Sherwood’s poison pen again takes aim at Jews across the green line

Harriet Sherwood, whose coverage of the Itamar massacre displayed a clear propensity to conjure facile, ugly caricatures of Israeli Jews living in communities on the other side of the 1949 Armistice lines, delivered one last parting shot at such “settlers” before heading off to London for a couple of weeks – in a post, we are told, which was written just before news of the terrorist attack on March 11th.

Writing in her purportedly “apolitical” blog, View from Jerusalem, on March 17, four days after the bodies of Udi, Ruth, Yoav, Elad, and Hadas Fogel were buried, Sherwood reports from the Yishuv of Givat Haroeh, a community recently targeted by the Israeli government for removal by the end of the year. Interestingly, unlike this blog entry, which allowed for reader comments, Sherwood’s previous five reports directly relating to the Itamar massacre were posted as news pieces in the Guardian and, thus, didn’t allow for such feedback.

Sherwood – who again shows that, when confronted with unfamiliar territory, glib clichés dutifully take the place of serious journalism – dismisses the “outposts” as ”mostly tense places, suspicious of strangers and hostile to the media”, further characterizing the residents as violent and criminal, finding an unnamed IDF soldier who reportedly told her:

“They [settlers in outposts] all have guns. They are better trained than I am…It’s crazy that we have to protect these people. They are criminals.”

While Sherwood has no hesitancy, when characterizing “settlers”, to impute the darkest motives – in five posts (hereherehere, here, & here) on the brutal massacre in Itamar (over 3,800 words) – she has lacked such polemical vigor when characterizing the perpetrators, failing to delve into the psyche, or explore the malice, of Palestinians who would commit – or a Palestinian culture which would nurture – such gruesome crimes.

In referring to Jews who live in such communities, alternate pejoratives such as “hardline”, “extreme”, “violent”, or “criminals” are employed, while the perpetrators (if mentioned at all) are colorless – and quite amorphous – “militants”.

In post after post, regardless of the particulars, Sherwood’s Palestinians are passive and acted upon whereas her Israelis (in the dark, mythical, Israel which appears to continually haunt her political imagination) must always play the active and malicious role assigned to them in her impregnable narrative – egregiously facile notions of unimpeachable victimhood and immutable villainy in the Middle East which have become one of the most defining characteristics of the Guardian Left.

6 replies »

  1. why is this stupid ignorant creature (trying to be polite here) allowed into Israel at all. Now would be a good opportunity to revoke her press credentials. I dont think anymore reasons for this step are needed. Or does she have carte blanche to do ands say as she pleases???

  2. Israel is being undermined by persistent hostile reporting and a propaganda war that is waged against it. That Israel is unable to comprehend this threat and so effectively to counter it reflects a major weakness of its political establishment that endangers all of us who live there. If hostile reporters such as Jeremy Bowen and Harriet Sherwood had their press credentials withdrawn it would send a clear message to the media that Israel will not tolerate lies, deceit and bias that endangers the security of the state, its citizens and of Jews living abroad.

  3. Moise Pippic, you are so right, but I can tell you, as someone living in Israel for over 30 years, that the average Hebrew speaking Israeli has not the faintest clue at the amount of delegitimization that is carried on in the international media, or that it even exists at all.

    When calls for boycotts and sanctions are issued every so often the average Israeli then gets a nasty shock and comes to the wrong conclusion that it must be something that we (Israel) are doing.

    I don’t know how to get this into Israelis’ heads, but I sometimes feel we English-speakers are preaching to the converted. Blogs like this need to be written in Hebrew and addressed to Israelis.

  4. “If hostile reporters such as Jeremy Bowen and Harriet Sherwood had their press credentials withdrawn it would….”

    ….make Israel look as though it operated on the same basis as Cuba, Communist China, Russia or Zimbabwe, and not an open democracy with freedom of debate and the media.

    It would be a very bad move, in other words.

  5. @ David Karr, why does she have to be allowed to live in Israel, amongst people she considers to be criminals, to write her stuff. If someone is not interested in writing the truth anyway then it must be possible for them to write from the comfort of their armchairs somewhere else. If she was an honest journalist and wrote balanced reports which took consideration of both sides and wrote about the bad things the Arabs do (whether true or not) just as vehemently as she writes about the bad things the Israelis do, (whether true or not) then nobody would criticise her as we do here. By the way,the UK is turning much more into one of the above mentioned countries than Israel ever would or could.