Guardian omits context of antisemitism in report on Israel’s rescue of Yemen’s Jews

A Guardian report, on Israel’s dramatic airlift over the weekend of nineteen of the last 70 or so remaining Jews in Yemen, all but ignores the extremism and antisemitism at the root of the crisis necessitating their rescue.

Similarly, the report, by the paper’s former Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood (Israel airlifts 19 of last remaining Yemeni Jews, March 22), notes that the Jewish community in Yemen dates back two millennia, and numbered over 55,000 in the middle of the 20th century, but gives no clue as to why their numbers dwindled so dramatically.

Here are the relevant passages from Sherwood’s report:

Nineteen of the last remaining Jews in Yemen have been airlifted to Israel in a covert operation to rescue members of a community dating back two millennia from a brutal civil war.

One of them, a rabbi, carried with him a 500-year-old sacred Torah scroll, the removal of which symbolised the end of Yemen’s Jewish community.

Most Yemeni Jews, who numbered about 50,000 in the middle of the last century, have been brought to Israel over almost seven decades of secret airlifts, which the state has now declared are at end.

However, 50 Jews have chosen to stay in Yemen, most of them in a compound near the US embassy in the capital, Sana’a. The city fell under the control of the rebel Houthi movement – which operates under the slogan “Death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam” – in 2014.

Jews have been present in the region since the first century BC, living alongside Muslim neighbours. The bulk of Yemeni Jews were brought to Israel in 1949 and 1950 in Operation Magic Carpet.

Israel has run covert operations to bring Jews to the state since its inception in 1948. Jewish communities in Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia have largely been relocated to Israel.

Of course, the original Israeli airlifts in 1949 and 1950 were orchestrated in response to the increasingly perilous situation for Yemen’s Jews following antisemitic violence by Muslims. These include riots following the UN Partition Vote in 1947 in which 82 Jews were killed (and hundreds of Jewish homes destroyed) in Aden, and additional deadly attacks on Jewish communities following Israel’s creation in 1948. This omission mirrors the Guardian’s broader pattern of failing to report the state-sanctioned antisemitic attacks and discrimination in Arab countries which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of roughly 850,000 Jews in the region between 1947 and the early 70s.

Additionally, Sherwood (now the Guardian’s religion correspondent) provides little context to readers about attacks on Yemen’s remaining Jews by Islamic extremists in the 2000’s which would allow them to fully understand Israel’s airlift.  In addition to several high profile antisemitic attacks and murders, “jihadist gangs” have been harassing Yemen’s Jews, Jewish girls have been abducted and forced to marry Muslims, and all Jews have suffered various systemic social and economic handicaps under sharia law.  (Also ignored by Sherwood: one family that arrived in Israel from Sanaa is related to Aharon Zindani, who was killed in an antisemitic attack in 2012.)

Sherwood also fails to clearly convey that Iranian-backed Islamist (Houthi) rebels, in 2007, forced Jews in Saada to relocate to a secure government compound in Sana’a after threats of violence, including a letter sent to the community which reportedly read: “You should leave the area, or we will kidnap you and slaughter you.” 

In short, the Guardian failed to inform readers that the Jewish community in Yemen has almost entirely “relocated” to Israel because endemic antisemitism and Islamic radicalism in the country made continued Jewish life untenable. 


40 replies »

  1. “since the first century BC, living alongside Muslim neighbours”

    Is Sherwood hallucinating? Or has she just become used to her own Orwellian re-writing of history?

    • The Afrikaans word “apartheid” literally means “the state or condition of living separately”. The word “apartheid” doesn’t actually in itself mean that one section of the community is treated differently than the other, nor does it mean that one section of the community is seen as being of lesser quality. It could just mean that they have different life styles but happen to share one country, but we all know that till 1994 it was just a hypocritical way of describing the way blacks were treated by whites.

      So the Jews lived alongside their Muslim neighbours for the last 2000 odd years. It could just mean that they have different life styles but happen to share one country, It could, but somehow I get the impression – not, apparently shared by people who write for the Guardian – that all people living in the Yemen were equal, but some were more equal than others. Otherwise, why would they possibly want to leave.

      Some people are never satisfied.

        • “Some People are never satisfied”…..These Jews are never ever satisfied….They keep striving and conspiring for more Knowledge more Fundamental Decency More Humanity More Jewish Values…..

        • Yeah, some people are never satisfied. Oh, you don’t want all of Gaza + 97% of West Bank + remaining 3% made up with current Israel + Money to stop the Occupation you’ve been wailing about for how freaking long? AND THEN you want to complain when Jews around the world are sick and tired of seeing Israel being bashed, her citizens missiled and stabbed and shot at and run over due to some Arab government officials incitement and bullshit religious scapegoating? BUT you want us to consider you So Understanding because the Jews lived side-by-side Arabs in Sana’a (albeit not very peacefully since they’ve been, apparently, murdered, burned out, kidnapped, and forcibly married) for 2 millennia?

          You just can’t satisfy some people like Tohse Uppity Jews. Ain’t that right?

          • Jews lived in Yemen for 2,000 years, but there were only 55,000 at their high-water mark? Wy so few? Perhaps a little murder and mayhem over the years?

        • dearly beloved koufaxmitzvah – I’m sure you read what I wrote, but do you understand what I wrote? Does the idea of “irony” ever enter your head? Do I have to put everything I write in quotes with an explanatory footnote so that you can understand that it is not meant to be taken literally, but understood to be cynical irony? Is the use of the phrase “all people . . . are equal, but some were more equal than others” not a hint that I am trying to use irony as a delicate weapon?

          I also do not admire your language. This is not irony, this is serious and direct. Perhaps you disagree with something I wrote, but can you not express contempt with a little temperate language? How about a little wit and the use of the other 40,000 (or more) words in your vocabulary?

    • There were Muslims when T-Rex roamed the earth too.

      Such is the state of Fact Checking in Der Guardian. LOL!

      Der Guardian should be used as a wee-wee pad for puppies.

      • Another bit of non-argument – the verbal equivalent of sticking out your tongue and shouting “Nyah, nyah etc.” However, at least the vocabulary is less crude. We now have the discussion at the 8-year old level. A little less name-calling and a little more discourse, please.

  2. She writes for The Guardian where the re-writing of history to suit their anti-Israel narrative is de rigeur.

  3. “Jews have been present in the region since the first century BC, living alongside Muslim neighbours. ”

    So now, just as the Palestinians claim they are really the Philistines and have always been in Israel for three thousand years, the Guardian (well, Harriet the Chicken Lady) claims Muslims existed in Yemen 622 years before Islam.


    Is she also an Oxbridge liberal arts graduate?

    • She’s their expert on religion now that she’s done being their expert on Israel and its friendly, peaceful neighbors, and where to get a good mani/peti in peaceful, friendly Gaza. So good at so many things! ;0)

      • The first “century BC”? another crap : since the first MILLENIA BC and in fact even more considering the Hyksos were hebrews 1,750 years BC. That guardian’s treasure is crap, scrap,dung and trash.

  4. The Guardian is an irony-free zone – the letters page today is full of letters claiming that the party led by Hamas’ friend Corbyn isn’t really antisemitic.

    • Antisemitosis seems to be spreading. Apparently, even international law is antisemitic or is it the case that paranoid ultra nationalist Jewish extremists exploit the word for their own political ends:

      Even Ms Aloni is antisemitic:

      • One person makes a silly assertion, gets like-minded person to agree. On the political fringes this passes for a “proof.”

          • “religion of Peace”?

            See Brussels.

            See Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan, Boston Marathon, Pan Am 103, Metrojet, 9/11, San Bernardino, London 7/7/05, ISIS, Al Qada, Taliban, Boko Haram, Hamass, Hezbullah, Islamofascist Jihad, PLO, Muslim Brotherhood, Halabja, …

  5. Thank you Akus for pointing out the ridiculous statement that the Jews have lived beside their Muslim neighbors for 2,000 years, given the fact that Islam has only existed for about 1,500 years.

  6. Bending to arabs is just the same as europe used to bend to Hitler and Churchill said : “you’ll have dishonour + war. Now the situation is exactly the same and eu is getting dishonour + terror! GOOD!

    • International law is not antisemitic, it confirmed Jews’ rights over Palestine. INVERSIONS such as yours are antisemitic.

    • “Now the situation is exactly the same and eu is getting dishonour + terror! GOOD!”

      Mr. Davis it may be that you made an error in typing that sentence.

      However if you did not and that sentence conveys the meaning you wanted then you are no better than the low life terrorist scum who carry out the murderous attacks

      Would you like to explain to the victims their families and friends who will be suffering from loss, life changing injuries, and trauma, for the rest of their lives how yesterday’s, and other attacks, were “GOOD!” ?
      Or perhaps it would be better for you to slither back into the sewer with the other sociopathic scum where you so deservedly belong.

  7. As Adam often asserts, many readers have the attention span of fruit-flies and never get beyond the splash headline of I/P articles. So chances are that most posters here (and even, perhaps, he?) didn’t spot a “Related content” item at the foot of this news story @

    Just to be extra-helpful: It’s by Lyn Julius, headlined ‘The tragedy of the Yemeni Jews’ …. and contains almost all the contextual background Adam has taken so much trouble to demand.

  8. I just went to CiF and what a surprise, there is NO related content link there at all. I did read the article from almost 7 years ago and it does provide the kind of context that this article completely ignores. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prove your point at all for two reasons: the discussion is about a current piece that completely dropped the ball (and if you’re being honest, did so in a way that CiF often does by “forgetting” to report about prejudice and violence faced by Jews, since that doesn’t sit well with the Muslims or Hard-Leftists that you prefer), and enough terrible things have happened involving Yemeni Jews SINCE 2009 that your “scoop” just proves how shitty the current reporting on this subject has been.
    I’ll be honest: unlike Sencar or Gabriel Webber, you don’t seem to be a complete hybrid bigot/idiot. But your zeal burns for lying, incompetent people who abhor what CiF Watch does, and both you and them are fighting a losing battle. On a macro basis, you’ll never be in the right.

  9. The Guardian Makes sure that it lives up to it’s sordid reputation as a Racist Anti-Israel Rag….Their third rate writers must have been weaned on lemons,just read their sour and pathetic Tweets on Twitter….

  10. How in the name of anything decent was this Sheerwood woman allowed into Israel…..About welcome as Smallpox