Harriet Sherwood’s biased reporting on the terrorist attack in Itamar (By the numbers)

Harriet Sherwood has written three articles relating to the brutal terrorist attack in the Israeli town of Itamar, two for the Guardian (here and here) and another in the Observer.

Medusa commented on the first entry, noting Sherwood’s flagrant use of highly biased language – failing to characterize the assailants as “terrorists” and using the pejorative (“hard-line settlers”) when describing the community where the horrendous crime took place.

Here’s a quick tally of the rhetoric Sherwood employed in the 2064 words she’s posted so far about the attacks in Itamar.

  • Number of times Sherwood used the word “terrorism” or “terrorist”: 0 (*The word was used once, but only when directly quoting an Israeli official)
  • Number of times Sherwood used the word “settler(s)” or “settlements”: 29
  • Number of times Sherwood referred to “settlers” in the pejorative, or were vilified in some manner: 2

“But there has been continued tension between Palestinian villagers and hardline settlers, with regular skirmishes over the destruction of olive trees.”

“Itamar, home to around 100 families, is an intensely nationalist-religious isolated settlement deep inside the West Bank. Nationalist-religious Jews believe they have a divine right to the land irrespective of legal ownership.”

  • Number of references to widely reported scenes in Rafah, of Gaza residents celebrating the murder of five Israelis by handing out candy: 0

33 replies »

  1. Jon Cohen – having Sherwood at the Fogel funeral would be like having that Christian homophobic group at gay funerals inthe US.

  2. Just a note to anyone outside Israel – you may be interested to note that neither Sky News nor the BBC News Int’l edition seem to consider this horrible incident worthy of mention. On Sky, it’s wall-to-wall Japanese Tsunami – but as you’re all probably aware, that when there’s a huge story, Sky tends to neglect everything else. which policy I believe is unworthy of an otherwise excellent news service.

  3. Statistics that Hattie and the Guardian would have no idea of and would ignore even if they knew about them:

    Devastated Israeli families:

    0 Family Hatuel – 5 killed: On 2 May 2004 gunmen from Islamic Jihad and from a faction of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement attacked a vehicle being driven by Tali Hatuel (34 years old, and 8 months pregnant) towards the Gaza Strip settlement of Gush Katif. She and her four daughters Hila (11), Merav (9) Roni (7) and Merav (2) were shot dead: according to Israeli investigators, the gunmen approached the crashed vehicle after the initial attack and shot the survivors at close range.

    0 Family Schijveschuurder – 5 killed: On 9 August 2001 19 Israelis were killed and 130 injured when a suicide bomber blew up the Sbarro pizza house in central Jerusalem . Among the victims: husband and wife Mordechai and Tzira Schijveschuurder and three of their children, Ra’aya (14), Avraham (4) and Hemda (2).

    0 Family Ben-Shalom – 3 killed: On 25 August 2001 Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the car of the Ben-Shalom family as they were returning from Jerusalem on Saturday night to the town of Modi’in . Yaniv Ben-Shalom (27) and his wife Sharon (26) were killed, and their children, aged 2 and 1, lightly injured. Sharon ‘s brother Doron (20) died the next day.

    0 Family Nehmad – 8 killed: On 2 March 2002 11 Israelis were killed and over 50 were wounded by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem , as they were leaving a Sabbath bar-mitzvah gathering. The bomber detonated his bomb next to a group of women waiting with their baby carriages for their husbands to leave a nearby synagogue. The victims included 8 members of the Nehmad family from Rishon Lezion: Shlomo and his wife Gafnit, their daughters Shiraz (7) and Liran (3); and their nieces and nephews Shaul (15), Lidor (12), Oriah (18 months), and Avraham (17) who died of his wounds three months later.

    0 Family Gavish – 4 killed: A Hamas infiltrator entered the settlement of Elon Moreh on 28 March 2002 , killing 4 members of the Gavish family – David and Rachel Gavish, their son Avraham (20) and Rachel’s father.

    0 Family Koren – 3 killed: A Hamas suicide bomber killed 15 people and injured over 40 when he blew up the Matza restaurant in Haifa on March 31 2002 . Among the victims were Shimon Koren (55) and his sons Ran (18) and Gal (15).

    0 Family Ron – 3 killed: The same Matza restaurant bombing also claimed the lives of three members of the Ron family – Aviel Ron (50), his daughter Anat (21), and son Ofer (18).

    0 Family Shabo – 4 killed: A terrorist infiltrated the settlement of Itamar on 20 June 2002 , killing 4 members of the Shabo family in their home – Rachel Shabo (40) and three of her sons Neria (16), Tzvika (12) and Avishai (5). Two other Shabo family children were injured, in an attack claimed by both the PFLP and the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

    0 Family Shilon – 3 killed: On July 16 2002 nine people were killed and 20 injured when terrorists (dressed as Israeli army soldiers) attacked a bus just outside the town of Emmanuel . They exploded a charge next to the bus and then shot passengers as they tried to escape. Four Palestinian groups claimed responsibility. Among the victims were three generations of the Shilon family – Gal Shilon (32), his 8 month daughter Sarah Tiferet, and her grandmother Zilpa Kashi (65).

    0 Family Dikstein – 3 killed: On July 26 2002 , Yosef Dikstein (45), his wife Hannah (42), and their son Shevu’el (9) were killed when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on their car south of Hebron .

    0 Family Ohayon – 3 killed : on November 10 2002 , a terrorist infiltrated Kibbutz Metzer in central Israel , broke into the Ohayon family home, and shot dead Rachel Ohayon (34) and her two sons Noam (5) and Matan (4) while she was reading them a bedtime story. The Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility (See Briefing Images Briefing 22 – Kibbutz Metzer)

    0 Family Almog – 5 killed: On 4 October 2003 a female suicide bomber from Islamic Jihad killed 20 people at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa . Among the victims were five members of the Almog family: Moshe Almog (43) and his son Tomer (9), grandparents Ze’ev Almog (71) and Ruth Almog (70), and another grandson Assaf (10).

    0 Family Zer-Aviv – 5 killed: the Maxim restaurant attack also claimed the lives of five members of the Zer-Aviv family from Kibbutz Yagur: Betzalel (30) and his wife Keren (29), their two children Liran (4) and Noyah (1) and grandmother Bruriah (59).

    0 On 9 September 2003 Dr David Applebaum , head of the Emergency Unit at Sha’are Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem was killed in a Hamas suicide attack on the Café Hillel, together with his daughter Nava, on the night before her wedding.

    o Husbands and wives have been shot dead in front of their children.

    o Brothers and sisters have lost their lives together.

    o Babies have been killed together with their young mothers.

    o Grandparents and grandchildren have died together.

    o Fathers and mothers have arrived at the scene of attacks to find their children dying from their wounds.

    And the Islamist perpetrators feel joy!

  4. Natalie

    I just heard the 4 pm news on Radio 4. First item: new building in the settlements. Detail: 1. response to the murders 2. settlements are illegal under intenational law 3. Israel denies this

    That’s 2 minute news. I don’t know about longer “World at One” earlier today.

  5. I wouldn’t refer to anywhere in Britain as “deep inside” any other part of the country. Britain is just too small.

    Israel is about the size of Wales so how can anything be “deep inside” it anywhere?

    What does Sherwood have in her head when she writes such descriprions?

    A reminder: Shomron Central

  6. Ariadne,

    “What does Sherwood have in her head when she writes such descriprions?”

    The entirely imaginary, fictional Israeli Empire covering a huge mass on the globe, so much so that it would be peanuts for it to give up lands for the sake of the oppressed, stateless “Palestinian nation,” but doesn’t do so because of typical Jew… I mean Zionist stinginess.

    It’s a safe bet most of the European and American authors and commenters calling on Israel to give up lands don’t know where Israel is on the map. That is not to say that if you showed them, and made them aware of Israel’s tiny size (whether absolutely or relative to the Arab world), they’d change their position. As we all know, they have an answer to every argument, and in this case they’d reply with “Lebensraum!” quicker than you could say Godwin’s Law.

  7. I’ve never seen a map of Israel superimposed on the British mainland. I wonder if anyone could make one?

  8. Ariadne,

    Political opinions today are shaped largely by those who control the media outlets. That’s how the American people got to elect a community organizer with zero executive experience: The media crafted a Superhuman Savior image of him, dripped it into the heads of the viewers and readers day and night, and the rest is abysmal history.

    You ask what can be done. I have suggested numerous times (here, there, on my Hebrew-language website and elsewhere) that the Jewish State take an active hand in controlling the way the media outlets describe it. Whether by withholding information from them (leaving them with no choice but to focus on miniscule issues like the genocide in Sudan), or by coercing them to publish reports and articles from the Zionist point of view (meaning, for example, referring to the Arabs in Palestine instead of the Jews as “settlers”), Israel will make sure it is treated in the media as it should be. After a few years of this arrangement, minds will change, even minds that were initially predisposed against Israel.

  9. ziontruth, I agree about Obama. When he was campaigning someone wrote a psychological(?) account of his discourse. Psycholinguistic, perhaps, referring particularly to his pauses. It is a thing I had noticed in liars. A direct, spontaneous communication can’t be in their repertoire. And in his case, of course it didn’t signify the presence of nothing.

    Israel hasn’t shown any sign of doing as much – or as much multidimensionally – as it needs to do for itself. But now, more building is promised. The BBC said a “massive building programme”. Let’s hope it is and is defended.

    I might say, what about free speech but free (to the user) lies are what are deployed. How would a government begin to do what you suggest? First steps?

  10. “How would a government begin to do what you suggest? First steps?”

    First step, a straightforward conclusion from the 2006 Lebanon War, is that Israel’s military policy concerning war zones shall be the absence of journalists, cameramen etc. except by Israeli Army clearance, which would of course be a very high one. Those that are not according to this exception shall be treated as enemy combatants.

    Our soldiers are burdened enough by the rigors of ordinary military life; they should not have to suffer from unnecessary, artificial considerations such as the front-page photo.

  11. ziontruth, I’m trying to remember when the IDF took a BBC film unit with them. It didn’t seem to change the BBC although it found nothing wrong.

    Doesn’t the IDF usually declare a closed military zone and is that different from what you mean? Except for the enemy combatant ID, of course.

    And what about the other side? It is very difficult to understand the scenarios involved when one has no experience of anything military. I do understand that fighting soldiers etc don’t want to be tripping over journalists.

    And what about civil life?

  12. “Doesn’t the IDF usually declare a closed military zone and is that different from what you mean? Except for the enemy combatant ID, of course.”

    That’s how it’s supposed to be, yet the war effort in Lebanon in 2006 was sabotaged by the intense activity of Hezbollywood producers. Apparently the IDF heads didn’t think much of them, and that was the big mistake: They should be treated as being every bit as dangerous as the armed combatants.

    “And what about the other side? It is very difficult to understand the scenarios involved when one has no experience of anything military.”

    Although I did serve in the IDF (the entire three years required), we’re talking about issues on the borderline between military and civil life, therefore not requiring extensive military experience to understand. The crucial point is that the Jewish State must protect our soldiers from unjust persecution by the international courts. International law is ill-equipped to deal with the situation of an enemy intentionally hiding its combatants inside the civilian population.

  13. The courts I understand totally. There are too many Palestinians here as well as in Israel. And Machover. Soon to be stopped, I hope.

    Didn’t the IDF say something recently about not bombing mosques and schools? How can they possibly avoid that?

  14. Very well worth a read for anyone against unfair reporting: this blog is described by its owner as not really a blog but an “evidentiary database” of Reuters’ misdeeds.

    Today’s and yesterday’s posts on the Itamar atrocity are well worth time spent.

  15. Ariadne, Sherwood has nothing inside her head. There’s a vacuum where her brain should be. That’s why CiF /Guardian employed her – reporters who can write critically would sound the Groan’s death knell.

  16. ziontruth, I am with you. I have never understood why Israel gives free reign to journalists who concoct rubbish which slates her.

  17. When most of the wrongdoing is committed by the settlers, that’s what an unbiased journalist has to say. So far from being biased, as you claim, she is simply reporting the truth. The people in that community are hardline settlers. Fact.

  18. (In)Sanity,

    There are no settlers in Palestine except the Arabs. Arabs are indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula and settler-colonist invaders everywhere else; Jews are the one and only true Palestinian nation and therefore, by definition, cannot be settlers anywhere in Palestine.

    And your support of the murder of babies is duly noted.

  19. Sanity, what bit of Ziontruths post betrayed hate? I would have thought your post implying a family including a tiny baby “deserved” to be brutally murdered is more consistent with the word hate.

  20. What an utterly ridiculous lot you are. I’ll leave you now to stew in your own contempt, lunacy and bile. Goodbye.

  21. Sanity:
    When most of the wrongdoing is committed by the settlers, that’s what an unbiased journalist has to say.
    Harriet the prosecutor, judge & jury has spoken and the verdict is in.