On Tuesday 23 October, Irish broadcaster Vincent Browne referred to Israel as a “cancer” during his live show on TV3 channel’s Tonight With Vincent Brown.
In a discussion on the recent televised US presidential foreign policy debate between Republican challenger Mitt Romney and Democrat President Barack Obama, Browne lamented that Israel had barely been mentioned, stating:
Israel is the cancer in foreign affairs. It polarizes the Islamic community of the world against the rest of the world.
Unless you deal with the problem of Israel and the Palestinians in that part of the world, there’s going to be conflict and disharmony. It’s a massive injustice — they stole the land from the Arabs.
According to the Irish Independent:
Mr Browne admitted that his choice of language could have been better but insisted that the criticism was justified.
“What I resent is the suggestion that because you’re critical of Israel, you’re automatically anti-Semitic. I don’t think that’s acceptable,” he said.
Mr Browne refused to apologise for his remarks, saying that Israel was founded in 1948 by taking land from the Arabs.
He said it was “blackmail” to try to brand everyone who was critical of Israel as anti-Semitic. “I don’t think I differ too much from Irish or European foreign policy,” he said.
That Browne’s first response was to deny that he is an anti-Semite speaks volumes. Browne’s defense is often employed by some of Israel’s harshest critics who attempt to claim that supporters of Israel are smearing them as anti-Semites in a backhanded effort to silence them.
For while his comments were described as anti-Semitic, Browne himself has not been accused of being an anti-Semite. Instead, Browne cannot even bring himself to apologize, preferring to dismiss criticism as illegitimate.
The Jewish Chronicle reports:
Defending his remarks, Mr Browne said that by calling Israel a cancer “I didn’t mean it should be eliminated. It was an infelicitous use of the word.
“The reality is the Israeli state was founded by confiscation of land previously occupied by Arabs. That injustice is at the centre of the conflict.”
Vincent Browne evidently does not understand the difference between legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and his outrageous statements meant to demonize an entire country. It is doubtful that Browne would have referred to any other country as a “cancer” – a term used by anti-Semites aimed at Jews and Israel.
Indeed, Browne should have realized just how far beyond the pale he has gone when one considers that the most vocal proponent of such disgusting language is Iranian President Ahmadinejad who, in a diatribe last August, stated:
The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour. Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, in the future this story (of Israel’s existence) will repeat.
Israel’s deputy ambassador to Ireland Nurit Tinari-Modai said: “We today received phone calls and emails from outraged Irish people who intend to complain about Mr. Brown’s ongoing hateful comments towards the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”
According to the Irish Independent, however, a TV3 spokeswoman said she was not aware of any complaints being made about Mr Browne’s remarks.
Let’s see if we can change that. Send your considered comments to TV3 and demand an apology and the right of reply for a pro-Israel guest on Vincent Browne’s show - firstname.lastname@example.org
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