Did Bibi or his ministers label John Kerry an “anti-Semite”?

No, neither the Israeli prime minister nor his ministers labeled John Kerry an anti-Semite.

However, here’s the photo and caption used to illustrate a Feb 2nd story at The Telegraph written by their Israeli correspondent Robert Tait:

headlineHere’s the caption:

strapline

First, note that the headline is “John Kerry labelled ‘anti Semite’ for warning of possible boycott of Israel”. Then, there are two big pictures: one of Netanyahu and the other of Kerry, which some casual readers may initially interpret as indicating that Bibi was the one who called Kerry an anti-Semite.  (Indeed, the Telegraph’s Facebook post uses this same hook to inspire interest in the story.)

Additionally, note that the photo caption claims that “Ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet accused John Kerry of effectively endorsing “anti-Semitic” efforts to impose sanctions on Israel”.  This claim is repeated in the opening passage of the story.

However, this too is misleading.

Here’s what Tait writes, after quoting Kerry’s warning about the potential risks concerning boycotts if a peace accord isn’t reached.

Yuval Steinitz, the intelligence and strategic affairs minister and a close ally of Mr Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said America’s top diplomat was “holding a gun to [Israel's] head”.

“The things Kerry said are hurtful, they are unfair and they are intolerable,” Mr Steinitz told reporters.

“Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a gun to its head when we are discussing the matters which are most critical to our national interests.”

Naftali Bennett, the industry minister and leader of the far-Right Jewish Home party, said: “We expect of our friends in the world to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, and not to be their mouthpiece.”

His comments were echoed by Adi Mintz, a senior official in the Settler’s Council, who accused Mr Kerry of “an anti-Semitic initiative”.

“The anti-Semites have always resorted to a very simple method – hit the Jews in their pockets,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 TV station.

Mr Netanyahu was more restrained, telling Sunday’s cabinet meeting that efforts to impose a boycott were “immoral and unjust” and doomed to fail.

So, based on the quotes used by Tait, only one minister, Bennett, even used the word “anti-Semitic” to characterize boycott efforts, and the only one who actually accused Kerry of antisemitism was Adi Mintz, an official in the Settler’s Council.  Mintz is not a minister.  

Contrary to the strong suggestion of the headline, photo and subsequent text, neither Bibi nor any of his ministers labeled Kerry an “anti-Semite”.  But, of course, a headline soberly noting that “an official at the Settler’s Council” labeled Kerry an anti-Semite would be a lot less likely to elicit the interest of Telegraph readers or those who casually peruse Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds looking for interesting content. 

The Telegraph story of course also fits neatly into the frequently heard criticism about those ‘pesky Israelis always crying about antisemitism’ to stifle criticism of Israel – what’s known as the Livingstone Formulation.

Finally, it’s quite interesting that Tait writes the following near the end of his article, quoting a US State Department spokesperson responding to the row:

“[Mr Kerry] expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.”

Yes, and news consumers expect newspapers to accurately portray statements by political leaders and not – like unserious British tabloids – use misleading photos and captions to falsely impute drama to relatively mundane stories.

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Harriet Sherwood characterizes Hamas as a “conservative” group

What does the Hamas movement in Gaza have in common with the Republicans in the U.S. and the Tories in the UK?  Well, according to some, they all can fairly be characterized as politically “conservative”.

Reem Raiyshi, 22, A mother of two from Gaza City makes a video statement for Hamas days before blowing herself up, killing four Israelis and wounding seven others.

Reem Raiyshi, 22, A mother of two from Gaza City makes a video statement for Hamas days before blowing herself up, killing four Israelis and wounding seven others.

A June 21 report by Harriet Sherwood about Arab Idol contestant Mohammad Assaf, titled ‘Arab Idol favourite Mohammad Assaf carries hopes of Palestinians into final‘ (one of four stories published by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent about the Arab reality show), includes the following paragraph, on the success of the 22-year-old resident of Khan Younis in Gaza:

The acclaim is not quite universal, however. Some conservative Islamic groups, including Hamas, disapprove of the western-style Arab Idol. 

And, only a month ago Sherwood similarly characterized Hamas as a “conservative Islamic group” in another report on the Arab Idol contestant.

But Assaf’s performances have met with criticism from some conservative Islamic groups, including Hamas, who disapprove of the western-style programme

Interestingly, while Hamas – a group recognized as a terrorist movement by the United States, the European Union, the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan – is evidently merely “conservative”, here’s how Sherwood has described the political party of Israeli Economics Minister, Naftali Bennett:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “insoluble” and most Israelis “couldn’t care less about it any more”, according to Naftali Bennett, the surprise star of the election campaign, whose extreme rightwing nationalist and pro-settler Jewish Home is within sight of becoming the country’s second biggest party.

Indeed, there seems to be something of a trend in imputing political extremism to Israeli Jews due merely to their city of residence, as the following sentence in Sherwood’s April 4 report about an outbreak of violence in the West Bank indicates.

After the funeral Palestinian youths threw stones at Israeli soldiers close to an extremist Jewish settlement in the heart of [Hebron].

Additionally, here’s what Sherwood wrote about Hamas in a report later in April after a 30-year-old Israeli man was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist near Nablus, where she attempts to contrast Hamas with the ‘genuinely’ extremist groups in Gaza:

Hamas, the Islamist organisation which controls Gaza, has observed the ceasefire agreement that ended November’s conflict. However, in the past two months there has been renewed intermittent rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, blamed on small extremist organisations that Hamas is trying to rein in.

Whilst in previous reports Sherwood has described Hamas a “militant Islamic group” or an “Islamist group”, her recent work suggests movement towards such shameful moral inversions, by which Jews living on the ‘wrong’ side of the green line are “extremists”, while a radical Islamist movement whose leaders have openly called for genocide against Jews are merely “conservative”.

As we’ve noted on many occasions, one of the more disturbing elements of the Guardian Left ideology is this increasing tendency to grotesquely distort ordinary language in an attempt to shape political reality.  It’s difficult to overstate the political toxicity of such activist journalism, which attempts to convince the public that a movement advancing a racist, violent ideology should arguably evoke greater moral sympathy than the Jews who represent the object of their malign fixation.

A headline about real ‘impediments to peace’ you won’t see at the Guardian

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report, ‘Palestinian hopes for two states ‘not possible, June 17, devotes 10 of 13 paragraphs to remarks by Israel’s Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett at a Jerusalem meeting of “settlers” (Yesha Council’s annual Public Diplomacy Conference) that the two-state solution was hopeless.

An additional paragraph covered recent comments by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon two weeks ago opposing a two-state deal, and another paragraph focused on Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s skepticism about the possibilities for progress in talks with Palestinians.  (The final paragraph deals with a general overview of European, Israeli and Palestinian views on the prospects that efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be successful.)

In addition to the fact that Sherwood failed to provide a complete account of Bennett’s comments (see Yisrael Medad’s post on the meeting, here), missing from her report was any mention of the fact that the second largest party in Netanyahu’s coalition, Yesh Atid, supports a two-state deal, and that the minister tasked with leading negotiations, Tzipi Livni, is a committed supporter of the creation of a Palestinian state.

However, of greater significance than her myopic focus on the views of one minister, whose views on the peace process were already widely known, is the fact that Sherwood included no context about Palestinian views to balance her report – nothing about statements by Palestinian officials at odds with not only a two state deal, but to the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.  While there are hundreds of examples available of Palestinian leaders advancing rhetoric fundamentally at odds with peace and co-existence which Sherwood could have cited, here’s one mock Guardian headline which would accurately reflect a recent well-publicized example of Palestinian incitement and intransigence.

headline

The story reflected in the fake headline above is based on a very real report by Palestinian Media Watch, and covered elsewhere in the media:

PA official, Jibril Rajoub…praised the use of violence against Israel. During an interview on a Lebanese TV channel [on May 2], the host referred to “the negotiations game” with Israel, and Rajoub expressed the view that negotiations are held because the Palestinians lack military strength: “I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.”

If you use the Guardian as your sole news source on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict you’d be forgiven for believing that the Palestinians had no responsibility whatsoever for the impasse.  Indeed, the paper almost completely fails to report important political dynamics which erode Israeli confidence, like the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of terrorists, as well as Mahmoud Abbas’s demand that Israel release over a hundred violent terrorists from Israeli jails as a precondition for talks to commence.

The Guardian’s reporting on the region fails miserably at recognizing the injuriousness of Palestinian incitement to peace building efforts, and seems completely disinterested in honestly communicating to its readers very real Israeli concerns that the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state may result in greater regional instability, not peace.

CiF Watch prompts revision to Guardian op-ed which omitted Livni from coalition

On March 18 we posted about a curious omission in a March 17 Guardian editorial about President Obama’s (then upcoming) visit to Israel, titled “Obama in Israel: waiting for Godot.

Here’s the passage we cited (emphasis added):

Rarely has a US president prepared to visit Israel amid such low expectations of what he can achieve there. By the time Barack Obama arrives, Binyamin Netanyahu’s government will have been sworn in, a coalition composed of the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu bloc: Yesh Atid, founded by former TV personality Yair Lapid; and Jewish Home, a party linked to the West Bank settler movement led by Naftali Bennett. The coalition is uniquely suited to dealing with domestic issues, such as the exemptions to military service granted to the ultra-orthodox. But it is uniquely unsuited to unravelling the occupation in the West Bank

We noted that, in the above passage and in the subsequent text of the op-ed, the Guardian failed to mention one of the four Israeli government coalition partners – Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party.  This omission occurred despite Guardian editors’ inclusion of a hyperlink (in the above passage) which directed readers to Phoebe Greenwood’s March 14 Guardian report about the coalition agreement which specifically mentioned Livni’s inclusion.

Following communication with the Guardian, the passage has been revised, and the following footnote added.

revision

We commend the Guardian on their prompt revision. 

Guardian editorial removes Tzipi Livni from new Israeli government

On Jan. 22, shortly after exit polls were being published on the evening of the Israeli election, we posted a piece titled ‘The Guardian gets it wrong: Exit polls indicate no rightward political shift in election‘, observing that the Guardian’s predictions about the elections – warning of a dangerous shift to the right – were proven entirely inaccurate.  

We cited scare passages from their analysts and contributors, in the weeks before Israelis went to the polls, which included predictions of “a more hawkish and pro-settler governmenta more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen beforeand “the most right-wing government in its history“.

Exit polls, the results of which were confirmed when all the votes were counted a few days later, in fact showed a slight move to the left in comparison to the 2009 results. 

The Guardian invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching towards a far right abyss, and they got it completely wrong.  In fact, the new Israeli government coalition, presented on March 16, is decidedly centrist and, for only the third time since 1977, actually excludes ultra-orthodox parties. 

Well, this being the Guardian, we didn’t expect a mea culpa, but today’s official Guardian editorial on Obama’s visit to Israel, ‘Obama in Israel: waiting for Godot‘, which lamented the ‘dim prospects’ for a breakthrough in peace negotiations, made a quite telling mistake.  They completely omitted one member of the new government.

Here’s the passage:

Rarely has a US president prepared to visit Israel amid such low expectations of what he can achieve there. By the time Barack Obama arrives, Binyamin Netanyahu’s government will have been sworn in, a coalition composed of the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu bloc: Yesh Atid, founded by former TV personality Yair Lapid; and Jewish Home, a party linked to the West Bank settler movement led by Naftali Bennett. The coalition is uniquely suited to dealing with domestic issues, such as the exemptions to military service granted to the ultra-orthodox. But it is uniquely unsuited to unravelling the occupation in the West Bank

Somehow, in the above passage as well as in the rest of the op-ed, they failed to mention the one coalition partner which is clearly the most dovish on the Palestinian issue – Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party.

While conducting “research” for the editorial, Guardian editors  must not have read a newspaper published since the new government was formed, nor seen their paper’s own Israel page, where they would have read a Phoebe Greenwood March 14 report noting Livni’s inclusion – which, remarkably, was embedded as a link in the op-ed passage cited above.

Livni

Greenwood noted that the former foreign minister under Ehud Olmert will be in Bibi’s inner cabinet, be a member of the security cabinet and will lead a small team of personally appointed staff into peace talks with the Palestinians.

So, is it possible that the Guardian innocently forgot the one coalition partner whose political presence in the new government just happens to contradicts their previous disproven narrative regarding a dangerous lurch right prior to the election, as well as the new editorial’s gloomy predictions about a resumption of new peace talks?

Anything’s possible, but I think we can be excused – familiar as we are with the Guardian habit of tidying up facts to comport with their ideological brand – for being just a bit skeptical.

Guardian editorial on Israeli vote ignores their own erroneous political predictions

While we’re quite accustomed to Guardian reporters and commentators completely re-writing Israeli history, an editorial on the results of the Israeli election re-writes their own history by ignoring their entire body of work on the subject prior to the Jan. 22 vote.

The official Guardian editorial, Israel: the new normal, is, to be sure, characteristically imperious and hubristic towards the “truculent” Jewish state, but also concedes – based on the likelihood that Netanyahu will be forming a centrist coalition – that “the Israeli voter rejected “the far right”.

However, the editorial also briefly touches on those political observers who didn’t for a second believe that the Israeli center would hold:

“In the end, the crown prince of Israeli politics was not the dotcom millionaire who would annex 60% of the West Bank. He was neither of the far nor the national religious right, as many had confidently predicted.”

So, who precisely were these arrogant prognosticators who got it so terribly wrong?

Here’s a graphic look back at the headlines and passages published by the media group which they may be referring to.

1

‘Comment is Free contributor, Rachel Shabi

2

Guardian’s Middle East Editor, Ian Black

9

Ian Black

4

Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood

black tweet

Ian Black is Gloomy and Inaccurate

5

Observer’s foreign affairs editor, Peter Beaumont

6

Again, Harriet Sherwood

sherwood

Harriet Sherwood cites a piece by the New Yorker’s David Remnick,  to confirm Israel’s rightward shfit

8

Guardian journalist, Jonathan Freedland

replacement

Jonathan Freedland asks why the Israeli move right – which didn’t in fact happen – was happening.

freedland

Freedland also cites wisdom of ‘New Yorker’ contributor on Israel’s “endless” move right 

new

Once again, Harriet Sherwood

mid east

Guardian’s Middle East ‘Live’ Blog post edited by John Henley 

letters

Guardian publishes two letters from readers affirming Guardian analysis of Israel’s move to the right

As Adam Garfinkle recently observed, in a thoughtful piece about coverage of the Algerian hostage crisis, much of the media often sees what they expect to see, and thus ignores all evidence that “does not fit with [their] framing of the situation”.

Whilst I’ve been following the Guardian far too long to be so foolish as to expect anything resembling a mea culpa from their editors in response to such an egregious misreading of the Israeli electorate, it would truly be a gift to their readers if they were to even briefly acknowledge the limits of their capacity to interpret Israeli political phenomena unfiltered by their preconceived, ideologically inspired, conclusions.

The Guardian gets it wrong: Exit polls indicate no rightward political shift in Israel

If exit polls (as reported by Times of Israel and other media outlets) turn out to be accurate, the Guardian mantra – parroted by nearly every commentator and reporter who’s been providing ‘analysis’ on the Israeli elections – warning of a hard and dangerous shift to the right will prove to have been entirely inaccurate.

In the final days before the vote, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood seemed certain that the elections would bring “a more hawkish and pro-settler government“, and Guardian Middle East Editor Ian Black warned that “Netanyahu [was] poised to…head a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before“.

Rachel Shabi predicted that Israel would elect “the most right-wing government in its history“, while Jonathan Freedland expressed gloom that diaspora Jews would have to watch “the centre of gravity…shift so far rightward [in Israel] that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”

However, based on preliminary reports, not only does it appear that there has been absolutely no rightward shift, but the makeup of the next Knesset may be slightly more left than the current one.

While in 2009 the right-wing bloc bested the center-left bloc by 65-55, the tallies released tonight after polls closed in Israel at 10 PM showed that the new Knesset will have a narrower (61-59) right-bloc advantage.    

318415

Screenshot from Israel’s Channel 2, showing 61-59 right-left split based on exit polling

According various exit polls, the top three parties will be Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu with 31 Knesset seats, the centrist Yesh Atid with 19, and the leftist Labor Party with between 16-18. The rightist party, Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, came in fourth and will have 13 or 14, while Shas, the ultra-orthodox party, came in fifth with 12.

Some Israeli commentators are already predicting that Binyamin Netanyahu will attempt to form a centrist or even a right-center-left coalition.

Though the final results aren’t expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday, a few things are certain:

The Guardian invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching dangerously towards the right.  

They got it completely wrong.

They will learn absolutely nothing from their egregious miscalculation.

   

Racist double standards watch: Guardian ignores Palestinians’ extreme right drift

Reports and commentaries in the Guardian (as well as in the mainstream media) analyzing Israel’s upcoming election which warn of a far-right shift within the Israeli electorate have been ubiquitous.  Much of the reporting has focused on the possibility that Binyamin Netanyahu’s party may form a more right-wing coalition government following the election, one which will be injurious – if not fatal – to the “peace process”.

Here are excerpts from such prognostications on the Guardian’s Israel page since early January.  

The left in Israel is its own worst enemy, Rachel Shabi, ‘Comment is Free’, Jan. 21

“Israel is expected to elect the most right-wing government in its history on Tuesday…”

Binyamin Netanyahu rejects calls for Palestinian State within 1967 lines, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 20:

“…a strengthening of the hard right in the next parliament [is expected]“

Obama’s dysfunctional relationship with Netanyahu likely to trundle on, Chris McGreal, Guardian, Jan 20:

…disillusioned former peace negotiators and Middle East policy officials expect his “dysfunctional” and confrontational relationship with Binyamin Netanyahu to stagger along even if the Israeli prime minister returns to power after Tuesday’s election with a government even further to the right of the present one.”

Arab gloom as Israel shifts rightward, Ian Black, Guardian, Jan. 19:

“To measure just how far Israeli politics have shifted to the right it is worth recalling that 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the Oslo accords in which Israel and the PLO recognized each other…

But with Netanyahu poised to return to power at the head of a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before…”

Binyamin Netanyahu on course to win Israeli elections, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 18:

Binyamin Netanyahu is on course to head a more hawkish and pro-settler government following Tuesday’s elections,

Support has drained to the ultra-nationalist, pro-settler Jewish Home, led by Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Naftali Bennett, in an indication of the hardening of opinion on the right of the Israeli political spectrum.”

Peace process dead if Netanyahu wins Israeli election, academics war, Paul Owen, Guardian, Jan. 15:

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is dead if Binyamin Netanyahu wins next week’s Israeli election, leading academics have warned.” [quote from strap line]

Jewish Americans may be increasingly disenchanted with Netanyahu. But their priorities lie elsewhere, Peter Beinart, Guardian, Jan. 12:

“In Israel, public discourse is moving right. You can see it in the rise ofIsrael Hayom, the free, pro-Likud newspaper that has eclipsed Israel’s more traditional, centrist press. You can see it in the rise of Naftali Bennett, the settler leader whose party could come in third in the elections due later this month. You can see it the election campaign as a whole, in which the two-state solution is a virtual afterthought.”

Israel election: country prepares for next act in the great moving right show, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 12:

“Secular liberalism once dominated politics in Israel, but polls next week are set to confirm a long-term shift to the right

Naftali Bennett interview: ‘There won’t be a Palestinian state within Israel, Harriet Sherwood, Guardian, Jan. 7:

“Jewish Home is all but certain to be part of the next coalition government, tilting it significantly further to the right.”

Binyamin Netanyahu: strong man with a fearful heart. Peter Beaumont, Observer, Jan. 5:

“The question of the nature of Netanyahu’s conservatism has been complicated by Israel’s right-shifting political scene.”

Israel’s shift to the right will alienate those it needs most, Jonathan Freedland, ‘Comment is Free’, Jan. 4:

“For now the focus is on the Israeli elections of 22 January. The polls suggest that a government ranked as one of the most right-wing in Israel’s history is set to be replaced by one even further to the right

Even if Bennett is kept out of coalition, Netanyahu will still head a more rightist government.

The centre of gravity is about to shift so far rightward that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”

Meanwhile, if you were curious about the political center of gravity in Palestinian society, you wouldn’t find much information on the Guardian’s ‘Palestinian territories’ page.

In fact, the ‘Israel’ page and the ‘Palestinian territories’ page look exactly the same:

Guardian Israel page, Jan. 21:

israel

Now, here’s the Guardian’s Palestinian territory page, Jan. 21:

pal

However, for those interested, news regarding a possible extreme right Palestinian political coalition – which was reported in the Algemeiner, as well as in the Arab media - may provide some vital insight into Palestinian political culture.

The Algemeiner reported the following on Jan. 20:

“A member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Dr. Ahmed Majdalani, told Al-Quds newspaper that he expects Hamas and Islamic Jihad to join with the PLO after National Council elections later this month, though the government will still headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.”

Hamas, in case it needs reminding, is an Islamist terrorist group which refuses to recognize a Jewish state within any borders, cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their founding charter, and whose leaders calls for the mass murder of Jews. Hamas advocates the destruction of Israel through violent means, indoctrinates their children to become suicide bombers, and displays extreme intolerance towards women, gays, non-Muslims and their Palestinian political opponents.

Islamic Jihad (PIJ) , funded by Iran, is another radical Islamist terrorist group, which was formed in 1979 by fundamentalists in Egypt who split from the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood because they were deemed too moderate. PIJ advocates the destruction of Israel through violent means, indoctrinates their children to become suicide bombers, and displays extreme intolerance towards women, gays, non-Muslims and their Palestinian political opponents.

Even if PIJ doesn’t join with the PLO, Hamas and Fatah are currently working out plans to implement, by the end of this month, previous reconciliation agreements signed between the two parties.

So, any way you look at it, right-wing extremism within Palestinian politics is evidently so endemic that “terror groups who urge the ethnic cleansing of Jews” are considered mainstream – a dangerous phenomena which would certainly explain why, at least on national security issues, citizens of the Jewish state seem to have reached a more right leaning political consensus.

Of course, a truly “liberal” media institution would report on Palestine’s dangerous extreme right-wing drift, condemn a possible political coalition which includes groups espousing homicidal antisemitism – and which would necessarily end any hopes of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement – and contextualize Israeli political sentiments accordingly.  

In other words, you won’t read much about Israel’s legitimate fears regarding the ominous strengthening of the Palestinian extremist right on the pages of the Guardian. 

Guardian flash of fairness: Sherwood gets it right, again.

This post actually represents our second observation of a ‘flash of fairness’ by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood.

Sherwood in Itamar, March 2011

Sherwood in Itamar, March 2011

On Dec. 7, in Sherwood gets it right, we praised Sherwood for a piece she wrote on Dec. 3 titled ‘Israeli settlement move risks further isolation say Netanyahu opponents‘, for giving voice to mainstream Israeli views, rather than merely those on the far-left.

While Sherwood is not going to be nominated for a ‘Guardian of Zion’ award anytime soon, her latest piece, ‘Binyamin Netanyahu fights surge from right-wing opponent before poll‘, Jan. 7, again displays a fair amount of balance – at least in comparison to what she typically has written, and definitely compared to other Guardian reporters.

While Sherwood’s piece is broadly consistent with the Guardian narrative in its characterization of Naftali Bennett (leader of the Jewish Home Party) as an extremist in a manner she never would with Palestinian political leaders who espouse much more extreme views, she also quoted the Jerusalem Post chief political correspondent, Gil Hoffman, to provide an alternative view.

Sherwood wrote the following:

“Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent of the Post, said: “Bennett is seen as a cool guy and salt of the earth. You couldn’t come up with two things more respected in Israel than hi-tech success and serving in Sayeret Matkal [the elite special forces army unit] – and Bennett has both”.”

Then, to add context to Bennett’s political success, Sherwood quoted Yedida Stern of the respected think-tank, the Israeli Democracy Institute.

“According to Yedidia Stern of the Israel Democracy Institute, “a long-term change in Israeli society” underlies Bennett’s immediate popularity. “More and more Israelis are strengthening their Jewish identity, not necessarily becoming more religious but becoming more connected to Jewish identity. We’ve seen it in academia and the media; now we’re witnessing the political expression.” The conviction among many Israelis that the Palestinians were unwilling to negotiate an acceptable peace settlement bolstered a belief that “we have to be strong. And to be strong in Israel means to be rightwing,” said Stern.”

As a friend observed upon reading Sherwood’s report: “It’s an analysis that an Israeli could have written as far as tone is concerned.”

While we will, of course, continue to hold Sherwood and her colleagues accountable, fairness demands that we give Guardian reporters credit when they make a credible attempt, despite their particular views on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, to provide their readers with a degree of balance and context.