Guardian’s Sherwood self-conscripts to PR campaign for Israeli law breaker

At first glance, Harriet Sherwood’s sympathetic show-casing of an Israeli law-breaker (“Israel jails conscientious objector Natan Blanc for tenth time“, May 13th, 2013) might look like just another one of her Jerusalem gossip column type articles focusing on domestic Israeli events which have no relevance as far as the vast majority of Guardian readers are concerned. 

But in that article we discover that this is the second time in six weeks that Sherwood has written about the same nineteen year-old from Haifa who, in violation of Israeli law, is refusing to do his military service. 

That is undoubtedly strange.  After all, Israel is far from unique in having a law of universal conscription –  so do Denmark, Greece, Norway, Austria, Finland and Cyprus, to name but a few – but we do not see two Guardian articles in six weeks profiling one Finnish draft dodger. Neither can Sherwood’s observation in her April 1st article that “There is a prison library, but no gym” in the military prison where Blanc has been interred be said to be the most pressing of human rights issues in the Middle East at present. 

So the obvious questions arising in this writer’s mind was why would Harriet Sherwood be taking such a close interest in Natan Blanc in particular and who else is promoting this story, which has barely registered on the radar of domestic Israeli news coverage? And this is where the real story behind Sherwood’s story gets interesting. 

A search, particularly in Hebrew, reveals that Blanc’s case is being very energetically promoted by a plethora of fringe far-Left Israeli organisations and NGOs including Amnesty International Israel, New Profile, ‘Kibush‘ , the student section of the political party ‘Hadash‘ and – first and foremost – the anti-conscription group Yesh Gvul which has organized a publicity campaign and rallies in the vicinity of the military prison in which Blanc has been held – with the participation on at least one occasion of flotilla participant and Warsaw Ghetto vandaliser Yonatan Shapira. 

Securing an English language article on the subject of Natan Blanc in a foreign media outlet such as the Guardian would no doubt be seen as something of an achievement to the organisers of this PR campaign. Securing two such items in less than six weeks must make them believe that Hannukah has come early.

It is time for Harriet Sherwood to come clean about her (ironic) self-conscription to a campaign promoting and aggrandising a law-breaker and about the nature of her contacts with the far-Left – and often anti-Zionist – groups which encourage other Israeli youths to break Israeli conscription law.  


14 replies »

  1. Securing two such items in less than six weeks must make them believe that Hannukah has come early.
    Maybe Purim would be a better Jewish holiday to characterize Sherwood’s efforts to remain floating on the surface of the shit generated by her employer – the far left version of the Der Sturmer.

  2. Sherwood is a joke with an intellect the size of a chick pea

    Her latest contribution to the conflict in the Middle East is an article about Palestinian food.

    Hang on a minute…. I thought they were all starving but evidently not.

    Below the line there is much vying from the usual suspects to demonstrate how much they lurve Palestinians and their food – a little like the OTT displays of grief for Kim Jong-il where we saw people competing with each other in front of the TV cameras that they were the most grief-stricken.

    Some wit keeps winding them up and ending each message with


    They are also countered by reminders that “Palestinian” food is cooked all over the Middle East including in Israel.

    My favourite comment, and the commenter evidently had no sense of irony, was the one which said that Palestinian cooking could be a boom industry…

    Same wit wrote back that that’d preferable to the other sort of boom they seem to be into.

  3. 972mag also are running with Blanc, making him out to be some superstar. Blanc is of course not the only one not going to the IDF and he won’t be the last.
    I see this as another tool to write something negative about Israel. What ever it takes. The Israeli who co-made Five Broken Cameras was discharged from the IDF after two months on medical grounds he also worked with Anarchists against the Wall.
    I have many friends who are unhappy to very unhappy about going into the IDF. Many plainly hate it, yet not enough to be made into a political ball being passed around.
    The Left is using situations like these to create a base noise constantly humming along. I am sure in some progressive booklet it says something about finding shit to write about all the time in order to fill copy. 972mag is a good example on how you fill thousands of write up’s and years of posting with mostly hot air. It is a method. Plain and simple. Similar to say the entertainment industry which constantly needs to be writing about Justin Bieber’s monkey or Russell Brand going to yoga.

  4. I`s quite curious that most resident journalists of foreign newspaper tend to collect their facts and views from fringe left wing groups in Israel as the “real Israel” and, naturally, from Palestinian peace organsiations like Hamas and PLO. In this way they construct the manichaean model of the evil Zionist government of oppression and the good anti-Zionist people searching peace and freedom of oppression.
    The easy way to bypass the voice of common people, the real situation, without ever searching for direct contact, interviews with government representatives.

    • Fritz,
      this is well observed and very true. It is like the German tourist who goes to Thailand and only eats Wurst and pommes frites. It is not about talking to “government representatives” though. Inside Israel there are many stances and point’s of view. You know what they say, ask ten Jew’s about an opinion and you get eleven answers.

    • The Guardian seem to take zero interest in what the Israeli public at large think, preferring to listen only to the fringe far-left and ‘Palestinian’ organisations.

      It would be like an Argentinian journalist basing a picture of Britain from associating a lot with the BNP and the National Front.

      • Not only the Guardian as I can observe as reader/listener/watcher of German and Austrian media.
        The same is confirmed by watch websites for France (anti-Jewish attacks and terror), Netherlands, Sweden (Malmö incidents), Norway (Oslo incidents) and Italy.
        About old and new antisemitism in Poland and Hungary we need not to discuss.
        But at the moment the universities in these countries are not hot spots of BDS as far as I know, like in the USA and Great Britain.

        • Do you know the taz newspaper? Left-wing and non-mainstream. Quietly critical of Israel in some respects, but supportive in others.
          One great editorial a couple of years ago addressed the old argument about the violence accompanying Israel’s re-creation by saying: practically every nation in history was born in bloodshed.

          • taz, well, what today is called left-wing when it is engaged in minority politics.
            I am used to a left with universal approach in socail, economic and political dimension, equal rights for everybody, not specific rights, differentiating along sexual, ethnical or religious or whatever frontiers.
            In my view these minority and difference policies are positions compatible with right wing politics, as we can observe this more symbolic policy of compensation of “victims of discrimination” by tearing apart universal solidarity and national society setting minority against minority, is going hand in hand with neoliberal economics, consequently executed by parties of all colours.
            Anyway, the taz usually is outspoken anti-Zionist in its coverage, with some minority orientated, postnationalist contributors of Jewish backgrounds like Isolde Charim, but publishes comments of supporters, too.

            • I wouldn’t call taz anti-Zionist.
              But that label does arguably apply to e.g. Neues Deutschland and Junge Welt (both born in the GDR).

              • I admit that I don`t read the taz since almost six, seven years, but at that time anti-Zionist was the right description, maybe there was a major change of politics which I somehow doubt.

  5. Neither can Sherwood’s observation in her April 1st article that “There is a prison library, but no gym” in the military prison where Blanc has been interred be said to be the most pressing of human rights issues in the Middle East at present.