Allied in Anti-Semitism -- The Irish Connection, Part III

The growing network of hate on the Emerald Isle.

[Editor’s note: This is the third installment of a four-part series. Part IV of “Allied in Anti-Semitism” will appear in our Wednesday issue. Click the following for Part I, Part II _and Part IV_.]

Sein Fein’s anti-Israel stance is echoed by numerous pressure groups in Ireland calling for the Ambassador’s expulsion, an absolute boycott of Israeli products and companies, and the shunning of Israeli artists and academics. The Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is the biggest pro-Palestinian group in Ireland. They have offices on one of the most expensive streets in Ireland (Dame Street). The IPSC was founded in November 2001 and has had considerable success. Besides featuring “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide by Ben White (Signed)” their online store features such items as Christmas cards of Madonna and Child in a Palestinian flag (rewriting history yet again) and the three wise men being blocked by the “Apartheid Wall.”

The IPSC has been accused of anti-Semitism many times. They cover their backs with a single line on their website: “The IPSC condemns all forms of racism including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.” Like many anti-Israeli organisations, basic observation of their behaviour betrays a different sensibility. For example, a World Cup qualifier match between Israel and Ireland in 2005 led to very unpleasant scenes in Dublin. The IPSC organised a protest that was supposed to be “peaceful” but wasn’t: “Mostly it was a tame affair … Until the baying crowd scented their blood: passing Israeli fans.” Sadly, this is one of many examples of the hate filled aggression that Israeli fans and athletes confront when they visit Europe. By contrast, when Ireland faced Israel in Tel Aviv, many Irish fans enthused about the exceptional welcome.

One of the few pro-Israel journalists in Ireland reported his own experiences of such protests:

[O]n the night of Israel’s 60th birthday party  – everyone attending, according to the people we had to go through, were “filthy Jews” and more than one protestor made hissing sounds, the international shorthand for the noise of the gas chambers.

Unsurprisingly, the IPSC supports extremist Palestinian groups like Hamas and Hizbullah whose flags have been seen at numerous protests. In 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, children dressed as Hamas soldiers led an IPSC protest in Dublin aping what goes on in Gaza.

The intimidation doesn’t only occur at protests. There are a number of small pro-Israel groups in Ireland such as Irish Christian Friends of Israel. The largest group is Irish Friends of Israel. These groups seem to keep a low profile due to threatening behaviour. In 2007, a well known pro-Israel supporter received several days of threatening emails and phone calls after publishing a rather moderate critique of the IPSC in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The IPSC spread their hate on Irish leftist site Indymedia which is probably the principal pro-Palestinian site in Ireland. Its moderators usually ban those who offer quite mild support for Israel as “trolls,” “Israeli hasbara” “Zio-Nazi’s” etc., if initially they can’t be abusively shouted down à la CIF (Comment is Free) etc.

While Ireland isn’t exceptional in terms of international Jewish/Israeli hatred, it is worth describing some of these humanitarians. One of the most high profile pro-Palestinian campaigners in Ireland is Raymond Deane. He is a state-funded composer, as well as a founding member of the IPSC, a former chairman, and “Arts, Cultural and Sports Boycott Officer.” He wrote a letter to a prominent newspaper claiming the Israeli medical team landed in Haiti to take pictures for the purposes of propaganda and promptly went home. Like many pro-Palestinians, Deane has an extraordinary capacity to sling mud at anyone who dares defend Israel, but objects strenuously to its return. Historian Dermot Meleady challenged his assertions in the letters pages of the Irish Times newspaper, which led to Deane threatening libel.

A quote from Deane in 2008 shows how extreme he really is – perhaps even supporting a nuclear assault: “President Ahmadinejad has repeatedly expressed hopes for an end to the Zionist regime, a hope shared worldwide - including within Israel - by people of more impeccable democratic credentials than the Iranian president. “The provision of training and logistical support to Hamas” - nominally, the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people - is to be welcomed as a small counterbalance to US and EU support for the murderous Israeli regime.”

Deane has also compared the defence of Israel with the defence of paedophilia:

However, I’ve problems with the concept of “People who genuinely support Israel.” Of course there are such people, just as there are people who genuinely support paedophilia. Israel is a criminal state in every respect, a state that exists in a suspension of international law enabled by its US (and now EU) protector(s).

In a perhaps deliberately confused article called “Dissident Jews: Unwanted in Germany?” he discussed anti-Israeli Jews, such as Ilan Pappe and Norman Finkelstein, who attempted to speak in Germany, but had difficulty obtaining venues of prestige because some objected. Double-standards are a characteristic of the pro-Palestinian movement in many ways, but I suppose we have to believe pro-Palestinians wouldn’t dream of objecting to pro-Israel campaigners. The objections were by a Zionist “anti-German movement” which supposedly rejects German nationalism but are in fact “more thoroughly German” in a fascistic sense. He tried to establish that the Germany of today is quite similar to the conditions in the 1930s for Jews. He likened Zionism to a form of Jewish hatred akin to the anti-Semitism of the Third Reich: “The antics of the anti-Germans and their ilk whip up racial tensions that can only lead to a climate reminiscent of the 1930s.” So, I guess the poor old Jews are bringing it on themselves. The “Jewish” speakers he was defending are most probably self-hating, as they knowingly peddle lies about Israel. This, in turn, has given and continues to give a great deal of ammunition to folks like Deane, who wish to see the Jewish State annihilated.

Presently, David Landy, a sociology lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, holds the chair at the IPSC. Mr. Landy is one of a very small number of Jewish people living in Ireland. In his 2005 master’s thesis at Trinity, he made explicit reference to using his Jewish ethnicity for the political purpose of harming Israel. Apparently, he interviewed a number of people in the Jewish community for the thesis before he came out as a pro-Palestinian. While any Jewish person critical of Israel is not necessarily self-hating, for Landy to assert that he will use his ethnicity to harm Israel must surely indicate a strong dislike of his own identity and a rather baleful attitude toward his own race. If he felt he should use his identity to aid Palestinians, he could have appealed to the sense of justice that many Jewish people possess around the globe, instead of using it with such odious ill-intent.

When the Dublin City Council passed a motion refusing to do business with a company involved with Israel recently, Landy said “…victories for the BDS Movement have been seen in Sweden, Holland, Australia, Iran…” Odd how he mentions BDSM victories in Iran in the same breath as nations in Europe. I expect their success in Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with it being an Islamic dictatorship aiming to wipe Israel off the map.  Among other things he was an organiser of the public letters from Irish academics campaign in 2006 and 2009 seeking an end to EU funding that involves Israeli universities.

From the outset, the IPSC affiliated itself to an organisation called the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM). As many have observed before, the majority of people at such “anti-war” demos support violence and this holds true for the IAWM. It is run by Ireland’s answer to George Galloway, Richard “Bold Boy” Boyd Barrett, whose mission in life seems to be expelling the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland. Boyd Barrett is the adopted son of one of the wealthier men in Ireland, reputedly named in the Ansbacher Report on high-finance tax concerns. He is a leading member of the far-left Socialist Workers Party and is notorious for appropriating worthy issues as his own. He offers uncritical support for Hamas and Hizbullah, and could be found screaming for intifada on the streets of Dublin, which even alienated numerous pro-Palestinians.

After the 2006 Lebanon War, the IAWM brought Ibrahim Mousawi, a spokesman for Hizbullah, to Ireland to address “peace activists” in Belfast, Dublin and Galway where he spoke with pro-peace luminaries like Aengus O’Snodaigh of Sinn Fein/IRA. He is the head of the Hizbullah owned pro-Islamic Jihad satellite TV station, Al-Manar. France has banned the station because of its vicious anti-Semitic content. He was invited back in 2007 to attend a Dublin conference, but Irish Justice Minister Brian Lenihan denied him entry to Ireland. The IAWM described it as a “disgraceful attack on the anti-war movement” How right was the government to refuse Mousawi entry? Mousawi was banned from entering the United States due to his links to the terrorist organisation. He referred to Jews as “a lesion on the forehead of history” and said “pain is the only language that the enemy [Israel] understands” Clearly a latter day Gandhi.

The IAWM helped organise the “Al Aqsa Festival: Gaza’s Victory, The Road to Al Quds” at the prestigious RDS venue in April 2009, featuring a bouncy castle presumably for fledgling jihadists. The war in Gaza was described as a “victory.” Extremists like Sheikh al Baz said the conflict had “restored to every Muslim his honour and dignity” and Azzam Tamimi said, “Once you recognise Israel, you say to the world that the rape of my country and my people is acceptable,” and “It is a crime against humanity to recognise Israel’s right to exist…” Boyd Barrett said that it is “entirely legitimate” to assert “Israel has no right to exist” since “it is not a normal state but a state built on violence, oppression and apartheid.”

Absurdly enough, the same Boyd Barrett was involved with preventing Holocaust-denier David Irving from speaking at a University in Ireland and this, for some, proves he is not anti-Semitic. Peculiar, then, that he should have no problem cavorting with Islamic extremists who hold very similar values pertaining to the Jews. Perhaps he is just being disingenuous about Irving. If he is sincere, this odd, somewhat schizophrenic behaviour relates to a condition described in another article – it is an alternative, politically correct version of anti-Semitism that has a very different face to the to the far-right anti-Semitism of old.

With the recent Gaza Flotilla incident, Boyd Barrett and the IAWM established a “blockade” of the Israeli Embassy in Dublin on the 4th of June - the police described the protest as “peaceful” and did not intervene when it stopped staff from going about their business. On the 8th of June, they held another so-called “peaceful” pro-Palestinian protest with the IPSC outside the Israeli Embassy.

The demonstrators used the Arabic “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahoud, jaish Muhammad sa yaoud” chant. Interestingly, the only mention of the hate chant in the mainstream media was featured with a lengthy denial in the pro-Palestinian Irish Times newspaper. While it does not literally mean “Death to the Jews,” it has the same substantive meaning. It translates as “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” Coincidentally, this is what the Turkish jihadists were chanting on the Mavi Marmara. It recalls the surprise assault in 629 AD on the Jewish community of Khaybar in Arabia led by Muhammad himself. The people of the community were killed or enslaved. This was part of the eradication of the substantial Jewish presence in Arabia. Sadly, such hate-filled protests often outside embassies have been the norm rather than the exception in recent weeks. Protests were often violent, engaged in flag burning etc. but it was only to be expected - a sample of events from 2009 tells the same story.

This time the police did step in and prevent the demonstrators closing the Embassy. Raymond Deane could be seen in pictures jostling with the police and wrote a whining letter to one of the national newspapers about his treatment. Meanwhile, Boyd Barrett and the IAWM have promised to continue holding demonstrations at the Israeli Embassy after protesting to seek boycott of Israel at some of Dublin’s busier supermarkets last weekend. This is just a sample of the protests in Ireland after the flotilla incident. The moral of the story: nothing seems to motivate quite like hate.