Harriet Sherwood erroneously places Knesset on Arab Farmland

This is cross posted by Simon Plosker at Backspin, the blog of Honest Reporting.

Only yesterday I blogged the BBC’s video report on the Arab village of Lifta, located at the western entrance to Jerusalem and abandoned since 1948. Within 48 hours of the BBC’s report, the Guardian has also published its own story and video.

Is this an amazing coincidence or is this an obvious demonstration of the similarity in the agendas of both the BBC and Guardian?

Both media outlets seem determined to bring the focus of the Arab-Israeli conflict back to the events of 1947/8 – a tactic employed by the Palestinians to present Israel as being “born in sin” and responsible for the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians and the creation of the refugee problem.

The fact that one Yacoub Odeh is the former Lifta resident guiding the BBC’s Wyre Davies and the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood separately would suggest that this “tour” was a well-organized effort offered to the international media and eagerly picked up by those outlets sympathetic to the Palestinian narrative from 1948.

But where does Sherwood get her information from? She states:

“Out of sight of Lifta’s ruins, but built on its former farmlands are the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the supreme court, the Hadassah hospital, the Hebrew University and the city’s central bus station.”

In fact, the Knesset was built on land leased from the Greek Orthodox Church and not Lifta’s farmlands. The Knesset, Supreme Court and Hebrew University are located in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Ram, which prior to the 1948 war, was known as the village of Sheikh Badr and not Lifta’s farmland.

As for Hadassah Hospital, is Sherwood referring to Hadassah Mount Scopus in the north of Jerusalem or Hadasah Ein Kerem in the south west of the city? Either way, both are located a considerable distance from Lifta and could not possibly have been part of its farmland prior to 1948.

According to Sherwood then, it appears that entire swathes of Jerusalem were actually built on Lifta’s farmland.

Looks like Sherwood’s lack of fact checking has been caught out.

But this isn’t surprising as Yacoub Odeh is given carte blanche to push the Naqba narrative and both the Guardian and BBC are prepared to accept this at face value.

So is this a story that pits development against the preservation of historical memory or is it really all about the right of Jews to build in Jerusalem, even in the western part of the city?

Considering that the BBC and Guardian both refer to Arab East Jerusalem and make no secret of their opinion that Jews should not be a part of the landscape there, it’s no surprise that even the western “Jewish” side of Jerusalem is now apparently part of the discussion.

(Also, see OyVaGoy’s post on Sherwood’s enormous mistake, here.)

14 replies »

  1. Hadassa part of Lifta??? I hope that Harriet didn’t get injured while trekking on Lifta, because she might have chosen to walk to the hospital instead of taking a taxi… and she would still be walking towards it right now.

  2. Why on earth should anyone be surprised that Hissy Fit Hattie the Hen doesn’t know the first thing about Israel or its geography? How can anyone with the intellect of a marshmallow possibly be expected to learn anything other than what she has been told (and probably has had to be told again and again)? Sherwood isn’t aware that there are facts to be checked out!

    Miraculous is that she can string a sentence together, however nonsensical that sentence may be.

  3. Whoever sold you these lies took you for a sucker, Hattie. What’s the price of erroneous information today? Do you pay in the kind of propaganda your articles plant, in actual cash, or both?

    I have no doubt that you believed the nonsense you spouted and would like to let you in on a little secret, next time you’re sold the story of one of the 500 lost villages make sure that it isn’t a village that was abandoned long before 48, long after 48, hasn’t been amalgamated with another village or never actually existed. There are official records, many of them kept by the Mandate Authority. Check that you’re talking about the same place that your informant is.

    Even if you do all these things you won’t lose a fraction of the reputation you’ve just acquired for being a bigger fool even than we took you for.

  4. Yet another example from the weird world of the Guardian (and the BBC), where little matters like “research”, truth”, accuracy are of no importance. This is straight from the same sort of reporting as Ben White’s outrageous lies about the Bedouin which we debunked here.

    How this stupid, stupid woman and this wicked newspaper could be so gullible as to swallow this Arab’s pack of lies without even making the slightest attempt to verify if what he says is true is symptomatic of the campaign to delegitimize Israel, which, if it cares about this story, now has to scramble to prove to those who will not listen anyway that the Knesset is not built on the lands of the one-time village of Lifta.

    As for the “coincidence” of both the BBC and the Guardian suddenly becoming aware of Lifta, I think we can safely assume they were approached by the PSC or similar body with the tale. The availability of the same guide, and the focus on this particular village, proves that there was a guiding hand behind this. The one thing that never seems to be pointed out in these stories is that if Lifta was lost to this Arab guide in 1948, it might just have been because the Arab countries attacked Israel the moment it won its independence.

    I do not imagine that Sherwood will follow this story up with a column about the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish Quarter and the destruction of the houses and synagogues there.

  5. Jees! what is her problem? Strikes me she needs a good seeing to! (you’d have to put a bag over her head first!)

  6. Akus, they are not gullible. Gullible would imply that they were misled through naivete. They are active conspirators with the Arabs in the desire to destroy Israel, and the genocide of every living Jew in its borders. They know perfectly well that this is a series of lies, but they intentionally look away so that they can present this garbage as “fact.”

    Unlike the Arabs whose blood-lust knows few, if any bounds, I don’t think the Beeboids or the Guardianistas care much about murdering Jews. I do believe, however, that they don’t care much if their confederates slaughter every Jew they can find, regardless of age, gender or condition. The resulting media take, however, will undoubtedly blame the dead Jews for bleeding all over everything and attracting flies.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  7. Sherwood seems to be unaware that Jewish Jerusalem was under siege in 1948, cut off from its food and water supplies and under strict rationing. Convoys that attempted to bring supplies to Jerusalem were attacked by Palestinian villages along the way (you can see the remains of destroyed vehicles along Highway 1 that are now memorials). Lifta was the village at the entrance to Jerusalem. Did Sherwood ever think of asking her host if he and other fellow villagers took part in the attacks on those convoys ?

  8. Harriet Sherwood is one of those Jews that Israel and Israeli’s makes them feel weak, inadequate and envious.

    Hence the attacks against Israel and Israeli’s.I wonder if there a name for this affliction.

  9. I hope she’ll report about Netiv HaLames Hey next and what exactly this kibbutz named after.

    Ya’eni, cold blooded murder through starvation…

    But no Ya’Habibi Mr. Odeh, only you suffered in life and whatever suffering you had must be the ultimate ones.

    Let go of your anger, Ya saiid Yacoub, the same way my mother let go of hers towards the Egytpian soldiers who killed my uncle.

    But that’s not something you can do, Ya’eni not something practical for you to do, is it?

  10. The “Letter” page of the Guardian may have revealed the “source” for the Lifta article:

    • We commend you for putting Lifta in the news (We will never forget this village, G2, 30 May). Its Palestinian population was attacked and terrorised between Christmas 1947 and February 1948 and forced to leave by Menachem Begin’s IZL and Yitzhak Shamir’s Stern terror gangs. By February 1948 the village was emptied and its inhabitants were trucked to East Jerusalem. Now, the Israel Land Authority plans to parcel Lifta’s private land and sell it to Jewish developers in an attempt to create a luxury enclave for Jews only. The international community must not remain silent in the face of this continued theft of private Palestinian land.

    Antoine Raffoul

    Co-ordinator, 1948: Lest We Forget

  11. Harriet Sherwood has this tendency to step into it,is it ignorance ,sheer malice,hate,stupidity or all four of these or more.

    This is her resume,and they are very same reasons that the Guardian employs her.

    This woman is the absolute pits………