Irish hearts should be big enough to have compassion for both the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Irish minds should be rational enough to insist that our “peace activists” do not align themselves with groups that promote murder, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, religious intolerance and global jihad.
Now that Iran and Hezbollah are involved in the Gaza flotilla movement, it is clear that Irish peace activists have been keeping less-than-peaceful company.
In recent coverage, the MV Rachel Corrie was routinely reported as an “Irish-owned” ship. Yet its purchase was funded by a groups headed by the former prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir Mohamad, who believes that 9/11 was staged and that Jews deliberately caused the Asian financial crisis.
He also recently asserted that Jews in Europe had “always been a problem,” and that “they had to be confined to ghettos and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived…[and] held whole governments to ransom. Even after their massacre by the Nazis…they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world.”
In October 2003, he stated that “Jews rule this world by proxy.” In the same speech, he stated that “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews…For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think, then we could have devised a plan, a strategy that can win us final victory.”
Final victory. How that phrase must resonate with the many Jewish people who remember the Nazi’s “final solution” - the very same final solution which Ireland did nothing to prevent. Throughout the 1930s and through the Second World War, Ireland did next to nothing to help the Jews, declining even to accept Jewish refugees in any meaningful way, right up to De Valera’s condolences on Herr Hitler’s death in 1945.
Since Ireland never took a principled stand against the threats of fascism or communism it was perhaps only natural that the dominant Irish attitude to the rise of Islamism over the past decade would mirror the historically indulgent and sympathetic attitudes toward Nazism and Communism.
Perhaps such currents of thinking led to an Irish ship forming part of a flotilla in conjunction with the “Mavi Marmara.” As the latter ship sailed out from Istanbul for Gaza, a Turkish station broadcasted the ship’s farewell party. In the background, these words are heard over the loudspeaker: “Oh you Jews … the army of the prophet Mohammed will return -- just like in Khaybar, … Intifada until victory!”
In response to a radio transmission by the Israeli Navy warning the Gaza flotilla that they were approaching a naval blockade, passengers of the Mavi Marmara responded, "Shut up, go back to Auschwitz" and "We're helping Arabs go against the US, don't forget 9/11".
On board that same ship were German left wing parliamentarians (living proof that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it) along with writers for radical Islamist newspapers and officials from the Turkish BPP party, a political outfit with known anti-Semitic and militant tendencies.
What brings Irish “peace activists” in to such a disturbing alliance with anti-Semitic militants and supporters of Islamic terrorism?
A clue lies in the name of the “Irish” ship – the MV Rachael Corrie. Ms. Corrie was an American activist who went to Gaza as a “human shield” and died in Gaza after being crushed by an IDF bulldozer at age 23. She went to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement, whose “peace activists”, including Irish ones, have been photographed posing with machine guns.
Whether her death was an accident or the intentional effort of a malignant Israeli bulldozer driver, depends on who you ask. All I know is that bulldozers don’t move that fast, and she was a long way from her home in Washington State. It is also perhaps notable that she was photographed burning an American flag in front of dozens of Palestinian children.
Mark Steyn clearly doesn’t observe Irish habit of not speaking ill of the dead: “Rachel Corrie, he says, was “a foolish young American killed while enjoying the frisson of vacationing in someone else's despair.”
I have no wish to question a dead young woman’s motives, nor to impugn her character. Certainly she had very sincere empathy for the Palestinians, whose plight is truly tragic. There’s nothing wrong with being young and idealistic, but if you choose to become involved in someone else’s conflict, you have a duty to be informed of all perspectives, and to disabuse yourself of any naïve notions before you set out.
Perhaps Rachel Corrie speaks best for herself:
“Okay, I’m Rachel. Sometimes I wear ripped blue jeans. Sometimes I wear polyester. Sometimes I take off all my clothes and swim naked at the beach. I don’t believe in fate but my astrological sign is Aries, the ram, and my sign on the Chinese zodiac is the sheep, and the name Rachel means sheep but I’ve got a fire in my belly.”
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.