I am not sure whether she swam naked on the beaches of Gaza, which are now patrolled by Hamas’ morality police, ensuring no men go shirtless and all women wear headscarves. Perhaps it is mere naïveté, perhaps wilful blindness, but post-flotilla, it is an indisputable fact that some Irish Palestinian supporters are now effectively engaged in concerted propaganda operations with representatives of the most bloodthirsty and vicious ideologies of our era. Whatever strange psychology lies behind this bizarre alliance, the rest of us must look at it in a clear-sighted way:
The Islamist attacks in Delhi, Bali, Spain, New York, Pakistan, Somalia, London, Thailand, Iraq, Nigeria, China, Iraq and Russia were not all Israel’s fault. Islamism is not merely anti-Western or anti-Israeli; it is anti-Buddhist, anti-atheist, anti-Hindu. Its purposes have nothing to do with Israel and even were Israel to disappear off the map, as many Islamists would like, extreme Islamism would continue in its quest for global domination.
I presume that most Irish pro-Palestine left-wingers believe in women’s rights, gay rights, democracy, and basic human rights. If so, they should cease co-operating with radical Islamist groups. By all means, speak against Israel’s actions (it certainly often gives reasons to do so). Happily, you can be heard in Israel, as it has a free press, unlike its neighbours. By all means, send material support to the impoverished Palestinians who find themselves in a most desperate situation.
But Hamas and Islamism are not the solution to the Palestinian’s problems. They are a large part of the problem. Supporting Hamas, even indirectly, will only prolong the agony of ordinary Gazans. Is it wise to become political pawns for global jihad? Or to aid and abet groups that seek to massacre Jews? And surely no sane person believes that an open port in Gaza would not be used to bring in weapons, explosives and rockets. These would then be used to kill innocent Israelis. We also know that Iran is building a nuclear bomb, and we know where they want to detonate it.
I am sure that the motives of most Irish peace activists are essentially humane and compassionate. I’m sure Rachel Corrie’s were similar. But even well-intentioned alliances that empower Hamas, Iran and radical Islam can have fatal consequences
Remember Rachael Corrie, but also remember the other “forgotten Rachels”:
1. Rachel Levy (Israeli girl age 17, blown up in a grocery store)
2. Rachel Thaler (Israeli girl aged 16, blown up in a pizzeria)
3. Rachel Levi (Israeli girl aged 19, murdered while waiting for the bus)
4. Rachel Gavish (killed with her husband and son while at home)
5. Rachel Charhi (blown up while sitting in a cafe)
6. Rachel Shabo (murdered with her three sons aged 5, 13 and 6 while sitting at home)
And know that if the Jewish state can seem militant, it is perhaps because sixty-five years ago, the Jewish people learned a lesson they will never forget: they learned that they can never again rely on anyone else for their protection. Nations like Ireland taught them that lesson when we sat back and watched Jews persecuted, rounded up, imprisoned, massacred – and did absolutely nothing.
It is notable too that many of the original supporters of anti-Semitic fascism in 1930s Europe were originally of the anti-capitalist far left – witness the word “socialist” in the German National Socialist party, or note Mussolini’s own communist origins. Gaza is but one small part of a disturbing global picture where, from Afghanistan to Somalia, to Hamburg to Glasgow, radical Islam seeks to attack and destroy the ideological foundations of Western civilization. That goal it shares with the anti-capitalist far left, and perhaps this is their only real commonality.
Yes, it is right to work for justice for Palestinians, and for a just peace. They deserve their own state, as do the Israelis – but these objectives can be striven for without aligning with ideologies that put women down, execute gay men and detest liberty and democracy. It is possible to be both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli: most of the world is committed to a just two-state solution. It is possible to have compassion for both the Israelis and the Palestinians: Many innocents on both sides have been caught up in this sordid and heart-rending conflict.
It is also possible to send humanitarian aid to Gaza without forming alliances with radical Islamic fascists and assisting them in their propaganda war.