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.

Harriet Sherwood visits town of Nabi Selah – forgets to mention the little monster it spawned

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood has returned after a short absence and filed a report on June 12, from the West Bank town of Nabi Selah, about efforts by British foreign office minister Alistair Burt “to revive moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians”. Sherwood, in a story titled ‘Middle East peace talks must succeed to avoid despair says UK minister‘, describes Burt’s visit to the Palestinian town, where he urged Palestinians involved in “grassroots protests” against the “occupation of their land” to give their leaders a “completely free hand” to re-engage with negotiations.

In recounting the supposed difficulties of Burt’s efforts to restart talks, Sherwood includes only those obstacles allegedly created by Israeli leaders to a degree that the reader would be forgiven for believing that a culture of incitement, as well as preconditions set by Palestinian leaders to resume talks, had any role whatsoever in obstructing the political process. However, it’s when Sherwood pivots to detailing the UK minister’s visit to Nabi Selah, a town along the hills of southern Samaria, when the most pronounced obfuscation about Palestinian intentions occurs.

Sherwood writes the following:

Burt’s visit to Nabi Saleh – his third in two years – was part of a personal commitment to track the village’s protests against the encroachments of a nearby Jewish settlement and the forceful response by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to weekly demonstrations. Two villagers have been killed by IDF fire, in December 2011 and November 2012.

“This is a very important stop for me,” he told village representatives. “The reason I keep coming is to maintain a relationship with the families [of the dead men], to make clear they are not forgotten and that those of us who care about the issues of Nabi Saleh will continue to support you in the hope the suffering is not in vain.

“What’s happened here has been wrong; wrong for the settlers to take your land, and wrong in the way the IDF handled demonstrations.”

Naji Tamimi, the leader of the local protest group, said: “We consider you a brother … As a politician, it’s important to know what the people think, not just the [political] leaders.” He appealed for the British government to “support the popular resistance”, adding that the IDF response to protests had become harsher.

Another village protest leader, Bassem Tamimi, said: “The visit is important, but it’s not a big issue. We need real pressure on Israel to stop settlements. The UK is a big state, and we expect more action.”

You may recall that the town of Nabi Selah (and Sherwood’s protagonist, Bassem Tamimi) was featured in a New York Times magazine cover story by Ben Ehrenreich, which romanticized the culture of terrorism in Bassem’s ‘little village’, and whitewashed the crime of its most famous resident, a woman named Ahlam Tamimi – whom, per Ehrenreich, is still much-loved in the town.   

As Arnold and Frimet Roth explained in-depth recently, in response to Ehrenreich’s story, Tamimi (released in 2011 during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange) is the Palestinian who escorted a suicide bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001 – a massacre which left fifteen people dead, including the Roth’s’ daughter Malki who was only fifteen years old at the time:

[Ahlam Tamimi] was 21 years old and the news-reader on official Palestinian Authority television when she signed on with Hamas to become a terrorist. She engineered, planned and helped execute a massacre in the center of Jerusalem on a hot summer afternoon in 2001. She chose the target, a restaurant filled with Jewish children. And she brought the bomb. The outcome (15 killed, a sixteenth still in a vegetative state today, 130 injured) was so uplifting to her that she has gone on camera again and again to say, smiling into the camera lens, how proud she is of what she did. She is entirely free of regret. A convicted felon and a mass-murderer convicted on multiple homicide charges, she has never denied the role she embraced and justifies it fully.

sbarro-bombing

Aftermath of Jerusalem Sbarro bombing in 2001

Sherwood completely fails to mention Ahlam Tamimi in her report.

Further, we humbly suggest that if Mr. Burt truly wants to understand Nabi Selah and, relatedly, the reluctance of many Israelis to take seriously the casual and ubiquitous assurances of Palestinians’ peaceful intentions, that he consider paying a visit to grieving mothers and fathers who continue to suffer as the result of the monsters spawned by such tiny Arab villages in the hills.

Harriet Sherwood revisits 2006 Gaza Beach Incident

Harriet Sherwood’s May 23 story in the Guardian – inspired by coverage of a recent Israeli government report which concluded that the IDF did not kill Muhammad Al Durah in September 2000 – is entitled ‘Disputed deaths in Palestinian territories‘.  Sherwood’s report includes brief summaries of three additional controversial cases – Rachel Corrie death in 2003, the Gaza Beach Incident in 2006 and the 2011 death of Jawaher Abu Rahma in Bil’in.

Regarding the incident in Gaza on June 6, 2006 – in which, in the midst of ongoing rocket attacks against Israel and IDF military responses, eight Palestinian civilians were reported killed in highly disputed circumstances by an explosion on a Gaza beach - Sherwood writes the following:

In June 2006 seven members of the Ghaliya family, including five children, died in an explosion while picnicking on a Gaza beach. Footage of 10-year-old Huda Ghaliya sobbing hysterically beside the body of her father was broadcast repeatedly on Arab television networks. Witnesses said the family had been struck by an artillery shell fired from out at sea by the Israeli military. The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, initially apologised for the incident, but an investigation by the IDF exonerated its forces. It admitted it had fired six shells towards land that afternoon, but said a separate explosion – caused by a mine planted by Hamas or an old shell – had killed the Ghaliyas. An American pro-Israel group, Camera, suggested the footage of the aftermath had been faked.

We’re of course thankful for the shout-out – CiF Watch is a CAMERA affiliate – and were also interested to learn, after a quick glance at the Guardian’s site for additional CAMERA references, that their former Jerusalem correspondent, Chris McGreal, was much less restrained than Sherwood in his characterization of the media watchdog group.  

A June 17, 2006 report McGreal authored on the incident in Gaza, titled ‘The battle of Huda Ghalia: who really killed girl’s family on Gaza beach?‘, included the following.

The military declared its version of events definitive. Others went further and saw a Palestinian conspiracy. An American pro-Israel pressure group, Camera, which seeks to influence media coverage, went so far as to suggest that the film of Huda Ghalia’s trauma was faked: “Were the bodies moved, was the girl asked to re-enact her discovery for the camera, was the video staged?”

McGreal was certainly right about one thing. CAMERA and its affiliates certainly are extremely successful at influencing the media to correct false claims about Israel and to revise reports on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict that are misleading.

So, in this spirit, we strongly suggest that those interested in learning more about the 2006 incident read the following characteristically well-researched CAMERA reports which Sherwood alludes to in her story.

Additionally, the following 2006 video by Richard Landes effectively fisks media coverage of the event.

Harriet Sherwood gets it right about settlers and violence

We’ve recently been noticing a slight improvement in the quality of reporting by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood – a slight but noticeable movement towards greater balance in her characterization of Israel and Israelis.

  • On Dec 7, we noted that, in a report on Israeli “settlements”, she accurately characterized Israeli disillusionment with the the land for peace logic underlying Oslo, and the general national concern over the rise of radical Islamist parties in the region, and concluded her report by quoting a truly moderate and representative Israeli commentator.
  • On Jan. 7 we observed how Sherwood again devoted considerable space, in a pre-election report which focused on Naftali Bennett, to two moderate Israeli voices who contextualized the support for Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi Party in a clear, fair and balanced manner.
  • And, on April 29, we commended both Sherwood and Phoebe Greenwood for reporting on incitement and indoctrination in Palestinian society.

The latest example of Sherwood’s tentative steps towards objective journalism can be found in a report on May 16, titled ‘Israel to approve four unauthorized West Banks settler posts‘, which focused on Israeli government approval for the construction of 300 homes in the community of Beit El – across the green line, 7.5 km north of Ramallah – in the context of a reported uptick in “settler” violence against Palestinians and their property, which she detailed thusly:

Meanwhile, attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property have risen since the murder of Eviator Borovzky, 30, in the West Bank just over a fortnight ago.

This week, Muslim graves in the village of Sawiya have been vandalised, wheat fields near the village of Beit Furik have been torched, and 1,200 olive saplings near Akraba have been uprooted, according to Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settler attacks.

The latest development was the targeting of Palestinian schools, he said. An attempt to set fire to a school in Ein Yabous village was thwarted this week by security guards, and settlers had thrown stones at school buses. “People are really upset and frightened,” he said.

Graffiti was sprayed on the walls of a mosque and several cars were torched in Umm al-Qutuf, an Arab village in Israel near the Green Line, Israel Radio reported. The public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovich, viewed the attacks with gravity and said police were hunting for those responsible.

  However, then there was this sentence several passages down:

About half a million settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, of whom a tiny minority engage in violent attacks on Palestinians.

We have criticized Sherwood quite often for passages which depict “settlers” – Jews who live on the other side of the 1949 armistice lines - in Hebron and elsewhere in a manner which bears little resemblance to the complex reality of their lives.  So, we are heartened that, with this one simple sentence, she seems to have acknowledged a degree of nuance which challenges the myopic, jaundiced and often bigoted  narrative about Israel and Israelis which so often passes for genuine journalism at the ideological place known as the Guardian Left.

Harriet Sherwood refers to jailed Palestinians who Abbas wants released as “political prisoners”

Harriet Sherwood’s April 9 report, about recent efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, included several passages about concessions demanded of Israel by Mahmoud Abbas before he will agree to resume negotiations.

Ahead of a three-hour session with Kerry on Tuesday morning, Netanyahu stated that he was “determined not only to resume the peace process with the Palestinians, but to make a serious effort to end this conflict once and for all”.

But he has refused to meet the Palestinians’ key precondition of freezing settlement expansion, although it is thought that Israel may avoid announcing any new construction projects in the coming weeks.

The Palestinians also want the release of 123 political prisoners who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders. [emphasis added]

However, according to reports, most of the 123 Palestinians she’s alluding to (whose release Abbas has been demanding since last year), were convicted for their involvement in deadly terror attacksSherwood’s characterization of the 123 Palestinians as “political prisoners” – suggesting that they were imprisoned merely for their beliefs – is not true. 

For instance, one of the pre-Oslo prisoners evidently on the list presented by Abbas – and dutifully characterized as a “political prisoner” by the NGOs Adalah and Addameer - is Walid Dakka (alternately spelled as “Daka” or “Dakah”).  Dakka is an Israeli Arab (“Palestinian citizen of Israel”) who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1986 (later reduced to 35-40 years) for his involvement in a PFLP cell which kidnapped and murdered an Israeli soldier named Moshe Tamam two years earlier.

On the road between Neurim and Netanya near Havazelet Hasharon, Moshe Tamam’s family built a monument in his honor:

tamam1

image

The inscription reads:

“A memorial for our son the soldier, the beloved and dear Tamam Moshe. We will remember him forever. Born on June 13, 1965 in Havazelet , Hasharon. He was kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by terrorists. He was only 19 years old. 

‘A gazelle lies slain on your heights,  O Israel. How the mighty have fallen!’”  [2nd Samuel, chapter 1, verse 19]

If you’re wondering why Sherwood decided to use such language about Palestinian prisoners, the following passage – from a recent NYT story about Maysara Abu Hamdiya, the convicted terrorist who died of cancer on April 2 - may shed some light:

Prisoners in Israeli custody hold an honored place in Palestinian society, with many Palestinians regarding even compatriots convicted of deadly terrorist acts as political prisoners and fighters for the Palestinian cause

Sherwood was, intentionally or otherwise, legitimizing the Palestinian narrative which glorifies terrorists and consistently characterizes even those prisoners convicted of the most gruesome crimes as ‘victims’ of Israeli oppression. 

Palestinian textbooks erase Israel. Harriet Sherwood erases moral distinctions.

A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi

National_Education

1st Grade PA Textbook: “Map of Palestine”

In a recent report for the Guardian (Israeli and Palestinian textbooks omit borders, Feb. 4), Harriet Sherwood exposed Israel’s education system for the world, or at least her loyal readership, to see, noting that: “In Israeli textbooks, 76% of maps show no boundaries between Palestinian territories and Israel.

Once again succumbing to the bigotry of low expectations, Sherwood doesn’t take umbrage with repeated Palestinian incitement against Israel in public declarations, media and textbooks.

Instead, Sherwood serves the cause of absurd moral equivalency by implying that while Palestinian textbooks portray a world without Israel, refer to Jews as “Zionist gangs” and rewrite the Holocaust to ignore atrocities committed against Jews, Israel’s no better since it doesn’t recognize the non-existent borders of a country which doesn’t exist.  

Sherwood’s piece suggests that Israel is teaching hatred by virtue of the fact that its educational system doesn’t propagate the Palestinian national narrative, one which depicts the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 as an original sin that dispossessed the land’s native people. Over the years this Nakba narrative has metastasized into an international coalition of Islamists and leftists which celebrates the Palestinians as the quintessential “Other”, the last victims of Western racism and colonialism.

Sadly for Ms Sherwood and her fellow travelers, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”  So, beyond the guerrilla chic appeal of movements for social justice that are only heard if they are loudly anti-Western, and superficially pro-democratic – yet remarkably mute when it comes to the vast majority of crimes against humanity inflicted by the once colonized against their own people – here are some pesky facts to consider:

  •  Palestinian textbooks describe the land (from the river to the sea) as being comprised of Muslims and Christians. No mention is made of Jews or the centuries-old Jewish communities of Palestine. The city of Jerusalem is described as exclusively Arab. Israel is not recognized as a sovereign nation and all maps are labeled “Palestine.”
  • Former United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, a major proponent of the two-state solution, has said that the Palestinian school books do “…not give Palestinian children an education, they give them an indoctrination.”
  • Regarding the idea of a peaceful, demilitarized Palestinian state existing side-by-side next to Israel, Palestinian school books make no attempt to educate for peace or coexistence with Israel. Instead Israel’s right to exist is adamantly denied and the Palestinian war against Israel is presented as an eternal religious battle for Islam.

While Sherwood finds it noteworthy that school books of societies in conflict tend to contradict one another, she finds the following facts too inconsequential to even bear repeating:

  • Israel’s Ministry of Education has implemented many programs where Israeli and Arab students work together on joint projects in an effort to learn more about each other, their heritage and culture.
  • The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP) issued a report covering the 2012 set of Israeli textbooks. The report showed that many textbooks focus on education towards reconciliation, tolerance and peace.  Peace is presented not only as a Utopian aspiration, but also as a reachable political goal.  The new textbooks give information about the peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries and the Palestinians, in particular on the question of the borders between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.   The Palestinians’ struggle is presented as that of a national movement whilst not identifying with their aims. The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians continues to be presented as a clash between two national movements, thus legitimizing the existence of the Palestinian national movement. None of the new textbooks contains indoctrination against the Palestinians as a people.  

At its core the Palestinian liberation movement stands neither for the Palestinians nor liberation. It is very much defined by what it’s against: the sovereignty of the Jewish State over ALL lands seized, conquered or liberated (insert your preferred verb here…) from 1948 onward. Sherwood and her political fellow travelers realizes that since Palestinian independence needs to be created Ex nihilo – out of nothing – the only surefire way to do so is by undermining Israel’s legitimacy by a thousand cuts.

Today, it’s Israel’s education system. Rest assured that once school is out for the summer, Sherwood and like-minded fighters for freedom will dig up another half-baked canard, dust it off and fashion it into the latest whip to be inflicted upon Israel and its citizens.

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’.

Will Harriet Sherwood and other journalists be used as human shields by Hamas?

Here’s a remarkable recent Tweet by Harriet Sherwood, who’s reporting from inside Gaza, on the possibility Hamas is going to use foreign journalists like her as human shields.

Sadly, Hamas’s history would suggest that Sherwood’s concerns are indeed valid.

In this video, uploaded by Hamas 2 days ago, you can see rockets being fired from dense urban areas in Gaza.

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.