Harriett Sherwood’s recent blog post, “Israel’s disobedient women“, about Israeli women who illegally bring Palestinians across the border was consistent with a broader Guardian narrative which often portrays Israelis who violate the law in a sympathetic light – at times portraying citizens who commit acts of treason as victims, and even heroic (here and here).
Sherwood clearly saw an angle to tackle the story – also covered by Rachel Shabi – which is an increasingly common theme on the hard left – one which posits that democratic Israel is moving towards right-wing extremism.
Commenting on the fact that the women she spoke to were merely questioned by police, Sherwood says:
“Some see this as part of a bigger picture of intolerance and harassment of groups and individuals supporting co-existence, civil and human rights, and opposing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.”
Of course, the argument that merely questioning women engaged in illegal activities represents a broader trend of measures to harass citizens who support co-existence is simply absurd.
Guardian columnists like Sherwood, Shabi, and Mya Guarnieri suffer from an especially egregious case of confirmation bias – and much of their work seems to seek out stories, no matter how thin, which can serve to reinforce the narrative about Israel which their readers have come to expect.
Not surprisingly, Guardian moderators are not pleased when such assumptions are challenged. Of note was this comment, which asked that Sherwood at least attempt to balance her reporting:
Well, the great thing about reading comments below the line is that we sometimes see the valiant efforts of those who persevere, in spite of the rhetorical pit they are in, and often come up with quite effective rhetoric, and pithy rebuttals, in response to the hostile inquisitors who surround them.
As such, I’m now inaugurating this post as the start of what will no doubt be a long series of posts refuting Sherwood’s blog posts, hereby named: Harriet Sherwood’s Jaundiced View of Jerusalem.
It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? Something the no-doubt highly educated Sherwood may term, a Je ne sais quoi.