Another Tack: That unwitting indecency revisited

The Kerryman ran the story on its front page under dramatic banner headlines.Ever since my column, “That unwitting indecency,” saw light two weeks ago, I’ve needed to occasionally consult the mirror to make sure I hadn’t morphed into a hideous monster that feeds on Irish tots.

The column recounted my encounter in Cahersiveen, a tiny Irish township, with pupils hoisting “Save Palestine” placards and soliciting funds for supposedly oppressed Palestinians – all on a school-day morning, as part of an organized school event. Their familiarity with Israel’s ongoing struggle to avoid annihilation can safely be judged as less than minimal.

That column created quite a stir throughout the Emerald Isle and generated discussions on national radio, as well as blaring newspaper headlines, like “Principal hits back at writer who said pupils anti-Jewish” (Irish Independent), “Kerry school denies anti-Semitism” (The Irish Times) and “School ‘shocked’ by anti- Semitic claims” (The Kerryman).

Apart from two later follow-ups which I initiated, the news reporting was astoundingly uniform. Everywhere the principal of Cahersiveen’s single secondary school was quoted at length and in full. He contended that the motif of my piece was to accuse his school of anti- Semitism. That it wasn’t so didn’t matter. Shooting the messenger proved expedient. Continue reading