Eamonn McCann has a history of demonizing Israel in the Irish media. In January 2014 he launched a vicious assault on the Jewish religion in an attack on Ariel Sharon. Prior to that, he wrote of Israel’s “downfall in the end.” In response to criticism he accuses pro-Israel activists of shutting down the conversation by making false claims of anti-Semitism.
Now, McCann has turned his attention to the three kidnapped Israeli teens. Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, he refers to Israeli military operations taking place within Palestinian population centers aimed at bringing home the Israeli boys:
But there is no debate anywhere in EU or Nato countries about intervention, sanctions, no-fly zones or any other strategy for protecting the people of the area.
McCann is evidently comparing the IDF to some of the worst regimes that have, by virtue of their murderous behavior and utter disregard for human rights, required Western intervention. Unlike Bosnian Muslims or Iraqi marsh Arabs, however, Israel is not massacring innocents or carrying out genocide, despite McCann’s best efforts to misinform.
McCann continues by employing statistics to portray Israel as the killer of Palestinian children. He begins by referring to the numbers of Palestinian youths and minors arrested by Israel but fails to mention why this may be the case i.e. as a result of involvement in terror activities or violence such as stone throwing. He continues:
In the 13 years since the second intifada, 1,518 Palestinians under 18 have been killed by Israeli occupation forces: on average, one every three days. In the same period, more than 9,000 Palestinian children have been seized and taken away.
This paints a false picture of a systematic Israeli campaign against Palestinian children. As for Palestinian children being “seized and taken away,” this falsely implies that Palestinian children are being made to disappear as if in a police state.
Hanan Ashrawi, spokeswoman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said this week: “(The Israelis) are telling the Palestinians, ‘We can do whatever we want and get away with it. We can enter Ramallah or anywhere else and kill people with impunity’.”
And so they can. Just as they can smear anyone standing up for Palestinian rights as anti-Semitic.
It appears, based on previous form, that McCann is once again attempting to claim that pro-Israel activists employ charges of anti-Semitism in bad faith as a means to discredit critics of Israel. This may very well be McCann’s means to insulate himself against valid criticism that may come his way.
Referring to the recent Presbyterian divestment vote, McCann holds the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization as a “source of hope for the future” where a minority of Israelis and Diaspora Jews have “taken up the fight for Palestinian rights.” JVP is, however, utterly unrepresentative of mainstream Jewish opinion and is described by the Anti-Defamation League as ” the leading Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States, working to steer public support away from Israel and convince the American public that opposition to the Jewish state is not anti-Semitic”:
JVP intentionally exploits Jewish culture and rituals in its advocacy to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish values. … JVP also uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide the movement with a veneer of legitimacy. On its Web site, JVP recognizes its role as such, noting that the group’s Jewish nature gives it a “particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies” and the ability to distinguish “between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue.”
The group’s positions on BDS, its willingness to partner with anti-Israel organizations that deny Israel’s right to exist and legitimize terror, and its refusal to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, demonstrate JVP’s hardline stance.
Every decent person will join in demands for the release and return to their families of Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal. In the interests of peace and security for all in the region, we should look then at the wider picture and raise our voices in protest against Israel’s abominable treatment of the Palestinian people.
While the demand for the return of the three Israeli teens is the only decent thing that McCann has to say, a look at “the wider picture” shows that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unlikely to bring “peace and security for all in the region” in light of the appalling events taking place in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
As for the charge of Israel’s “abominable treatment of the Palestinian people,” it’s high time that Eamonn McCann takes a long, hard look at the abominable opinion pieces that he keeps writing about Israel.
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Image: CC BY-NC-ND flickr/Allan Leonard