Guardian

Sherlock’s Ship of Fools


Ruth Sherlock’s latest piece in the Guardian, August 6, is entitled Gaza Aid Flotilla set to sail from Lebanon with all-women crew.

The piece was introduced with this image:

The photo included this caption:

“Israel’s deadly assault on a Gaza aid flotilla in June led to anger in the Muslim world and beyond.”

So, right off the bat, we’re told everything the Guardian wants us to know about the flotilla incident on May 31: that Israel launched a deadly, unprovoked, and vicious assault on innocent “activists” which angered the Muslim world – a community which (one would presume from the passage) was, up until that event, friendly towards Israel and downright philosemitic.

Nothing in Sherlock’s essay included even the most rudimentary information or context regarding the events on that fateful day: certainly nothing on the proven terrorist affiliations of the “activists” on-board; nothing pertaining to the ugly invectives hurled at the Jewish soldiers, such as one suggesting that they shouldgo back to Auschwitz“; certainly not the video showing that the IDF crew was savagely attacked with metal bars (and other deadly weapons) immediately upon boarding the ship, before finally defending themselves; and nothing informing the readers that Israel, after all, was merely requesting the ship dock in Ashdod, so the supplies could be inspected for weapons before being sent to Gaza.

The caption, casually informing us that the “Muslim world” was angered by the incident on-board the flotilla, repeats one of those facile and horribly misleading narratives that the Guardian is so adept at disseminating.

Their failure to report on, or even nominally mention, for instance, the plethora of widely reported, and easily attainable, evidence demonstrating the raw Jew-hatred, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, routinely peddled in the Muslim world – a hostility towards Jews (and not merely Israelis) that is normative behavior in many parts of the Arab world – represents, at best, an egregious example of journalistic bias.

Historian Robert S. Wistrich has argued persuasively that:

The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst. Yet the Western world largely turns a blind eye to the likely genocidal consequences of such a culture of hatred…

Further in Sherlock’s essay, we are informed:

The participants [of the new flotilla] are aware of the dangers, having followed the fate of another flotilla carrying aid for Gaza that was attacked by Israel in May. Israeli forces landed on the Mavi Marmara…killing nine activists on board. Al-Haj [co-ordinator of the flotilla] reminded the women to be prepared for a confrontation.

Sherlock then makes a clear contrast between Israel’s propensity towards aggression and the “peaceful” “international”, “multi-faith” composition of the new flotilla’s all-female crew:

The Saint Mariam, or Virgin Mary, has a multi-faith international passenger list, including the Lebanese singer May Hariri and a group of nuns from the US. “They are nuns, doctors, lawyers, journalists, Christians and Muslims.”

Yes, anti-Zionism is so apolitical, bipartisan, and ecumenical!

Of course, more and more reports have come out demonstrating that there is nothing approaching a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  In fact, even Mahmoud Daher, a World Health Organization official in Gaza, acknowledged recently that:

“There is food in Gaza. It’s not a humanitarian crisis. There is no hunger, there is no starvation.”

When reading such Guardian essays, I occasionally ponder how writers such as Sherlock would react if such relevant evidence (mentioned above) was presented to her.

If I were to show her videos of some of the thousands of vile anti-Semitic commentaries which are widely disseminated in the Arab/Muslim world (and often broadcast on state-run television!), would it change at all the narrative of her future reports about Israel?

Would such information make her essays more balanced, with a greater understanding and empathy for Israeli/Jewish fears of the radical movements on its borders?

Would empirically based research demonstrating that there is not a “humanitarian crisis”  in Gaza influence her to report on future aid ships with a bit more skepticism?

Or, do writers at the Guardian already know such things?

If so, one has to wonder: Is it possible that their bias and hostility against Israel is so deep and reflexive that, even if presented with new information challenging their pre-conceived notions, they simply wouldn’t care?

There are actually quite a few terms that effectively describe such a dynamic – of assuming the absolute worst intentions of a group, regardless of the evidence: The most simple, and apt, word is  BIGOTRY.

Categories: Guardian

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33 replies »

  1. The old adage ‘ a picture is worth a thousand words’ is self-explanatory in this case.

  2. Adam, that sort of information would cause such cognitive dissonance that The Groan and Sherlock could not cope.

    They can’t deal with the discomfort of having been proven wrong, therefore they resort to altering their perceptions of what is going on to put them in the right or, where that fails, try to disseminate lies with specious authority which, if they are repeated often enough will be accepted as truths.

    Islamists are probably counting upon a repeat performance of what happened on the Marmara, but this time to armed and hate-filled women, so that they can then use Western values, that women should not be attacked, against Israel.

    And of course women should not be attacked – unless they attack first, and in such a case let’s hope that Israel will not be fooled by the crocodile tears these animals will shed, and will be able to be as hard-hearted as the animals who “encouraged” these women to undertake their mission.

  3. We’ve been threatened with this ship or this flotilla from Lebanon under various names, since June. There have been so many reports about who bought the ship, how big it is, who is to travel in her, whether or not she has a licence to sail and which ports are/aren’t her destination,that it has become an industry. All these reports have been an excuse to peddle the lies about what happened on the Mavi Marmara and whose fault it was.

    My bet is that there just might be a ship or even a boat, but that it will not sail.

  4. The irony and hypocrisy of a Lebanese ship to aid Palestinians when the real Palestinian ‘prison camps’ are in Lebanon, not Gaza, as Cameron has proclaimed, is also lost on the inaptly named Sherlock, who is certainly no Holmes.

    Gazans should be sending aid ships to Lebanon to protest the awful conditions of their compatriots, not the other way round.

  5. This bit made me laugh because it is such obvious scaremongering propaganda:

    ” “Have blood tests in case we come under attack from Israel and you need a blood transfusion,” she said”

    Blood is NEVER given on the basis of the patient’s recall of what his/her blood group may be.

  6. The IDF crew was “savagely” beaten? Arguably: yes. But when other IDF members beat up Palestinians, do you likewise call that “savage”?

  7. PretzelBrain strikes again.

    IDF members have been more than savagely beaten. In the flotilla case, murder was attempted; one was stabbed so brutally that the blade emerged from the other side of his body. In Ramallah, ostensibly at peace since Oslo, a reservist’s heart was torn from his body and displayed to the world.

    There is no equivalent savagery by the IDF except in the fevered imaginations of the virulent anti-Semites for which PretzelBrain is an established apologist. he IDF makes mistaes, but does not abuse civilians as policy — rather, has extensive rules to proect civilians, with most violations investigated and punished. But anti-Semites still continue to spout fabrications and unsubstantiated hearsay.

  8. “The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.”

    … aided and abeted by the Guardian, Britain’s very own Stürmer.

  9. Srgio – thanks for the link to the Friedman article.

    He clearly wandered into the loony-left, JStreet mythology about a year ago, but seems to have recovered his bearings with this column. As usual, however, he is always about a year behind the curve, whether writing about this issue or global economics.

    So he’s finally recognized that there really are efforts being made to delegitimize Israel.

    Better late than never.

  10. AKUS

    He clearly wandered into the loony-left, JStreet mythology about a year ago, but seems to have recovered his bearings with this column.

    How about: Friedman is a sober journalist who criticises Israel while not losing sight of the bigger picture?

    @ Toko LeMoko

    I’m an apologist for anti-Semites? You are a complete tit.

    Your perspectve is: Arabs always evil, Israel always good.

  11. “Angered the Muslim world”,you hear that a lot, it doesn’t take much to anger them,anything and everything angers the “Muslim world”They anger each other to the extent that they even kill each other.And everyone else in sight.

    They still have those Arabian Desert customs and mentality that they lived by.

    Global warming,or the Muslims warming up the word.You would have to wonder which is worse.

  12. There are PLENTY of female soldiers in the IDF. Israel is a society where everyone has rights and responsibilities. Our women are soldiers. Board that ship with nice Jewish girls. Tough ones. Girls that punch, not slap.

  13. That woman that is in the picture holding up that sign “Boycott Israel”,I doubt if she could even read what is written on that sign,or does she know anything at all about Israel,or would she be able to point out Israel on a map.

    Another idiot,like the one that had a sign saying “kill all the Juice”

    How do you deal with an ignorant people that want to kill juice.

  14. Israel sent the Marmara back to Turkey,and the Turks intend to send the Marmara back to Gaza.

    We never learn,that ship should have been used by the Israeli Navy as a floating hotel for the Israeli Navy seamen,or for target practice as a last resort.

  15. Pretzel

    You are a complete tit.

    If you descend into invective, I will ask CiFWatch to delete those posts in which you do so.

    I’m an apologist for anti-Semites?

    On CiFWatch, you asserted not necessariy anti-Semitic a CiF assertion that Jews control the media. That makes you an apologist for, and enabler of, virulent anti-Semitism.

    Your perspective is: Arabs always evil, Israel always good.

    Your perspective is that of a apologist for anti-Semites who tries to put words into the mouths of pro-Israelis.

  16. With good-will on all sides, and international co-operation, the problem in the Middle East would not be insoluble. But these are factors almost completely absent from the present situation, and the Guardian is busy stirring up the worst instincts of human nature against the Jew. There is little doubt that within a few years the fate of Israel will resemble that of the Jews in eastern Europe.

    [after Borkenau]

  17. Derek Pasquill.

    I hate to be the fly in the ointment of your optimism, but the problem is ideological.
    It’s called Islam.
    Even if Israel were to disappear, there would never be peace in the ME.
    Islam is a supremacist creed, so the peace you talk about is a euphemism for surrender.

  18. Pretz.
    “when IDF soldiers beat up Palestinians”….
    If they do!

    The thing that you seem unable to grasp is that in every army in the world there are abuses, by virtue of human nature, and that applies to Israel, as much as anywhere else.

    In the Muslim world, such abuses are government policy, as were the near-lynchings by the Turkish thugs of Israelis going about their lawful business on board the Mavi Marmara. Those thugs had the blessings of the Turkish government, which then demanded an apology form Israel for the killing, in self defence, of terrorists from a known organisation.

    Get the difference?

  19. Pretz.
    “Too much hate on this website”.
    There is a place and a purpose for hatred.
    Namely, hatred of the evil, the wicked and those who want to live but not let live.

    You haven’t grown up yet— you’re still stuck in your undergraduate days of misty-eyed revolution.

  20. Sarah Jane.

    The thing that you seem unable to grasp is that in every army in the world there are abuses, by virtue of human nature

    Really? You seemed to have grasped that out of thin air.

    You haven’t grown up yet— you’re still stuck in your undergraduate days of misty-eyed revolution.

    Again you seem to be confusing me with somnebody else! Better luck next time.

  21. “pretzelberg – you have a way of latching onto the trees and missing the forest.”

    Right on the button, AKUS!

  22. I disagree, Derek.

    It hasn’t yet, and nor will it. You seem to be missing the point that Islamists just as keen on shafting each other as they are on obliterating Israel. The time to worry would be if they began to trust each other enough to be able to work in concert.

    Israel will last but they won’t

  23. Derek Pasquill

    There is little doubt that within a few years the fate of Israel will resemble that of the Jews in eastern Europe.

    The Jews of Eastern Europe were the original settlers who laid the foundation for Israel to be a vibrant democracy and a country well able to defend itself from dysfunctional states around it.

    Israel will be here long after the present ‘Hate Israel’ Guardian Editorial Management coven is history.

  24. We went to a lovely winery in Napa, Cade Vineyards. Green architecture, integrated pest management, local labor paid decent wages. So inside the caves among the oak barrels of aging wine is a long, tasting table. It would seat 40 oenophiles. Polished steel. What it is made of left a great impression on us. It was the hull of an atomic submarine that had been decommissioned. It had been “repurposed” as a long table around which people could share a wonderful experience. So the difference is, the Arabs would repurpose this steel as war material because of the “occupation.” Friends, the “occupation” has become their occupation. No hate. The facts argue the truth well enough. Those of you who wave the Arab flag MUST hustle on over to the middle east and lend a hand. Go work in Egypt, volunteer in Syria or visit holy sites in Libya. But to whine on a blog? Not enough of a commitment given how strong your sentiments seem to be.

  25. The Borkenau quote:

    “With good-will on all sides, and international co-operation, the problem of eastern Jewry would not be insoluble. But these are factors almost completely absent from the present situation, and the Nazis are busy stirring up the worst instincts of human nature against the Jew. There is little doubt that within a few years the fate of the Jews in eastern Europe will resemble that of the Armenians in Turkey.”

    Franz Borkenau, The New German Empire, 1939

    It is, of course, too early to say what will happen in the Middle East or the wider world – but one thing is clear – the Guardian and its associated circles are on the wrong side of the line in this war.