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 (here, here, here, 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.