The last number of years have seen the Middle East descend into violence, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Syria and a humanitarian crisis in Yemen. In Africa, Boko Haram has terrorised northern Nigeria with massacres and mass kidnapping of girls, while Somalia has been in a state of anarchy with suicide bombings, mass murder, and large scale displacement. Yet the one conflict and country that raises the hackles of the citizens of Ireland is of course, Israel.
There is a truly deep rooted hatred of Israel in this nation. No other country, not even the most abject dictatorship, is subjected to the same vitriolic condemnation as Israel. Ironically, Israel is the only genuine democracy in a region of dictatorships. Earlier this year, disgraceful protests resulted in the Israeli ambassador having to cancel a talk at Trinity College. Can you imagine the outrage if that kind of behaviour was directed at a diplomat from any other country? Any military campaign or diplomatic incident involving Israel is amplified beyond all proportion. Where are the mass protests of the wars in Syria and Yemen?
There is no reasoned analysis when it comes to Israel, only condemnation. The anti-Israel mob who dominate the public discourse hold a sneering contempt for anybody who defends Israelis or the country itself. The Palestinian issue is one of the cherished causes of the Irish left. The roots of the conflict is always blamed on the perceived intransigence of Israel. The motives of the leaders on the Palestinian side are never questioned, the rampant corruption and human rights abuses committed by Hamas and Fatah are never acknowledged, allayed to the fact that for most of the past ten years, the West Bank and Gaza are two separate entities due to the bitter feud between the two aforementioned parties.
Hamas is often compared to the IRA by the Irish left but the IRA never called for Britain’s destruction, nor did it have the territorial control that Hamas has and the violence engaged in by the IRA never reached the fanatical extremes of suicide bombings which Hamas and other Islamic militant groups have carried out. Israel’s security restrictions on the Palestinian territories are subjected to regular criticism but the reasons for such security measures are always overlooked, as is the fact that neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Egypt have imposed similar security restrictions.
Egypt has closed its border on the Gaza Strip, while in Lebanon, a security wall has been placed around the Ain Al Hilweh refugee camp in response to violence inside the camp. Israel’s settlements in the West Bank are widely perceived as illegal and an impediment to peace, but other disputed territories around the world, such as Western Sahara and Cyprus, have had vast numbers of settlers transferred by the respective occupiers Morocco and Turkey, and neither nation has been subjected to global condemnation. Indeed, it seems that the European Union’s interpretation of international law as regards the legality of Israeli settlements differs in regards to the settlements of Morocco and Turkey.
The demonisation of Israel is carried out under the pretext of concern for the plight of the Palestinian people. In truth it is a cynical campaign to undermine the existence of the state of Israel. The campaign is largely composed by people of a left wing persuasion who propagate an anti-American worldview. Israel’s links with America make it a natural target for criticism. The anti-Israel mob ignore controversial territorial disputes around the globe such as those in Kashmir and Western Sahara, and even the supposed concern for the plight of the Palestinians is questionable. What about the 3,500 Palestinians who have perished in the Syrian conflict since 2011? The human rights abuses committed by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are ignored, as is the plight of the Palestinian refugees in countries such as Lebanon, who are denied citizenship and subjected to discrimination in different areas of society.
The anti Israel campaign ignores the fact that Israel was created as a homeland for Jewish people who have been subjected to persecution and discrimination around the world and throughout the ages. The ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa have virtually been wiped out. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries there were numerous incidences of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, forced conversions, and pogroms. The barbarity of the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews in Europe, further justified the creation of a Jewish homeland on territory which had an ancient Jewish heritage and presence in what we now call Israel.
The bias against Israel is an offshoot of the rabid anti-American and anti-Western narrative that is promoted by the media and academia. All the problems of the world are blamed on the Western nations. The anti-Israel cause is seized by any left wing opportunist with a complicit media willing to jump on the bandwagon of the Palestinian cause. The anti-Israel narrative is readily promoted by the media, academics and assorted politicians, which leads to the general public being indoctrinated into an anti-Israel bias and a one sided view of the conflict, resulting in the irrational hatred of Israel that exists today in Irish society.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Burkean.