An extremist named Sharmine Narwani finds a home at ‘Comment is Free’

Cross posted by Zach at Huffington Post Monitor

It isn’t an easy title to win, but Sharmine “Dignity Rockets” Narwani is probably the most loathsome of all the Huffington Post bloggers, past or present. We’ve documented in the past her hatred for AmericaIsrael (of course), and Huffington Post bloggers who dare to say stuff that she doesn’t like. She’s a liaran anti-Semite, and a propagandist, not to mention a proud terrorism supporter. If all that doesn’t convince you, check out this page of quotes here.

Sharmine_Narwani

Of course it goes without saying that being an insulting, lying, anti-Semitic, America hating supporter of terrorism isn’t enough to get one removed from the Huffington Post. That’s exactly the kind of thing that they like to see. The problem is that Narwani went a bridge too far and started defending the regime in Syria while it was bombing its own people. This caused her to be removed from the Huffington Post and sent to Al-Akhbar and Veteran’s Today, where presumably the readership would mirror her views to a larger degree. 

Fortunately for her, she has found a website far left enough to take her in, despite this long, ugly and checkered history. This website would be the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’, of course! Were you expecting anything less? Narwani hits the ground running with a stalwart defense of the Assad regime in the grand tradition of calling everyone who isn’t her a liar.

Here is how she starts off:

“Less than two months after the UN announced “shocking” new casualty figures in Syria, its high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay estimates that deaths are “probably now approaching 70,000″. But two years into a Syrian conflict marked by daily death tolls, the question arises as to whether these kinds of statistics are helpful in any way? Have they helped save Syrian lives? Have they shamed intransigent foes into seeking a political solution? Or might they have they contributed to the escalation of the crisis by pointing fingers and deepening divisions?”

This paragraph is rich on so many levels. First of all, if the UN were to report tomorrow “shocking” numbers of Palestinians had been killed by Israel, do you think Narwani’s reaction would be the same? She would use it as the perfect excuse to fight harder.

Secondly, once again the UN, so beloved when it is passing toothless resolutions bashing Israel, is thrown under the bus once again when it doesn’t toe the left-wing line.

Finally, and most unbelievably, Narwani seems to be saying that if the fact that seventy thousand people are dead isn’t ‘helpful,’ then no one should know about it. That is not only an extremely heartless point of view, it actually contributes to the ongoing fighting there. Narwani seems to want to have it both ways: if the outside world won’t intervene, then no one should know about the death toll in Syria. On the other hand, if no one knows about the death toll then why would anyone intervene?

If you are wondering where she is going with this, after dismissing the death toll of 70,000 she then seeks to deny it:

“Syria’s death toll leapt from 45,000 to 60,000 earlier this year, a figure gathered by a UN-sponsored project to integrate data from seven separate lists. The new numbers are routinely cited by politicians and media as fact, and used to call for foreign intervention in the conflict.

But Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), whose casualty data are part of this count, calls the UN’s effort “political” and the results “propaganda”.”

SOHR may claim to be opposed to the regime, but Abdulrahman and Narwani are more or less saying the same thing: that the UN’s toll isn’t completely accurate. I say: does it really matter whether 45,000 are dead or 60,000? The point is that way too many people are dying in a terrible, ugly conflict. Ah, but Narwani has something to say about that as well:

“But questions about the accuracy of casualty numbers is only part of the story. Dig deeper, and it’s clear that this data also offers an insight into the Syrian conflict at odds with the story that this is essentially about a brutal regime killing peaceful civilians.” 

Maybe I read the news with more cynicism than Narwani does, but here is what I was thinking about Syria:

1) It is a brutal regime in power. However, the rebels are also populated by Islamists.
2) The regime has no problem killing civilians if they think it will advance their interests.
3) During this fighting a lot of civilians have been killed.

I never gave the rebels a free pass and neither did most people, at least as far as I can tell. But as usual, Narwani just has to take it one step further and apologize for the Assad regime that she loves:

“It’s time to stop headlining unreliable and easily politicised casualty counts, and use them only as one of several background measures of a conflict. It’s essential too that the media help us avoid such manipulation by asking questions about reported deaths: how were these deaths verified? Are they combatants? Who killed them? How do we know this? Who benefits from these deaths? Was this a violent death or one caused by displacement? How is it even possible to count all these dead in the midst of raging conflict?”

Believe me, I see where this is going quite clearly. Have a good time on CiF, Narwani. You’ll fit right in.

 

What Harriet Sherwood missed while in Gaza: Hamas to demolish 75 ‘illegal’ Palestinian homes

Harriet Sherwood is quite drawn to stories about Arab and Palestinian homes, built without permission, demolished by Israeli authorities, and such Guardian reports are often accompanied by evocative photos of the women and children displaced by such demolitions. 

Here are just a few of her reports about home demolitions over the last few years:

july 14 2010

July 14, 2010

Aug. 3, 2010

Aug. 3, 2010

jan 14 2011

Jan. 14, 2011

Mar 1 2011

March 1, 2011

june 12 2011

June 12, 2011

dec 5 2011

Dec 5, 2011

Strangely, however, given Sherwood’s interest in such stories, her journalistic radar didn’t hone in on the following event, even though she just filed a report, on Feb. 13, directly from Gaza City.

Arab news sources such as Ma’an and Al-Akhbar reported the following on Feb. 12.

“Members of the Abu Amrah family in Gaza City demonstrated Tuesday in front of offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council protesting a decision by the Hamas-run government to demolish 75 houses belonging to the family in the al-Rimal neighborhood.

The government says it decided to demolish the houses because they were illegally built on public lands. The demolition is scheduled to be conducted Wednesday morning.”

According to Al-Akhbar, many of the Palestinians who will lose their homes are refugees.

“Bulldozers were stationed Wednesday outside the homes of nearly 75 families in al-Rimal neighborhood. Many of whom are Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel in 1948.”

One of the residents whose home is targeted for demolition by Palestinian authorities, Hazem Abu Hmeid, told Al-Akhbar:

“This is a great injustice, an act of persecution and a forceful imposition of Hamas’s own version of laws on refugees.”

A Gaza government official claimed the homes were built illegally on public land. However, as Al-Akhbar notes:

“Al-Rimal neighborhood lies in a busy commercial area where property values are among the highest in the coastal strip, and Many residents expect the government to open the area up to lucrative investments.”

I guess it’s safe to say that some Palestinian victims of home demolitions are more deserving of sympathy than others, at least according to the Guardian correspondent covering Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.