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.

Simplistic one-sided news accounts of what was presented as my attack on virtually the entire Irish nation, bordered on the hysterical. The Kerryman ran the story – without my comment – on its front page under ludicrously dramatic banner headlines.

Cerebrally, we understand that arguments can be skewed, that they can be taken out of context to avoid dwelling on the real issue, that attention can be diverted to trivial tangents, that our intentions can be twisted out of all proportion by normally honorable people, perhaps to safeguard their apparent interests.

But then the talkbacks – overwhelmingly from Ireland and overwhelmingly pugnacious – started streaming in fast and furious. They were emailed in droves to The Jerusalem Post website, to my own website, to Irish papers and even to online forums like

I highly doubt that most responders ever bothered reading my original. Had they done so, they would have noticed that that I referred to Cahersiveen’s residents as “essentially very decent folks.”

The point I was making, and from which my headline derived, was that “there’s sadly no remedy for that unwitting indecency of essentially very decent folks. Its parades as high-minded but is irrational.”

My tone wasn’t malicious, it was pained. My message was aimed at Israelis, not Irishmen. I argued that “our image has exasperatingly little to do with who we are,” which is why it’s time to quit our self-flagellating ways.

For most talkbackers, though, my perspective was irrelevant. Their preferred tactic was to posture as upright critics of Israel who are nastily maligned as anti- Semitic. It’s what I discussed in my January 30 editorial on Gerald Scarfe’s recent Sunday Times cartoon. I wrote: “Most anti-Semites nowadays are remarkably practiced in accompanying their invective with instant disclaimers – by now an expected part of the pattern.

“It’s politically incorrect to even hint at their thinly disguised anti-Semitism. That immediately turns them into the muzzled good-guys and the protesters into loathsome Jews seeking to silence yet more righteous critics of Israel with their doomsday weapon – charges of anti- Semitism. Moreover, any remote reference to the Holocaust is sure to elicit howls of derision.

“This diabolical yet prevalent deformation of perceptions confers on all anti- Semites the freedom to slander, while denying Jews the right to call a spade a spade.

“It’s a foolproof arrangement. Jew-revulsion now masquerades behind acutely inflammatory anti-Israel and pro-Arab propaganda, whose disseminators inevitably deny anti-Semitism. Their favorite ploy is to present Israel-bashing as just deserts for the Jewish state’s policies.

“Post-Holocaust circumspection has bred cleverly camouflaged anti-Semitism – not less dangerous or less in-your-face but more cunning and deceptive.”

I also noted Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky’s “3-D test.” It determines that Judeophobia must be suspected when purported criticism slips into demonization, delegitimization and double- standards. Judge for yourself whether the following talkbacks, all from the Irish Independent (there are similar specimen on other websites) pass the 3-D test:


•   The State of Israel is the most racist state on the planet…. The only way to peace is for the Israelis to stop trying to exterminate the Palestinians. Many Israelis are gun-toting American Jews who think they are in the Wild West and behave with impunity towards the Palestinians because they can.

•   Israel and Israelis need to comprehend the simple fact that being Anti-Israeli does not mean being Anti-Semitic. Furthermore they also need to realize that the Gaza strip is becoming increasingly like the Warsaw Ghetto every day.

•   It’s worse than the Warsaw Ghetto and it’s going on longer too.

•   That teacher should have realized that ALL criticism, however mild, of Israel and its racist policies is “anti-Semitic.” They have been playing the “anti-Semitic card” to justify their greed for Lebensraum, water resources and their oppression of the Palestinians and other crimes against humanity for many decades, and it still works, so who are we in the West to criticize the Herrenrasse?

•   Why do we listen to this rubbish from a paranoid supplanted people who demonize the sovereign nation of Palestine on a daily basis? Are we turning into the US where this tiny minority rules the thoughts and minds of the majority into maintaining them on an illegal plantation?

•   So as soon as anyone questions the foreign policy of Israel, they are Anti- Semitic. Israel is an occupying force in Palestine = Fact. Israel drives Palestinians from their land = Fact. Israel commits war crimes = Fact. Israel breaks International law again and again = Fact. Wouldn’t you fight back with anything you could put your hands on if you were a Palestinian? I suppose I am now Anti-Semitic even though my gripe is with Israel and not Jews.

•   Typical Israeli overreaction to everything – play the Jewish card. Time to stand up to these narrow-minded little racists.

•   Screaming anti-Semitism is the most powerful Israeli weapon used in their colonization of the Middle East. People should understand this.

•   Anyone that displays any solidarity with a people that has lived under the jackboot of Israeli occupation, savagery and barbarity are accused of being anti-Semitic.

•   Honig was obviously sent by her newspaper to find evidence of antisemitism in the most pro-Palestinian country in Europe. Pro-Palestinian is NOT equivalent to antisemitism.

•   So all of Europe is wrong? I’m sure you would say it is not Israel’s appalling policies, actions and strategies that revolt us…. More and more people worldwide see Israel for the rogue state it is, so they better get used to being disliked.

•   The Palestinians had their homeland wrenched from them during their holocaust or, for those who consider only Jews are permitted to use the word, “the Palestinian catastrophe.” The conquest of Palestine is well-documented…. The Jews made good their invasion of somebody else’s country…. A policy of ethnic cleansing was sanctioned by their leaders and implemented violently…. There followed massacres and expulsions which continue to this day…. If you want to call me a racist because I challenge Israeli greed and injustice, go ahead.

•   Israelis are very sensitive about any kind criticism and go to great lengths to seek it out. Their attitude to the rest of the world is obnoxious – ‘we know everyone hates us (except the Americans, but we have them by the balls) but we don’t care’. They can’t have it both ways – behave with impunity towards the Palestinians and give the 2 fingers to world opinion and then whinge and play the Jewish card when they are criticized.

•   Israelis might have more friends in this world if they were good neighbors and didn’t regularly attack and trash their neighbors’ houses. By the way, it has nothing to do with their religion. It’s their actions people find obnoxious. There is no excuse for it.

•   In Israel, a Catholic (or Muslim!) could never become a Minister. It is after all a Jewish state for Jewish people. So Israel is an anti-Christian, anti-Muslim state…. It’s their Constitution. Methinks Ms. Honig should investigate this sort of legalized discrimination, and not set out on a mission to find antisemitism in Ireland.

•   The Jews (or am I to be censored as a racist for using the term?) should realize that until they start treating their Muslim fellow countrymen in Palestine fairly, whose land they began stealing by force in 1948 and continue stealing to this day, they will continue being reviled by the international community.

•   No reason why Ms. Honig should write untruths about a bunch of Irish children? Not even if she’s paid to do so by the Israeli Propaganda Ministry? That’s what propaganda is, lies.

•   Israeli aggression: From the savage aerial bombing of undefended refugee camps filled with men, women and children and the rapes of the Muslim women, to the Mohammedan graves which the Israeli troops dug up in their search for gold teeth.


It needs to be stressed that the above are a mere few representative examples from among thousands. These are hardly the worst, either. But who has the masochism or intestinal fortitude to read them all?

Moreover, these were talkbacks which site moderators permitted. The more abhorrent material wasn’t – like the one that arrived last week at my own website. For days, numerous aggressive responders tried over and over to post hate messages. Below is one of them:

“You’re a bag of filth. Just read about your recent escapades in Cahersiveen. I just wish the Nazis were still around to deal with scum like you. I think you should concentrate more on writing about your own sub-human species and leave the Irish out of it. Perhaps you should go to concentration camp? F–k you, you’re a filthy Jewish rat.”

We checked the sender’s IP address. It was from the vicinity of Lusk, Ireland.

It’s absurd to claim that this rant typifies the Irish. But it’s not too outlandish to argue that it and the above-cited sample may well have been inspired or intensified by unfair and unbalanced media coverage, doctrinaire and biased opinion-molding and the fostering of an atmosphere which is hardly conducive to even-handedness and tolerance.
For days, numerous aggressive responders tried time and again to post hate messages.For days, numerous aggressive responders tried time and again to post hate messages.For days, numerous aggressive responders tried time and again to post hate messages.

41 thoughts on “Another Tack: That unwitting indecency revisited

  1. Ms Honig, this article and your previous one are both highly informative and commendable in their factuality and in their calm tone. The reaction of the school and the Irish media make me think the “lady [the school and the Irish media] doth protest too much”.

    You summarised perfectly the double-bind that we Jews find ourselves in when confronting antisemitism – we are not allowed to label something antisemitic; only the antisemite himself is allowed to do so, and of course he won’t – and we are not allowed to protest when that antisemitism is expressed or if our opinion is stifled. To the contrary, our opinion is inverted and WE are accused of stifling THEM. It makes me furious.

    Those last talkbacks made me literally feel sick, as if I’ve been punched in the stomach.

    One thing I have noticed is how many of these antisemitic filth are barely literate, with no knowledge of grammar or punctuation. Antisemitism has obviously destroyed some brain cells of theirs.

  2. Sarah; ” Me thinks they doth protest too much”. This is so typical of this “type” of anti-semitism. They claim not to be so, yet support those who proudly proclaim their goal of a second holocaust.

    • A second holocaust is not necessary, the first one is a highly successful ongoing project as we can see from the comments in the article above.

  3. There were so many out right lies in those comments, I’d love to address each one. But lets face it, I’d be preaching to the choir who agree and know facts, and would be discounted by those who wrote it because I am pro-Israel and ignoring their loathsome mantras

    It depresses me to no end, these comments which are dripping with hate and a base lie – there had never been a Palestinian state.

    Yet Israel destroys, rapes and kills, digs up gold teeth- sounds so much like how Jews killed babies to make their mazos, raped poor christian women, and are in constant search of gold and money.

    But as long as these upstanding citizens claim they are not anti-semites. It’s all good.

    If anything this proves one simple and true fact.

    All the Jews have is Israel. It’s the only place where they are safe from hate. Like it or not world, Israel exists and is here to stay.

  4. “It’s absurd to claim that this rant typifies the Irish.” No lesser authority than James Joyce thought it might well do, as the chapter “Citizen” in his masterpiece Ulysses testifies. Joyce himself liked Jews. I really think that the punier the brain, the more it tends to be racist – and anti-Semitic in particular.

  5. I have been invited to visit Ireland Sarah, and I was almost tempted to go ahead with it, until you once again ticked me off sufficiently with one of your articles (you must be doing something right) and now I’m having second thoughts about the whole thing. Thanks for possibly saving me some cash, of which I am not exactly rolling in.

  6. The comments shown from possible Irish citizens sound like the professional haters that seem everywhere on the internet. They respond to everything Israeli and also American Republican that I read with the same vulgar language and diatribe, but I have noticed they are especially hostile to women writers. That is meaningful though I won’t suggest they are misogynistic. The machine offers many people the opportunity to feel powerful when they are certainly not…thank God for that!

  7. I am an Irishman and I am appalled by the treatment that Ms. Honig received at the end of an anonymous keyboard. I, and many other Irish people like me, support and love Israel. The hard left and militant Irish Republican elements of Irish society, with their own skeletons of terrorism in the closet, have hijacked the Israeli Palestinian issue and use it as a proxy war given that their own fight against the British has ended. They make parallels between British rule in Ireland and Israel where none exist and use deliberate misinformation and lies to distort the truth.

    Your article Ms Honig has indeed sparked debate on this issue in Ireland and I hope that it will bear fruit in exposing the anti-Semitism and one sided nature of the conversation. Ireland is indeed a land of decent people and these rogue, loud, anti establishment, myopic keyboard warriors do not reflect the views of the majority. It is up to all of us to change the narrative in Ireland and let the truth be known. Israel is not the bad guy!

  8. I’m not surprised the articel caused a stir, some people find the acusations made to be serious and if untrue, then objectionable.

    The article did accuse the school of anti- Semitism. Referring to Cahersiveen’s residents as “essentially very decent folks.” doesnt negate responsibility for your other remarks. But in doing so you were only trying to further the idea that people and societies can seem perfectly decent and there be a strong undercurretn of anti-semitism. Its understandable that residents might object to that if untrue.

    Your article was aimed at Israelis not Irshmen. Oh, well that’s OK then. You can say anything you want about anyone then because you werent talking to them at the time.

    ‘I argued that “our image has exasperatingly little to do with who we are,” which is why it’s time to quit our self-flagellating ways.’ – Are you arguing that Israelis should not criticise their government because plenty of others will do it for them? I hope I dont have to illustrate the danger of that in a democracy.

    Citicms of Israel isnt anti-semitic, abd no argument you make can support that contention.

    As loathsome as some internet based comment and abusive emails can be, what you do there is exactly what you’ve have criticised others for doing:
    ‘Cerebrally, we understand that arguments can be skewed, that they can be taken out of context to avoid dwelling on the real issue, that attention can be diverted to trivial tangents,’

    I have no dog in this fight, just findb the arguments in your article pretty weak.

    • In your infinite expertise you suggest that it is untrue that segments of Irish society “can seem perfectly decent” despite “a strong undercurrent of antisemitism.” You contend that this is false in regards to Ireland. In other words, you appear to assert that there is no anti-Jewish predisposition among the Irish. You further claim that “criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitic.”

      I disagree. There is a powerful anti-Semitic undercurrent in Ireland and it has absolutely nothing to do with Israel or its policies. That undercurrent predated the establishment of Israel. That is why Ireland would take in no Jewish refugees during the Holocaust (and that had nothing to do with neutrality because neutral Spain wasn’t as hardhearted. It is a moral disgrace for a country to let hunted human beings be murdered because of said country’s hallowed neutrality. Jewish civilians were not a combatant side in the war. Moreover, the fleeing Jews bore no responsibility for the wrongs of the British empire and indeed were its victims).

      I suggest you watch the links below and I suggest that you pay extra attention to the case of hundreds of Jewish children from France who could have been saved had De Valera given them asylum, but he dithered for so long that in the end they were all exterminated like vermin by the Nazis. If that failure to offer shelter to small children doesn’t betray deep-seated anti-Semitism, I wonder what does. Israel didn’t exist then to pin the hate on. Israel, in fact is today blamed for any and everything because of that ancient anti-Semitism. This is clearly a predisposition to bias, a predisposition to believe any calumny about Israel.

      • Sir, I am Irish.

        I read Ms. Honig’s column when it came out, before the whole storm around it began, and you and I have come to very different conclusions.

        Your whole argument is about ‘IF untrue’. But did you give it a moment, what IF True?

        It rings a bell and rings true.

        I’ve seen all this around me, the lack of knowledge, the hate from self professed “non-haters”. Hearing how Jews run America, Jews run the global economy, “those damn Jew bankers” and of course many of those who say it have kids, who go and profess the same. Moreover, none of the people who uttered there words refer to themselves as anti-Semites. Only anti-Israel, anti-Zionism. Every possible name under the sky to avoid such labeling.

        “A rose by any other name….”

        I’ve been called a Jew lover on more than one occasion, told I should go die by their hands, and a load more of filth.

        Ms. Honig’s column was a personal opinion piece not news analysis. She came visiting, and put into words something, which many see and feel, but cannot.

        I don’t believe Ms. Honig attacked anyone. I am most certainly not offended. Perhaps if you feel she attacked Ireland, the Irish and yourself, you are displaying your mindset. She didn’t criticize any particular individual or condemn the whole Irish nation. Read what she wrote, rather than put the spin you wish to read into it.

        As we are neutral, a people who have gone through quite a few conflicts ourselves to put it mildly, Ireland should not bring a one sided view of the conflict in the middle-east. We would do well to portray both sides.

        But that just doesn’t happen in our school system, which points to a clear bias.

        I do hope Ms.Honig enjoyed the rest of her visit. I do hope she’ll visit again. I do hope things will change.

      • The fact that you and fellow Irish feel as you do shows that there is still a fight to be waged. A fight that can be, must be, won.
        And I can assure you (unfortunately) that Ireland is in no way unique in this. It is alive and well in all too many nations.

  9. My first thought was that you should admit a blunder in so innocently wandering into Ireland, asking such questions publicly and then writing an article about it.

    But running around on tip-toe trying to avoid stirring up the obvious is a proven failure in confronting antisemitism. Good job and keep up the good work.

  10. I’m Irish and very disturbed by what has happened. I am a reasonably educated man, but by no means would I say I possess anything other than average intelligence. I am now 30 years old, and have spent all my life living in the Republic of Ireland.To try and understand Irish society today you have to understand 3 things; our history with England, the way that history has been passed down to us by grandparents and through formal education, and lastly the influence the Catholic church has had on our mindset.

    (To be fair to you I’ll direct you straight to the end of my comment if you haven’t got the time to read everything, I tend to waffle!)

    England – many already know the history between England and Ireland; the occupation that lasted centuries, the great famine, the War of Independence, the Civil war, the troubles in Northern Ireland up until recent years. I am sure I’ve no need to go into detail on any of these, a quick internet search will give you all the info you need should you be interested. What is worth mentioning is the relationship between Ireland and England on this very day. It is one of friendship, one of mutual benefit. We share a lot of common ground, and often work together on a political level. However, if you look for it you will still find a lot of hatred on both sides. More so in Ireland. And I don’t use the word hatred flippantly, I will explain why in the next point.

    History and the way it has been passed down – the history of England’s occupation of Ireland and the travesties that occurred throughout the centuries still fester somewhat in the minds of Irish people. Stories passed down from generation to generation of the actions of the Black and Tans, the Irish being evicted from their lands, the food being taken from the peasants and sent to England during the potato blight – which when added to the famine it killed millions and saw many more leave Irish shores in search of salvation. These stories have taken root in our formal education, when I left secondary school a decade ago had someone asked me the about the history of Ireland these are the stories that would have come to mind. Not the coming of the Celts, Normans or Vikings we studied for one year, but the invasion of the English, the terrible acts they committed, the plantations in Ulster (Northern Ireland) and the military actions and political process that took place in the last century. We studied that for four years! Once I had left the education system and its books behind and started researching Ireland’s history for myself I discovered an altogether different story. Our ancestors weren’t the altogether hopeless people downtrodden by the English invaders. It turns out that Irish people carried out unspeakable crimes on the wives and children of English settlers in retribution. I found stories of rivers of English blood flowing down hills, gruesome torture, even Irish fighting Irish who had aligned themselves with the English, more out of necessity than choice. None of this was taught to us in school. Nor was there any mention of the benefits, few that they were, that came from our English occupiers. Our legal system, exports, even our use of the English language, all introduced by the English but never credited to them in a complimentary way. Many Irish people, whether subconsciously or not, still consider England to be the ‘old enemy’, and still see their ancestors as a peaceful people who were abused terribly by the English. We were the underdogs who struggled but finally gained independence. The English were the bullies who did not right, while we were the victims who did no wrong. That is why I used the word hatred, it is a strong word, not to be used lightly, but I accuse the majority of Irish people of hating the English subconsciously and not knowing why, and some who actively hate the English for biased reasons, these are the people who have been involved with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and other similar organisations and youth organisations. The hatred is still being bred into us from a young age, some move on, most forget but never forgive, and a minoriity become actively involved in hate campaigns. It’s there, you just have to look for it.

    The Catholic Church – has always played a role in modern Ireland. From the hidden masses during the occupation, to the influencing and controlling of politicians and policies in the last century it’s always been there. The vast majority of all schools in Ireland are still owned and inflienced by the church ethos, and while its influence on national policies has waned somewhat there is still an ear given to the church hierarchy by politicians. The last census in Ireland shows that 84% of the population still consider themselves Catholic, not near as many practicing though. To demonstrate how much of an influence the Catholic clergy had over their “flock” one only has to look to World War II and Ireland’s role. We were supposed to be neutral, taking no-ones side although many Irishmen did join the British army to help the war effort. One would think that as a neutral country Ireland would be more than willing to take refugees from either side. Yet we had politicians calling for the removal of Jewish refugees from our country, while taking in German refugees after the war. We even had a few mid level members of the Nazi regime passing through. The Catholic church discriminated against Jews, therefore the Irish sheep, who were terrified of the power the church had over our politicians and police force, not to mention our ‘eternal souls’, would follow suit and discriminate too. While Ireland has moved on ever so slightly we still have very strong remnants of the the churches influence from a time not too far back. In the last decade Ireland has been rocked by scandal after scandal involving the church; from hundreds of cases of children being sexually abused by priests, to innocent women being treated as slaves by nuns in what cans only be described as sweatshop prisons. Yet if you go to any Catholic church on any given Sunday morning you’ll find hundreds of people kneeling in front of a priest, contributing money, and feeling better about themselves for doing so. In one way they disgust me, in another I pity them. It shows how strong the control the Catholic church still has is. And the Catholic mindset from 60 years ago is still alive and well in some people, and they’re usually the most vocal.

    I’m not by any means defending the actions of people who are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel in Ireland, many would consider themselves not to be. The truth is that most are, even though they know nothing about the situation over there! Most Irish people look upon Israel as being the bully to Palestine. They equate Israel to England and Palestine to Ireland. They see the Palestinians as the victims, struggling for independence and freedom, to end the oppression by Israel. They gain their knowledge from biased media, it matters not to them when you give them facts and figures demonstrating Israel is defending her lands and peoples. They see you as a plantation, with a superpower defending your existence and actions. The Pro-Palestine groups in Ireland are mostly run by activists affiliated with Sinn Fein and other anti-English groups. The main charity organisation siding with Palestine is Trocaire, a fundamentally Catholic group. You see what I’m saying?

    My advice to Jews and Israelis is this – forget about Ireland, it is an insignificant little island with a small population. Nothing you can say or do will change the minds of most people here, we are a thoroughly stubborn people caught up in our own history and shortcomings. There are those of us who stand with you always, we are few but we will always defend Israels right to exist and her peoples right to live a free and peaceful life. As for the majority of this country? Give them a few more generations to free their minds from the shackles of both English and Catholic rule.

    One last thing, whoever sent that utterly disgusting message from Lusk should be reported to the police force in Ireland. I hope that if any of the members of the Irish4Israel come across this page they will lodge a complaint. Speech like that is not tolerated in this country, a prosecution should be sought. I wish you all long and happy lives free from vile attitudes like that. Take care.

    • Barry; I found your comments of interest, educational, and sad. And I for one, (and I’ll bet Sarah too) can’t give up on Ireland and the Irish. Too many good people wrote in. I’m sure that there are many more of you in Erin. And Jews and Irish share so much in shared persecution and bloodshed.

  11. The response that Sarah received from her original article is unfortunately all too common. The only solace that I can see in this is that if the writers of those dreadful e-mails actually read Sarah’s article, they certainly do not possess the intellectual capacity to comprehend her polysyllabic vocabulary, intent or attention to detail.

  12. Ms. Honig – Each week, I look forward to your Jerusalem Post column. I think that you are an excellent writer, and a very astute, well-read, knowledgeable observer of the many issues and personalities so deeply intertwined with the fate of the Jewish people, and its homeland, Israel. Please continue to communicate your opinions, thoughts, and erudition to proud, respectful Jewish individuals like myself.
    Stay strong, and do not muzzle, in response to criticism, your wonderful talent to teach lesser souls about our history, people, religion, and the activities of non-Jewish individuals whose minds and behavior are relevant to our struggle to survive as a people, and to have a homeland where our children can be as carefree and secure as children in other homelands, like Ireland.

  13. One of the more infuriating slogans I encounter is that being “pro-Palestinian” doesn’t mean being anti-Israel – and, of course that “pro-Palestinian” is nowhere akin to anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic.
    However, those who mouth such slogans adopt the Arab (so-called Palestinian) narrative.
    That narrative demonizes the Jewish state with poisonous falsehoods. That narrative delegitimizes the Jewish state and in fact insidiously preaches for its destruction.
    Therefore, those who espouse this narrative, actually espouse the most hostile narrative imaginable against the Jewish state – the very state the Jewish people built from naught with blood, sweat and tears over the past century-and-a-half.
    Those who act to further the goals of that narrative – i.e. those who raise funds for its bogus charities or front organizations and seek to boycott Israel – are furthering a hostile (indeed a genocidal) agenda. It is not humanitarian in the least. It hides behind a façade of philanthropy.
    My enemy’s friends are my enemies. They are not my friends.
    To claim that you can be pro-Palestinian but not anti-Jewish is analogous with saying that you can be pro-Nazi but not anti-Jewish, that you can be pro-Hitler but not anti-Semitic.
    But wait – weren’t we already treated to that opera, stage-managed by one Eamon De Valera?

    • Most decent people around the world cannot understand why a people who have suffered so much can inflict so much suffering.

      Does the average Israeli person know, for example, about the massacres overseen by Ariel Sharon in the refugee camps? Or are such things airbrushed from history?

      As an outsider reading this discussion, it strikes that the Israeli people genuinely do not understand why there is so much hostility towards them in the world. I would recommend ‘The Geneal’s Son’ by Miko Paled.

      • Thank you so much for teaching us benighted Israelis the neglected/concealed truth about our own misdeeds/war-crimes. What would we do without observers from afar who possess so much more insight than us bloody natives do about our own affairs? What would we do without foreigners who boast such higher moral standards than our own? Oh thank you for lighting our way!


        But oops, you actually have no clue about Israelis. If you did, you would never ask whether any episode can be concealed from us. You would know that Israelis are self-critical to the extreme, that they are liberal ad absurdum and that no secrets can be kept in our very vibrant and open society. But you don’t really care to get to know us. You just want to condemn us. You are ready to believe any calumny about the Jewish people.


        Any lie spread about us will be eagerly lapped up by the likes of you and treated as the gospel truth. This is the predisposition to bias/hate among all too many in Ireland that I describe above.


        One of its basic tenets of the slander so rife in Ireland is that Jews, who had suffered at the hands of the Nazis, have turned around and inflicted Nazi horrors on the poor innocent Arabs. This is malicious foremost because we have the most ethical military in the world, which often sacrifices the lives of its own soldiers in order not to harm the lives of enemy noncombatants. Secondly, it’s malicious because the Arabs were avid pro-Nazis and active collaborators in Hitler’s death machine. Finally, your own Ireland denied refuge to Jews during their darkest hours and hence its citizens have no right to sanctimoniously preach to us as “a people who have suffered so much.”


        Finally, your reliance on Miko Peled proves your alacrity to malign. You’ll pick the evidence of any out-and-out fringe fanatic to establish your case against Israel. Miko is son of the late Matti Peled, an out-and-out communist. He is also brother to fellow ultra-radical Marxists Nurit Peled-Elhanan and Yoav Peled. These are as representative of the Israeli public as Lord HoHo was of Britain or Tokyo Rose was of America during WWII. Better get your orientations right. Indeed better get your facts right. Moreover, better get rid of that glaring prejudice that parades as righteous indignation.

      • Maybe because the cruelty you allude to is largely propaganda, not fact. Even in Gaza, most hardship is self imposed by the Hamas govt. As for the PLA, they give corrupt politicians a bad name. Are there, have there been problems. Of course. And no one focus’ on this more than Israelis ond fellow Jews. But to focus on Israels treatment of Palestinians to the near exclusion of other international problems which in 65 year (since Israel) have killed MILLIONS and made refugees of 10s of millions, seems, to me at least, based upon racist origins.

  14. Sarah, I do not know you, and had never heard of you until the story broke about what happened in Kerry a number of weeks ago. I am a proud Irishman who is deeply ashamed of what has happened, and the subsequent treatment of you by cowards and bigots who would also call themselves proud Irish men and women. You have my deepest respect for the dignified way in which you have conducted yourself in your writings. There is a growing number of people working to educate Irish citizens on the plight of Israel, not an easy task given the skewed media coverage that is constantly pumped into our homes every week. Hopefully your next visit, should you ever wish to return, will be a more pleasant one, and know that you are always, always welcome. I wish you and your loved ones the very best, and hope that this horrible situation comes to a close very soon.

  15. Sarah, I am sure that the mirror will always show the truth…XXX

    YOU dear Sarah have become the mirror for so many of the Irish and they hate their reflection…they hate the TRUTH…!

  16. Something about the “criticism” of Israel…
    NOBODY has the right to criticise the Jewish state…as NOBODY ever supported it !
    EVERY so called justified criticism of Israel is what it is, a symptom of Antisemitism…
    Israel itself NEVER criticised anyone…it simply tried to defend itself and to survive !
    NEVER play the game of the Jew haters and concede ANY moral or political right to the enemies and to the “friends” of Israel, to “criticise” it !

  17. Sarah

    The problems you have encountered in Ireland are no different to those I encounter in Australia where my articles are published weekly by On Line Opinion – a responsible, independent and very professional web site – which has resisted continuing demands to ban my articles.

    I use the term “Jew haters” not “anti-semitism” to identify vicious anonymous “comments” – that have nothing to do with the content of my articles but in all instances seek to vent their hatred against a freely elected Government representing more than six million Jews and one million Arabs living in the reconstituted ancient, biblical and legally sanctioned Jewish National Home.

    I could seek to have such comments removed but choose not to do so. I prefer that these people be exposed and the extent of Jew-hating in Australia not be allowed to hide under a rock.

    That such hatred exists and appears so widespread is what needs to be understood.

    How to deal with it is the problem that will not go away – especially when most of the world’s democracies have joined in the chorus of such Jew hatred that is today called the United Nations.

    As with the rise of Nazism – the failure of the world’s democracies ( with just a few noteworthy exceptions) to take a stand against the undemocratic nations in their campaign at the United Nations to delegitimize a member state of their organization in a continuing frenzy of Jew-hating resolutions and their embrace of terrorist organizations in their midst committed to eliminating that member State is leading to huge problems not only for Jews but for all the citizens of those democracies as 9/11, Al Quaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas have surely signaled.

    What the League of Nations unanimously decided in 1922 is being undone piece by piece by the United Nations in 2013 in breach of Article 80 of the United Nations Charter – and Israel seems unwilling to confront that challenge and call the democracies to account for their abandonment of these well laid down rules of precedent and international law.

    Law and respect for and observance of the law, a free press, the freedom of expression and the holding of regular free and fair elections underpin democracies but are totally absent from non-democratic countries which form the automatic majority in the United Nations.

    I think the time has come for the world’s democracies to leave the “United Nations” and form an alternative “United Democratic Nations” .since the decision to replace the League of Nations in 1945 for its inability to prevent World War II has proved an abject failure on so many fronts even as the events in Syria unfold daily before our very eyes – not to mention how Iran is to be dealt with.

    President Obama must take up this challenge if we are not to see the horrors of World War II repeat themselves in an orgy of killing and fighting which saw hundreds of millions of people suffer the consequences.

    Jews were not the only victims – so were the citizens of these democracies that acted far too stop the intentions of a machine which was allowed to develop and grow in the belief nothing would really happen if just some territorial sacrifices were made to appease it.

    Will humanity ever learn?

    Problem is – who is going to make Obama understand this must be the goal for his second term – breaking away from the United Nations and forging an alliance of the world’s democracies in a truly democratic organization to confront the challenges posed by the non-democracies?

  18. I live in Ireland and would have considered myself pro palestinian up until a few years ago when I decided to dig a little deeper and gain a better understanding of the arab israeli conflict so as I could be more vocal in my condemnation of Israel but instead I found myself understanding Israel. Slowly but surely I came to realise just how biased the irish media is towards Israel and how the vast majority of those claiming to be pro palestinian are actually anti Israel and how many of them are antisemites. I will continue to speak out against certain israeli policies and i still support the creation of a palestinian state but it has to be a state that will live in peace side by side with Israel. The press coverage of Israel in ireland avtively encourages hatred of the only jewish country in the world it took my a while to realise that but if I can realise it then there is hope that others will realise it to and hopefully one day Israel will get a fair hearing in Ireland, until then I’ll continue to pray for peace in that wonderful little country. Shalom

  19. “It’s absurd to claim that this rant typifies the Irish. But it’s not too outlandish to argue that it and the above-cited sample may well have been inspired or intensified by unfair and unbalanced media coverage, doctrinaire and biased opinion-molding and the fostering of an atmosphere which is hardly conducive to even-handedness and tolerance.”
    I do not have a personal connection to Israel, I’m not affiliated with any religion, but I cannot help but be drawn to issues related to Israel because of the illogic that pervades virtually every discussion. The skewing of the narrative, the deliberate ignore-ance of facts in reports, the refusal to give voice to any nuances or intricacies, the one-sided journalism that goes on – it is all appalling, but fascinating in a morbid kind of way. How such practices are so consistent, so unchallenged, is truly amazing.
    Indeed, Sarah’s assertion that it is not outlandish to argue that unfair and unbalanced reporting has a hand in creating such vitriolic intolerance. It’s an indictment of the failure of the press to do its duty.
    I often wonder if in some distant enlightened future, 300 or 400 years from now, journalism students will be taught the current coverage of Israel-related news as a case study in media bias, its causes and effects. One can only hope.

    • I suggest you engage in conversation in a pub in Ireland and bring up Israel and JEws in general if you beliefe it’s absurd. Documented anti-semitism goes back a long way in Ireland, certainly at least to 1904, as it does on the European continent and the UK. Among 18 to 25 year olds, 46 per cent of the population would not be willing to accept a Jewish person into their family. Only 48 per cent would accept an Israeli. Collectively, Israelis had one of the lowest “favourable” ratings among Irish people, ranking 44th out of 51 categories including homosexuals, alcoholics and travellers. Certainly it is not a majority but it is significant, albeit greater than the population at large. That is not to say Ireland is presently violently anti-jewish but the predominant political opinion is decidely pro-palestinian arab and anti-Israel.

      “If one were to throw a sack of flour over the Irish parliament, it is unlikely that anybody pro-Israeli would become white. Among the 166 members of the Dáil – the Irish parliament’s lower house – and the sixty members of the Senate, not one name springs to mind as a regular defender of Israel. There are either those who do not care or are pro-Palestinians.”
      “Rory Miller, Irish-born lecturer, Mediterranean studies at King’s College, University of London.”
      I suspect that though that the issue is a more falling for the “oppressed Palestinian” meme than outright hatred of Jews. Unlike England and most of Europe there never was a large Jewish presence in Ireland to be scapegoated.

      • My comment was focused on Sarah’s observation of the media’s refusal to be balanced and its role in fuelling such vitriol. I’ve not been to Ireland, but I agree with Sarah that a whole people cannot be painted with the same brush. I see from the comments in this article that of course anti-Semitism dressed up as concerned folk expressing legitimate criticism of Israeli policies is alive and thriving to an alarming and vicious degree, I don’t think you are necessarily exaggerating, and I’ve no doubt that I wouldn’t be welcome in a pub if I were start singing a Miri Mesika tune (or any other tune, such is my singing ability, but you get my point) or talking about what a great leader Netanyahu is, but the practice of applying uniform judgments on a whole group is wrong. There are those who commented on the original ‘Indecency’ piece who pointed out that there are groups such as ireland4israel that actively seek to show support for Israel, and even if the haters are in the majority, I still think it’s correct to recognise that they don’t represent everyone, as Sarah has done. I just hope against hope that some kind of balance – balance that should be there already as a matter of journalistic ethic – can be brought to the discussion, eventually.

  20. During the McCarthy era…tens of millions of people believed that communists were imbedded in American society and ready to step in and take over…a large number of North Koreans believe that their beloved leader is the savior of their nation…like his dad….Mao, Joe Stalin and Hitler all had feverish support from millions of gullible mums and dads…we can study many such events in human history…but it is sometimes unclear how this phenomena plays out in present time…the Palestinian narrative is widely accepted…people do not question their own belief systems particularly while they are held by the majority…it is usually only looking back that it becomes apparent that people were wrong…and that their naïve opinions…were disastrous…if not for themselves…then for others…S H Cohen

  21. Thank you Irish responders for proving Sarah Honig’s column of two weeks ago beyond all doubt. For a minute there, I thought Sarah was exaggerating about the Irish sentiment.

  22. Sarah,
    You are much too apologetic. Me thinks COLAISTE Na Sceilge principal John O’Connor protests too much. He all but called you a liar. I also have to say I couldn’t disagree with you more than when you comment that “I referred to Cahersiveen’s residents as “essentially very decent folks.” I beg to differ with you. Too much salt ruins all the soup, not just a portion of it. “Essentially very decent folk” find it all too easy to reserve their decency for select groups. How many “essentially very decent folks.” cheered Hitler after Kristalnacht? The good citizens of Cahersiveen who supported the students, the students and especially Mr. O’Connor lost the right to be called “essentially very decent people” when they attacked you, the State of Israel and Jews in general.
    O’Connor’s defense of Trocaire is self serving at best. They may state, as the Kerryman article claimed, that it is neither pro-israeli or pro-palestinian. A careful perusal of its comments about Israel shows a definite bias in favor of the arabs. They have apparently take no issue with years of rocket attacks by but are ready to lament Israeli defending itself. Israel has been the target of 1000’s of rockets since 2001 and how many terror attacks before then but that doesn’t seem to bother Trocaire or Mr. O’Connor. They mau have selective decency but to call them “essentially very decent people” is stretching things a bit far.

  23. Dear Sarah,
    There is something terribly dishonest about today’s anti-semites like Grass or Augstein in Germany, or Gerald Scarfe et al in the UK, isn’t there? At least with Hitler, the czar or the KKK you knew where you stood. No hypocrisy, just honest, straightforward anti-semitism. It brings to mind a letter that Lincoln once sent to his friend Joshua Speed in 1855 concerning the expansion of slavery :

    “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy (sic).”

    That is what I mean. I prefer to take my anti-semites pure, like Hitler, without any hypocrisy.
    These are all people running scared. In their hearts they know their continent is doomed and that there is nothing they can do about it. Meanwhile, Israel is strong, vibrant, tough, thriving and, worst of all, independent, which further inflames the anti-semites. So they lash out at their favorite, eternal scapegoat, the Jew.
    I see no future for Jews in Europe. For the time America is still safe, but who knows for how long. There are things going on in the USA these days that I never thought I would see in my country.
    It is all in God’s hands.
    Bill Meisler

    • I couldn’t agree more. I do worry about the growing anti-semitism here in the USA. As the economy goes from one crisis to another the traditional scapegoat will be attacked. And it won’t help that Jews have had a prominent place in the nations economic policy in the last 20+ years.

  24. These are two pieces that I produced and sent to the school in question…..perhaps they will watch them, and perhaps minds may open a little. In Ireland there exists a culture that prefers imagination to reality, it requires much creativity on our parts to counter some of the fiction that you sadly encountered…..even if your ancestors have an alibi for the death of Jesus. But don’t let that put you off returning….

  25. sarah, as i said to you before, i don’t hate you or israel . i’m from county cork, republic of ireland. i hope that the irish people, who contribute to the debate about your recent irish articles, will use reasonable words to give their opinion. i don’t believe ireland is anti-semetic, i believe that most irish people like me, want to see peace between israel and palastine. that is my most fervent wish. paddy.

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