Human Rights Organizations and that Joe Loughnane Incident

Two recent reports from Amnesty International on the ordeals of Palestinian communities in the Middle East could not be more different.

Trigger-happy‘ is supposed to demonstrate excessive forced used by the IDF in response to Palestinian demonstrations and rioting in the West Bank. Amnesty claims 22 civilians have been killed over a period of 12 months. The casualties are mostly young men, in or around areas of hostility at the time. The report is 87 pages long and contains 14 individual photographs and 18 in-depth biographies of the victims, some up to three pages long and with interviews of family members. There is also an accompanying video of four minutes length.

Squeezing the life out of Yarmouk‘, on the other hand, is Amnesty’s attempt at covering the siege of a settlement mostly populated by the descendants of Palestinian refugees in Syria. The death toll here has been close to 200 civilians in 8 months. They are a mixture of men and women, young and old, pointing to killings of an indiscriminate nature. The deaths have been primarily by starvation, sniper-fire, and bombings.  Yet this report is a mere 39 pages long. It contains no photographs of the victims. Nor is there any real information on individual casualties. It is as dry as a Wikipedia summary, reading like something Amnesty only had to do because they were obliged. ‘Trigger-happy’, on the other hand, is an emotive call to action, somebody at Amnesty’s personal crusade. ‘Trigger-happy’ was displayed prominently on the front page of their website for two weeks. The other was there for a day.

The information in the reports may or may not be true. I am more interested in the discrepancy of focus and language [H/T to Yisrael Medad for pointing this out to me]. One would have a very distorted picture of the global human rights situation from reading Amnesty reports. The reasons for the discrepancy are worth a discussion.

I identify three phenomena at the root.

Firstly, many of us sceptical about  the actions of NGO’s are familiar with Moynihan’s Law, which says that the greater the number of complaints being aired against a country, the better protected are human rights in that country. As a more open society, journalists, academics and other unsavoury types are free to roam and report in Israel. They are not in Syria. The philosopher Roger Scruton strongly hinted in his book on Lebanon, A Land Held Hostage, that Robert Fisk’s disturbingly soft treatment of Hafez Al-Assad during the civil war there helped ensure his access to the region, even though Fisk, the old fraud, was often out of the country for many of the events he claimed to witness.

Secondly, it may be that the relative tranquillity of Israel and Palestine does more to attract aid workers and journalists. One of my favourite quotes of all time was given by a young lady called Emily Williams, an American manager of a medical NGO in the Palestinian territories:

“Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry… People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safe and has all the comforts that internationals want. Quality of life here is so much higher than somewhere like Afghanistan, but we don’t tell anyone so that we are not replaced or reassigned.”

My understanding is that most correspondents would rather pen dramatic write-ups on clashes  between the IDF and its enemies from the comfort of the American Colony Hotel in eastern Jerusalem than endure the miserable, macchiato -free conditions of Yemen.

Finally, some time ago in National Review, John O’ Sullivan identified another law: any organization that is not explicitly right-wing will over time become left-wing. What is true of the Episcopalian Church is equally true for Amnesty, or Oxfam, or Human Rights Watch. It’s just the type of people organisations that shun profit-making attract.

And on that point I want to talk about Joe Loughnane and the jackasses at NUI Galway.

Here is Joe, in all his eloquence:

Notice Joe says he’s been on the Galway campus for ten years. That’s the product of an extensive education in human rights law, apparently. According to this piece, he’s worked for several months at an unnamed human rights organisation in London. His antics, which include very direct threats against students and guests at his university, are well known and should preclude him from employment in any respectable establishment. Yet I am not so confident that he’ll be shunned by any organisation dedicated to human rights today. It was this blog two years ago that pointed out that Amnesty Ireland’s Communications Co-ordinator  at Amnesty International in Ireland, Justin Moran, is a Sinn Fein activist. I’ve made similar allegations of extremist penetration into religious groups like Trocaire and EAPPI.

The hi-jacking of the language of “human rights” and many hitherto respectable organisations dedicated to that cause by people like Joe Loughnane and his Palestine Solidarity Campaign bullies is one of the most significant developments of our time. After all, how could a man proudly displaying the banner below actually believe in any honest notion of human rights? And how can a human rights organisation in good conscience hire him?

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Sean Gallagher and political agendas in RTÉ

I note than Sean Gallagher’s case against RTÉ may be heard in the High Court this year.

Good.

What the media overlooks is often more interesting than what it reports. The drama of the Halawa family was a missed opportunity to ask hard questions about a group of Irish Muslim activists in Egypt. Once upon a time, people who asked questions about Communist subversion of the American government were called paranoid “red-baiters”. Then came the Mitrokhin Archive and the declassification of the Venona Project in the 1990s, and we know those red-baiters were right. Senator McCarthy was widely laughed at in the 1950s for calling Harry Dexter White, one of the architects of Bretton Woods, a Soviet agent. In 2013, Foreign Affairs could run lengthy articles asking why Harry Dexter White spied for the Soviets. We can do the same for Alger Hiss, John Stewart Service, Owen Lattimore, and perhaps hundreds more of their contemporaries.

In the spirit of making sure justice is done today rather than by historians decades from now, the painful possibility of subversion of some kind needs to be confronted. Of particular assistance here may be be an assistant producer of Frontline, Aoife Kelleher, daughter of the Labour Party politician Tom Kelleher. It seems a lot of players here revolve around her.

So, even though Passover is still a few months away, I have Four Questions for Ireland’s national broadcaster about the infamous night of October 24th, the final Presidential debate:

1. Why was Michael D. Higgins was not asked a direct question by a member of the audience? This seems inexplicable, given that along with Gallagher he was the main contender.

2. Why was Glenna Lynch, a businesswoman and left-leaning activist, permitted to ask not one, but two questions to Sean Gallagher? Lynch is a follower of, and is followed by, the assistant producer Aoife Kelleher on Twitter (whose account is now private). Aoife has a history of sending supportive tweets about Lynch when she makes radio and TV appearances.

3. Why was Austin Stack not accepted on the show? The son of prison officer Brian Stack, who was murdered by the IRA in 1983, he made a request to Frontline in order to ask a question to Martin McGuinness. He was declined, and two others got to ask questions to McGuinness instead. One was an unremarkable Fianna Fail girl, and the other was Kevin Conroy. Conroy said he personally disliked Sean Gallagher and was contacted “out of the blue” by Aoife Kelleher to ask questions at the debate. Conroy opened his question to McGuinness with a statement condemning Sean Gallagher.

4. How could 26 minutes lapse between the reading of the infamous hoax tweet and the end of the program without a correction being issued?

I believe the real answers to these questions will show there really was a conspiracy that night. It was all rigged against Gallagher and in favour of Higgins. One can even make the case for Norris being hard done by. A young man by the name of Fitzpatrick was allowed to ask Norris a question. It was really more of a statement claiming he was irresponsible to re-enter the race. This man failed to identify himself as a Higgins supporter, and indeed his question would have bolstered the case for voting Higgins for those of the left-wing persuasion. He also appears to have at least some acquaintance with Aoife Kelleher.

In media circles, there was clear preference for the left-liberal, openly homosexual candidate that was David Norris. After his campaign was wrecked beyond redemption in late July ans early August of that year, with the help of yours truly, Norris was too much of a lost cause. Yet we still have what many people in RTÉ probably wanted: a President with far more loyalty to the teachings of Marx, Shaw, and the Webbs that he does to the Irish Constitution.

Once this fact is established, the Irish people will have to make an informed choice about the future of RTÉ. We can stay the course. We can reform. Or we can do what Kennedy wanted to do to the CIA after the Bay of Pigs: splinter it into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.

You can guess my preference.

The Halawa incident, and the Muslim Brotherhood plays the victim

In the past few days, the Irish media has been saturated with coverage of those members of the Halawa family who got trapped in a mosque in Cairo, surrounded by police. This happened on the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Day of Rage’ last Friday. They are now being held in an Egyptian prison.

The family have marketed themselves as unlucky tourists, and the media are dutifully parroting this line. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One of these ladies, called Fatima, was being interviewed on Radio One claiming to be innocently trapped in Fateh Mosque on Ramses Square. There was no mention of the Islamist mob that had attacked the police station on the corner of that same square from that same mosque; a mob they were very likely there to support. There was no mention of the fact that the army, police and residents provided safe passage for women to leave Al-Fatah Mosque. Here’s a picture from Egypt Daily News:

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Were the Halawas really “trapped” in this mosque?

Fatima’s father is Imam Hussein Halawa, a very prominent Islamist figure operating out of the Clonskeagh mosque. Clonskeagh is a Gulf-state operation and a haven of Muslim Brotherhood ideology.

This young lady was saying her phone battery was so low that she could not call the Irish Embassy, yet she could do several interviews over the same phone with RTE in one day.

Aside from presenting the story from an angle the media wont, I want to offer some thoughts on what just happened here.

Firstly, the ‘plight’ of the Halawas, who arrived in Egypt to agitate, received many times more attention than the 40 churches burned to the ground and looted in the last few days in Egypt. This crime was committed by people the Halawas came to assist. This disparity in the media coverage is in itself obscene.

Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood had called for a ‘Day of Rage’ that led to dozens of policemen being killed, and the violence is still ongoing. Just two day ago, 25 soldiers were lined up and shot by Islamists in the Sinai. Several were beheaded. The Halawa girls were with the Muslim Brotherhood in one of its mosques that same day, by their own volition. Over three weeks ago, Omaima Halawa posted a message on Facebook pledging to stay in Egypt and saying “we only fear Allah not bullets”. Papa Hussein Halawa ‘likes’ this post. Here is a link.

I believe these people, the Halawas and the Muslim Brotherhood, are incredibly talented liars and propagandists, good at portraying themselves as victims. The image below shows them using a tactic the Palestinians have been employing for years: professional “corpses” wheeled out for the cameras.

There is a reflex tendency to see Arab Muslims as innocent victims; of western powers, the Israelis, and so on. Islamic persecution of Copts has no place in the narrative, so it’s simply ignored. Here, for instance, is a report of Muslim Brotherhood supporters capturing nuns and parading them down the streets of Cairo as ‘prisoners of war’.

Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood may be good at PR, but the media won’t ask hard questions because they fear being seen as ‘Islamophobic’. Some westerners are as much to blame as them.

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P.S. – I feel I should give you a very short summary of my views on the Egyptian military’s actions against the Brotherhood.

It is commonly said the military are opposing the democratic will of the Egyptians. This is true; but it’s also a very good thing. The Egyptian elections saw the Muslim Brotherhood coming out on top, with over half the vote, and the even more extreme Salafists landing in second, getting about a quarter of the vote. Both groups came out far ahead of the nearest liberal faction. The democratic will of the Egyptian people, much like that of the Arab people in Syria and Palestine, is expressed in fanaticism, supremacism, and hatred. Its far from a minority of Muslims that are Islamists, a lie we have been told for many years.

I do not accept the legitimacy of Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist ideology, and I would not even if 51%+ of my fellow citizens did. Thus, I wish General Sisi the best of luck mowing down every last one of these swine.

Paul Murphy MEP: What happens when angry kids are in charge

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Fascism was born with the realisation that the revolutionary left don’t play by the rules and only use the institutions of liberal democracy to subvert them.

If Lenin and Trotsky didn’t exist, there would have been no Hitler and Goebbels.

Neither of these parties has any claim on or affections. However, looking at the likes of Paul Murphy MEP, one begins to understand the appeal of donning a black shirt and knocking him on the head.

With peace talks just about to get underway between Israel and the Palestinians, Murphy decided to offer his own alternative: telling Russia Today that Palestinians should begin a new violent Intifada and bring down – get this – “the capitalist establishment in Israel”.

What kind of idiot would do this?

A man stuck in an angsty teenage phase who has never had a real job in his life, perhaps.

Murphy graduated from University College Dublin in 2004. Until he landed the role of an MEP, he had never held down a real job, being described instead as a full-time activist for the Socialist Party. He did not even have to fight an election campaign: he stepped into a seat vacated by the ever sullen and gloomy Joe Higgins. Apparently, he’s also written a PhD thesis titled “Does socialist law exist?”

Does Paul Murphy’s sense of responsibility exist?

Murphy highlights the dangers of putting childish activists into positions of power and influence. Sure, the mainstream parties stuffed full of elderly people might not be up to much. They may even be gobsites. But we should not forget that there are always worse gobshites out there:

The Allsop Auction: No Rule of Law In Ireland

Yesterday, Dublin bore witness to an act of opportunistic thuggery and mob rule. A lawful auction was disrupted, and a company was forced to close its premises on Pembroke Street. No arrests were made; Gardai were happy to look on and cede authority to a group of mouth-breathing bandits.

Mouth-breathers may be too generous a description. Here’s Tom D’Arcy of Direct Democracy Ireland. The factual errors combined with the confidence of his delivery make for 20 seconds of comedy greatness:

In fairness, he may be confusing Countess Markievicz with his contemporary fallen rebel, Janice Connolly. An easy mistake.

Its fun to laugh at jackasses telling auctioneers to ‘go back home to England’, or calling them Black and Tans, or belting out the national anthem. Yet there may be a more sinister element here. The event in question was an auction of repossessed investment properties, including holiday homes. Now, the Irish don’t like repossessions. They probably bring back bad memories from the 19th century (hence, the bizarre evocation of nationalism by the protesters). This aversion to seeing anybody lose their property was stretched to absurdity last year, when Ireland’s Occupy movement came to protest the eviction of a millionaire couple in the exclusive neighborhood of Killiney, even though this couple owned dozens of other properties in Ireland and no less than 13 apartments in London. They also happened to owe over €2 million to a recently nationalized bank, a.k.a. the taxpayer, but the irony was lost on the Occupy crowd.

But who would be motivated to come out for an emotional protest where no families have lost their homes and no tenants have found themselves on the streets? Who was really behind this farce?

Among the protesters I spotted in the pictures in today’s newspapers is Jerry Beades. Beades is a property developer well connected to the Fianna Fáil party and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. He’s currently being pursued by Ulster Bank for €3.5m in unpaid loans. Members of the Dáil involved include Michael Healy-Rae and Mattie McGrath. Hardly paragons of integrity. McGrath is a cute hoor who cynically left his disgraced party to run as an independent in 2011, but still curries favor with them at every opportunity. Healy-Rae’s parliamentary office made €2,600 worth of phone calls to RTE to make sure he won a reality show.

It is being said that most of the protesters were dragged from another demonstration in front of the Anglo-Irish Bank HQ on the same day. Were people being cynically manipulated here?

I do hope the auction goes ahead. These things are necessary in order to bring Irish property values back to their normal market rate. I also hope the Gardai will have the good sense to make some arrests and uphold the rule of law if this happens again. In this time of economic hardship, I find it disturbing to see the Gardai persistently gawking at flagrant demonstrations of contempt for the law. It is ranging from comparatively minor incidents involving illegal turf-cutting to allowing paramilitary funerals and demonstrations go unhindered in Dublin’s northside. To borrow some terms from Yeats, describing the atmosphere of Europe after WWI, if the centre cannot hold, mere anarchy will be loosed upon the world. Ireland should endeavor not to be a new Weimar.

On Accepting Blame

150 years ago today, on July 3rd, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was lost for the Army of Northern Virginia.

The nine infantry brigades that advanced in Pickett’s Charge were repulsed and suffered 50% casualties. The day before, the Union line had held at Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. The enemy Army of the Potomac was secure in a clever fish-hook formation that allowed for easy reinforcement of weaker sections.

Pickett’s Charge was a bloody mess. It could have been avoided. It left a psychological blow from which Southern morale never quite recovered.

“It’s all my fault”: that’s what General Lee said as routed Confederates were falling back. The greatest American was willing to admit his mistakes and accept the blame. The affections of his countrymen have often shielded Lee from responsibility. Blame is often laid at the feet of J.E.B. Stuart, the cavalry general who was absent at the early stage of the battle, depriving the army of its ‘eyes and ears’. But Stuart was absent on the orders of Lee, cutting telegraph lines, capturing supplies, and giving the Yankees  hell elsewhere. My own hero, Robert E. Lee, knew who was at fault and never hid the fact.

Which brings me to yesterday’s abortion vote in the Dáil.

The bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Chamber will allow for termination of a pregnancy when doctors agree that a woman is at risk of suicide as a result of that pregnancy.

This suicide clause will inevitably cause in Ireland a repeat of the bloody history of the United Kingdom, where 98% of abortions are carried out as a result of mental trauma. This system is a great ruse between the doctor and patient, and everybody involved knows it. It has led to abortion becoming another form of contraception, a concept that the majority of people have always found distasteful. This year, Lord Steel admitted this was not at all envisaged when he introduced the 1967 bill.

Ireland had the chance to demonstrate a different path, one which would hold the life of the mother and the unborn child in equal regard, and one which would reach the best possible compromise in situations of conflict between the two. What we have now is the wholesale abandonment and derision of Christian principles in favor of secularist barbarism, mediocrity, and conformity; a new milieu in which there is no room for a small nation that refuses to sell its soul.

There are nowhere near enough TDs to stand firm and shout ‘stop!’. Similarly, after Gettysburg, it would have taken nothing short of a miracle to save Dixie.

And how did we get here? In 2002 the 25th Amendment would have amended the Irish Constitution in order to clarify the law on abortion. It would have specifically removed the threat of suicide as a grounds for abortion in the state; a bone of contention since the infamous X-Case of 1992. Pro-life parties made a terrible mistake in advancing the ‘No’ vote even as the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin was saying that informed Catholics were free in conscience to vote as they wished. The amendment was rejected by the electorate, 50.42% to 49.58%.

Nobody thought this would be the end of the matter of abortion. The pro-life movement had a chance to close the suicide loophole. Now the specter of abortion on mental health grounds hovers over us yet again. This foolish decision in 2002 seemed to put tactics ahead of strategy, and the immediate fight before the war.  The Confederates too could have avoided contact with the Union at Gettysburg. What started as a skirmish Lee urgently escalated with reinforcements because he felt he had a shot at destroying the Union Army there and then. There were alternatives. Lee could have interposed between the Federal left flank and Washington to take them on better ground and prevent the enemy from retreating to D.C. He could have retreated to the passes of South Mountain in eastern Pennsylvania and forced Meade to attack him there.

Perhaps moral or abstract principles have no place in a world of strategy, and this has been the pro-life movement’s mistake. Perhaps sentiment and certainty in 2002 trumped good reasoning. What I feel for sure is that what occurred in the Dáil yesterday is partly our fault.

The ESB and the Culture of Entitlement

I note that hundreds of ESB workers gathered today outside the ESB headquarters on Dublin’s Lower Fitzwilliam Street. They don’t want to pay a €78.4 million annual dividend they owe to the exchequer, because the ESB pension fund is in a €1.6 billion shortfall and this would be hard. The unwashed workers of the private sector can only dream of the day they can say this to their creditors .

Forgive me for not shedding a tear for some of the best paid workers in the country (average salary: €85,000 before pension contributions).  These are people who enjoy almost unparalleled job security in a semi-state company that operates in a tightly regulated market ensuring that they have no effective competition.

This is the organisation that demanded an old lady in Offaly, Teresa Treacy, be thrown in jail for refusing the ESB access to her own land where she tended a plot of native trees. Contrast this with the widely loathed outfit that is Shell. Shell in fact pleaded for the Rossport Five to be released from prison after they had violated a court injunction and interfered with  Shell’s pipeline in Mayo.

ESB workers, admitted Brendan Ogle, secretary of the ESB group of unions, are “spoiled”. Undoubtedly a man of the left, he added:

“The trade union movement collaborated in the creation of the wealth stroke debt and we made sure that the gap between that those who have and those who haven’t in society grew through the eighties, through the nineties, into the noughties to the day the IMF arrived on the door.

And the trade union movement and the Labour party collaborated in that for 25 years and none of us did anything about it.”

I disagree with the popular idea that the gap between rich and poor increased in Ireland during the boom years. But there are different kinds of equality and inequality. Public sector and semi-state unions created a protected caste of workers before the 1990s, and they still cushion their clientele from market forces today.

The power of Ireland’s unions was well symbolized in Dublin’s unattractive Liberty Hall, for a long time the country’s tallest building. For decades, unions  made sure that companies were run for the benefit of their workers, and not the customer. This led to absurdities like all banks being closed at lunchtime, the only time when most working people could actually go to the bank. Their power has diminished somewhat, but that sense of entitlement, that led the puzzlingly beatified union leader Jim Larkin to beat workers who refused to go along with his strikes in their own homes, is still with us.

Hogan to Sindo: “You Knackers!”

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I nearly fell over laughing when I saw this, but it appears to be attracting the predictable hostility from the Sindo-bashers. This is silly, because overall it is the minister who is behaving most inappropriately and wrongly threatening the press.

For those who don’t remember, Hogan is referring to the Sindo publishing a photo of him looking fairly intimate with his press secretary at the Doha conference on climate change. Now, if I recall correctly, the original article published in this case was about Hogan living it up in Doha while the budget was being announced. Their headline: “Big Phil’s jaunt cost as much as cuts to respite care for 100 families for year”. However, the picture (see below) was cheekily placed and highly suggestive that there might be something going on between Hogan and the press secretary

Yes, the Sunday Independent has made itself the news, in that irritating Geraldo Rivera kind of way. Plus, the headline is very tabloid-y. Its not good journalism, though I credit the original piece for highlighting some of the ridiculous costs of these climate change shenanigans. Hogan’s behavior, however, is completely unbecoming of a minister. Hogan and his press secretary were in a public bar and they were in Doha on the taxpayer’s tab. He has no semblance of case against the paper and has no business even vaguely threatening what would essentially be a curtailment of press freedom.

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Anti-Semitism in the Kerry School: Yes, it was Trócaire

News of the appearance of anti-Semitism among the schoolchildren of Cahirciveen has spread like a prairie fire. Coláiste na Sceilge have now released an official response, which denies the journalist Sarah Honig’s allegations:  

As Principal of this school I was shocked when I read the contents of the blog by Ms Honig. The students and teacher vehemently deny the remarks attributed to them.

Part of our mission statement states that ‘we are committed to developing people who are fair, caring assertive…’ and we are .

Colaiste na Sceilige has worked with the Trocaire Pamoja –together for human rights – Project for the last number of years.

Last year our students looked at Uganda and raised money for Trocaire for two mobile HIV clinics by singing Christmas carols.The year before it was Honduras and they raised money for Trocaire to build a house for a family.This year it was Palestine and they raised money for Trocaire to buy olive trees for displaced Palestinian families.

The lesson content provided by Trocaire states clearly that ‘Trocaire is neither pro Palestinian nor pro Israeli’ and having spoken to the teacher and students it is clear that the material was delivered in an unbiased manner. Anything else would be entirely unacceptable.

Students read newspapers ,watch the news and are in touch with the world around them. Ms Honig has referred to the plethora of anti Israeli feeling in the media.

We try to teach our students to be critical thinkers to examine both sides of an issue. We may not always be satisfied with the conclusions students draw and can only try to set them right when they go wrong.

By making such allegations, and indeed publishing photographs of children on a website without parental consent, the writer has been irresponsible and has done our school and the people of Kerry a great disservice.

John O’Connor

School Principal

It is not certain from the Principal’s statement whether the school received the controversial Trócaire education pack, which Justin Kilcullen told Richard Humphreys, who raised a stink about them, had not been sent to schools. It could be earlier Trócaire propaganda. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kilcullen lied about not sending out the material. Kilcullen is Ireland’s pious fraud, a proven liar who is noticeably overpaid in comparison with other Irish charity chiefs. I certainly don’t believe Trócaire uses the money it raises to plant olive trees in Palestine. Its far more likely that it uses the money, or at least the majority of it,  to fund far-left NGOs that bash Israel. That, however, is not the way Trócaire is marketed.

Articles from The Kerryman newspaper on the matter here and here.

NOTE: It has been put to me that Trócaire’s involvement is really a minor matter in all this. The central point is that schoolchildren and a teacher have been accused by a journalist of anti-Semitism and are contesting that allegation.

I do not quite agree that Trócaire is a tangential issue. It is very likely that Trócaire whipped up the climate of hate in the first place by providing the schoolchildren with a biased, misleading, simplistic, good vs. evil account of the Israel-Arab conflict.

Anti-Semitism in Irish Schools: Is Trócaire Responsible?

Some of you have already heard of the Israeli columnist Sarah Honig’s ill-fated trip to the little town of Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry. In the course of her visit, she was solicited by children from a local secondary school raising funds to ‘Free Palestine’. When she questioned who they were freeing Palestine from, the children replied with “the Jews” and then explained to her that “Jews are evil” and “crucified our Lord”. Honig recounted what she heard to a nearby teacher organizing the affair, who nodded in agreement with the words of the children.

Having gone to a school in Ireland where one teacher (of Christian Doctrine, God help us) referred to Arial Sharon as a “monster” and others expressed fierce support for Palestinian national aspirations, the attitude on display in Kerry is not surprising.

Yet I must say it upsets me to no end that Honig had this experience in the South of Kerry, in a town not far from Sneem. In Sneem the founding Patron of the Ireland-Israel Friendship League is interred; the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and later 5th President of Ireland, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh. His grave was visited in 1978 by his good friend, the 6th President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, who was born in Belfast to the Chief Rabbi of Ireland. Herzog also unveiled a monument to Ó Dálaigh in Sneem Culture Park in 1985.

The pernicious influence of Trócaire may be at work here. Officially the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, Trócaire has direct access to Ireland’s Catholic schools, and it has in recent years gotten heavily behind causes like anti-Zionism, gender equality, and climate change. I have previously written about the absurdity of a former National Coordinator of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign being the Israel/Palestine Officer at Trócaire. Last October, Trócaire earned the scorn of the very sound Catholic philosopher, Mark Dooley, for their trendy left-wing ideological battles. A week ago the Dublin Labour Councillor Richard Humphreys criticized Trócaire’s highly biased education packs on the Middle East that they planned for distribution in schools.

The school in question would appear to be Coláiste na Sceilge secondary school, Cahirciveen.

Email them here: info@colaistenasceilge.ie

Here are the email addresses for all local TDs:

brendan.griffin@oir.ie.
michael.healy-rae@oireachtas.ie
tom.fleming@oireachtas.ie

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Some of the children in question, Cahirciveen