A call from the Guardian's Israel bureau


By Stephen Pollard
May 17, 2011
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UPDATE: Ms Sherwood left me a voicemail after seeing my initial post below, complaining that she did not scream. And you know what, listening to the conversation, it's a fair point and I'm happy to change that. It felt like screaming to me as her voice was very loud on my phone. I've edited the post to take that out. I've also changed the post so that it's made up of verbatim quotes, now that I have been able to transcribe the conversation.

How did I listen to it? Because she recorded it. She casually dropped into the voicemail the news that she had an MP3 of it.

At no point did she tell me that she was recording it. So she has broken the law. What a fantastic piece of Guardian hypocrisy, to (rightly) lead the charge against phone tapping but then to break the law so casually in recording our conversation.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I've just had a truly bizarre conversation with Harriet Sherwood, the Guardian's correspondent in Israel (with whom, I should say, I have never before exchanged a word, either in person or via email).

Normally when a mainstream journalist calls it's for help, for a quote or for something specific. Not this time. Ms Sherwood rang me to have a go at me for publishing a piece by Geoffrey Alderman last week,  which began:

Few events - not even the execution of Osama bin Laden - have caused me
greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian
so-called "peace activist" Vittorio Arrigoni.

Pretty arresting, indeed, and not something I would have written. But then the editor of a paper doesn't agree with everything in the paper. Ms Sherwood doesn't seem to realise that.

'Do you not think that to relish in the vicious death of someone at the hands of Hamas is something you had second thoughts about publishing?'

I pointed out that it's not my view but it's the view of the writer.

'But if you publish stuff in the paper you have to accept that, even opinion pieces...For someone to write about the pleasure they have in!...This was a peace activist!'

I pointed out that Mr Arrigoni was not a 'peace activist' but a member of ISM, a hardcore anti-Israel group.

Ms Sherwood then asked, as if the argument that he wasn't a peace activist was ridiculous: 'Do people deserve to be murdered for that!?'

Her questioning was frankly unintelligible, since it was predicated on my holding Geoffrey Alderman's opinion, which I don't.

I pointed out again that I don't agree with all the columns in the JC.

This came as a big shock to her: 'But you're defending your printing of the piece!'

'Of course I am. I edit the paper.' I replied.

There's more, but you get the full drift.

Utterly bizarre. Or maybe not, given what she writes in the Guardian. 

 

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 12:45

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https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=364830174830

Arrigoni was a Jew hater but of course Sherwood would seek to deny that.

The Guardian is a sewer - QED


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 12:55

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Most of Alderman's article is ok, in my view, though he should have mentioned Arrigoni's anti-Jewish language and imagery rather than call him a 'Jew-hater', perhaps.

But Pollard's allowing this

'Few events - not even the execution of Osama bin Laden - have caused me
greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian
so-called "peace activist" Vittorio Arrigoni.'

Was a serious error of judgment. Which doesn't change the problematical nature of Sherwood's assertion that he was a 'peace-activist', simply needlessly undermine's Pollard's and Alderman's argument for it.

I have no love for Sherwood or TG, but Pollard's laxity hands them a moral point I'd rather them denied.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 12:55

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Perhaps Jonathan would like to point out where in the Italian to which he has linked there is anything anti-jewish


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 12:59

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Pollard, to deny TG a moral point, why don't you apologise for allowing Alderman to speak of his pleasure at the death of another?

It doesn't take away from the fact that Arrigoni was objectionable on other fronts.

Isn't there evidence that VA was murdered for his homosexuality, and that Hamas could at least been complicit, since, obviously, Arrigoni's embracing Haniyeh would obviously have offended some Islamists, if it was known that VA was openly gay?

At any rate, his death could have been remarkably conveninent for them.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:05

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'Perhaps Jonathan would like to point out where in the Italian to which he has linked there is anything anti-jewish'

His poster of Israeli Jews crucifying Jesus?

His Jordanian poster 'No Israelis and no dogs'?

Not necessarily anti-Jewish alone, but in the context of omitting to mention a Jordanian ban on Jewish immigration since about 1920 de facto unjust to the Jews concerned qua Jewish. There are sins of omission as well as commission, likewise for injustice against Jews.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:28

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As you note, Israelis not Jews. Not all Jews are Israelis. Not all Israelis are Jews.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:32

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My Italian is admittedly very rusty, but it seems to be a piece complaining about the imagery.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:33

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'As you note, Israelis not Jews. Not all Jews are Israelis. Not all Israelis are Jews.'

Except

a) he surely meant Israeli Jews, not Israeli Arab Christians or Muslims

b) it is unjust to brandish that against Israeli Jews for all kinds of reasons, not least that Jews were banned from immigrating to Jordan since 1920 and that became part of Jordanian law at independence.

A 'peace-activist' should know better, and should refrain from injustice by omission as well as commission.

In any case, brandishing a ban against Israeli Jews is still anti-Jewish discrimination, in my view.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:34

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I hate to tell you this, Millis, but just because Pollard has made a mistake doesn't mean that you're right.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:36

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I agree macairt, but it seems Jonathan got the wrong end of the stick. Even with my rudimentary Italian it seems to an attack on anti-Jewish discrimination.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:36

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There is also Arrigoni's literal embrace of Hamas, without any substantial criticism of its anti-Jewish, or even anti-Israeli, views.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:37

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I wouldn't presume for a second to question your logic, macairt. Even homer nods.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:39

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As I say, he may or may not have embraced hamas' positions, but the piece in Italian seems to be an attack on anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:40

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Oh, for FFS, A. is publishing a notice he found in a shop window in Jordan.

The irony is, as I said, that Jews were banned by the British from immigrating to Transjordan in 1920, by Jordanian law in 1950 or so.

The ignoramus A. doesn't seem to know that, or does and ignores it. Either way he perpetuating an injustice against Jews.

And that doesn't touch on the 'Israeli Jew' thing, which it is.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:43

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'As I say, he may or may not have embraced hamas' positions, '

He literally embraced Haniyeh, without any substantial criticism of him or Hamas, so far as the record shows.

'but the piece in Italian seems to be an attack on anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination.'

Huh? How?


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:46

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Indeed, A was using the notice as an example of anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination that needed to be attacked. Someone here thought it was an example of A's antisemitism. It wasn't. Quite the opposite. That person really has to learn to look before he leaps. He's got into trouble for that before.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:49

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Macairt, using my very rudimentary Italian I understood A's piece as being an attack on anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination - and indeed all discrimination.


Lukas

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 13:56

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' . . pointed out that Mr Arrigoni was not a 'peace activist' but a member of ISM, a hardcore anti-Israel . .

Exactly why is the ISM 'hard core' and 'anti Israeli?'

In the same way that the JC is 'hard core' anti Arab / Muslim presumably?

Yesterday, when in the West Bank, Giorgio Napolitano, President of Italy, said that the Palestinian representative in Italy would be upgraded to Ambassador. Good for Italy.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:14

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But, to iterate, to allow Alderman's expression of pleasure at the murder of another (and I admit, I didn't weep much myself), is a bad error of judgment which potentially allows serious criticisms to be leveled at JC editorial policy, including incitement to hate.

It is true that TG is a platform for Hamas advocy, and by omitting to mention Hamas' expulsionism and eliminationism against Israeli Jews may be a de facto accomplice to it i.e. a very serious enemy of Israeli and other Jews.

But it is careful to avoid publishing those expressing pleasure at the deaths of Israelis or those sympathetic.

I don't like Sherwood or Arrigoni. But that does not excuse Alderman's lapse of control or Pollard's lapse of judgment.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:18

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'using my very rudimentary Italian I understood A's piece as being an attack on anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination'

Well, aside my having at least a degree in Greek and Latin, and having lived in Italy for over a year, I have a lot more than rudimentary Italian and I can't read any such thing.


JC Webmaster

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:20

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This comment by Macairt has been moderated


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:21

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'advocy'

advocacy


Advis3r

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:32

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O heavens Lukas is comparing The ISM and the JC. let's see would the JC:
Carry an article, written by ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf which stated, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent...Yes, people will get killed and injured,” but these deaths are “no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation. And we are certain that if these men were killed during such an action, they would be considered shaheed Allah.”
As ISM has been be Involved in the violent protests against the security barrier at Ni’lin.
As ISM did - help terrorists taking refuge in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002.
In March 2003, senior Islamic Jihad terrorist Shadi Sukiya was arrested while he was hiding in ISM’s Jenin office and being assisted by two ISM activists.
As in 2003, be involved when terrorists originating from UK attacked the Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv, murdering three people. An official Israeli report showed how the terrorists covered their tracks “by forging links with foreign left wing activists and members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).” According to this report, “ISM members take an active part in illegal and violent actions against IDF soldiers. At times, their activities are under the auspices of Palestinian terrorist organizations.” Mike's Place bombers entered Israel with ISM's Alternative Tourism (similar to what Siraj does).
One of the dubious and effective strategies of the ISM has been to dupe and indoctrinate naive young students, turning them into anti-Israel activists. The anti-Israel coalition has been specially focusing on co-opting impressionable Jewish students on college campuses. To this end, one of their effective methods, has been to create front groups conveying a most appealing mission statement to attract impressionable and caring students.
During the 2008 and 2010 trips, the participants met with George N. Rishmawi, the ISM leader. He is the one who said: "if some of those foreign volunteers get shot than the international media will take notice."
ISM also used its alternative Tourism to get terrorists into Israel. Students who were co-opted by ISM and its front groups, have been participating in violent and terror terror activities. Their safety has been endangered and some were killed.
So the comparison is somewhat odious. The ISM is hard core anti-Israel the JC whatever its faults cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called hard core anti-Arab/Muslim.
As to the Italian President he does not seem to have co-orinated his position with the Italian Government which has indicated that it will refuse to recognise an anti-Semitic terrorist kleptocracy if it is ever unilaterally declared.


JC Webmaster

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:34

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This comment by Joe Millis has been moderated


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:36

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The head of the Italian government must have been at a Bunga-Bunga party when the decision was taken to upgrade the PA's status.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:37

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And when is that Hamas advocacy platform, The Guardian, and its resident reporter, Sherwood, going to mention any of this?

http://justjournalism.com/the-wire/hamas-in-gaza-%E2%80%98all-the-lethal...

The guy Arrigoni embraced, smiling, sounding off into a microphone, just said this:

‘The Zionist project in Palestine must end,’ Haniya told participants at the dawn prayers at al-Omari Mosque, as Palestinians were marking Nakba Day.’

Al Qassam website - Gaza City - Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian premier in Gaza, reiterated in Gaza City on Sunday that Hamas movement would not recognize Israel. He told hundreds of worshippers at Gaza City's main mosque 'to pray for the end of the state of Israel.

http://www.qassam.ps/news-4531-Haniya_Hamas_wont_recognize_Israel.html

For TG, a certain level of 'background antisemitism' is unremarkable/acceptable, of reporting exactly not 'worthy', to use Sherwood's word.

That is a sin, a serious sin, of omission.


JC Webmaster

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:39

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This comment by Macairt has been moderated


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:42

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OK, Moderator, I shouldn't say, Shut up.

I just think that people who can't read Italian, but who claim they can, should.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:45

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Sorry, Moderator.

More temperately:

'Indeed, A was using the notice as an example of anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination that needed to be attacked.'

What????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

'Someone here thought it was an example of A's antisemitism. It wasn't. Quite the opposite.'

Rubbish. He was reproducing a Jordanian sign banning entry to Israeli Jews (because it was about Jews, not Israeli Arabs or Israeli 'Palestinians').

'That person really has to learn to look before he leaps. He's got into trouble for that before.'

He's not the only one.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:45

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"Macairt", it took you long enough to work out that you knew Italian, Greek, Latin and no doubt other languages such as Dutch, French and Hebrew. Try again, Blacklisted Dictator/etc.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:50

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'"Macairt", it took you long enough to work out that you knew Italian, Greek, Latin and no doubt other languages such as Dutch, French and Hebrew. Try again, Blacklisted Dictator/etc.'

What are you talking about?


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:51

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And I don't know any Dutch.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:52

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Denial, it's not just a river in Africa, "Macairt".


Advis3r

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 14:55

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It's the fixated Millis can't win an argument so starts with the poster - now where have I seen this before? He must have been a really bad boy he has now been moderated. Yes I am still posting from Israel where it is unbearably hot right now or at least it is where I am.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 15:02

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"Advis3r", coming to the defence of yourself now? I suppose no one else will. Hot in Israel? In may? How unsurprising. Did you find that out by looking at the Jerusalem post's website?


Advis3r

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 15:06

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Italian politician: Vittorio Arrigoni was ‘enemy of Jews’
http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?ID=217861&R=R1


Advis3r

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 15:21

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You are just too ridiculous for words but the word "pitiable" does spring to mind. No I did not have to look up the weather for Israel but I did have to find out that apparently it's 18c in Central london right now. BTW I do not speak Italian.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 15:22

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I wonder if "Macairt" can supply us with a translation of the piece.


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 15:23

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Snork, "advis3r". Why don't you go and play with your watch site?


Advis3r

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 15:30

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Since I do not have a "watch site" whatever that may mean I will not go and play elsewhere - I would not go in any event I am not sure why you think you have the right to tell me to go elsewhere or that I would listen to you. It is obvious that anyone who upsets/disagrees with your world view should expect to be personally attacked - you should come with a Government Health Warning.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:03

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'I wonder if "Macairt" can supply us with a translation of the piece.'

Why can't you?

I have too much else to do.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:04

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'Denial, it's not just a river in Africa, "Macairt"'

What?


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:08

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IOW, "Macairt", your Italian is as good as my Hungarian. Non-existant


suzanna

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:15

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'As to the Italian President he does not seem to have co-orinated his position with the Italian Government which has indicated that it will refuse to recognise an anti-Semitic terrorist kleptocracy if it is ever unilaterally declared'.

Aside from your obvious hatred of The Palestinians why do you assume that the Palestinians want nothing more than freedom and independence? Why should they live under occupation?
Is that what you would prefer, that the Palestinians live for evermore under occupation?


suzanna

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:17

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What is this 'Italian translation' that you all refer to?

I can translate it.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:24

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IOW, "Macairt", your Italian is as good as my Hungarian. Non-existant'

Uhuh? Then why did you claim you could read it a priori? And where's the evidence for your claim?

You have to prove your positive assertion. I was just disputing. The onus is on you.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:25

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What's IOW?


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:28

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I wrote, "rudimentary Italian". I made no claim to be perfecto in Italiano. You claimed your Italian was far better than mine. So, show us your linguistic prowess and prove once and for all that the piece is indeed anti-Jewish/Israeli.


Macairt

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:43

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'I wrote, "rudimentary Italian". I made no claim to be perfecto in Italiano.'

You claimed

'Indeed, A was using the notice as an example of anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination that needed to be attacked. Someone here thought it was an example of A's antisemitism. It wasn't. Quite the opposite.'

implying you could read Italian well enough to discern that in it. I'm saying that's rubbish. But the onus is on you to prove that is what it says by translating it.

'You claimed your Italian was far better than mine.'

Clearly it is.

'So, show us your linguistic prowess and prove once and for all that the piece is indeed anti-Jewish/Israeli.'

No. You demonstrate it is not directed against Israeli Jews. My wider pointed about Jordan and Jews isn't in there, obviously. Hence sin of omission.

Then demonstrate:

'Indeed, A was using the notice as an example of anti-Jewish/Israeli discrimination that needed to be attacked. Someone here thought it was an example of A's antisemitism. It wasn't. Quite the opposite.'


Joe Millis

Tue, 05/17/2011 - 16:51

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I read it well enough to discern that. You have to prove your claim that it is not. You can't, so you squirm. Nice try.