Where can hateful anti-Israel comments be elicited even by a travel & leisure style post about Israeli wine? Only at the Guardian

As you well know, CiF Watch is not part of the Harriet Sherwood fan club.  However, today’s post, about an Israeli wine which has won international praise, is actually consistent with the stated objectives of her new blog, View from Jerusalem with Harriet Sherwood.

Her inaugural post stated her desire to,

“look at life beyond [the conflict]: books, films, environmental issues, food, leisure activities, maybe even sport.”

She stated further:

[Israel] is a place about which opinions are fiercely held and promoted – but this blog and its comment thread is not the forum for them. I hope that readers will want to engage in reasonable discussion with each other and with me, too.

Even if we take Sherwood at face value, the naiveté of such a desire – which assumes that Guardian readers will engage in a civil debate about even the most mundane topics relating to Israel – is simply staggering.

Sure enough, her account of a recent visit to a boutique winery called Domaine du Castel, near Jerusalem, produced this:

And then there was this disgusting remark from a serial Israel hater known as sidster:

While there were also some supportive remarks, its important to note that, while the post has received a meager 35 comments thus far, the bile above has received the recommendation of 57 readers.

If Sherwood sincerely dreamed of a blog about Israel which would encourage “reasonable discussion” she must  have inexplicably failed to make the connection between the ugly caricatures about Israel her reporting routinely evokes and the vitriol that such rhetoric inevitably elicits.

27 replies »

  1. I think “moroboshi” has foreignised the name from “Moron! Bosh!”.

    What is The Guardian equivalent of “the virtual kingdom of mendacity”? It is most certainly a drip out of Arafat’s can (disgusting thought!).

  2. the bile above has received the recommendation of 57 readers
    I’m not sure that’s the case, Adam. I strongly suspect that most (if not all) of the 23 who recommended the second comment also recommended the first one, so the total number of discrete recommenders is probably closer 34.

  3. So this is how Sherwood is going to show “balance” in her blog. Demonize Israel. Then report on a wine-tasting.
    G-d forbid she should go the other direction and report anything Hamas are doing in Gaza.

  4. One non-hateful but highly ignorant comment:
    “Incidently I was unaware that Jews were allowed to drink alcohol.”

  5. Someone asked “is wine kosher in judaism??”

    Sometimes the ignorance of the experts on Israel and Judaism who post on these blogs simply staggers beleif.

  6. MTC

    Democracy – a concept Lieberman has yet to grasp could be true but only after Gideon Levy.
    Even in Ha’aretz – Levy standards the article is pure unadultered bullshit ranting about Liberman’s origin and his preferences of holiday. Levy the great teacher of democracy?! Liberman and him are the two sides of the same coin.

    If you are so fascinated with the Ha’aretz this could be better for you:
    An other teacher of democracy and a fan of Yvette.

  7. Peter:
    The problem is that it is Turkish PM who is standing up and saying the truth. Why aren’t there more people in Israel shouting the obvious from the rooftops ? Why is Uzi Landau, for example, so silent ?
    I’m sorry to see that you have misunderstood this criticism of Lieberman; by attacking Gideon Levy instead of addressing the issue you are merely parroting Lieberman’s methods.

  8. MTC

    First let me remind you that this article is about a the distortions and lies of Hen Sherwood published by the Guardian and not about Lieberman. Your post here was utterly redundant and off topic.
    Second are you serious to say that Erdogan is better than Lieberman and says the truth? Then you should limit yourself to read only the articles of Levy and the rants of Erdogan (maybe you could allow yourself one article per day from Sherwood too).

    Your question:
    Why aren’t there more people in Israel shouting the obvious from the rooftops ?

    There are many reasons but one of them is the style and content of the articles published in the Ha’aretz and written by Levy. Most people know the difference between crap and serious arguments. Maybe this is the concept of democracy what the editors of that paper ant its authors should grasp first.

  9. This site really should have a policy about the hijacking of threads by posters like MindTheCrap. Simply delete their irrelevant posts and/or ban the posters. Let them set up their own websites or direct them to more suitable billets like the Guardian or Independent.

    Oh, and MindTheCrap, if you or Levy were in charge of Israel then that country would have about as much chance of survival as the Warsaw Ghetto. Thank God the Israeli people have had the good sense to overwhelmingly reject the kind of suicidal policies you both promote.

  10. Peter:

    “Second are you serious to say that Erdogan is better than Lieberman …”

    If you would bother to actually read my comment you would see that I said that “the problem is that it is the Turkish PM …. “, i.e. it’s pretty bad when someone like Erdogan has to point out the blatant truth.

    “Most people know the difference between crap and serious arguments. ”

    Does this also apply to what Carlo Stengrer writes in Ha’aretz? Yesterday I posted links to two of his Ha’aretz articles that say more or less the same as Gideon Levy. I assume that you have read – with approval – the articles that Strenger has posted on CiF.

    “Your post here was utterly redundant and off topic.”

    Hopefully this site will one day encourage a mature discussion of the issues of the day (which are the issues referred to on CiF) rather than the the usual repetitive boring one-line comments by the same repetitive boring people.

    And if you want an on-topic comment – I note that nobody here has picked up the most glaring inaccuracy in the Sherwood wine article ……

  11. Gideon Levy is an unpleasant and bitter relic,who must have been weaned on bitter limes as a baby.He would have to be the most miserable human being on this planet.

  12. Back on topic, here is Duvidl’s new song about Hard-Drinking Harriet:

    Punishment Divine
    (to the tune of “Darling Clementine”. Hat tip: US Tradition)

    Harriet’s barmy; Harriet’s barmy.
    She’s now chugging kosher wine.
    Booze won’t fix her; this ganze shikser
    Will reap punishment divine.

    Her scribbling’s sicker when she’s shikur.
    Carmel Wines are doing fine.
    She should stick with the sharks and vultures.
    Stick them where the sun don’t shine.

    DS Al Coda

    Here is the tune. Let’s follow the bouncing ball and sing along:

  13. I’m not much of a wine drinker but I loved this one, available in Britain at £7.99.

    In particular, I love the name: Palwin, From Palestine (Palestinian?) Winery.

  14. The two highlighted comments are not “hateful”; far from it, in fact. what they are is (in typical Guardian reader or letter-writer style) self-righteous.

    They are almost identical in character to those letters that one habitually finds in the Guardian (especially the Saturday magazine) from people who write in complaining about carbon emissions when the G dares to publish an article suggesting that people might wish to fly somewhere, or use a car when and where public transport suffice, or do anything that someone, generally someone in a big hosue in North London, things is “unethical”.

    In its way this is quite admirable, if annoying. Although it is also true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    But hatred there is not.

  15. David Karr:
    I disagree. Usually when these people are challenged on CiF their subsequent comments prove that they are motivated by hatred. The lack of other targets for their righteousness together with the vehemence of their anti-Zionist fervour can be explained by no other reason.

  16. Ariadne

    “In particular, I love the name: Palwin, From Palestine (Palestinian?) Winery”

    Thank you for that observation. Just the wine then to sanctify the food when my liberal left friends arrive!

  17. David,

    Regarding the first comment: referring to Israel as a “terrorist state” isn’t mere criticism. Its an assault on Israel’s legitimacy, by implying that Israel’s actions aren’t merely wrong, but morally beyond the pale.

    The second comment uses red wine as a metaphor, clearly meant to evoke blood – to advance the readers narrative of a violent and brutal Jewish state. Again, this goes beyond mere criticism of her policies in the West Bank.

    Both comments are meant to demonize Israel, and therefore should be characterized as hateful.

  18. Adam,

    We will have to agree to disagree, I think.

    With regard to the first comment, implying that a person’s (or state’s) actions are morally beyond the pale … implies that their actions are morally beyond the pale, and also that they can change in the future so that they are not so then. It has nothing to do with “legitimacy”.

    And well the second comment is certainly rather florid and rhetorical. Not sure about this concept of “demonization” though, or indeed that such a comment serves any particular purpose other than seeking to close down debate with which those who accuse others of “demonization” disagree with. Yes, it’s harsh criticism. Such comes with open, democratic debate. Rather than getting excessively worked up about such things and alleging that they are “hateful”, it is surely better to well, turn the other cheek, keep a stiff upper lip, or whatever metaphor you prefer, rather than chooisng to take offense and (b) respond rationally, explaining why the comment is factually wrong.

    But, again, I reiterate, I see no “hatred” in such comments, even though I am far from being in anything close to full agreement with them.

  19. David

    Israel isn’t a terrorist state so how can that claim have any level of truth.

    Under your words there’s a certain familiar false argument.


  20. David,

    Yes, we’ll certainly have to agree to disagree. However, I do want to ask how one is to refute the charge that is Israel is a terrorist state. If the commenter had argued that a particular act by the IDF was wrong, I could refute it, but labeling Israel a “terrorist state” is clearly not meant to provoke discussion about Israeli policies. Its meant to vilify and entire state. As far as the other comment, meant to use red wine to evoke the image of an Israeli state which spills the blood of its victims, again, I don’t know how I could be asked to rationally refute that. Its an invective, not an argument.

  21. The Reut Institute:

    “Delegitimization should be narrowly defined, for example as negating Israel’s right to exist and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.”

    Israel as a terrorist state is so far from the truth that it sets up a negative path with “No Israel” as an end point.

    Michael Totten

  22. This is the way these Islamic extremist are. the live , breath and eat hate for Israel. It’s just the way it is.
    For shame. As long as they keep their terrorist on their sid eof the fence and kill each other- who really cares?
    Mike Klien