others to die for them.

      • Considering Meshaal is under the protection of both Jordan and Egypt, I’d be very surprised if Netanyahu tried anything against him. A regional war would not help him to be reelected.

    • Pretz: “Today’s arrival of Meshaal in the Gaza and his stated intention of becoming a martyr doesn’t exactly bode well for peace, does it?”

      Why not?
      Just add “Rest In” in front of the word Peace…

  6. Pingback: The Guardian’s Polemical Caricature of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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