General Antisemitism

Peace: Harriet Sherwood’s Palestinian Caricature

Israel Steals Organs. Cartoon which appeared in PA Daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadid, Jan 13, 2010

One of the seminal books on the subject of Arab anti-Semitism was Peace: The Arabian Caricature, by Arieh Stav. (The PDF is available free online, here)

The book, published in 1996, the height of the chimera of a “peace process” known as Oslo, advanced arguments about the peace talks that, though quite heterodox and counter-intuitive at the time, should, in the aftermath of the 2nd Intifada, and the refusal of “moderate” Palestinian leaders to accept increasingly generous offers by Israeli leaders (which included a contiguous Palestinian state) be uncontroversial.

Stav surveyed Arab anti-Semitic cartoons at a time of relative peace: when Israel had signed a peace treaty with Jordan, had signed a Declaration of Principles with the PLO, and had already declared its willingness to withdrawal from the Golan Heights.  That is, 1996 was a time when Israel was most receptive to making compromises in the spirit of the formula “Land for Peace” – what Shimon Peres referred to as “the painful but necessary concessions for the great reconciliation with the Arab states.”

But, as Stav observed, “a perusal of the relevant [Arabic] literature showed clearly that the basic assumptions underpinning the view…that Israeli concessions would result in Arab moderation [was] nothing more than wishful thinking.”

Israel as Death.PA Daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida June 2, 2010

Stav, citing his own research – as well of that of Bernard Lewis, Rivka Ladin, and Raphael Israeli – showed that, even after the peace accords with Egypt in 1979, there was no demonstrable decrease in the degree or volume of Arab hostility towards Israel as expressed in the media, popular culture or public opinion polls.

As Lewis has stated, “since 1945, the only place in the world where hard-core, Nazi-style anti-Semitism is officially endorsed and propagated” has been the Arab world – a conclusion, I’ve noted repeatedly, also reached more recently by Professor Robert Wistrich.

Concerning Arab anti-Semitism, Lewis argued:

“The level of hostility and the ubiquity of its expression are rarely equaled even in the European literature of anti-Semitism, which only at a few times reached this level of fear, hate and prejudice.  For parallels one needs to look at the high Middle Ages, to the literature of the Spanish Inquisition, of the anti-Dreyfusards in France, the Black Hundreds in Russia, or the Nazi Era in Germany.”

Jew Eating Dome of the Rock. Image broadcast on PA State TV, July 1, 2010

Harriet Sherwood’s recent report (Palestine: the flags are already waving but will a declaration of statehood help?, Guardian, July 16) deals largely with steps taken by the PA to “create and reinforce the institutions of a state”, acknowledges that the diplomatic hurdles to unilateral statehood, in the absence of a formal agreement with Israel, are dim – and cites, as one of the several political hurdles to such a move, the quintessential Guardian bogeyman, and obstacle to all things progressive in the Middle East, the injurious influence of the US “Israel Lobby”, which, Sherwood sagely explains, President Obama doesn’t want to risk alienating in the run up to the 2012 Elections.

Though it’s in Sherwood’s characterizations of Palestinian priorities, during the course of raising the possibility of a Third “Peaceful” Palestinian Intifada, where she cites the Palestinian public opinion poll (by Stanley Greenberg) which we cited in a recent post.

Says Sherwood:

“A recent opinion survey carried out in Gaza and the West Bank by the respected US pollster Stanley Greenberg found that at the top of the priority list for Palestinians were jobs, healthcare, water shortages and education. Mass protests against Israel, and even pursuing peace negotiations, came way down. Asked to choose, two-thirds favoured diplomatic engagement with Israel over violence.”

While the full report will be published tomorrow,  based on what was already released it’s clear that Sherwood cherry-picked the results which advance the desired narrative that she, the Guardian, and the mainstream media try so arduously to maintain – as they’ve done since Oslo (and, even prior to that, since the Camp David Accords) – of a moderate Palestinian population which seeks peace and shares the same values, and practical economic concerns, as those in the West.

Of course, among the results Sherwood evidently found too politically inconvenient to report is evidence regarding Palestinian rejectionism, extremism and support for violence. 

Specifically, to put the stats Sherwood cites, on Palestinians’ alleged preference for diplomatic rather than violent means to achieve a settlement, in context, the following would seem relevant.  Per the Jerusalem Post story on the poll:

66 percent [of Palestinians] said the Palestinians’ goal should not be a permanent two-state solution, but a two-state solution as an interim stage en route to the ultimate goal of a single Palestinian state in all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – a goal that amply explains their opposition to recognizing Israel as the Jewish homeland.

Asked about the fate of Jerusalem, 92 percent said it should be the capital of Palestine, 1 percent said the capital of Israel, 3 percent the capital of both, and 4 percent a neutral international city.

And, as I noted previously.

Seventy-two percent backed denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem, 62 percent supported kidnapping IDF soldiers and holding them hostage, and 53 percent were in favor or teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools.


When given a quote from the Hamas Charter about the need for battalions from the Arab and Islamic world to defeat the Jews, 80 percent agreed. Seventy-three percent agreed with a quote from the charter about the need to kill Jews hiding behind stones and trees.

No doubt, Sherwood had access to the same poll summary as the Jerusalem Post, and it’s evident that she simply chose not report those findings which contradict her caricature of Palestinian peace.

As we’ve demonstrated previously, the Guardian is also quite adept at using photos to illustrate their ongoing tale of Israeli villainy and Palestinian innocence.  As such, her story was accompanied with the following image:

And, really.  Isn’t it evident that only the most cynical Zionists, and those possessing a heart of stone, could possibly have any serious doubts that a Palestinian society which includes innocent flag-waving children genuinely desires peace?   

20 replies »

  1. Isn’t that puzzled-looking little girl with the stragglyblond hair and the Palestinian head-band someone we last saw with her sister singing pro-Pal songs to illustrate her mum, Lauren Booth’s devotion to the Palestinian cause?

    • lauren booth, Tony Blairs wifes sister, like convert richard reid, both converts to Islam.

      I hope lauren booth gets the full scan at all airports for bombs in her undies, shoes, luggage, children.

    • Possibly… but believe it or not, a girl with straggly blond hair could be one of the local Arab settlers just as well as she could be British.

      Blonde Arab Settler Girl in Nabi Saleh

      People need to go out more, especially those Guardian crew who claim to “tell it like it is” about the situation in Israel. For, if they got their behinds to one of the Arab villages in the Galilee, they’d see people with pale skin, blue eyes, light brown or red or blond hair in those villages, and they’d hear those people, including their children, speaking Arabic and listening to Arab music.

      Of course, that’s in the Galilee. A visit to a Bedouin camp in the Negev desert would show them the stereotypical “oppressed” they were looking for—dark skin, black hair, black eyes, speaking Arabic and listening to (or singing) Arab music.

      My point, of course, is that this old, old but never vanishing accusation of “a hodgepodge of races who share nothing but their religion colonizing the dark-skinned indigenous of Palestine” would burst against the reality of a hodgepodge of races who share nothing but their language colonizing this land which is to them just another among many lands they have settled (Syria, Morocco etc.), whereas the Jews are the only ones for whom this land of all lands in the world is special.

      It would burst against the reality, if it weren’t ignored.

  2. One of the most interesting aspects of the anti-Semitic cartoons used particularly in the Arab media is their frequent use of caricatures of what can only be ultra-orthodox Jews even though they must know from hard experience that these are, in fact, not typical Israelis, not are they likely to meet them in any conflict. Of course, these were exactly the group that Ahmadinejad invited to his Holocaust-denying, anti-Israeli conference a couple of years ago.

    The only conclusion to draw from that is the obvious one, They do not distinguish between Jews and Zionists, as pro-Palestinian friends around the world insist that they do, and would try to have us believe..

    • islamofascist cartoons of Jews illustrate the inate racism that afflicts the Muslim world.

      A cartoon is reality to islamofascists.

      What a shock to see that Israelis are not pigs and apes.

      Maybe thats why islamofascists got so jihadi when the Muhammed cartoons came out. They must have thought that a cartoon of their mortal “prophet” was an actual picture.

      • From the Guardian,”Gaza faces severe Botox shortage” The Gaza Strip is facing a severe shortage of botox,according to the Organization of Islamic Corporation.

        Apparently the people of Gaza are getting vain.The Israeli siege of Gaza is aging the people of Gaza quicker,and they are having more wrinkles.That’s where the Botox comes in.

        Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists in Gaza are complaining about the shortage of Botox.

        I did not make this up,in fact no one couldn make something like this up.

      • Of course there is, sadly, widespread anti-Semitism in the Arab world.

        But the above images are not “Harriet Sherwood’s Palestinian Caricature”.

        A disgrace of an article.

  3. The way Harriet Sherwood whitewashes the Palestinians is an utter disgrace.

    She ruthlessly suppresses any fact that might embarrass the Palestinians or incline anyone to think Israel might have a case. It’s as if a reporter from Nazi Germany gushed that Hitler got the trains running on time but somehow omitted to mention his race laws. and illustrated the charming character of the 3rd Reich with a picture of pretty little Aryan girls.

    This woman is a menace, a racist, and an enemy of the Jewish people.

    • It’s as if a reporter from Nazi Germany gushed that Hitler got the trains running on time but somehow omitted to mention his race laws.

      It’s not the same thing at all – and you know it.

      • “It’s not the same thing at all – and you know it.”

        To quote someone you know:

        Is that the best you can do? Pathetic.

  4. Harriet Sherwood’s Palestinian Caricature

    My God, what an outrageous headline. People chancing across this website might think: what hysterical crackpots! And that is a fully understandable reaction.

    Sherwood’s coverage is biased – but it is ridiculous to directly link her to those disgusting cartoons.

    For all the good work this site does: this kind of piece sadly means CiFWatch cannot be taken seriously.

    based on what was already released it’s clear that Sherwood cherry-picked the results

    And CiFW hasn’t and doesn’t??

    • Proof, if more of it were needed, that you are a sandwich short of a picnic, Pretzel.

      The cartoons highlight the antisemitic sentiment which is reflected by the recent poll which Sherwood reported in a ditorted way that fits her Caricature of the Palestinians.

      “CIFW cherry picks results”?

      You just don’t get it. The role of CIFWatch is to point out the flaws and failings in the output of the guardian. If you like, It cherry picks them. You seem to have this silly childish idea in your head that it isn’t FAIR (unless CIFWatch praises the guardian any time it doesn’t print malicious or misleading copy that maligns Israel)..

      • a sandwich short of a picnic … You seem to have this silly childish idea in your head

        Is that the best you can do? Pathetic.

        Clearly the headline “Harriet Sherwood’s Palestinian Caricature” with the anti-Semitic image directly below it aims to portray her as some kind of Nazi sympathiser. It’ll be lapped up here – but the wider world will simply see this article as hysterical nonsense.

        • pretzels, the article is hysterical nonsense, not the anti-semitic cartoons?

          What would the reaction be if CARTOONS of Arabs/Muslims
          – hijacking planes
          – beheading bound captives
          – shreiking Death to Israel, Death to the US, Death to Europe
          – placing bombs on passenger planes
          – placing bombs on London buses and the underground.

          CARTOONS mind you.

          Who would shout ISLAMOPHOBIA! first?

          • the article is hysterical nonsense, not the anti-semitic cartoons?

            Pathetic. I have repeatedly expressed my disgust at such cartoons.

            And you know that very well – which makes you an extremely dishonest person.

    • Pretz: Absolutely nowhere in the post do I suggest that the Guardian or Harriet Sherwood posted the antisemitic cartoons (I noted their publication in Palestinian Dailies). My argument is a broader one – refuting her continuing spurious narrative of a Palestinian population (and a broader Arab world) who desperately wants peace. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The cartoons (and corresponding poll results which I noted) are meant not to impute antisemitism in Sherwood, but to the Palestinian population.

      • Absolutely nowhere in the post do I suggest that the Guardian or Harriet Sherwood posted the antisemitic cartoons

        Why would you? That would, of course, be ridiculous.

        The cartoons (and corresponding poll results which I noted) are meant not to impute antisemitism in Sherwood …

        You must be joking, Adam. Your headline reads: “Harriet Sherwood’s Palestinian Caricature”

        The implication is quite clear.

        • The caricature I’m referring to (which she constantly conjures) is that of a Palestinian people who desperately want to live in peace with the Jewish state of Israel.