Harriet Sherwood’s reading list, and the “violence of coexistence”

In a recent post from Harriet Sherwood’s blog about an exhibit at Israel’s Museum on the Seam called “The Right to Protest“, we are treated to a glimpse into what informs the Guardian Jerusalem Correspondent’s views on the region.

The Museum’s history includes – in the period between 1949 and 1967, when Jews were prevented by the Jordanians from entering the Eastern portion of the city – its use as a military outpost (the Turjeman Post), as it stood on the seam line between Israel and Jordan.

Its stated mission is as follows:

“The Museum is committed to examining the social reality within our regional conflict, to advancing dialogue in the face of discord and to encouraging social responsibility that is based on what we all have in common rather than what keeps us apart.”

While Sherwood acknowledges, during the course of her post, that, consistent with the theme of the exhibit, “[Israel] is full of protests”, of course, even while writing a review about an art installation – in an Israeli Museum in “West” Jerusalem – she can’t resist bludgeoning her readers with a narrative containing some element of Israeli oppression.

Sherwood notes:

A recent article in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs (WRMEA) by Awatef Sheikh delves further into the history of the building, reporting that it was built by the Palestinian Baramki family in 1934. Their Palestinian tenants were forced out in the 1948 war, and the Baramkis’ efforts to regain their property, to which they have the deeds, have been rejected. The article is highly critical of the museum, describing it as “yet another example of the erasure of anything Palestinian through pacifist and aesthetic means”.

The outrageous notion that the mere existence of an Israeli Museum – one whose very mission is to promote peace and reconciliation – represents something akin to soft ethnic cleansing shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with the publication Sherwood cites.

WRMEA is a notorious and viruently anti-Israel publication, one which legitimized, in 2009, the hideously anti-Semitic organ trafficking story by the Swedish paper, Aftonbladt, in a piece by Alison Weir.

But, that doesn’t represent a fraction of the magazine’s malice towards Jews and Israel. Per CAMERA:

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, for example, regularly describes American supporters of Israel with such words as “cancer,” “alien intrusion,” “Israel-firsters,” “subversion,” and “perversion.” It has referred to the State Department and Congress as “Israeli-occupied territory.” It has alleged that Israel’s “friends in the US government are working secretly for Israeli interests … against the interests of the US,” and that some “governmental and congressional personalities [are] so obsessed with helping Israel that they are ready to betray their colleagues, their employers and even their country.”

The Washington Report has also carried ads for Roger Garaudy’s notorious book The Founding Myths of Israeli Policy, which denies the Holocaust.

Was Sherwood not aware of WRMEA’s notoriety before citing it as a source for her blog?  I guess its possible, but you’d think that merely reading the opening passage of the essay she cited would have given her a sense of the publication’s anti-Israel extremism.

Violence can take many forms in a colonial occupation—from killing to torture, home demolitions, kidnappings, roadblocks and military invasions, to name but a few. Especially in the context of an ongoing colonialism, seemingly pacifist terms such as coexistence represent another form of violence, one perpetrated not only against the indigenous community but also against aesthetics and knowledge. This is precisely the case with Jerusalem’s Museum on the Seam. [emphasis mine]

It takes a truly deluded mind – one which clearly has been exposed to a lot of extreme ideological conditioning – to take seriously the notion that even Israelis who work towards achieving peace and reconcilliation with their Palestinian neighbors are merely practicing another form of violence and oppression.

And, it takes a profoundly morally confused journalist to not be viscerally repulsed by such a bizarre and vile moral inversion.

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