Posts categorized “World”

Could Israel use the Bomb?


 

“We do but teach bloody instruction which having being taught, returns to plague the inventor”

 

As is so often the case Shakespeare said it first. Anti-Semiticism, the selfishness of great powers, a tradition of standing back and allowing massively unjust regimes to have their way so long as countries which should intervene can continue to trade profitably with the oppressors.

 

       All these factors have come together infused by Zionists age old yearning to regain a homeland to deposit the bloody detritus of history in the form of bombs and shells on the heads of innocent, sleeping, Palestinian children.

 

       Even the Irish are not without guilt. Our inactivity in the face of the Gaza massacres is deplorable. To think that this small nation which once shone as a beacon light in the eyes of oppressed people everywhere who sought independence and human rights would cravenly abstain on a UN vote to set up an inquiry to even enquire into Israeli policy is heart breaking. Now a lack of moral fibre politically has joined the lack of financial morality which created our recession.

 

       We avert our gaze as the children are being made to pay for what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, what the Romans did to the Jews thousands of years ago.

 

       The children whom the Israelis are slaughtering were not Nazis, were not even conceived when the Nazis destroyed those whom they regarded as ‘untermensch’ the Jews.

 

       Now it is the Jews who regard the Palestinians as untermensch and invite us to blame Hamas for what they are doing to women and children.

 

       The late Joseph Goebbels, the perpetrator of the big lie would smile in approving wonderment at the Israeli spin doctors’ manipulation of the truth as they stand before camera, microphone and notebook attempting to justify the unjustifiable and unforgiveable.

 

       Morally and politically the Hamas rocket firing is also unjustifiable and wrong, but its military effects are miniscule. The Israelis own actions underline this point.

 

       When a rocket landed near Ben-Gurion airport, the Americans at first refused to fly in the Germans did likewise. But, obviously under pressure commercially and politically from Israeli lobbyists the Americans and the Germans soon resumed their flights.

 

       Pointedly the German pilots did so reluctantly stating that the decision to resume flights was not taken on security grounds but on political ones. Of course it was.  During a war in which, outside the Middle East, three huge airliners have crashed with enormous loss of life, no airline would willingly risk rocket fire to land in Israel. But obviously, deplorable as the rockets are, the Israelis have been able to argue successfully that militarily speaking the rockets are not as dangerous as they are being made out to be.

 

       No doubt Iron Dome will be working overtime to keep the airport safe, but the incident does illustrate in telling fashion, the disparity between Israel’s military might  and the disproportionate brutality of its response to the rockets compared to what the Hamas militants are doing. In this contemporary conflict between David and Goliath, David doesn’t have a catapult; he is armed with a pea-shooter.

 

       But the Israeli onslaught clearly has a wider target than Hamas, the displacement and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is intended to make the two state solution unworkable because the Palestinians will have become demoralised and dispersed.

 

       But this is not how human nature works, despite the Israelis propaganda that it is Hamas who is causing the havoc amongst the Palestinians the reality is that such brutal counter insurgency tactics can and probably will bolster the “defenders” plank in the Hamas argument.

 

       There have been other manifestations of a physical force response to the Israeli occupation in recent history, similar factions have come and gone, just as they did with various labels for the Irish physical force tradition, IRA, INLA, Official IRA, Provisionals and so on throughout the last century here.

 

       They too were condemned and outgunned, in both the shooting and propaganda wars but hey played the defender role successfully and they are now in a fair way to gaining power in both states in this island. Is this the sort of two state solution the Zionist want to achieve?

 

       The only hope for Israel’s long term future and for an end to the Palestinian agony is for both David and Goliath to negotiate. The horrible state of the Middle East is being made worse by the horrors in Gaza and they will have long term repercussions on Israel’s viability.

 

       The eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth policy could and quite possibly would be used to justify the use of nuclear weapons against Gaza. Is that the sort of homeland for the Jews that their propagandists want to create?  

 

        

 

        


Cruel Inhumane Behaviour.


Man’s inhumanity to man (and to women and children), was never better exemplified than in the last few bloody days, which saw the shooting down of the Malaysian Airliner and Israel’s unpardonable butcheries in Gaza.  The primitive attitudes displayed by allowing drunken “separatists” to prevent crash scene experts retrieve evidence, which includes human bodies, from the site of the crash of the Malaysian airliner, is as sickening as it is inhumane.

       The mental torture endured by the relatives and loved ones of the dead visualising those corpses strewn across the Ukrainian landscape is unimaginable.  Obviously the Russians are hoping to get to the black boxes and other vital evidences so as to prevent the fact of their missile systems involvement in the downing of the airliner.  But this behaviour makes Putin, the hand up the marionette’s glove, that is the separatist movement, look less a modern world leader than an old style Asiatic dictator.

       Whatever about diplomatic manoeuvrings and great power cover ups, or attempted cover ups, which one might expect any country to engage in, the interference with that most basic of human rights, the enabling of human beings to enjoy that most fundamental human decency, the according of the right to bury their loved ones with decency has been trampled on and made a victim of Putin’s clumsy efforts at geo- politics.

       There is nothing clumsy however about the Israeli onslaught on the virtually defenceless population of Gaza. Patiently, with Nazi like efficiency, the Israelis are showering one of the most densely populated areas of the world with high explosives.  Their spokespersons appear on television, sibilant of tone and sanitised in language to talk about “operations”, not the slaughter of children.

       The diseased clarity of the Israeli case: “Hamas must stop the rockets terrifying our people. It is they who are exposing their people to sacrifice. We want only peace” is as cynical as it is inaccurate.

       Of course Hamas should stop the rockets, if for no other reason than that they are militarily ineffective and politically disastrous in that they provide a fig leaf for the Israeli’s campaign of atrocity.

        But this is the part of the play where we, the world audience, come in, the real drama has been building up off stage for decades. What the Israelis have been doing behind their duplicitously sincere media campaign has been ethnic cleansing.

       A state which under the Balfour declaration of 1917 was conceived in the belief that; “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” has instead subjected the Palestinians to systematic ethnic cleansing.  The UN has passed some 45 resolutions condemning Israel’s breaches of human rights to no avail.

Behind the excuses about Hamas is the reality that Israel is coldly, brutally working to make the two state solution to the Palestinian problem unworkable. The objective is to leave the Palestinians without sufficient land on which to found any state.

       Systematically the Israelis have been driving the indigenous population off their lands and filling them with settlers. Israel is not an oasis in an Arab desert of obscuranticism. It is a cuckoo’s nest society in which the intruders hatch new holdings and squeeze out the original occupants of the nest.

       The terrible irony of the situation is the extent to which the abused have become the abusers. The only avowedly anti-Semitic government in the world today is Israel’s – the Palestinians, let it be remembered are a Semitic people.

       The Israelis are making political capital out of the Hamas theology and their futile rocket campaign by coining slogans such as, “Hamas denies the State of Israel’s right to exist. How can we negotiate with such people? These people are only terrorists”.

       What Hamas is doing is wrong and stupid but much of what the IRA did was equally so and yet the wheel turned eventually to the point where the electorate eliminated the moderates and voted for Sinn Féin. In Palestinian terms, Hamas could be seen as an off shoot of a physical force tradition which could be called PLO or Fata one day but evolve into something else as the years pass as did Irish militant republicanism morph from simply three letters, the IRA, into the official IRA, the Provisional IRA, the INLA, the Continuity IRA, the Real IRA and so on and so on.

       But at least in the Irish situation there is a hope of Peace taking hold, of evolution, of economic progress subsuming the militant traditions of both Orange and Green. The Israeli tactics provoke only despair and a thirst for vengeance. Peace will never be built that way.

       If Israel’s had been the prevailing attitude in Belfast, Dublin, London and Washington during the 1990s there would have been no Good Friday Agreement.  The mutually exclusive goals of the Republicans and the Unionists could have been manipulated to stall the Peace Process in its tracks.

       But sloganizing was not allowed to have its way. Washington in particular, played a proactive and a constructive role but while this is being written, Washington, in effect, stands idly by and allows the Israelis to rain death and destruction on the untermensch.  

       To think that a people who endured the Holocaust and indignities like the scourging of the Warsaw ghettos, the dehumanising regime of the yellow stars, could act like this makes one despair of human progress.

       The history of the Israeli settlement in the Palestinian lands has been an atrocity laden tale that has veered downward from that calculated effort at frightening the Arabs from their holdings that was Deir Yassin in 1948, in which some of the founders of the Israeli state used axes as well as hand grenades to dispose of men, women and children from that ill-fated village, to today’s brutalities in the skies over Gaza.

       The Jews are one of the great civilisations of the World but what is being done in Gaza at the moment is a both a defecation on the memories of Jewish martyrs like Anne Frank and Jewish geniuses like Albert Einstein.


Back to the Future


 

The light is fading on New Year’s Day as this is written, but it is not intended as a song at twilight but as a promise on the dawning of a New Year- I’ll keep the Blog up to date in 2014! After what we’ve been through it would be permissible to open the New Year simply with a salvo directed at the decision takers who have brought such misery on our people. But I feel that there is room for a modest optimism at the impending arrival of economic crocuses to join the floral ones on their way.

There are damn few reasons for optimism, floral or otherwise emanating from Northern Ireland of course. I didn’t expect the recent talks to produce anything.  One of the sharp images I have in my mind from the time of the Good Friday Agreement is of Geoffrey Donaldson driving angrily from Stormont as the Good Friday Agreement neared completion because of his opposition to its contents. I couldn’t see him driving towards a New Year’s Eve agreement with a smile on his face and he’s not the worst of them.  The reality is that in Dublin a Fine Gael led government preoccupied with economic problems and in London a conservative one not too bothered about the north anyway both took their feet off the accelerator of Northern Ireland progress.

London and Dublin should have been at the talks despite Richard Hass’ presence, and that of the attractive Megan O’Sullivan one did not have the feeling that here was the full monty.  We’re in a season of orange commemoration reaching from the signing of the covenant to the Larne gun running and a symbolism of the Loyalist camp at Holy Cross monastery in north Belfast should not be over looked.

The camp is of course an extraordinary provocation to the nationalists of that area whose children had to be escorted to school each day through cordons of chanting loyalists, but if any attempt were made to remove the camp by force what would be the chances of the survival of the monastery itself. They haven’t gone away you know even if Fine Gael and Labour chose to conduct themselves as though they had.

Back to our own economic and psychological state in the republic while I said at the outset and say again that a little guarded optimism is justified I consider it utterly opprobrious that those responsible for the economic treason are still walking about scot free while suicide rates soar, our young people shoal out of the country and able bodied valuable men and women gaze dull eyed a the dole queue and the emptiness of their future. The administrators, the bankers, the politicians and the senior figures in Ireland’s small but terribly influential financial community should be in jail by now not free to make golfing jaunts to the sun or to transfer some of their ill-gotten wealth to their wives.

It’s an open secret that the financial people are in league with the legal profession – important sections of which also invested in bank shares and property busts. Each side props up the other in an outrageous, but hitherto successful, attempt to defeat justice. To paraphrase Padraig Pearse ‘until prison holds these men Ireland will never be at peace’.  

However not to end on a sour note may I wish all my readers a Happy New Year, and one in which the flowers of economic revival really do bloom.


Are we Helpless before the Guilty?


Over the New Year I’ve been pondering the implications of a discovery I made while researching my book on the Famine* namely that one of its principal legacies to Ireland was what the psychiatrists called ‘learned helplessness’.  The beliefs that no matter how one tried there was nothing to do in the face of catastrophe save succumb to it or emigrate. There was no possibility of getting back at those who brought about the disaster. In the case of the Famine and in today’s Ireland people are either accepting whatever burdens have been placed upon them with varying degrees of despair or they are getting out.

If one looks at the plight of modern Ireland and comments in astonishment; ‘and nobody is going to jail!’ one can be certain that the automatic knee jerk reaction will be; ‘No! And nobody will go.’  The correct response of course would be for thousands to gather in the streets outside the Dáil demanding the prosecution of the politicians, the policy makers, the regulators who did not regulate, the overseeing civil servants who did not oversee, and the decision takers in the banks and other financial institutions who indulged in spectacularly reckless trading.

The good people, the would be educators of their families, the hard workers are being lashed into carrying the nation’s burdens while the decision takers responsible for their misery ride off unscathed in to the sunset with their pay offs and their pensions and knowing smirks on their faces.

How can we punish the people responsible for Ireland’s present economic and psychological woes? Crime is up, so is unemployment and Irish suicide rates are now acknowledged to be running at 50% above the pre- financial crash levels.  On top of this the country has lost its sovereignty and stands in a Brussels dole queue while it’s young people stand in airport queues to emigrate.

The people are coping bravely and industriously with the threat of unemployment, new taxes and wage cuts but those responsible go Scott free. The government has made no effort to beef up the fraud squad whose good police work is ultimately largely rendered impotent because of a public service embargo necessitated by the credit squeeze which prevents the hiring of essential expertise; forensic accountants, solicitors, senior counsel and so on.  Thus the people who caused the embargo to be instituted escape unscathed and a government reluctant to proceed against key figures in the worlds of law, politics, the Civil service and finance is enabled to shirk its duty of rendering the mighty as well as the meek amenable to the law.

When it first came into office the government did make an effort to set up Dáil committees of Inquiry which would have brought relevant figures to the Dáil to explain themselves as is done in London and Washington. However the attempt was made valueless by the half-hearted way in which the government went about winning the referendum campaign which would have been necessary under the Irish Constitution to allow these committees to be set up.  The referendum was lost, paradoxically in part because the public had become so mistrustful of the politicians that they shrank from giving them further powers.

Moreover a phalanx of former attorneys general further discouraged the public by signing their names to an open letter stating that the proposed committees would interfere with a man’s right to his good name and the judiciaries’ right to independence.

One of the signatories to that letter Mr Dermot Gleeson, was the chairman of Allied Irish Bank.  Another was Mr Peter Sutherland of Goldman Sachs. Incidentally another referendum called for by the financial crisis was one which was necessitated by the reluctance of judges to accept the same pay cuts which other ordinary citizens had to undergo.

There is a great sense of unfairness abroad in Ireland.  As I write these words people are agonising over where they are to get the money for yet more taxes due later this year, a property tax and a beginning to Water rates with the introduction of meters. The Irish are no less patriotic and hardworking than they ever were and just as willing to accept sacrifice for the public weal, but that sacrifice should not be borne solely by the innocent people who would be far more willing to shoulder their burdens if they felt that the guilty suffered for their crimes along with the innocent. It’s time for the government to either revive their original committees proposal or introduce some new initiative to wipe the smirks off those fat cats’ faces.

Feel free to contact me with any comments, suggestions or ideas through the contact section on this website or through my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/timpat.coogan.3

 

 

Tim Pat Coogan’s new book, ‘The Famine Plot, England’s role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy’ published by Palgrave Macmillan is available in bookshops now.

 


Why I can no longer support anti-Semitic state of Israel


Sunday Independent

An open letter to Dr Zion Evrony, Israeli ambassador to Ireland, from Tim Pat Coogan

You were kind enough to invite me to the recent reception you gave to celebrate Israel’s 62nd Independence Day, but I did not attend out of a growing sense of outrage at the treatment of the Palestinians which I have hitherto only expressed privately.

The recent acts of piracy on the high seas have, however, prompted me to write you this public letter stating why I did not attend and asking that, unless policies change, that I not be invited again. It’s a small, even you might say, trivial gesture, but, I am buoyed by the fact that boycotting played a useful role in Ireland’s history. More… »


Why Israel lobby is wrong to demonize Mary Robinson


The shots fired at Mary Robinson by Jewish groups are probably really aimed at President Obama and his efforts to broker a peace deal with Israel starting with an end to the building of illegal Jewish settlements.

The President is right to work for peace. The blame which America’s apparent willingness to support Israel in whatever it does has occasioned in the Arab street is both harmful to America’s national interest, and a source of support for Al Qaeda.

But the attempt to target one of the greatest living Irish women, internationally recognized as a human rights campaigner, in a smear campaign orchestrated by lobbyists for the State of Israel has implications for Irish policy towards Israel and contains potential repercussions for the lobbyists’ cause that do not appear well thought out.

It comes just after an Irish parliamentary delegation had returned to Ireland from a fact finding mission to Gaza and the other Arab territories. It also comes at a time when the recent fighting and its aftermath has increased the swing in Irish public opinion from an uncomprehending, but generally admiring, attitude towards the foundation of the State of Israel, and the State’s early fight to defend itself, to one of ever growing distaste for its increasingly brutal and ineffective military approach to the Palestinian problem.

A few days before the Robinson controversy blew up, I spoke with a highly respected Irish political figure (incredibly there are still such) who had been on the all-party Irish parliamentary delegation and found him to be horrified as much by the illegal settlement building as by the devastation caused to the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip and the effects of the state of siege which the Israel military are enforcing on the population of Gaza.

To judge from the initial statement the delegation subsequently released, everyone else in the party shared his concerns and the full Report of the delegation , scheduled for next month is expected to be particularly damning. Israeli embassy spokespersons are already mounting a campaign to discredit the delegations findings. Even in the midst of chronic economic problems, this controversy seems certain to grow, not diminish.

The TD I spoke to represents a border constituency and was an informed participant in the behind the scenes diplomacy that led to the Good Friday Agreement. His father was a member of Michael Collins’ elite hit team The Squad and by birth and up-bringing he would have regarded the Unionists with distaste and wished for a United Ireland.

But, as a practicing politician, he recognised that times had changed and it was time to move on. The gun had to be put away, the Six County State recognised, the British presence accepted, and both sides, Republican and Unionists, had to co-operate in the interests of peace, allowing the ultimate solution of deeply embedded problems to be resolved in the future by their grandchildren if necessary.

Translated to Palestine this viewpoint would mean that Hamas would cease rocket attacks, recognise the State of Israel and the Israelis would engage in-all party talks, brokered by the US, which would give the Palestinians their State, end the blockade of Gaza and the building of illegal settlements.

The Irish political class, more than most Europeans, have an empathy with problems left over from the days of the British empire. Arthur Balfour, the British politician probably most responsible for the introduction to Ireland, was also the statesman who set today’s events in train with his Declaration, issued during the same era, (1917) which favored “ the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”.

The Declaration also stated that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

However the reality which confronted the Dáil delegation in Gaza, during its recent visit, was, in Irish terms, as though a million and a half Nationalists, unwillingly and without compensation, had been forcibly driven across the Border and penned into an area one-third the size of Louth where they could look across the border at the land they once owned.

The creation of such ghettos would have not just produced murderous and irresponsible reactions such as the creation of Hamas and its criminally irresponsible rocket firings, but IRA atrocity on a scale not even possible to guess at, As it was, the hatred that Unionist discrimination spawned in Ireland did gave rise to a plethora of IRAs.

But the British did not drop white phosphorus on densely populated civilian areas, as was done during the recent destruction of Gaza. Nor did they automatically blow up the homes of known IRA men as standard operating procedure. Nor (in recent centuries at least) did they deliberately use massacre as a counter-insurgency tool as was done in Deir Yassim in 1948 and at Sabra and Shatilla in 1982.

The fact that the Israeli propaganda machine dubs such activities “operations” does not sanitise them, lessen their impact, nor make them more morally acceptable. The policy which the Unionists once espoused, that error has no rights, opponent, no justification, or legal protections did not eradicate terrorism. It encouraged it.

Directing the blame for “operations” at those who may have thrown, a bomb, a rock, or fired a rocket neither makes “operations” justifiable nor proportionate.

The analogies between the Irish and the Palestinian situations however do have a contemporary relevance which contains important seeds of hope. The name Clinton shines by its own light where the Irish peace process is concerned. But not alone is Hilary Clinton the American leader most charged with finding a Middle East solution, the man who did most to smooth the Good Friday negotiations, George Mitchell, is on the ground trying to repeat what was done in Belfast.

It is in America’s and the world’s interest that they succeed. But above all it is in the interest of Israel and the Palestinians. Peace is what should be striven for by the Israeli spin doctors, not the demonization of Mary Robinson.

- First published 10th August 2009 at IrishCentral.com