Harriet Sherwood’s reading list, and the “violence of coexistence”

In a recent post from Harriet Sherwood’s blog about an exhibit at Israel’s Museum on the Seam called “The Right to Protest“, we are treated to a glimpse into what informs the Guardian Jerusalem Correspondent’s views on the region.

The Museum’s history includes – in the period between 1949 and 1967, when Jews were prevented by the Jordanians from entering the Eastern portion of the city – its use as a military outpost (the Turjeman Post), as it stood on the seam line between Israel and Jordan.

Its stated mission is as follows:

“The Museum is committed to examining the social reality within our regional conflict, to advancing dialogue in the face of discord and to encouraging social responsibility that is based on what we all have in common rather than what keeps us apart.”

While Sherwood acknowledges, during the course of her post, that, consistent with the theme of the exhibit, “[Israel] is full of protests”, of course, even while writing a review about an art installation – in an Israeli Museum in “West” Jerusalem – she can’t resist bludgeoning her readers with a narrative containing some element of Israeli oppression.

Sherwood notes:

A recent article in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs (WRMEA) by Awatef Sheikh delves further into the history of the building, reporting that it was built by the Palestinian Baramki family in 1934. Their Palestinian tenants were forced out in the 1948 war, and the Baramkis’ efforts to regain their property, to which they have the deeds, have been rejected. The article is highly critical of the museum, describing it as “yet another example of the erasure of anything Palestinian through pacifist and aesthetic means”.

The outrageous notion that the mere existence of an Israeli Museum – one whose very mission is to promote peace and reconciliation – represents something akin to soft ethnic cleansing shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with the publication Sherwood cites.

WRMEA is a notorious and viruently anti-Israel publication, one which legitimized, in 2009, the hideously anti-Semitic organ trafficking story by the Swedish paper, Aftonbladt, in a piece by Alison Weir.

But, that doesn’t represent a fraction of the magazine’s malice towards Jews and Israel. Per CAMERA:

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, for example, regularly describes American supporters of Israel with such words as “cancer,” “alien intrusion,” “Israel-firsters,” “subversion,” and “perversion.” It has referred to the State Department and Congress as “Israeli-occupied territory.” It has alleged that Israel’s “friends in the US government are working secretly for Israeli interests … against the interests of the US,” and that some “governmental and congressional personalities [are] so obsessed with helping Israel that they are ready to betray their colleagues, their employers and even their country.”

The Washington Report has also carried ads for Roger Garaudy’s notorious book The Founding Myths of Israeli Policy, which denies the Holocaust.

Was Sherwood not aware of WRMEA’s notoriety before citing it as a source for her blog?  I guess its possible, but you’d think that merely reading the opening passage of the essay she cited would have given her a sense of the publication’s anti-Israel extremism.

Violence can take many forms in a colonial occupation—from killing to torture, home demolitions, kidnappings, roadblocks and military invasions, to name but a few. Especially in the context of an ongoing colonialism, seemingly pacifist terms such as coexistence represent another form of violence, one perpetrated not only against the indigenous community but also against aesthetics and knowledge. This is precisely the case with Jerusalem’s Museum on the Seam. [emphasis mine]

It takes a truly deluded mind – one which clearly has been exposed to a lot of extreme ideological conditioning – to take seriously the notion that even Israelis who work towards achieving peace and reconcilliation with their Palestinian neighbors are merely practicing another form of violence and oppression.

And, it takes a profoundly morally confused journalist to not be viscerally repulsed by such a bizarre and vile moral inversion.

10 replies »

  1. Colonialism:

    This is Rhodes’ first will (and testament) but the whole article merits a read:

    To and for the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire Continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the Valley of the Euphrates, the Islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial representation in the Imperial Parliament which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire and, finally, the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible and promote the best interests of humanity.

    Does Sherwood know anything real?

  2. Well personally I find it very interesting and ironic that the museum is housed in stolen Palestinian property. She is right to highlight this.

    Theft is theft, whether you like it or not.

  3. diss

    Stolen Palestinian property? What a laughable bullshit! Exactly like your place in the UK stolen from the Saxon, the Britons, the Welsh, the Scots, the Danes etc. etc.
    North Wales has been stolen from Boudica and the Iceni people, the Falklands have been stolen by the British from the Argentinians, Transylvanya has been stolen from the Hungarians etc.

    You certainly know that Jerusalem was “stolen” from the Jews about two thousand years ago.

    But I’m happy to see that on the other thread you whined about the use of foul and insulting language and the lack of cultured debate.

  4. Stolen as surely as those artworks were stolen from the Jews in WW2.

    Theft is theft, even in Peter’s La-La Land.

  5. diss

    Would be interesting to hear a counter-argument regarding the content But if this is your maximum intellectual ability then that’s it.

    Your behaviour is well known. When you don’t have a reasonable reaction you start abusing the opponents. Psychology 101 “my dear chap”.

  6. I haven’t abused you yet Peter, but I can oblige if you wish dear fellow.

    The house was stolen from its Palestinian owners in living memory. That’s the only point I am trying to make and you spout irrelevancies about the Saxons.

    When stolen goods are given back to their rightful owners, do you seriously think that the thieves talk about Boudica in their defence ??

    Run along now, there’s a good chap.

  7. diss – 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands were forced to leave all their property, land and considerable amounts of possessions behind them.
    My family still owns (in theory!) property in Casablanca.
    Jews who were forced out of Hebron, Schem, and Gaza also left property behind them, as did those ethnically cleansed from parts of Jerusalem by the Jordanians in 1948. Daheiyshe refugee camp is built on JNF owned land.
    This is not a one-way street by any stretch of the imagination.

  8. The people killed and injured by the aggression of the wars launched upon Israel cannot be brought back to life and health. If there are arguments about anything it should be about that.

    It’s true that property and land are more important to our enemies than human life is. You’re dealing with the kind of people who have the death penalty for selling land to a Jew. In the face of that to Diss the house is naturally the most important aspect here and he can’t really understand the rest. Sherwood echoes the sentiments of those she has befriended without thinking.