Harriet Sherwood’s latest anti-Israel lie by omission: LGBT Edition

Harriet Sherwood must surely wake up in the morning and check her unique (Guardian designed) Google Alert – one set with an ideological algorithm which only highlight stories in the media and on the wires capable of showing Israel in a negative light.

Indeed, Sherwood’s Schadenfreude in the face of even the most minor Israeli embarrassment is palpable and literally seeps off the pages.

A case in point: her latest schoolyard taunt of the Jewish state in “Israel military accused of staging gay pride photo“, June 13th, which begins with a sentence that I couldn’t help but find humorous.

“The Israeli military has been accused of staging a photograph published to celebrate its progressive attitude to homosexuality.”

At question is a photo of two presumably gay IDF soldiers holding hands which went viral on Facebook, though it later was revealed that the soldiers are not in a relationship.

But what I find amusing is the final part of Sherwood’s sentence, which charges Israel of celebrat[ing] its progressive attitude to homosexuality“.

Is there any other country in the world which would stand accused of celebrating a clear and undebatable progressive advantage?

But a broader point needs to be made about the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent. She did not attend the media tour for reporters and bloggers on the subject of Gay rights in Israel in which I participated during Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Week.

The session included informative talks by, among others, Shai Doitsh – Chairperson of the Board for The Aguda, “Israel’s pioneer lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization” and Adir Steiner – Deputy Service Manager and Coordinator of City Pride Events (for Tel Aviv – Yafo).

Also, quite interestingly, neither Sherwood nor any other reporter at the Guardian deemed it newsworthy (in the context of their obsessive coverage of Israel) to report on the city’s internationally famous Gay Pride Parade – a hugely popular event which drew an estimated 30,000 attendees. 

But it is in the penultimate paragraph that Sherwood pivots from mere characteristic agenda-driven journalism to downright dishonesty through lies by omission:

“The US repealed its ban on openly gay and lesbian service personnel last September. Its previous policy, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell”, had forced gay and lesbian soldiers to “lie about who they are”, said the president, Barack Obama. There are an estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian service personnel in the US military.

The ban on gay and lesbian people serving in the British military was lifted in 1999.” [emphasis added]

Yet somehow during the the course of writing these last passages Sherwood evidently made the editorial decision not to inform her readers of one rather vital and yet supremely inconvenient fact in the context of U.S. and UK policies regarding gays and lesbians noted above.

Israel has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the IDF since 1993 – that is, 6 years prior to similar rights being granted in the UK and 19 years prior to such LGBT rights being codified in the U.S.!

Finally, note that the Guardian’s Live Blog from Gaza on June 8 didn’t once so much as mention the repression of gays and lesbians by Hamas.

The hypocrisy is stunning.

I’ll leave you with a photo of a mural – completed last month and appearing in New York City’s West Village – contrasting gay rights in Israel and Arab states. As Times of Israel reported:

“Adem Carroll, a member of the steering committee of the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition for Truth and Justice, called the mural “blatantly divisive, opposing Israel against its neighbors in the region,”

Yeah, THAT’s what divides Israel from its neighbors!

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