Who Supports Marwan Barghouti?

Marwan Barghouti

“Birds of a feather flock together.” This phrase could be applied to many journalists plying their trade in Israel. They hang out with other journalists and those who share a similar political viewpoint on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It also means that many foreign journalists are unable to discern the multitude of opinions held by ordinary Israelis other than to make sweeping generalizations.

Perhaps that’s why The Independent’s Catrina Stewart wrote the following about convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti:

Many Israelis also support him, seeing him as a pragmatist who has indicated he would recognise a Jewish state alongside an independent Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.

There is no qualitative or quantitative evidence to back this assertion. Actual electoral statistics and polls, however, would suggest that the only Israelis “supporting” the campaign to free Barghouti (not, hopefully, justifying his terrorist activities) are those on the political fringes such as Gush Shalom, which even the mainstream Israeli press has termed as “radical” and even “extreme”.

Sorry Catrina – maybe it’s about time you visited an Israeli market or even a major city thoroughfare to find out what the Israeli “street” really thinks. Or does sitting in the bar of the American Colony Hotel in eastern Jerusalem agreeing with fellow journalists, NGO workers and Palestinians constitute taking the pulse of the Israeli people these days?

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