Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood joins the Hasbara brigade

According to the Guardian's Harriet Sherwood this is the arsenal Turkish volunteers were going to deploy to wipe Israel off the map.

As comedian Robert Newman would say, The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood has all the credulity of a ’70s porn character. ‘Gee mister, you mean the time machine will work if I take off all my clothes?’

Consider this execrable piece of propaganda. Sherwood credits Israeli justifications of the freedom flotilla massacre because 3 of the 9 Turks killed in the atrocity had in the past expressed their readiness for martyrdom. (Only in the Israeli imagination is the generic term martyrdom–sacrificing oneself for a cause–equated with a commitment to violence). There is no mention of the fact that the Israeli military attacked the flotilla in international waters. It was an act of war and the volunteers had every right to resist. Alas, they only had slingshots and furniture legs.

Here is how she starts:

A hardcore of 40 Turkish jihadis on board the Mavi Marmara was responsible for the violence that led to nine deaths and dozens of injuries on the flotilla taking aid to Gaza, the Israeli government claimed today.

Ah, the Israeli government claimed. Must be true then. But incase you had doubts, she marshalls an even more impressive source.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who is in Jerusalem for a conference on counter-insurgency, agreed with the assertion that there was a core of violent activists on board the Mavi Marmara.

Now even a mediocre journalist would be sceptical when someone alleges that activists were “deliberately setting out to kill security forces and innocent people”. She would have the good sense to run the name through google to investigate possible conflicts of interest. Not Sherwood. The good scribe won’t defile the propaganda message with the imprint of her own good judgment. Had she checked, she would have discovered that Kemp is a well-known Israel lobby propagandist who is regularly trotted out to justify the unjustifiable, prostituting his British army pedigree. Last year, he went on television at the peak of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza to exonerate the aggressor, and later told an audience in Israel ‘”the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other Army in the history of warfare”. He also appeared before the Goldstone Commission as a witness for the American Jewish Committee front-group UN Watch and left the panel bemused when he declared — without ever having stepped in Gaza — that “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza”.

If Sherwood has any shame at all, she would resign. But anyone who publishes something like this evidently has none. It is therefore incumbent on the Guardian to save its reputation and relieve this stupid person from a job for which she  is clearly ill-equipped. You can write her at:

Alse check out my earlier post on the BBC’s propaganda.

UPDATE: Ibn Kafka and Juan Cole reveal that some photos of the alleged ‘weapons’ have in fact been online for years. Even this pathetic evidence had to be forged!).

I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza”

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

3 thoughts on “Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood joins the Hasbara brigade”

  1. In international waters, they were entitled/obliged to repel armed masked pirates!!! Yielding without at least some resistance might be construed as complicity!!!! I’ve no problem with those who put safety first – especially in dealings with blood thirsty child killing Zionist – but I’d hope in similar circumstances to have the courage/balls of the Turks to show some resistance.
    I’d expect that iron balls, Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish PM, will not have rolled over in the face of Zionists’ breaching of international law!

  2. The Irish Foreign Minster Micheál Martin accused Israel of “essentially kidnapping” Irish citizens who were aboard ships targeted by the Israeli military.

    “These people did not enter Israel illegally. They were essentially kidnapped from international waters, taken into Israel, and asked to sign documents confirming that they entered illegally. That is unacceptable,” he said.

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