Israel Hate at the Irish Times

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On October 3, the Irish Times published a particularly hateful opinion piece under the headline “It is the everyday harassment that shows the hatred behind official Israeli ideology.”

That the writer, Eamonn McCann, should be filled with hate towards Israel comes as no surprise when he refers to his “old political mentor, Tony Cliff, born Yigael Gluckstein, founder of the Socialist Workers’ Party.”

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The Socialist Workers’ Party in the UK is a radical Trotskyite party on the very fringes of politics whose anti-Zionism regularly crosses into anti-Semitism while endorsing Palestinian terrorism.

McCann begins with the following:

The late Mary Holland once explained to me why she had changed sides on the Israel-Palestine issue after spending just a few hours in the region.

As any informed person would know, it takes more than “just a few hours in the region” to get to grips with the incredibly complicated and multifaceted issues taking place within Israel. And so the rest of McCann’s article demonstrates his simplistic and one-sided approach.

To illustrate his view of Israeli brutality towards the Palestinians, he quotes a volunteer from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. According to NGO Monitor, EAPPI consistently demonizes Israel, making accusations of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” and “Bantustans” and calls the security barrier, which has saved countless lives from suicide bombings, “evil.”

EAPPI presents a one-sided Palestinian narrative, participating in activities commemorating the Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe) and promoting the “right of return.” The organization ignores terror attacks against Israelis and blames Israel for the conflict. EAPPI frequently uses inflammatory and demonizing rhetoric against Israel and engages in boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

McCann writes of the EAPPI volunteer:

Orla didn’t see anyone killed or seriously injured. Her blog (so far) doesn’t even include a third-person description of a killing or serious injury. That’s the point. It’s the routine nature of the incidents she recounts, as of the incidents that shifted the thinking of Mary Holland and Tony Cliff, that speaks most persuasively of the settled hatred that lies at the heart of Israel’s official ideology.

This is not an attack on specific Israeli policies or alleged indiscretions. This is a baseless accusation that Zionism, the ideology behind Israel’s very reason for being, is based on hate.

He goes on to cherry pick statistics from the recent Pew Research Center study of U.S. Jews to drive a wedge between those Jews and Israel:

Fewer than half of US Jews believe the land that is now Israel was given by God to the Jewish people. Only 40 per cent have ever visited Israel; only half of these went back on a second visit. Only 38 per cent believe that the Israeli government sincerely wants a peace deal with the Palestinians. The percentage who believe that “caring about Israel” is essential to Jewishness stands at 42.

McCann ends by referring to an “assault” on European diplomats by IDF soldiers (in fact, an IDF soldier was shoved by a French diplomat, who has since been recalled), stating that Israel’s inability to recognize that denouncements of its behavior are made in “its best interest” “will be the cause of its downfall in the end.”

One can only speculate as to what McCann means by Israel’s “downfall in the end.” But based on his article and his radical political leanings, it might not be too far a stretch to assume the worst.

You can send your considered comments to the Irish Times - lettersed@irishtimes.com - remembering to include your full name, postal address and telephone numbers (day and evening) to ensure eligibility for publication.


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Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting.com, Daniel Dudek-Corrigan/flickr.

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