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August 5, 2013 9:00 am

Western Media Ignores Hamas Crackdown on Journalists

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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A Hamas rally. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Poor Harriet Sherwood, missing the big picture while obsessively reporting about the latest round of Middle East peace talks that promise to end the six-decade-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a mere nine months.

While Sherwood, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, breathlessly relayed US President Barack Obama’s praising of the rebooted peace process, the Hamas-led government in Gaza – located a mere 50 miles away from Israel’s currently undivided capital city – was shutting down uncooperative media outlets in the territory.

n a July 29 post by the Guardian’s media blogger, Roy Greenslade, Gaza’s Attorney General Ismail Jaber was quoted as saying that the broadcaster Al-Arabiya and news agency Maan “fabricated news” that “threatened civil peace and damaged the Palestinian people and their resistance” to Israel.

Thankfully for freedom loving journalists such as Sherwood, this latest human rights violation by the demopathic Hamas movement is expected to be temporary – although when precisely the offices will actually be allowed to resume operations remains a question mark.

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Sherwood’s unwillingness to shed a bright light on Hamas’ latest crackdown on ‘counter-revolutionary’ voices represents a glaring and dangerous ideologically driven moral blind-spot – denying her significant readership access to uncomfortable facts about the neighborhood bullies who share a volatile border with Israel.

According to the independent watchdog organization Freedom House, the media in Gaza are not free. Following its takeover of Gaza, Hamas replaced the PA Ministry of Information with a government Media Office and banned all journalists not accredited by it; authorities also closed down all media outlets not affiliated with Hamas, whose security forces have allegedly tortured detainees.  Furthermore, Hamas has significantly restricted freedoms of assembly and association, with security forces violently dispersing public gatherings of Fatah and other groups.

Now, none of this is meant to imply that Sherwood can’t find Gaza on a map. Bright, curious and well-read, the Guardian’s intrepid Jerusalem correspondent has indeed filed reports about the goings-on in Gaza. Yet, she seems impervious to any news item that may distract her readers from the Israel-as-Goliath fable – and often fails to adequately fact check claims made by her Palestinian protagonists.

Yet, the broader issue is Sherwood’s chronic myopia vis-à-vis alleged human rights violations by Hamas against its own people.

And when facts prove to be stubborn and persistent, Sherwood simply tortures the English language in an attempt to whitewash any pesky Palestinian human rights abuses. Indeed, it takes an imagination most fertile to conceive of a group a group recognized as a terrorist movement by the United States, the European Union, the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan as merely “conservative“.

Indeed, Sherwood’s selective reporting is taking place at a most inopportune time. Try as she may to turn a blind eye, human rights violations in Gaza – not to mention the Palestinian Authority – are reportedly increasing. According to the Palestinian Independent Commission For Human Rights (ICHR) report, 2012 saw a 10 percent increase in the number of complaints about human rights abuses by the PA and Hamas, compared with 2011.

According to, Randa Siniora, executive director of ICHR, many complaints were related to arbitrary and political detentions, as well as torture and mistreatment.  The organization recommends that the PA and Hamas stop violating freedom of expression by interrogating Palestinians who are simply expressing their political views.

Why hasn’t Ms Sherwood followed up on the findings and recommendations of this report? Are not the alleged human rights violations of Israel’s presumptive peace partners of any relevance to the final configuration of a Palestinian state?

Whilst Sherwood relentlessly reports every slight endured by Palestinians at the hands of Israelis, she evidently sees nothing newsworthy about severe abuses perpetrated by Hamas against its civilian population.

Lying by omission is lying by either omitting certain facts or by failing to correct a misconception, and it appears that Sherwood has made a career out of overplaying news stories about every conceivable Israeli miscue, while leaving out information that would detract from the Palestinian victim narrative.

Her ho-hum reaction to the horrific treatment of her cherished Palestinians effectively perpetuates the racist assumption that Palestinians lack moral agency.

And now…back to the negotiating table!

Gidon Ben-Zvi is a Jerusalem-based writer. This article was originally published by CIF Watch.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • You forget that this is what Guardian readers want to hear. The British “Liberals” bend over backwards to support Muslim extremists, the fact that in the UK they have been responsible for so many atrocities such as the 7/7 bombings, the Glasgow Airport attacks, etc. makes them even more lovable! France has banned the jilbab (yashmak) in public, but here in the UK it is still perfectly permissible for a woman to hide her face, even though there are several documented cases of criminals (including terrorists) disguising themselves as Muslim jilbab-wearers to evade capture! Like the BBC’s report of Arafat’s funeral, which genuine eyewitnesses say was generally ignored by the population of Ramallah, Sherwood makes things up as she goes along. The International Federation of Journalists is busy campaigning to make Israel recognised the fake credentials of so-called “journalists”” who are really just Arab propagandists. The fact that their Gaza correspondent is still allowed to broadcast tells you a lot about what he has to say and means you cannot believe a word of it.

    • kertitor

      It does not matter if the Sherwood-like activists (I wouldn’t call them journalists)tell the truth or not. There is a war going on, and propaganda is a very effective weapon. Idiots, including Jewish idiots don’t or won’t understand this.

  • What Harriet Sherwood and her fellow travellers seem to be perpetuating is a soft bigotry of low expecations in relation to the same Palestinians that are the focal point of so much ersatz moral outrage.

    Ms Sherwood and her ilk hold Palestinian leaders to a lower standard of acceptable behavior while simultaneously judging Israel by a moral code that is not applied to any other sovereign nation on earth.

    Finally, Israel should pull out of the entire West Bank, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem…just as soon as China pulls out of occupied Tibet.

    Thank you for reading and responding to my post!

  • Fred

    She has the 3 wise monkeys mentality: see no evil, hear no evil & speak no evil. That is todays independent journalism paid by Arab money. She should move to Gaza in
    area of journalistic harmony, why stay with despised Israel.

  • Efram Paul

    So what else is new? Miss Sherwood is a sell-out, not a journalist. She is an anti-Semite, not an unbiased reporter of facts. This creature is typical of the breed of journalists whose attitude is simple:

    If it is right, it is wrong.
    If it is Jewish it is wrong.
    If it is Muslim it is great and wonderful.
    If the facts do not support the story, ignore them.

    Such a reporter is really a fan, not a provider of information. Whomever she supports is great. I guess you could say, “My worldview right or wrong.” Dr. Goebbels would have been proud.

    • Leah Tcherniakovsky

      Yes, Goebbels was her mentor, unfortunately she was not his victim, set the clock back and give him another chance. Y”S”. She is braindead. like so many others, unfortunately, sadly, some of our intellectual liberal Jewish Brethren who embrace the enemy. Right here in my neighborhood, the UWS, BJ et al, all of the f ln liberal intellectual s with knee jerk reacitons and views more apppropirate ot 59 embrace the 0years ago, what a shonda . go spy for the enemy go spy against the jewish state, go commit suicide rather than be enlisted to IDF per your chief rabbis exhortations, what an upside down world. and Lau cheated on his smicha tests, i am told that all of them do by an israeli followng the scene 65 years. lau cheats and yoseph calls all kipot serugot AMALEK, how “cute”, may the “non-amaleks” per his definition be wiped out, hafuch, not the religious zionists, the kipot serugot but the radicalized ultras who have lost all ability to think rationally, too inbred. give it time. what a disgraceful busha v’cherpa, and shonda. did i miss anything. i am not even ortho, at all, but wrapped up in this nest, mess, of fraud, financial, pedophilia, and now, smicah fraud, hey , did i miss anything? If so, they will find it, and violate it, they who are above the law, the three monkeys, as a previous poster wrote, see no evil, hear no evil ……. this is not going anywhere positive. and bibi frees 104 terrorist civilian murderers. thank you Bibi who will be the next victim? do you have relatives? perchance?

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