Harriet Sherwood, MIA during Israel’s catastrophic fire, returns in time to report on her favorite topic: Jewish racism

With the international Marine Biology community still abuzz over Harriet Sherwood’s groundbreaking reports on shark attacks in waters off the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, the Guardian’s premier reporter returned to Jerusalem to conquer more familiar territory: racism in Israel.

Sherwood, who was uncharacteristically silent about events in Israel for three days, in which the worst fire in Israel’s history (which killed 42 people, and destroyed 12,000 acres of land) raged across Mt. Carmel, managed to bookend two stories (on Dec 2nd, and 6th) about a number of bigoted Israeli rabbis who signed a (non-binding) petition calling on Jews not to sell land to non-Jews. (Sherwood’s only reports on the fire were filed after the blaze was contained on Dec. 5)

The ruling, which has no weight under Israeli civil law, and which was emphatically condemned by Israel’s Prime Minister, President, Minority Affairs and Education Ministers, has now garnered four stories at the Guardian.

In yesterday’s piece, Mya Guarnieri not only hyperbolically warned that the ruling represented nothing short of a “wave in a rising tide of religious fascism”, but managed to try and convict not only Israel – but the very “soul of Judaism” itself – all in a remarkably thrifty 614 words!

Sherwood, without a an hour to rest after her grueling Egyptian excursion, published a third piece today, on the rabbinical edict, which evoked the memory of the Holocaust in highlighting the fact that officials at Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust Museum) issued a statement condemning the racist decree.

Time will only tell how long the Guardian will play this story – but the manner in which events in Israel over the past week have been covered by Sherwood and Guarnieri serve as a perfect illustration of how the world’s leading liberal voice views the Jewish state – a window into (what Ms. Guarnieri might characterize as) “the Guardian’s very soul.”

4 replies »

  1. When it comes to ” the world’s leading liberal voice”, the title definitely goes to the New York Times.

    All these Guardian bigots, starting with Harriet Sherwood, aren’t good enough to shine Thomas Friedman’s shoes.

  2. Hah! So not content with her claim to expertise on Israeli poultry farming methods, the Chicken Lady is now a self-proclaimed expert on Israel’s rabbinate and thinks she has her finger on their collective pulse which of course she has determined by her tireless research (ie reading the latest edition of Yediot Achronot in English) beats to the tune of racism and fascism.

    So what’s she going to make of the fact that (as ascertainable from that well known religious fundamentalist mouthpiece Ha’aretz) Israel’s unquestioned doyen of strictly orthodox Rabbis, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv, has denounced the religious rulings of the (relatively obscure and insignificant) local rabbis in the most withering terms:

    “I’ve said for some time that there are rabbis who must have their pens taken away from them,” Elyashiv remarked.

    “It’s interesting that these same Zionist rabbis support symbolically selling their land to gentiles during the shmita year,” he added referring to the seven-year cycle when agricultural fields in Israel must lie fallow.

    Rabbi Elilyashiv is in his nineties but his status as a religious decisor is such that few rabbis would wish to ignore him. Some rabbis have already removed their name from the list.

    Wonder when Harriet Sherwood is going to start reporting on the sermons of both the PA and the Hamas official preachers on the subject of Jews and their place in Israel.

  3. Given that this rabbinical ruling has been condemned by Yad Vashem, a wide swath of elected officials both in government and in opposition ranging from left to right, and a large number of rabbis ranging from Reform to Haredi, this ruling is probably dead in the water.

  4. I must’ve missed Sherwood’s coverage of the following story:

    The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, today voiced his concern about the forced closure on 30 November by the local authorities in Gaza of all Gaza-based offices of the non-governmental organisation Sharek Youth Forum.

    Palestinian police detained at least 13 young people who were protesting Hamas authorities’ closure of the Sharek Youth Forum, a large independent NGO in Gaza Sunday.