Both Sides of the Middle East Story
Sunday Independent (Ireland)
March 17, 2002
Sir Declan McCormack's "Blame it on the Jews" was one of the most irresponsible pieces of journalism I've seen recently. As a Westerner living in the Occupied Territories and seeing the results of Israel's illegal occupation first-hand, I feel his position that the anti-Israel cry is merely an extension of anti-Semitism is completely ludicrous. All one has to do is to listen to the growing cry of Jewish anti-Israeli sentiment to understand that. For example, the number of Israelis refusing to serve in the West Bank and Gaza is growing.
Those of us who would criticise the Palestinians on the grounds that they should be criticised (murdering of non-combatants and civilians) should do no less for Israel. The Israeli army has killed doctors in their ambulances, children in their classrooms, pregnant women on their way to the hospital. Is this how an enlightened democracy should behave?
Perhaps the growing anti-Israel sentiment worldwide has to do with its long-time flaunting of UN resolutions, its regular breaching of Geneva Conventions and standards of combat, its pseudo-democracy which leaves its Palestinian citizens as less than second-class. Seeing this, I would say that to consider Israel an extension of Judaism is about as anti-Semitic as you can get.
Rev Marthame Sanders, Occupied Territories
So Blame It on the Jews
Sir Declan McCormick
Sunday Independent (Ireland)
March 10, 2002
Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East, deserves our moral support, says Declan McCormack
IT'S open season for Jew-bashing in the West at the moment. As the Middle East's only democracy is subjected to wave after wave of vicious terrorist attacks by Palestinian gunmen and suicide bombers the pious West and the sanctimoniously 'liberal' Western media lay the blame firmly where it has always lain with the Jews.
Yes, while every other democracy in the 'free world' claims a sovereign God-given right to extirpate terrorism and to protect their innocent citizens from the evil deeds of men and women of violence, the Jewish state of Israel is supposed to take the vicious, murderous attacks on its citizens lying down and presumably apologising for its existence, for the Jewish people's history and for 'going on about' the Holocaust.
The Jews were, after all, made to be attacked, annihilated and scapegoated. First the pogrom, then the expulsion, then the name-calling. How odd of God to choose the Jews, indeed. But, of course, no-one even the rabidly pro-Palestinian Western media really approves of these attacks on ordinary Jews. No-one, that is, except the gore-glorying mobs who celebrate every blood-bedraggled mission by dancing in the little streets of the Palestinian townships.
We in the West would rather ithe ordinary Israelis who travel on buses or who attend bar-mitzvahs or eat as a family in pizza parlours weren't blown to pieces by Palestinian suicide bombers because it doesn't square with our cherished notion that the poor Palestinian freedom fighters are being savagely bullied by the US-backed fascist colonial Semitic superpower that is Israel. Little urchin catapault-wielders fighting against Merkava tanks and Hellfire missile-shooting fighter jets.
Of course, all Palestinian violence is mere retaliation. Sure, wouldn't you blow yourself up right beside a mother and her small children if you had to queue everyday at checkpoints? Sure, we all know that Ariel Sharon is worse than Hitler. Remember the Lebanese massacres. (How could you ever forget when they're mentioned in every news reports even as the blown-to-pieces bodies of Israeli children are picked off the streets of Jerusalem.) Don't, of course, mention the 1997 suicide bomb which killed 13 Israelis in Jerusalem just after Israel had given the PLO control of Hebron. It doesn't really fit in with this schema whereby all Palestinian violence is just the understandable reaction of a downtrodden people to the gratuitous incursions and the targeted killings by Israel.
Don't mention, either, the fact that while Israel only targets terrorists who endanger the lives of their families by using them as human shields (thus the killing of the Hamas leader's family last week, for which Israel apologised) while the lovely, generous Palestinians (as described on Liveline last Tuesday) support terrorist organisations who kill Israelis at random. But then they're only Israelis. Jews. And what are they doing in Zion, anyway. Zionists! Fascists! Colonists!
And so the West lends immoral support to the Palestinians and delivers high-minded lectures to Israel about 'how to handle terrorists without hurting anyone'. Lesson one when, eh, we haven't worked out the details yet. The Swedes are very good at giving this advice. They had a great record in the last war facilitating Nazi steel transportations. And, of course, the UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson, formerly President of neutral Ireland, has been getting up on her high nelly lecturing Israel and telling them to be respectful of minorities. Especially, one presumes, suicide bombers at bus-stops. It wasn't that long ago since Ms Robinson was emoting about how she herself was a Jew (back in August last year in South Africa, to be precise). She might just show a little consideration for the embattled and terrorised Jews of Israel now.
She might also bear in mind that someone else recently announced in public that he was a Jew. The kidnapped Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl was forced by his captors to say on video in a sick parody of the Palestinian Martyrs' final self-glorifying videos that he was a Jew and that his father was a Jew and his mother a Jew. That said, his Muslim captors slit his throat and cut off his head. Nice people.
In the ongoing Middle Eastern and potentially worldwide battle between Islam and Judaism it is sincerely to be hoped that this time out some European countries may learn the lesson of their obscene history and bring themselves to say and mean that 'in that case, I'm a Jew'. They could start by giving moral support to the only democratic state in the middle east as it tries to quell a coldly calculated uprising inspired by little else except the ideology and praxis of terrorism and the undiluted anti-Semitic hatred of the toxic wing of Islam.