Tinfoil keffiyehs at Electronic Intifada

We’ve known for some time that the folks at Electronic Intifada (EI) have an unhealthy obsession with Irish4Israel. So, on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, when we saw an increase in website traffic coming through from there, we knew something was up.

Do you want your oul’ lobby watched down? Contact EI.

Do you want your oul’ lobby watched down? Contact EI.

 

Sure enough, there was an article on their page written by David Cronin. David’s latest concern is that in a Facebook post, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar had tagged the founder of Irish4Israel, Barry Williams. His post was about a cartoon representation of the Taoiseach on a coffee mug and Mr Varadkar was humorously asking if the representation looked anything like him. He tagged Barry in response to a question Barry had raised in a previous post.

Leo Varadkar has tens of thousands of Facebook followers and Barry is one of them. However, such an innocent explanation is of no interest to the tinfoil hatters at Electronic Intifada and a mere two words on Facebook has led to a diatribe by David Cronin that’s probably about a thousand times longer.

It’s vintage Electronic Intifada stuff with much dark mutterings about who Leo Varadkar chooses to have or not to have for Facebook followers and (oh, the horror!) the possibility that An Taoiseach might dare to differ with their simplistic and binary analysis of the Israel/Palestine issue. Apparently. “multiple requests for comment to Varadkar went unanswered”, another special phrase beloved of the EI brigade who seek to make something sinister out of the fact that no-one important pays them a blind bit of notice. Sorry, David, but the proper word to use is “ignored” because the prime minister of a nation of 4.6 million people has a lot more to do than deal with the paranoid obsessives of EI telling him who he should or shouldn’t have as followers on social media.

Storm in a coffee mug

LV1

The article refers darkly to the affair as “The Mystery of the Mug”. We at Irish4Israel would not be so unkind as to wonder if the real mug is between a computer and a chair at Electronic Intifada but really; this stuff is beyond parody. Is El trying to be Breitbart for leftists and anti-Zionists? Or even The Onion?

This is not the first time that Electronic Intifada has written in paranoid terms about Barry Williams and Irish4Israel. It tends to lead to more hits on our website and a temporary peak in donations so the publicity certainly doesn’t hurt us. However, it does point to a familiar theme of petulant leftists who simply can’t bear to accept that there are people in the world who disagree with them. They feel that this is so WRONG that there must be conspiracies and sinister forces at play. Such anti-intellectualism used to only be a feature of the far-right. Not any more.

Protect yourself against that Zionic radiation!

Protect yourself against that Zionic radiation!

It’s not an attitude we reciprocate. We’re happy to accept that others disagree with us on the Israel/Palestine issue and don’t see any dark plots or sinister schemes. We’ll leave the tinfoil headgear (keffiyehs, presumably?) for the folks in Electronic Intifada. However, we might tag Leo in a Facebook post sometime soon. Pots (and coffee mugs) don’t stir themselves. :-)

 

 

 

 

 


Israel: The Canary In The Coalmine

‘Why the hypocrisy?’ When It Comes To Israel, It’s An Ironic Question

The recent spate of terrorist attacks across Europe, with jihadists using vehicles and knives to maim and kill innocent civilians appear to be waking some European governments up to the reality that the so-called ‘charities’ they support are, in fact, supporting incitement to hate. According to a recent article in Israel Hayom, the governments of Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden have frozen funding to a Palestinian NGO called WATC because of its involvement with a terrorist who murdered dozens of Israelis.

Screen capture from an animated video warning ‘Zionists’ they will be targeted in car ramming attacks. (screen capture: YouTube/JewTube.tv)

Screen capture from an animated video warning ‘Zionists’ they will be targeted in car ramming attacks. (screen capture: YouTube/JewTube.tv)

It’s a start, and quite a satisfying one at that, given that two years ago, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom publicly called for a “thorough investigation in order to bring about accountability” of Israeli security forces carrying out “extra-judicial killings” of Palestinian terrorists.

Her hypocritical call, given that she’d never called for such accountability from any other country who had experienced terrorist attacks, came at the height of a particularly intensive and vicious “car and stabbing intifada” within Israel, with Hamas and Palestinian Authority leaders urging their followers to use accelerators and knives to spill as much Jewish blood as possible.

Left: Gas pedal exchanged for ammunition magazine. The Arabic reads, "Hero, take hold of your weapon" (PALDF, November 6, 2014). Right: Traffic sign showing a car hitting civilians. The Arabic reads "The vehicle intifada, [vehicular] attack" (PALDF, November 5, 2014).

Left: Gas pedal exchanged for ammunition magazine. The Arabic reads, “Hero, take hold of your weapon” (PALDF, November 6, 2014). Right: Traffic sign showing a car hitting civilians. The Arabic reads “The vehicle intifada, [vehicular] attack” (PALDF, November 5, 2014).

Palestinians duly took to the streets with knives, scissors, cars and guns, while social media was aflame with violent videos and graphics encouraging them to “Hit the gas at 199 [km/h] for Al-Aqsa” and sing happily along to lyrics such as “Run over the two-month-old-baby – that is how we get them” and “He began fighting with a car, running over them like rabbits.”

Any of this sound familiar? Is Europe finally realising that Israel is the canary in the coalmine? Or is the move by the above governments too little, too late? It’s a sobering question, especially given the Palestinian Authority has paid out some $1.2 billion in “salaries” over the past four years to terrorists and their families, otherwise known as the “Martyrs Fund.”

An anatomical chart posted on Palestinian social media showing which parts of the body to aim for when stabbing a victim. (Courtesy of MEMRI)

An anatomical chart posted on Palestinian social media showing which parts of the body to aim for when stabbing a victim. (Courtesy of MEMRI)

The Israeli legal system is as robust as any other democratic country and anyone can call for a hearing or bring a case against the State if there has been a miscarriage of justice. But many European countries, including Ireland, fund NGOs working outside and within Israel which cause the State unprecedented amounts of interference and damage, particularly when it comes to the matters of the law.

According to NGO Monitor in 2015 the Irish government provided direct funding of €720,000 to Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and over €32 million in funding to Irish and international NGOs involved in anti-Israel activities. Among these NGOs are PCHR, Yesh Din and  Al-Haq, leaders in anti-Israel “lawfare” who propose sabotaging the Israeli court system by “flooding [it] with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.”

And closer to home, in June of this year Trócaire launched a video, petition and street display accusing Israel of denying Palestinians “their right to freedom of movement”, in a direct response to Israel’s need for security checkpoints due to the terrorism that has killed hundreds of Israelis and maimed scores more.

All the while, European governments are continually reviewing their security measures and there is a noticeable increase in armed police and soldiers on the streets of UK, France and Belgium. Only this week the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, issued a statement promising “if someone runs in St. Mark’s Square screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ we’ll shoot him.” Here’s a quick reminder of the recent spate of terrorist attacks within Europe where the terrorists were shot dead by security forces:

August 25 2017: In Brussels, a machete-wielding man was shot dead by soldiers after he attacked them shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

August 17 2017: The Barcelona terror attacks killed 14 people when a terrorist ploughed a van into a crowd killing 13 and injuring more than 100. Police shot dead five terrorists after a second attack in Cambrils, a coastal town south of Barcelona.

June 3 2017: The London Bridge terror attack killed 8 people and injured many others. Three knifemen were shot dead by police after mowing down pedestrians and going on a killing spree at pubs and restaurants.

April 20 2017: A police officer was gunned down on the Champs Elysses in Paris. The attacker was shot dead by police.

March 27 2017: Khalid Masood mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing 4 and injuring others. He then fatally stabbed a police officer. Masood was shot dead by armed police.

February 3 2017: A knifeman was shot while trying to attack a group of soldiers with a machete while guarding the Louvre in Paris.

July 26 2016: Armed men slit the throat of an elderly priest after storming a church in Normandy. Police shot dead the attackers.

July 14 2016: A terrorist rammed a lorry into people watching a fireworks display to mark Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing 84 and injuring hundreds others. The attacker was shot dead by police.

There are no calls for accountability or claims of extra-judicial killings for any of the above, and rightly so. But why the hypocrisy? When it comes to Israel, it’s an ironic question.

Are our government leaders listening? It might be timely to remind them of Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States Ron Prosor’s comments in November 2014: “A person doesn’t just wake up one day and decide to stab someone or ram his car into a crowd of people. These attacks are the results of years of anti-Israel indoctrination and the glorification of so-called martyrs. The incitement is everywhere. In schools, mosques and media, the Palestinian Authority is glorifying terrorists and celebrating attacks on Jews and Israelis.”

The canary in the coalmine. You get the idea.


Tiocfaidh ár flaw – Sinn Féin confusion about Palestinian flag

Readers of this occasional blog may be aware that earlier this summer, there was a sudden outburst of local authorities around Ireland flying the Palestinian flag to show recognition of and solidarity with Palestine. In vain, we pointed out that the two main Palestinian factions weren’t doing much to show solidarity with each other or to recognize each other. Indeed, a bitter struggle was going on to get control of Gaza and four months later, it’s showing no signs of abating what with Mahmoud Abbas now threatening a complete financial blockade of Gaza. No doubt the condemnation of this act will be coming any week now from the IPSC and various other leftists.

Anyway, back to the flags. When it comes to waving the Palestinian flag, it’s hard to beat Sinn Féin. You’re guaranteed to see a few being brandished at the annual ard-fheiseanna and any time, they hold a rally, the Palestinian flags will more than likely outnumber the Irish tricolours. They’ve even flown them in the Dáil. So, you’d imagine that your average party member would know the right way to hold them.

Not so! At least not at Queen’s University in Belfast (QUB). A couple of days ago, the Sinn Féin cumann there posted a tweet welcoming students back for the new term. In the accompanying photo montage, one can clearly see a bunch of young party members decked out in their right-on keffiyehs and holding the Palestinian flag. Upside down. It’s highlighted below in red.

QUB1

Hey…….at least they got the Irish flag right!

 

Now, flags are a serious issue in Northern Ireland. Every July 12th, pro-British loyalists burn the Irish Tricolour on bonfires and accidentally place it the wrong way around so that it looks like the flag of the Ivory Coast. This provokes much derision from the other side of the community. At least, the loyalists can now comfort themselves that they’re not the only ones who are vexillologically -challenged.


What’s Going On at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount?

A deadly terrorist attack took place early last Friday morning, 14th July, on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount (considered to be Judaism’s holiest and Islam’s third holiest site) when three Israeli Arab terrorists took guns onto the holy site and stormed an Israeli police outpost killing two Israeli Druze policemen on the spot. Ironically, the terrorists, two of whom were subsequently shot dead by the Israeli police, enjoyed full citizenship rights within the only democracy in the Middle East, which exposes once again the lie that Arab terrorists are simply oppressed Palestinians fighting for equal rights and statehood.

 In the days that followed, Arab protests and clashes erupted throughout East Jerusalem and the Old City. A “Day of Rage” was then called for by the Palestinian Authority, which took place following Friday prayers this week. Why the outrage you might ask?

We need to go back in history to understand what’s going on at the Temple Mount, often described as the most contentious piece of real estate on the planet. Although Israel took control of Jerusalem in 1967 they didn’t declare it a Jewish site once again, rather they respected the Muslim’s claim of right to worship there. Israel agreed for the Muslims to remain on the Mount with their religious jurisdiction, which means that the Muslim religious authority, the Jordanian Waqf, still controls the Mount.

It is worth noting that the Temple Mount, which from the late 7th century CE has housed the Islamic Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque, is the site of the two former Jewish Temples, with archaeological excavations testifying to this fact, but for the sake of maintaining a fragile peace, Jews are not allowed to pray there and their visiting times are restricted. The Israeli police enforce these restrictions.

A crucial factor the terrorists took full advantage of was the fact that there were no metal detectors and nobody to check bags on the site, as Israel respects it as a Muslim place of worship and it is part of the status quo that Muslims can pray there without interference.

However, as a result of the deadly shootings, Israeli police closed the holy site for two days and carried out a search. Jerusalem’s Police Chief is quoted as saying, “We found dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes, inciting materials, unexploded munitions, stun grenades, binoculars…”, which begs the question: What are items such as these doing on a holy site that’s supposed to be devoted to Muslim prayer and worship?

A selection of the dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes found in the Al-Aqsa mosque (Photo Credit: @news10)

A selection of the dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels and spikes found in the Al-Aqsa mosque (Photo Credit: @news10)

For reasons of safety, Israel decided to place magnetometers (advanced metal detectors which are selective in which metals they react to) around the entrances to the site. The security measures prompted an uproar from the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian Waqf, who demanded a return to the “status quo.”

However, no violation of the status quo was committed, and the Israeli government issued a statement which read “Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy sites. Israel is committed to protecting the safety of all worshippers and visitors to the Temple Mount.”

In truth, it’s astounding that prior to this week, no metal detectors were present on the site, even though Judaism’s holy site at the Western Wall includes metal detectors, CCTV and armed guards. Pilgrimage sites around the world have upgraded their security in recent years including the Buddhist site Bodh Gaya, the Sikh Golden Temple and the Mecca Masjid in India. In 2015 the International Business Times reported that Saudi Arabia was “issuing pilgrims with electronic bracelets” in addition to 5,000 CCTV cameras and over 100,000 people employed to provide security during the annual Hajj. The Vatican has also recently deployed metal detectors at St Peter’s Square.

It is important to note that it was never the intention of the terrorists to kill Druze necessarily – a peaceful sect who number about 100,000 and come from the northern Israel regions of Galilee, Mount Carmel and the Golan Heights. The goal of the terrorists, first and foremost, was to kill Jews. This is borne out by the fact that a week later, on Friday 22nd July, a young Palestinian, in response to Palestinian Authority incitement, entered the house of an innocent Israeli family who were sitting down to their Friday evening Shabbat meal and slaughtered three Israelis – a grandfather, his son and daughter, with a knife.

Hamas subsequently issued a statement of support for the attack, calling it a “necessary reaction” to new Israeli security procedures at the Temple Mount. In a tweet, they called it “heroic.”

It is hardly surprising, given the facts, that Israel has now installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount to prevent further terrorist attacks. For 50 years Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East, allowed Muslim worshippers to walk freely into the Temple Mount. In fact all religions are allowed to worship freely at their respective worship sites. Christians feel safer in Israel than they do anywhere else in the Middle East, as indeed do Muslims. Israelis do not attack Muslims who worship freely in their worship sites. If anything it’s the opposite. You will never see Jews throwing rocks from the Western Wall (where they are allowed to pray) onto the Temple Mount.

Israel, as a response to lines that were crossed and the advantage that people took of their religious liberties, had no option but to install metal detectors. When the surrounding twenty-two Arab States put metal detectors at the entrance to their mosques, not an eyebrow is raised, but when Israel does likewise, to defend from terrorist attacks, all hell breaks loose.

It is high time Ireland stands with Israel, unequivocally. Whether we realise it or not, or whether we shy away from it for reasons of political correctness, Israel’s values of freedom and democracy are our own values. The jihad which inspires young Arabs within Israel and the Palestinian territories to commit acts of barbarism is the same jihad that incites radicalised Muslims to commit acts of terror within Europe and the wider world.


Recognize Palestine? The Palestinian factions don’t even recognize each other!

You wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media in the West but the two territories that are supposed to comprise a future Palestinian state are engaged in an increasingly bitter political and economic war with each other.

Local elections were held in the West Bank yesterday with “local” being the operative word. No such elections were held in Gaza and Hamas is boycotting the elections in the West Bank. With only Fatah participating, the result will be a foregone and pointless conclusion.

The split between Hamas and Fatah goes back to at least the middle of the last decade when Israel ended its presence in Gaza. In June 2007, Hamas set about systematically slaughtering anyone in Gaza connected with Fatah. Within a few days, after between 100-200 deaths, they had inflicted a bloody and crushing defeat on their rivals and have been in control of Gaza ever since.

Fatah remains the dominant Palestinian party in the West Bank but is increasingly nervous about growing support for Hamas there. .And if recent student elections at Bir Zeit University are anything to go by, they have every reason to be worried with a Hamas-backed party winning them for a third year in a row. If these elections are a good gauge of public opinion, then Fatah is under pressure in its West Bank heartland and would explain why Mahmoud Abbas hasn’t held any proper municipal, legislative or presidential elections since 2006.

Since 2007, there have been various attempts at reconciliation between the two sides but all have failed. In the last few days, the Fatah leader signed a decree ordering Gazans not to pay taxes to Hamas. This follows an earlier decree from Abbas cutting off funding for electricity to Gaza as well as another order from Fatah slashing by 30-50% the salaries paid to public servants in Gaza.

Anyway, this is all part of what seems to be an increasingly pointless campaign by Mahmoud Abbas to re-establish Fatah control of Gaza. Abbas is unable to visit Gaza and arguably would end up being hanged or flung from one of the city’s high-rise buildings, as a number of his Fatah colleagues were in the last ten years. He is persona non-grata in a large chunk of what’s supposed to be his future state. Just remember that next time someone tells you that Israel is the obstacle to Palestinian sovereignty.

Hamas and Fatah militants attack each other in Gaza in 2007 (Source: Haaretz)

Hamas and Fatah militants attack each other in Gaza in 2007 (Source: Haaretz) 

What relevance does this have to little old Ireland? Well, the denizens of the “Fair City” might wonder why Dublin City Councillors were in such a tizzy to express solidarity with “the people of Palestine” recently when one part of this “Palestine” is inflicting stringent economic sanctions on the other part. Shouldn’t solidarity begin at home? For the record, if the Israelis were to do this, e.g. in response to missile attacks, there are UN resolutions, protests and much outrage. When the Palestinians do it to each other, the world yawns.

Also, there were some rumblings a few months ago that the Oireachtas would vote to recognize a Palestinian state. The idea seems to be on the back-burner now with wise heads in the Department of Foreign Affairs pointing out that Swedish recognition last year had no effect apart from seriously damaging Israeli-Swedish relations.

What should be of equal concern is the pointlessness of recognizing an entity that would clearly be incapable of being even remotely stable. Even by the fractious standards of the Arab world where religious, tribal and clan identity is usually much stronger than national identity, this proposed Palestine would be so riven by internal divisions that it would collapse into chaos before you could say “failed state”.

The Oireachtas members who are pushing to recognize “Palestine” would do well to ponder these issues. What is the point of recognizing a state divided between two warring cabals that don’t even recognize each other? Answers on a postcard, please to Irish4Israel.


Dublin’s leftist gadflies and their self-serving gestures.

Dublin is certainly a booming city, growing rapidly in terms of wealth and population. What with the advent of Brexit, it’s expected to benefit even further from an influx of investment from the UK as financial services companies seek to maintain a presence in the European Union.

However, in a city already bursting at the seams, such a development presents many challenges as well as opportunities. Rents are at an all time high and the city is experiencing a crisis in homelessness which is showing no signs of improving as can be seen from the numbers of people huddled in sleepings bags on the streets even on bitterly cold, wintry nights. Traffic is also a major problem with the “Fair City” being rated as the slowest moving major urban area in the world. Add to that a water system that is well over one hundred years old and you get a picture of a city that (even without Brexit on the horizon) is in dire need of remedial action from its local authority.

Unfortunately, Dublin City Council only meets once a month (!) but you’ll be glad to hear that they met last night. Which of the above issues were addressed at last night’s meeting? Well, none of them. Instead, the councillors decided – after a LENGTHY discussion and the temporary suspension of the meeting – to fly a Palestinian flag over City Hall for the next month.

You read that correctly and it’s not April Fool’s Day. This is what exercised the minds of the political representatives of one million Dubliners for most of their monthly meeting. Proposed by councillor John Lyons of the far-left “People Before Profit” party, the move is intended as a “small gesture of solidarity” with the Palestinian people.

The vote was far from unanimous with the Lord Mayor pointing out the he’d met with young Israelis and Palestinians who had pleaded for a less divisive approach. Also, there was an amendment to the motion proposing that the Israeli flag should fly alongside the Palestinian flag and that both should fly for a week. The amendment was rejected.

Chance would be a fine thing…..

Chance would be a fine thing…..

This “solidarity” is highly selective; there will be no solidarity with the Israeli victims of Palestinian stabbings or with the people of southern Israel who are regularly targeted with missiles from Gaza. There will be no solidarity with the nearly one million Arab Jewish refugees who were driven from their countries by pogroms and systematic discrimination between the 1940s and 1960s.

A boycott here, a vote there or some shouting and roaring on O’Connell street: It’s safe “gesture” (Councillor Lyons’s term) stuff and if it has any effect, it will – as the young Palestinians and Israelis were saying – only serve to increase divisions between the two sides.

In time the flag will be taken down – long after the world has yawned and moved on. But, never fear! These political gadflies will flitter on to some other “gesture”, a minute’s silence perhaps, or a tree planting. In the fairly unlikely event that any Palestinians read this article, they may feel gratified at attracting this attention. I’m sorry, folks but this is not about ye. Low-ranking leftist politicians love this type of antics because it gets them a level of attention far beyond anything their actual level of public support would warrant. The Palestinian cause may have been embraced by these people but the embrace is entirely self-serving.


Are the BDSers actually boosting the Israeli economy?

The anti-Israeli BDS (Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions) movement would have us believe that they’re having a major effect on the Israel. Indeed, some of the more excitable BDSers  have been insisting that their shoutin’ and flag-wavin’ and motion-proposin’ is costing the Israeli economy nearly 5 billion dollars every year. If that’s true, it should be wiping about 2% off Israeli GDP annually.

Is that happening? Nope – quite the opposite, my dears. The last few weeks have brought forth a swath of good news attesting to the glowing health of the Israeli economy. Firstly, there was the Bank of Israel’s annual report at the end of March outlining how over the last year, the economy grew by a strong and steady 4%. That’s “double the United States’ economic growth in the past year; […] 2.3 times higher than the average growth among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members; and 2.5 times higher than average growth in the Eurozone”. More importantly, it’s not a once-off performance. The Israeli economy has grown more than any other OECD country since 2011.

Unemployment has fallen to historically low levels of 4.3%, far below levels that pertain in most European countries where the percentage of people who are out of work is commonly at double-digit levels. Also, the OECD has recently reported that Israel is investing the highest percentage of its gross domestic product per capita among member nations.

Earlier in March, there was the enormous corporate acquisition of Israeli self-driving car firm, Mobileye by Intel. The takeover was worth US$15.3 billion and was a huge vote of confidence in the Israeli high-tech sector. It wasn’t the only Israeli corporate acquisition recently. There was also the purchase of facial recognition firm RealFace by Apple and the takeover of LightCyber by California-based company, Networks. China’s Midea has snapped up Israeli company Servotronix and US firm Kalytera has acquired Israeli medical cannabis firm Talent. All in the last few weeks.

However, it’s not all about abstract GDP statistics and the dizzyingly large numbers being bandied about in the world of corporate takeovers. More and more people are visiting Israel and the first quarter of 2017 saw record levels of foreign tourists (739,000) holidaying in the country. That’s a 24% increase on the same period in 2016 and is all the more extraordinary when one considers that Easter was late this year, falling in April while in 2016, it fell in March. All in all, the Ministry of Tourism expects that 2017 will be a record year for Israeli tourism.

Israel has recently been signing several deals with southern European states which will allow it to pump natural gas across the eastern Mediterranean to countries such as Cyprus, Greece and Italy. In the long term, Israel could be a crucial energy partner for the European Union which is far too dependent on Russia for its needs, especially since the Russians have a reputation for being very unreliable, using the relationship as one more weapon in its campaign to undermine neighbouring countries.

So, it’s no surprise then that Bloomberg rates the Israeli economy to be the third most stable in the world with only Hong Kong and South Korea ranking as more stable.

BDS: Does it stand for Boost, Develop, Strengthen?

BDS: Does it stand for Boost, Develop, Strengthen?

Of course, the BDSers will continue to trumpet their successes. Apparently, they managed to get some football player to declare he was boycotting Israel. However, in the grown-up world, this gesture politics counts for nothing in the long run. Most economic experts (such as this one and this one) agree that the BDS campaign is having little or no effect on the Israeli economy. Indeed, even in the cultural and entertainment sphere, the BDSers are clearly flagging with a “veritable airlift of artists […] on its way to Israel”. And if even Haaretz is saying it, you know it must be true.

The title of this article is, of course, meant in a humorous and rhetorical way but Israel’s peers will look enviously at the country’s vital statistics and wonder how and when this much-vaunted BDS effect is supposed to strike. As the above graph shows, Israel has been economically outperforming other wealthy, developed countries every year since this anti-Israeli campaign started. Bear also in mind that Israel is operating in a very hostile part of the world. Unlike most European countries, it doesn’t have wealthy, friendly neighbours with whom it can trade. No – in order to trade, Israel must seek partners that are thousands of kilometres away, and this makes its economic performance all the more remarkable.

This latter point may be changing – ever so slightly. Israel has recently signed gas supply agreements with Egypt, Jordan and indeed, the Palestinian Authority. And there’s the final absurdity: even the Palestinians, never mind other Arab nations are quietly abandoning this pointless campaign. Yet, on campuses across Europe and North America, the anti-Israelis still insist that Israelis must be boycotted.

What is the point, dear BDSers? Answers, please to Irish4Israel


Dáil Éireann’s Obsession with Israel

It’s been a busy first quarter for Irish pro-Israel advocates: the denial of Ambassador Ze’ve Boker to speak at a Trinity College forum; the grossly anti-Semitic Cork conference; the proposal by Dublin City Council for the Palestinian flag to be flown for a month in Dublin this summer, to protest the so-called “brutal occupation”.

What is this Irish obsession with Israel, you might ask!

A quick look through Dáil Éireann parliamentary questions and answers at www.kildarestreet.com  will provide some interesting insights. Type ‘Israel’ into the search engine and you’ll notice that almost every day Israel is mentioned, overwhelmingly in a negative light.

On 5th April, Seán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein) asks about the supposedly unfair arrest of BDS founder Omar Barghouti. There is no mention of the fact that this man was arrested for $700K worth of tax evasion, lives legally in Israel as an Arab Muslim, studies at an Israeli university and profits from his freedom in Israel.

On 4th April Darragh O’Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail) asks for a statement to be made on the UN Security Council Resolution 2334 regarding Israeli settlements. Charles Flanagan answered that he “very much welcomed and supported this important Resolution” and that Ireland “continues to participate actively […] to defend and reactivate the two-state solution.

On 30th March, Richard Boyd Barret (Dún Laoghaire, PBPA) ludicrously conflates the destruction of cultural artefacts by Daesh in Syria and Iraq with the destruction of mosques in Gaza by Israel during its “recent assaults”.

On 29th March, Mick Wallace, (Wexford, Independent)  questions the situation “where we are giving legitimacy to an illegal occupation” with regard to the Golan Heights. He then states that Israel is exploiting Syrian natural resources in terms of oil drilling, winemaking and water resources. He goes on to make the outrageous statement that “our troops are being used as cover for Israel’s illegal activities.”

Clare Daly, (Dublin Fingal, Independent) comments that Israel is “imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on Syrian citizens” before Mick Wallace plays the Israeli “apartheid” card.

On 28th March, Micheál Martin, Tommy Broughan and Darragh O’Brien ask questions relating to the resignation of former UN Under-Secretary, Rima Khalaf, because of the UN’s failure to accept Israel’s description as an “apartheid regime.”

On the same date, Seán Crowe questions the Israeli government’s decision to ban BDS advocates.

On 21st March these same issues were also raised and discussed… and so it continues. Take a look and you will see for yourselves.

Compare this to questions about the real threats to our world: Iran, Russia, Turkey for example, and the dire situation unfolding in Venezuela? Practically nothing!

No, our elected representatives continue to harass and demonise Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East, where freedom of expression is an inalienable right.


The Cork conference organizers just can’t help themselves.

The controversial conference in Cork discussing the legitimacy of the State of Israel is due to kick off tomorrow (March 31st) and to finish up on April 2nd. There has been much discussion on social media about the bland sounding title (“International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Exceptionalism and Responsibility”) and the motivation behind those involved in it and now would be a good to give a quick summary of what we know they say and do.

Dr. Piaras Mac Éinrí is a Cork-based academic who seems to be the most active organizer on social media. Here we see him promoting the conference and the first three recipients on his tweet are anti-Jewish and Holocaust denying accounts.

Screen-Shot-2017-02-08-at-07.51.25-300x296

This is what “MLK Studios” has to say about Jews and the Holocaust.

Screen-Shot-2017-02-08-at-07.59.13

The Twitter account called “Cool Anti-Zionist” is happy to repeat old conspiracy theories about Jews and money.

Screen-Shot-2017-02-08-at-07.58.341 Screen-Shot-2017-02-08-at-07.56.05

And Rudd1971 fulminates against “kikes” – a well known term of hatred for Jews.

Screen-Shot-2017-02-08-at-07.59.01

More recently, as described here, there was a violent attack on the president of the Israel Society in Maynooth University. When, Irish4Israel tweeted a video of the incident, Dr Piaras Mac Éinrí – in a completely unsolicited intervention – dismissed it as “bullshit”. We understand that he has since deleted that tweet.

P Mac E

One of the conference speakers will be Richard Falk who will be known to readers as a vociferously anti-Israel figure at the United Nations. What they might not know about is his flirting with anti-Semites and their themes. In 2011, Falk published a cartoon showing a dog wearing a Jewish religious yarmulke with a Star of David, urinating on Lady Justice and chewing on a dead body.

falk-cartoon

Falk endorses and promotes a bizarrely anti-Jewish book written by Gilad Atzmon (“The Wandering Who”) which, amongst many other things asserts that the Holocaust “was not at all a historical narrative” and chillingly that the “accusations of Jews making matzoh out of young Goyim’s blood” may be true. People can read more here about the author of that book and how at a recent event in London, he sneered at some Jewish students as they were leaving saying, they were “being chucked out for causing trouble, just like you lot were in Germany”.

Another speaker, Oren Ben Dor is well-versed in anti-Jewish tropes speaking of Jews’ “desire to be hated” and “[sense of] supremacy” towards all others. He also muses that Jews somehow sought or even caused the Holocaust! The official conference Twitter account states that there will be an “opportunity to raise these […] matters […] over the days and evenings of the conference”.

There'll be lots of time to discuss how Jews provoked the Holocaust.

There’ll be lots of time to discuss how Jews provoked the Holocaust.

So, there we have it. A conference that facilitates a discussion about how Jews feel superior to everyone else and wish to be hated is still somehow not anti-Jewish! This is turn might explain why the far-right hatred-mongering folks over on Aryan Street have fully endorsed this conference.

When he was informed that he’d been promoting the conference to anti-Jewish and Holocaust denying Twitter accounts, Dr. Piaras Mac Éinrí asserted that anti-Semitism would not be welcome at the conference. And yet, in the last few days, the official conference Twitter account has been found to be retweeting material from a far-right account called RealFKNNews.

image1

It takes only a few seconds to see the sneering anti-Jewish and Holocaust-denying hatred that RealFKNNews spews out but there’s no point in informing the organizers of the Cork conference. Others, perhaps a little smarter, would be more mindful of criticisms made and seek to mitigate the situation rather than fueling the flames. However, those behind this pseudo-academic venture are who they are and they just can’t help themselves.

Cork Israel conference

The sort of Twitter account that the Cork conference organizers retweet from.


Campus intimidation shows that Israel-haters fear losing control of the narrative.

Another week has passed and there’s been another incident at an Irish university of anti-Israel violence and intimidation. This time it was in Maynooth where the president of the Israel Society in the college was assaulted and had his phone smashed.

He had been manning a kosher delicacies stall at a cake sale which was raising money for charity as part of Peace Week – hardly a contentious political act. Suddenly, an attacker came up and started screaming obscenities at those who were there yelling at them to get out of there.

A polite request for Israel to be f**ked.

A polite request for Israel to be f**ked.

Alan Lyne, the victim of the attack goes on to describe how “At first it was just the usual stuff — he was shouting, ‘F*** Israel,’ ‘Free Palestine’ — but then he got very close to me. He didn’t listen when I told him to step away, so I took out my phone to start recording. Then, suddenly, he was on me”. A couple of bystanders pulled the attacker away but he was able to break free, attacked Alan a second time, grabbed his mobile phone and smashed it against a wall.

Readers may already be familiar with another incident at another university (Trinity College in Dublin) a few weeks ago when a group of protesters turned up to physically prevent an evening of discussion and debate from taking place because the Israeli ambassador was participating. Such was the intimidatory nature of their behaviour that the Gardai and college security decided that the debate/discussion event had to be cancelled because the safety of the ambassador couldn’t be guaranteed.

Clearly, there’s a myriad of points of view on the Israel/Palestine issue and it’s not surprising that emotions are heightened at times. However, there are notable differences in tone and approach between the pro-Israel and anti-Israel sides. Pro-Israel groups don’t engage in intimidation or violence, they don’t disrupt events and absolutely avoid any discriminatory comments or behaviour targeting any nationality.

However, anti-Israel groups and their supporters have for a long period been using harassment and physical force to close down the debate and control the narrative. Whether it’s shouting down speakers at debates, targeting children’s events, harassing shoppers, shopping staff and cinema-goers, or even – ridiculously – turning up to protest at a football match (!), anti-Israel groups seem to driven by the belief that the rest of us, the mere mortals, are expressly forbidden from taking part in any activity with a connection to Israel unless it involves intimidation and/or roaring slogans that are nothing short of racism.

It was clear several years ago that anyone who opposed the dominant anti-Israel narrative at third-level colleges faced intimidation. In 2014, the student’s union at NUIG (National University of Ireland – Galway) held a referendum calling for a boycott of Israel. The proposal was passed on a laughably low turnout but those arguing against it faced a hysterical campaign of vandalism and threats.

March 2014: Defaced Israeli flag lies in front of white doors at NUIG having been snatched from campaign stall

March 2014: Defaced Israeli flag lies in front of white doors at NUIG having been snatched from campaign stall.

Unfortunately, this is the way it’s going to be. For so long, anti-Israel groups have dominated and controlled the narrative on Irish third level campuses; for so long that they believe it’s their God-driven right to have their view, and only their view heard. Hence the bad-tempered response to anyone who challenges them.

What emerges repeatedly from these incidents is a theme of young hotheads taking a very black and white view of what is a very complex issue. Based on probably nothing more than a few heavily slanted leaflets and that Incredible Shrinking Palestine Map (debunked here), they’re convinced that they understand it all and that anyone who differs from them is so utterly wrong that they deserve only to be shouted down and bullied off the stage.

This is about more than lack of tolerance and disrespect for the principles of free speech: it’s about a basic need for maturity and a greater sense of adulthood. If they ever leave college (and as the roaring fool in the above video says he’s been on “his” campus for 10 years), they’ll realise quickly how much growing up they have to do and that such a simplistic attitude cuts no ice in the real world.