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Aosdána: Resolution on Israel

category dublin | arts and media | opinion/analysis author Saturday March 31, 2007 10:28author by Margaretta D'Arcyauthor email margaretta at iol dot ie Report this post to the editors

Israeli Embassy attacks Aosdána

A defence of the resolution which was attacked by the Israeli embassy on the ground that it was biased and misinformed. The author of the resolution explains its background and proves how she was not misinformed and did not mislead the Irish artists.

An open letter to Mr Zion Evrony, Israeli ambassador to Ireland.
Mr Ambassador, who the hell do you think you are, interfering with Irish artists, prescribing what we may or may not reflect upon? Headlines in the Irish Independent of 29 March 07: “ Israeli fury at biased call by artists: Aosdána members urge policy of non-cooperation with state-funded cultural institutions.” You are quoted as saying we had singled out your country for attack and that our decision was “fundamentally wrong, unjust, biased, and based on misunderstanding and misinformation of current affairs in the Middle East.” I wonder that the Irish government does not immediately break off diplomatic relations with Israel for your absurd violation of those articles in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights that guarantee free expression, free exchange of views, the sharing of information and so forth.
But what was it all about? The previous afternoon, at the Annual General Meeting of Aosdána, I had successfully put forward a resolution to the following effect: “Mindful of the 4th of August 2006 call from Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural workers to end all cooperation with state-sponsored Israeli cultural events and institutions, Aosdána wishes to encourage Irish artists and cultural institutions to reflect deeply before engaging in such cooperation, always bearing in mind the undeniable courage of those Israeli artists, writers and intellectuals who oppose their own government’s illegal policies towards the Palestinians.” In short, Aosdána members were asked to support their fellow artists in their fight for freedom of expression, unbounded by arbitrary frontiers. Irish artists for years were inhibited by censorship laws and anti-terrorist laws, and now, in our comparative freedom, our ideas, imagination, and skills to implement them, are there to be shared, and that is what we do. And we do have a right to show our opinion of the actions of any state, good or bad, especially when called upon to do so by colleagues who live there.
I proposed the motion to which you took such exception, (a) because I am a Jewish woman and inspired by another Jewish woman, the late Tanya Reinhart, distinguished Professor of Linguistics at Tel Aviv University, whose searing criticism of her own country and her support for an academic boycott brought upon her so much bullying and harassment inside the university that she was forced to leave Israel; and (b) because of my experience when I visited Israel last year. I am a Jew not by choice but by your own constitution which says that the children of female Jews have a right to be Jewish and claim their part in the homeland of Israel. I have therefore a particular right to criticize you, indeed to shout from the roof tops if need be and to get support from any one I please, just as I have a right to criticize my own Irish government and call it criminal when it upholds illegal war by facilitating the USA at Shannon, corrupting our Constitution and betraying the Proclamation of 1916.
Shortly after the Balfour Declaration my uncle in England studied Hebrew and Arabic in order to go to Palestine. However, he must have disagreed with Arthur Balfour’s extraordinary statement that “Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land,” because when he arrived in Palestine he joined the Berit Shalom group which sought peace with the Arabs and a Jewish/Arab bi-national state. In the end he was assassinated, by an Arab. Later on, in the 1960s, his sister, my aunt, retired from medical practice in London to live in Israel, in Caesarea, where she ran a free clinic for poor Arabs and also Jews.
Much as I admire my relatives’ idealism, I have a right to question the origins of the Jewish settlements in Palestine prior to the setting-up of the state of Israel. For instance, in the early years of the 20th century settlers certainly bought land from Arab landowners and paid for it, but what regard was paid to the Arab labourers who were living and working on the land? How many of those landowners were in fact absentees, and how many of the labourers were forced off the land by the settlers?
You say I am misinformed and have misled others. Are you saying that the Women in Black deliberately misled me for their own bias? Every Friday, for nineteen years these Jewish women, now middle-aged and elderly, have stood in the midst of the main shopping area of Tel Aviv with their placards protesting against the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. They have been vilified, harassed and spat upon. After their vigil is over, they put their placards back into plastic bags and go home to prepare the Sabbath meal. They told me of two gross violations of human rights. Palestinian civilians wounded by Israeli forces are treated in Israeli hospitals but are only allowed one relative to visit them – this person cannot leave the hospital grounds even to buy food, so the Women in Black have to bring it. Also, there are 1200 female prisoners and 300 children in a jail outside Tel Aviv – they are allowed one letter every two months and no Palestinian visitors.
In Jerusalem I met a group of Menonites who had come to monitor the demolition of a Palestinian village and to help Palestinian children going to school; the children’s homes were divided from the school by border controls and they had to wait every day for the arbitrary and changeable hours of the opening of the gates. Israeli settlers would descend like marauders from the hill above, to hurl rocks at the Menonites. The day before my arrival, one of the latter, a young Swiss woman, had been badly hurt.
I went to Ramallah to meet a women’s group. In that city the whole infrastructure has collapsed because of Israel’s economic boycott, no wages paid for months to civil servants, teachers, doctors, nurses, their debts are mounting and many of them have to rely on relatives in the rural areas for food. Hamas is the only organization to provide anything in the way of welfare: it is as though Israel has deliberately engineered the consequent popularity of Hamas in order to justify its own propaganda. While I was with the women’s group, a phone call came in to tell them that Gaza was completely sealed off and there was no milk for any of the babies there. The sense of desperation and imprisonment is only intensified by the huge wall that has been built between the communities, too high to see over, blocking out the sunlight.
I went to Nazareth, a predominantly Arab location, where I visited “Sawt el-Amel, the Laborer’s Voice.” This group is currently resisting the Wisconsin Plan – the latest example of economic and social exploitation, a pilot project of privatised welfare compulsory for the unemployed in several regions. In case of non-cooperation or work-refusal by a participant, his/her income benefits are cut for one or two months; if the companies do not save the state more than 35% of its welfare expenditures, they are sanctioned. It has devastating effects on the populations in the pilot area, which are made up mainly of Arab citizens and new immigrants from Russian-speaking countries and Ethopia … In Nazareth there is a sharp increase of poverty and social disruption.
I entered Israel from Jordan, where 60% of the population are displaced Palestinian refugees, living in limbo. I visited one of the refugee camps where the people have been living for years, scarcely knowing who they are any more – they can neither go back to their land in Palestine nor are they allowed to integrate as Jordanian citizens. I found that crossing from one country into the other was fraught with uncertainty as the opening and closing of the border is completely arbitrary. I was shocked by the arrogance and ignorant discourtesy of the young soldiers of the Israeli border guard, not only towards Arabs: their treatment in particular of three hundred elderly people from India – a “forgotten tribe” of Indian Jews who had decided to immigrate into Israel – was brutally insulting. I witnessed this. Were the soldiers attempting to misinform me by their behaviour?
On the day of the Aosdána meeting, I received a letter from Israel. The writer – a member of the Coalition of Women for Peace – told me, “If I had to capture the current Israeli mood in two words, they would be ‘national disenchantment.’… Is it any wonder that Israelis have begun to notice that patriotism, integrity, and austerity are only words, and the name of the game is profitability? … The ongoing conflict with the Palestinians no longer fills Israel with a sense of meaning … More and more young men and women are avoiding military service … both those who openly and courageously refuse to show up for the draft,” [i.e. risking jail] “as well as those who find excuses for not being able to serve ... The principle of ending the occupation has prevailed.”
Also, the same day, in the Dublin freesheet, the Herald, a headline from Gaza: “Five die as torrent of sewage swamps town.” This is due to the fact that “local authorities have scant resources. Western donors have halted direct assistance to the Palestinian government and Israel has frozen most tax revenues.”
If you really believe I have been misinformed and am now misleading others, why do you not invite every single woman whom I met in Israel and let them tell you what they said to me. Or are you implying, because we are women, that we have no minds of our own and cannot see what we look at? You have impugned not only my honour and the honour of Irish artists but the honour and integrity of hundreds of women in Israel, Arab and Jew.
Incidentally, my organization Women in Media & Entertainment (which has consultative status at the UN, ESOC) wrote a letter to the Israeli Mission at the United Nations, asking how far you are implementing the Security Council Resolution We have not yet had an answer. We were not singling Israel out but sent the same questions to the Missions of Syria, Russia, Iran, Colombia, China, the UK, the USA, Ireland, Angola, Uganda, Sudan and many others. Our theme was “Let the women of the world confront the nations of the world.”

author by gpublication date Sat Mar 31, 2007 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

maith sibh aosdana

author by MichaelY - iawm/ipscpublication date Sat Mar 31, 2007 14:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to Margaretta and to Raymond for proposing and seconding the motion. Well done to the majority of Aosdana members.

What really impressed me from M's message above is the strict detail to facts, is the integrity, is the respct of universal values AND the link between Israel's apartheid and the Coalition's collusion with the Empire over Shannon.

Power and courage to you comrades..

No words necessary
No words necessary

author by Felix Quigleypublication date Sat Mar 31, 2007 14:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Amusing, from Youlton, a man who supports Iranian Mullah Fascism and Hamas Jew hatred!

The article above is lies and more lies.

You can find in the preamble to the text of the League of Nations Mandate:

"Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country ; and
Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country..."
(The text quoted above may be found on many web sites; )

Among the parties present at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, were Felix Frankfurter and Chaim Weizmann on behalf of the Zionist movement, and the Emir Feisal on behalf of the Hedjaz (now Saudi Arabia). In the course of their meetings, Feisal wrote a letter addressed to Frankfurter and dated 3 March, 1919. The letter, which may be found at
http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~samuel/feisal2.html stated:

"We Arabs, especially the educated among us look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home."

Unless Feisal himself recognized the Jewish historical claim to Palestine, there would be no meaning to the sentence, "we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home". Hence it is clear that the Jewish claim to Palestine was already well established even among the Arabs, when the League of Nations granted the British a mandate over Palestine on July 24, 1922.

As an example of the many web sites which deal with the Jewish connection to Palestine I quote from http://www.rosenblit.com/Palestine.htm:

In 135 CE, after having long-become a province of the Roman Empire,
Judea's third and last revolt against Rome was crushed by Emperor Hadrian; but Rome's army also suffered devastating losses, including the complete annihilation of its illustrious XXII Legion. In furtherance of Rome's costly victory, Hadrian -- in a blatant propaganda effort to delegitimize further national Jewish claims to the Land -- renamed the province Palestina (Palestine) after the Philistines, a long-extinct Aegean people who had disappeared from History approximately a millennium earlier.
However, although the province had been converted from Judea (-- Land of the Jews --) into Palestina (-- Land of the Philistines --), it continued to be populated by Jews, together with substantial minority populations of Christians and Samaritans, but hardly any Arabs, at least until the great Arab invasion of 638 CE, as a result of which, 73 years later, Byzantium's Christian basilica known as the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian, which then sat atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount, was remade into Islam's Al-Aksa mosque. But even under the rule of the Arab and all subsequently superseding empires, the Jewish people nevertheless maintained a continuous national presence in "Palestine" -- right up until the resurrection therein of the Jewish nation-state of Israel in 1948 CE."

So what has all that to do with today and the positions taken up by the Israel haters of the Palestine Solidarity Group in Ireland?

Quite a lot. You may care to look at the map and there you will see tiny Israel engulfed by very powerful Arab states.

Out of that original Homeland mentioned above a full 78 per cent was torn away and on it was created transjordan which later became the independent state of Jordan, on which no Jew has ever lived.

Was it too much to ask that a tiny area, the remaining 22 per cent could be left for the Jewish Homeland?

I say that the Jews fully deserve to have peace in their tiny Homeland. But I know very many in Ireland do not agree with me there.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Sat Mar 31, 2007 19:32author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

In Latin, 'felix' means 'happy'. Clearly Felix above is not - in particular, he is not happy that Aosdána should pass a resolution that suggests a sense of moral outrage around the actions of the Israeli government; neither is he willing to mention how that government has restricted as a norm the passage of Palestinian writers and intellectuals so that they might read and share their views in other countries. Aosdána did the right thing in passing Margaretta' D'Arcy's motion. Israel has lied so often about their dealings with the Palestinians that they have managed - successfully - to create a mirror-reverse image of themselves for the world to see and sympathise with.

Israel is the aggressor, the Palestinians are the oppressed - that is the truth of the matter. Israel has ignored every UN resolution put to them, and has ignored even a recent plan for peace devised by the US. Israel continues to construct illegal settlements in Palestinian territory.

The Israeli government, aware that some in the world are not blind to their misdeeds, has set aside a cultural fund through which Israeli artists may travel and perform throughout the world to counter its self-generated negative publicity. Now Arab States in the region have declared in conference 'No more' to US policy in the Middle East and to Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. Writers and artists have a duty to side with the oppressed; if they stand idly by (as 26 of Aosdána's membership did, abstaining) they declare themselves on the side of the oppressor.

Congratulations to those who took courage, defied the ranters, and voted for D'Arcy's motion. And the Israeli Embassy has no right to condemn them for doing so. This is Ireland, not Gaza. The writ of the Israeli government does not run here. Perhaps our media should try harder to understand that.

author by art-istpublication date Sat Mar 31, 2007 19:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Artists have a duty to use their art for peace- not to take a side.
The Israeli situation is infinitely more complex than you imagine it is-

Try reading the newswire occassionally- The beligerents in Israel are creating a
US friendly satellite by de-stabilising the region. This has created problems for the
whole region of which not alone Israel but Iran, Iraq and Syria are a part of:
Blair is really pushing on Syria -btw.

It is not black and white= Oppressor and Victim, it is a huge geo-political

Why cannot the irish artists so chained to the idelogy of the victim/agressor
just stand up for the idea of peace and anti-war?
Why do you not protest at the US sponsored road-map?
Why is there a consistent thread of anti-semitism so evident in Irish Intellectual
circles- and do not bother to deny it- I have heard it in many places around

I also suggest that Ireland is entering a phase of artistic oppression, because of
an establishment more interested in the buying and selling of art than in the
principles of peace.

Examine the 2003 Art's Act legislation and be aware that not since De Valera's time
has Irish Art had to be representative of the Government's view of what is artistic.
I suppose you will all be drinking Bono's health and helping him with his garters next?

Not one of t you has mentioned the mass deaths of Palestinians because of the
sewage spill the other day- art has to be be free, not politically goitred.

author by raymond deane - IPSCpublication date Sat Mar 31, 2007 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Someone called "art-ist" writes "it is not black and white= Oppressor and Victim".
Sorry, anonymous artist, it IS black and white. Try reading Ilan Pappe's new book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" without your propagandist blinkers, and come back and tell us that it isn't black and white! When you've done that, reflect on the fact that Pappe, like the late and greatly lamented Tanya Reinhart, is being forced to leave Israel because the climate there has become so oppressive for people of good conscience, even Israeli Jews.
Unfortunately, the oppressiveness also manifests itself among the purported élite of Irish artists, Aosdána. Margaretta's and my motion may indeed have been passed by a majority - because it simply calls for people to "reflect deeply" and hence commits them to nothing (although even that is an outrage to the Israeli Embassy and to the Zionist fellow-travellers - deep reflection might have the unwanted consequence of leading to an understanding of just what a horrific régime runs Israel and occupies Palestinian and Syrian territories) - but the first resolution, which would have committed Aosdána to backing their oppressed Palestinian colleagues' call for a boycott of the Israeli state [but not necessarily of individual Israeli artists], was defeated by a 12-vote margin, with 26 members sitting on their hands and abstaining.
The "debate" started with a disgusting attempt to silence discussion, on the grounds that the two motions advocated "censorship" - which was patently not the case. The gentleman who set this hare running was one of those who at an Aosdána AGM in 1993 opposed (unsuccessfully, be it said in Aosdána's defense) a motion to rescind Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act! Indeed several members of the bitterly reactionary clique who volubly supported censorship then were also baying for censorship in IMMA last Wednesday - but in the name of preventing censorship! Once that failed (partly because the mighty intellectual concerned had to run away "to catch a bus"), they used every rhetorical trick in the business to knock down my motion, and clearly succeeded in convincing a sufficient number of the ill-informed or easily-intimidated either to back them or to abstain.
Nonetheless, the successful motion is a tiny step in the right direction, and the hysterical response of the Israeli Embassy has merely helped matters along - if they kept their own counsel, the issue would probably fade away into the mists of moral cowardice and oblivion which have allowed Israel to get away with such monstrous atrocities over the last 59 years.

author by Benny Morrispublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 08:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well it obviously can't have anything to do with the irreproachable behaviour of the Zionists ... I'd put it down to ignorant prejudice ... worse than the Citizen in Joyces's Ulysses ....


author by art-istpublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 09:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I re-iterate that there is a consistent thread of anti-semitism in irish intellectual circles.

I have heard the nattering classes- in the gin palaces, who are incredibly well
shod and wear designer clothing. (the gin palaces- btw, are the clubs where the
Irish intellectual 'elite' congregate in the capital). Everything is Israel's fault.
They subsist on the intellectual laziness of the Irish Times cultural pap.
They get bursaries from John O Donoghue. They may even go to the odd
opening night exhibition and have their awful paintings bought to grace the
corporate offices of the State and of course the Four Season's type of Hotels,
where the global clients of the affected and lumpen Irish Borgeoisise hang out.

Question:- if the irish times is where they trawl for information then why has
that newspaper not got writers of the Fisk-like calibre in israel reporting on
the repressions of both Israeli and Palestinian?

Did the Irish Times cover the incarceration of the conscientious objectors to
the Gaza strip occupation, wall--building and the beligerent Israeli war
policy sponsored by US/K destabilisation policy?
(benjamin Nethanahyu"s nephew is in a gulag)

Do Irish People only lazily accept mainstream media opinion on semitism- both Israeli and

Has Irish art produced one artist which has challenged the deaths in Palestine due to impoverishment and the wall that divides the terrortries?

It all lazily comes down to single black and white issues, Israel is zionist
and beligerent and Palestine is victimised.

That is true but Irish people have let it get this far by refuing to engage o n
any level with the intellectual causes or geo-political causes for many generations.

I read art not propaganda. try Philip Roth, the Counterlife. Try talking to
Kibbutzers who are still recovering from the violence of going to the beginning
of the Illegal annexations forty years ago.Try reading the art of the Diaspora.
I am stating that it is at this point becuase of the refusal to accept that the geo-political
problems have been ongoing for generations and now is when we can see h
the poisinous outcome.

Leave the comfort zone of making a protest and actually start questioning the
policy of your governments relation to appeasement.

Art is a luxury.
Education and health care a necessity.
some people can not afford to buy the Irish Times.
Some people cannot read it.
Some people can disect the lies in the editorial section that support globalisation
and corporatism.

author by Felix Quigleypublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is much confusion in Ireland about the most basic facts of the history of the Middle East. For obvious reason what is taught in the Catholic schools, the majority, is very slanted against the Jewish people. Many Irish people get whatever scraps of knowledge they have from Church readings around Christmas and Easter. Teachers of young children themselves have hardly studied the issue, submerged as they are under other work.

In all of this it must be recognized that in the years following the end of the First World War there was the creation of huge Arab states, especially that of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon to add to the already Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It was ion that context that the idea of a small state for the Jews did not seem so unusual and the Arab leadership as we have seen did no think it unusual either.

Then you should remember that Britain immediately surrendered 78 per cent of historical Palestine, and sliced 78 per cent off to give to the Arabs to create the future Jordan

So what is being fought over is the remaining 22 per cent and what is being fought for by the Arabs is a further Arab state.

This is the history that has been ignored. Obviously here I can only touch on a very small segment and cannot do the issue justice. But I think this is the METHOD whereby the lies of the people around Irish Palestine Solidarity can be answered. Note how Johnston above avoids the issue of history on the basis of emotion, and asserts that the “Palestinians” are the wronged party. Argument my assertion is very problematic. Take the refugees of 1948 for example that Morris lies about, Morris overlooked that the new state of Israel was attacked by 5 neighbouring Arab states, their armies, THE VERY NEXT DAY AFTER IT WAS CREATED. THE IRISH ANTI ISRAEL PEOPLE IGNORE SUCH FACTS AND THEY ARE FACTS.

The history of Morris has been totally discredited by especially Efraim Karsh.

The name of Palestine. It is quite easy to prove historically that before 1967 the Arabs in Palestine rarely if ever called themselves “Palestinian”. They called themselves Arabs of Southern Syria.

What was the origin of the name "Palestine".
Here we have no alternative but to turn to some authoritative history sources and one of these, since most books are not on the web, is on http://www.rosenblit.com/Palestine.htm:

In 135 CE, after having long-become a province of the Roman Empire,
Judea's third and last revolt against Rome was crushed by Emperor Hadrian; but Rome's army also suffered devastating losses, including the complete annihilation of its illustrious XXII Legion. In furtherance of Rome's costly victory, Hadrian -- in a blatant propaganda effort to delegitimize further national Jewish claims to the Land -- renamed the province Palestina (Palestine) after the Philistines, a long-extinct Aegean people who had disappeared from History approximately a millennium earlier.

However, although the province had been converted from Judea (-- Land of the Jews --) into Palestina (-- Land of the Philistines --), it continued to be populated by Jews, together with substantial minority populations of Christians and Samaritans, but hardly any Arabs, at least until the great Arab invasion of 638 CE, as a result of which, 73 years later, Byzantium's Christian basilica known as the Church of Saint Mary of Justinian, which then sat atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount, was remade into Islam's Al-Aksa mosque. But even under the rule of the Arab and all subsequently superseding empires, the Jewish people nevertheless maintained a continuous national presence in "Palestine" -- right up until the resurrection therein of the Jewish nation-state of Israel in 1948 CE."

We can supplement this by referring to the visit which the famous Karl Marx made to Jerusalem as a reporter for an American newspaper and Marx reported that there was a clear majority at that time in Jerusalem of Jewish people. They were not only the majority they were also the most oppressed.

In all of this you have to take into account that Jews have been a persecuted people and the Zionist idea of a Homeland was based on this fact. We can debate the issue now but at the time Herzl felt that the Jewish people needed a state of their own and in the absence of this they would be vulnerable, as happened in the Holocaust. In that he was so right, Every country, including Britain America and Ireland closed its doors to the Jews in the years after 1938. It now appears that Israel may become another trap for the Jews and that there may be another at least attempted Holocaust if the words of Ahmadinejad and the Hezbullah Hamas Fatah factions are to mean anything.

The Irish “Left” led by people like Youlton have a hellish record on all of this. Hardly a single Jew lives in any Arab country, from a previous million they are reduced almost to nothing, and in areas like Gaza it was and is a condition of the Arabs that NO JEW SHOULD REMAIN. Yet the Israelis have allowed a Fifth Column of Arabs to remain inside Israel, over a million, and they are even given voting rights to the Knesset, where their leaders call regularly for the destruction of Israel and join forces with Israel’s enemies, like Hezbullah. Of course not one of these facts are ever aired by the Irish “Left” and lies about Israel accelerate as the brutishness of Palestinian Arab life under Fatah and Hamas becomes more apparent.

Meanwhile a recent report points to increased anti-Semitic attacks in Britain. This is due mainly to the hatred of Islamists for Jews, and guess what it is with the Islamists that Youlton and his Palestinian Solidarity friends in Ireland are more than friendly with. Seen in marches all over the country. Youlton even proposes giving the Iranian Fascists a platform in debates in Ireland. What a phoney “Leftie”!

Of course they will claim that they are merely criticising Israel but they carefully omit that Israel is the Homeland of the Jewish people and all of the history that I have cited here.

A big issue, I feel is the role of women in Arab Islam and Irish women should have another closer look at what is going on in these “Palestinian” Arab areas where life for women is often short and brutish.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 13:44author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is so much confusion in evidence with both Felix Quigley and the chap who attacks people like myself for reading the Irish Times. The Irish Times has not in recent years proved itself so pro-Palestinian as would find me buying it every day. Rather the opposite. I stopped buying it as its conservatism - cultural as well as political, as it dropped arts' reviewers who had shown spunk in the past - under the present administration increased. As for the rest . . . .it is vital to work through Israeli government propaganda, much of which has taken hold as a truth in the West, before the true state of affairs can be seen. I reiterate that the mainstay of this propaganda is that Israel is in some way a victim surrounded by snarling enemies. Israel is the only country in the Middle East which WE KNOW has a nuclear arsenal - and they locked a man away in solitary confinement for revealing that to us. No one, least of all the US, has called for Israel's nuclear disarmament. Yet the fact that this reduces their 'victimhood' is not mentioned. Israel has ignored UN resolutions, erected illegal settlements . . . . one could go on tiresomely. All of these facts are there: what is also there is a wilful blindness on behalf of Israel's supporters to see these facts. As for Aosdána - it is not true that every individual member has remained silent on political issues over the years - what is notably in the recent case is that Aosdána as a body has challenged the legitimacy of Israeli propaganda and cultural affirmation. No other cultural body - certainly not the Irish Writers' Union, and I know because I was once on its Executive - has had that level of courage. I agree that more could be done. More can always be done. But attacking artists merely because they are artists (yes, I know some exhibit double standards politically, in terms of cultural morals, and so forth, and some would even have reviewers critical of them dumped from their jobs while advertising themselves as of the Left) is hardly legitimate.

author by Felix Lighterpublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 15:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought Felix Quigley had found something else to do. He spent a lot of time posting long, dishonest rants on this site around the time of the Lebanon war, shouting down anyone who dared to criticise Israel with cries of "fascist". Now he tells us that Benny Morris is a "liar" who's been exposed. Bless ... I suppose we should all dig out "Since Time Immemorial" and take our line from that Felix?

author by raymond deane - IPSCpublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 20:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see this thread has degenerated into a "bash Fred Johnston" orgy, ostensibly in the name of the "cultural boycott".
Let's get back to reality. At the Aosdána AGM I quoted in my speech the final sentences of the article below, abridged from the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. It's one of the best possible justifications for a boycott of STATE-SUPPORTED Israeli culture.

About face - By Yuval Ben-Ami (Ha'aretz, September 21 2005)
Starting in January 2006, the Foreign Ministry is planning a new means of presenting Israel to the world. A budgetary reform being formulated by the ministry will... significantly augment worldwide exposure of Israeli culture.

The reform will primarily affect the budgets of the two ministry departments responsible for shaping the image of the state. One is the hasbara department (a Hebrew word that is part "government efforts to explain policy" and part "propaganda"), which mainly engages in explaining Israel's case in the political sphere; the second is the department for cultural and scientific affairs (CSA)...

In other words, heads of the regional departments and Israeli representatives abroad will be given optimal authority to decide when and how often the State of Israel will represent itself through a booklet explaining the need for the separation fence, and when and how often it will do so through, say, a play. This change is expected to put the power in the hands of those who promote culture as a means of explaining Israel...

Flawed image

And what are the two aforementioned departments doing now, in the current set-up? ...Foreign Ministry sources report that in the past year the [hasbara] department focused its attention on university campuses, in the understanding that Israel suffers from a flawed image in student communities.

The department dispatched Israeli lecturers and printed material to universities worldwide. Additionally, it developed a program called "Israel beyond the conflict," in the framework of which Israeli artists received financial support for concerts for college students abroad... The financial support given these concerts is evidence of the department's awareness of the importance of culture as a public relations device...

What, then, has sparked the opposition to the changes? "One reason," explains a ministry official, "is the fear [of proponents of political hasbara - Y.B.] it will turn out there is little demand for hasbara and that there is much more demand for culture. The budget of the hasbara department is currently double that of CSA. Why? Because people are always coming to the Foreign Ministry claiming hasbara isn't working, but no one ever complains there isn't enough culture." The common wisdom is that Israeli embassies now prefer to invest in culture more than in traditional - political, mainly - hasbara, and once they are given greater freedom to do so, they will concentrate their efforts on exporting culture.

Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, a deputy director general, seeks to allay all... doubts. ...What about the status of culture in the new order? "We are seeing culture as a hasbara tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture," says Ben-Sheetrit.

author by trollpublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 20:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors


I trust the luminaries as Gallimh have also put their weight to this campaign,
afterall women's rights in Ireland are suffering- or is it just 'nice and safe' to
be criticising people from 'far away'?

Artisits have a responsibility to everyone and everything- according to Dostoesvsky.

It is noble enough to take issue with a war that is interpreteted by a liberal newspaper
in the most basic terms which ignore the ramifications of the global geo-political
issues without too addressing the inequity in irish Society.

Massive illiteracy.
Gender bias.
corrupt government.
cultural debasement.
Corrupt media.
education inequality.

The Palestinian /Israeli geo-political issue may not be resolved by a group of well
meaning artists who have attained an acceptable level of expression without regard to
their responsibility to fight also the unfairness in Irish society and the daily attack on their
own culture by those who give them the bursaries and hob-nob socially with
perpetrators of these violences.

Demand that the State make known its opposition to the dividing wall.
The lack of health resources to the women and children of Palestine.

There is an election coming you know-

why are the Irish so slow in aiding people- volunteer for literacy programmes
you can read and write no?

author by annoyed IPSC supporterpublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 22:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The reality, Raymond, is that Fred Johnston's unhelpful ranting about the cultural boycott of Israel has of late been driven as much by his long-term feud with Theo Dorgan, as it has by any concern for the Palestinians. If the IPSC associates itself with this sort of thing, its cause will be damaged. He brings his personal gripes into EVERY issue.

author by duinepublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

tagaim le litir Iníon D'Airsí!

author by Margaretta D'Arcypublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 14:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The UN Resolution to which I referred in my last paragraph is: --
UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security, as prepared by the International Women's Tribune Centre and adopted by the UN Security Council at its 4213th meeting on 31 October 2000. The whole thing can be read on the UN website but the essential element is that a study must be conducted by all nations on (1) the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, (2) the role of women in peace-building and (3) the gender dimensions of peace processes & conflict resolutions. If all governments, including the Irish Government, had implemented this Resolution, and if post-war compensation and restitution was placed in the hands of women, many of the bitter consequences of conflict (as mentioned in several comments posted above) would be well on the way toward elimination. Trocaire is throwing its weight behind the campaign for the implementation of Resolution 1325 and is asking everyone to support it: find out about it on www.trocaire.org

author by Dorothy Gale Gorepublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Margaretta theres a letter in todays Irish Times sticking the boot in to your resolution which was adopted by Aosdána (good work). It asks why Aosdána doesnt criticise human rights breaches in other countries in Middle East. Its by Oliver Donohoe who is involved in the Holocaust Memorial Project.

I think it can be said that Margaretta has always been to the forefront of defending human rights all over the world.

author by Duinepublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maith thú, a Mhargaretta!

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 18:14author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think most of us know who this is, without much effort. One of the statements made on this link by this individual is libellous and Indymedia have been informed. They'll be tracking back, I should have thought. The use of this site to, anonymously, pick personal fights with other people is notorious. I can say no more on this.

author by raymond deane - IPSCpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 21:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dorothy Gale Gore draws our attention to a letter by Oliver Donohue in the Irish Times, 2nd April. Thanks for informing us that he's involved in the Holocaust Memorial Project. I think it's a great pity that such a project should be hi-jacked by any ideology other than that of Holocaust commemoration.

I don't think I know a single person in the IPSC who has campaigned solely on this issue, and many members are simultaneously involved in other campaigns. It's a red herring anyway, the subtext of which is the pretence that Israel is a victim of ongoing discrimination.

For the record, here's the letter I wrote in anwer to this - let's see if the Squirish Chimes publishes it. They publish roughly 1 in 3 or 4 of the letters that I send them on behalf of the IPSC.


Oliver Donohoe expresses delight that my "attempt to get backing for [an] anti-Israel motion at the general assembly of Aosdána" (2nd April) failed.

It pains me to disappoint him, but both motions on Israel/Palestine proposed at the general assembly were jointly the work of Margaretta D'Arcy and myself, and the original versions of both were written by myself. Margaretta seconded my motion, and I seconded hers.

Mr Donohoe asks why Margaretta and myself didn't in effect include every dictatorship in the world in our motion calling for "deep reflection" before engagement with their cultural institutions. Here are some answers: none of these repulsive regimes claims to be "a beacon of western culture", none of them receives $15m daily from the US taxpayer to facilitate its crimes, and none of them is in a position to abuse culture as an instrument of state propaganda. Nissim Ben-Sheetrit of the Israeli foreign ministry has asserted that "We are seeing culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between propaganda and culture."

Finally, it's a bit rich to quote Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern's claim "to be inclusive and to engage both Palestinians and Israelis" at a time when the Irish government has joined its EU colleagues in boycotting the Palestinian Authority. Perhaps Mr Donohoe should "reflect deeply" before writing further letters on this subject.

Sincerely -
Raymond Deane (composer member of Aosdána)

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 23:16author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address 1, Carn Ard, Circular Road, Galwayauthor phone 087.2178138Report this post to the editors

The mad and sad are always with us, and clearly someone with a big chip against me but without balls enough to identify himself has inserted himself into a legitimate debate.

Anyway - for me the issue is that the successful passing of the Aosdána motion signalled that Irish artists and writers, as a body, were willing to acknowledge that Israeli propaganda, cultural or otherwise, had to be tackled. It has long been known that the Israeli government were willing to spend considerable sums of money in using culture of all types to spruce up a mangled international image.

Now a group of artists and writers has more or less stated that they aren't swallowing it. And when one considers the former somewhat cautious nature of many Irish writers and artists in general around politically-sensitive issues, this is a considerable achievement whose weight we should not underestimate. For the rest, I will never cease to be amazed at how critics of boycotts, motions, call them what you will, seem to have forgotten that Israel prevented the free movement of Palestinian poets to read in Dublin a couple of years ago and that, within the past few weeks, the free movement of a Palestinian woman to come to Galway to speak as part of International Women's Day.

It is fascinating how this can be forgotten, obliterated from memory, ignored, by those who would suggest that any rethink of our cultural attitudes towards Israel indicates an unwillingness to create two-way dialogue! And I can understand how there would remain those who would wish that the issue had not been brought to the surface in the first place and will attempt to sully or undermine it by any means, fair or foul.

I think the achievement of Deane and D'Arcy at Aosdána's recent agm was remarkable.

author by Daniel Ellsebergpublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 01:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the latest issue of New Left Journal - the SWP journal - Johnston describes most Irish artists as: "vultures preying on the carcass of suffering and of genuine activism" See letter below. He could have talked about the war, about Bush, about Palestine. But no...


November 28th 2006

Dear Editor,

As a writer and activist, I would like to ask, through your columns, a simple question: while Israel oppresses the Palestinian people and the US murders and degrades the people of Iraq and practises torture, and while our own government continues to permit the US military to use Shannon and Baldonnell airports, where are the voices of our writers and artists raised in protest?

Now I know there are those, and always will be those, who wish to be thought of as politically active, but who are better at manning cups of tea than barricades, who would push forward, by any means, an image of engagement, while not having the courage to appear on the streets or write a letter to a paper. Such writers and artists have always existed, like vultures preying on the carcass of suffering and of genuine activism.

But I cannot help to wonder why our writers and artists, who have never had it so good in the history of the State, aren't doing at least as much to advertise the horrors being visited upon oppressed people, as they are to promote their own books.

The Republic surely has a long history, amounting to a tradition, of writers and artists becoming politically and socially engaged; now we have a tiny minority of battle-hardened campaigning writers and a shoal of shape-throwers, these latter needing a certain political street-cred but being incapable – through an almost infantile fear of being seen – of taking to the streets, handing out a leaflet, or appending their name to a letter to a newspaper. Perhaps in their psyche they have never left home and refuse to do so.

Why haven't our writers protested at the Israeli Embassy's blatant sponsoring of some Israeli writers to read here, while Israel has denied Palestinian writers permission similarly to read in this country? Why don't our writers come together, take a moral stance as a group, and write a letter of protest, to the Israeli Embassy for instance, over the continued suppression and ghettoisation of the Palestinians? Better still, publish the text in The Irish Times? Why aren't our writers sending a similar letter to the US Embassy, or publishing one? Are we so easily cowed – or purchased?

I attend demonstrations and pickets and meetings in Galway. The same tiny, tiny number of writers turns up. Two, perhaps three, in this self-styled City of Culture. Never those who have over the years demanded that the fullest public and media attention be drawn to themselves and to their published work, who have boasted of having 'social' consciences or who have portrayed themselves as possessing of such. Easier, oddly, and safer, to hide behind 'political' sentiments expressed in a poem than to append one's name openly to a blatant letter of protest; a poem, after all, can always be excused away, along with its sentiments, as being outside life, an item of 'art,' something divorced even from its author. How often, as a critic, have I encountered poets and other writers who have protested that they are not what they write!

A signed letter, however, defines the writer utterly.

Yet from revelations of corruption amongst our politicians and big business to the murders perpetrated in Gaza by the Israeli military, to the use of Shannon, these writers have kept their heads well down, some using their pseudonymous poodles and patsies to pen degrading and often offensive comments on outlets such as Indymedia Ireland to criticise myself and others for the very act of writing letters to newspapers. What a true disgrace they are. What a sham!

I have been a trades' unionist all my working life, as was my father before me. I have no intention of staying silent about the silence of our scribbling lambs. With notable exceptions, literary Ireland should hold its head in shame. I would think the first question any book-reviewer or arts' interviewer might ask of an Irish writer is not why he or she writes, but rather: Where do you stand on, say, Iraq?

Fred Johnston,
1 Carn Ard,
Circular Road,


Related Link: http://www.swp.ie/newleftjournal/03/nlj03-06.htm
author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:18author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The above commentator, as Indymedia have been informed, does not exist under that name, nor does the one before him. Indymedia can have the true identity of this commentator if they wish and the public can judge for itself.

author by PaddyKpublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 21:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Isn’t this the ideal thread, for people who are not familiar with the Anti-Palestinian Cabal and their gutter tactics, to allow this bunch to peddle their sordid rhetoric? Is not the individual artist of Aosdana now going to be personally urged by virtue of the new resolution to weigh up their own feelings on the issue of Israeli and Palestinian cultural counterclaims? Will they not be subject to both the concerned and considered arguments of the pro-Israel participants as well as the mindless bilge of the Arab Haters who hide among pro-Zionist / pro-Israel individuals. Will a thread, where the war loving racists on the extreme fringes of the pro-Israel argument are given every chance to come up with a proper debate but continue to wallow in personal attacks, not highlight the moral bankruptcy of this element and give support and confidence to Individuals who may well be similarly attacked as Fred Johnston is being attacked here?
Lets face it, whilst the resolution is definitely a move forward for the Palestinian cause, it is putting individuals out there on their own to face a motley bunch of bigots. People who genuinely support Israel will listen to, and hopefully respect, the views of the Artists who choose to observe the Boycott. But the gang of political perverts that feed off open debate will not be swayed by reason.

Let them garble on here for the sake of obscenity. It’s going to happen somewhere. At least on a forum it can be observed, quarantined and categorised like all viruses and diseases must be.

author by Trevorpublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 20:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr Deane, you “think it's a great pity that such a project (Holocaust) should be hi-jacked by any ideology other than that of Holocaust commemoration”. There’s no evidence whatsoever that such a project has been hijacked by anyone or any ideology. The character in question (Donohue) is entitled to have as many opinions as he likes. However, more to the point, there is ample evidence that Aosdana, a state funded body set up for the promotion of the arts, has been hijacked by a politically motivated few. What strikes me too is that I, like many others, would never have heard of you Mr Deane, Ms D’arcy or Mr Johnston if it weren’t for your infantile political agitation. And then there’s the Cnuas (a handout in West Kerry Irish), which has been given to you condescendinly in order that you might survive while concentrating on your art, not your on politics. The evidence would suggest that you are surviving on the Cnuas without making any effort to apply yourselves to the purpose for which it was given in the first place, namely to survive per se because your art doesn't sell.
Can’t think of l’Academie Française having the gall to put forward such motions, or bestowing their highest honour (Saoi = Wise One) on a Nazi collaborator for that matter, but then again you people are just one step from the bog are you not? (a characteristic no doubt you would also explout for venal ends).
I think the whole Aosdana (Gifted People) gravy train has to be re-addressed and overhauled. An enquiry is urgently required and a report should to be written.
As it stands, it constitutes a massive shake down of the Irish Tax Payer, and a total political nuisance

Just a few keywords:

Aosdana = Gifted People (mother of Christ!)
Saoi = Wise One, (as in Oh Wise One)
Cnuas = Handout (see O Dhonaill)

author by Trevor Francispublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 20:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There’s no evidence whatsoever that such a project has been hijacked by anyone or any ideology"

You obviously don't know what you're talking about re. Israel, the Palestinians and the abuse of the Holocaust for political ends, so save your pretentious waffle for another forum.

author by Trevorpublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 20:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr Francis, why is it relevant that Donohue, who wrote a letter to a national paper criticising the Aosdana motion, also works for the Holocaust Commemoration?
A bit like saying "oh yea, that was to be expected, he is a Jew after all, or else married to one".

author by raymond deane - IPSCpublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 22:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"PaddyK" makes some good points, but I've a terrible feeling that by and large the "individual artists" in Aosdána will be too busy cultivating their own gardens - metaphorically speaking - to bother encountering either rational debate on Israel/Palestine or the kind of egregious, malicious and defamatory trash peddled by the likes of "Trevor".

However, I've problems with the concept of "People who genuinely support Israel". Of course there are such people, just as there are people who genuinely support paedophilia. Israel is a criminal state in every respect, a state that exists in a suspension of international law enabled by its US (and now EU) protector(s). Its supporters believe that the human and political rights of one people are INHERENTLY superior to those of another people, and that the former are above the law and the latter beneath the law. I don't see how one can "genuinely support Israel" without simultaneously supporting racism and apartheid.

This isn't the same as supporting the right of Israeli Jews to live anywhere they want (except, of course, in the illegal settlements/colonies) and to live in peace and security alongside - or amongst - their Palestinian Arab neighbours, whether Muslim or Christian. It is the supporters of Palestinian rights who speak most often about reconciliation and equality, whereas Israel's supporters are only interested in domination and exclusion. Again, I am talking about the state of Israel as at present constituted, and about the dogged and amoral fellow-travellers who in reality are impeding a solution based on universal values of human rights.

author by Trevorpublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The French cultural tradition deems it unthinkable that a writer should NOT have a political consciousness". Any evidence for that Fred? A bit of a sweeping statement I dare say, considering that there are many other French writers apart from Brasillach, Drieu La Rochelle and Celine, who've always kept their political mouths shut. I did note that someone up there referred to the "anti-Palestinian cabal" though. Why not just say "Jews" instead of "cabal" for decency's sake, if it's not too much an effort; it would definetly sound much less antisemitic.

author by Malachypublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 19:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ta ceart ag an duine thuas.
Nuair a bhi mé i mo oganach fado, "Cnuas" a thugadh mo aithair criona ar an beagànin airgid a thugadh sé duinn rud a cheanacht tigh Baby Long's sa Bhualtin i rith na laethanta saoire nuair a chuamar ann o Shasana.
Pé scéil é, nior chuala mé riabh labhairt faoi "Saoi" nà Aosdana ach an oiread.. B'fheidir go raibh duine a chuint sa cheantair d'arbh ainim do "an tSao"i ach n'fheadair, nior chuala mise riamh caint faoi ar aon cuma . B"fheider gor raibh Aosdana ann chomh maith.
Ach tà go breà agaibh go léir.

author by "PaddyK"publication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 22:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello Raymond,

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment on it. I fully understand your supposition that the artists of Aosdana are going to be busy with their work and may not have time to deliberate the musings of indymedia participants. My point is that IMO all aspects of a debate should be aired, even the bigots, and an Internet forum is a good place for that because personal dislocation means dissection of the debate can be undertaken on a more clinical level than in any other communication medium. These debates are being conducted all over the world and they will all sound very familiar to each other in passing: the Left, the right, the pacifists, the demagogs, and the bigots, the positions are repeated throughout. Only in the subtle nuances can a new perspective start to be revealed, and only on this popular medium do the two invaluable attributes of mass input and clinical observation facilities converge. Maybe these issues aren't that complicated but the conversations certainly are and that's not going to change.

For example I'm having real difficulties with this concept that you posted :

People who genuinely support Israel? "Of course there are such people, just as there are people who genuinely support paedophilia"

Try as I might I cant reconcile that with the fact that native Israeli juveniles are Pro-Israel by birth and heritage and culture. This is a natural patriotic phenomenon - that in itself is endemic the world over. Your language seems harsh when imagined as it would be perceived through the eyes of such an oblivious person. Surely such a sentiment would steel that young person against international opinion even further than mainstream Israeli society tends to. What about Israeli peace activists who support Israel the state but not Israel the polity?

Is your sentence ill conceived in your opinion?

author by Malachypublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 22:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

""People who genuinely support Israel? "Of course there are such people, just as there are people who genuinely support paedophilia""

Did Raymond Deane actually say that? I usually spot his name and then overlook the entry . But that is a hell of a pretty vile thing to say. I'm beinning to question his motives.

author by Sean Ogpublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 00:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ms D' Arcy s
comments about the treatment of Arabs in Israeli hospitals is a complete fabrication .

They have complete freedom of treatment and visiting and in addition Jewish and Muslim doctors and nurses work together in all Israeli Hospitals , clinics .and practices at all levels up to Consultant status .

Can we trust her interpretation of anything else she has written in her long anti Israel screed ?

author by Margaretta D'Arcypublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 07:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sean Og has delibrately distorted what I wrote about Israel hospitals. I wrote about the problems of relatives of the injured by the Israeli army . Only one relative is allowed to be with a loved one and not allowed to leave the hospital ground to shop for food. .There are problems of patients from the occupied lands getting through the borders to get to the hospitals.. This has been well documented, there has never been a suggestion that patients are not cared for in hospitals

author by Monica Mullerpublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 14:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Ms Darcy,

would you kindly name Palestinian hospitals (as opposed to Israli hospitals) ? Wouldn't it be a good idea to compare the two set-ups of health service before you publish a critic of the Israeli hospital set-up only? Rights come with responsibilities and I understand that Fatah and Hamas have received substantial amounts of money to deliver first-class health service to their people?

author by Raymond Deane - IPSCpublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"PaddyK": I wasn't talking about native Israelis, but about the fellow-travellers from outside Israel who don't have the excuse - perhaps not a very good one - of "patriotic" or tribal loyalty.

"What about Israeli peace activists who support Israel the state but not Israel the polity?" I'm sorry, I don't understand the distinction in this context. The "state" of Israel entails the system under which it is governed, and also entails - I believe - all the territories under its sovereignty and the criminal way in which that sovereignty is exercised within them. Hence here state = polity. Perhaps you mean those "peace activists" who support the state, but not the way it behaves. Again, I feel they make things too easy for themselves, and very often function as a mere alibi whereby the Israeli state can point to its purported respect for a diversity of opinions (as long as they belong to a fairly precisely delineated spectrum). Hence - the official, state-sponsored peaceniks like the 3 Stooges: Amos Oz, AB Yehoshua, and David Grossman. The Israeli peace activists whom I respect, several of whom have visited Ireland under the auspices of the IPSC, include the likes of Ilan Pappe, Yitzhak Laor, and the late Tanya Reinhart - people who oppose(d) the policies of the state and wish(ed) to see the state change its nature fundamentally. It's symptomatic that the 1st and 3d-mentioned were forced to leave Israel.

As for "Malachy", this is a typical contribution from a fellow-traveller of the Israelis. Without examining what one says and considering one's possible reasons for saying it, one mutters "pretty vile" and "question(s) the motives" behind what one says - without clarifying what such questioning might mean or entail. Clearly someone who "usually spots [my] name and then overlook(s) the entry" is by definition disqualified from having any opinion about what the entry contains. That, however, smacks of logic - not the strong point of the fellow-travellers.
Did Raymond Deane actually say that? I usually spot his name and then overlook the entry . But that is a hell of a pretty vile thing to say. I'm beinning to question his motives.

author by Sean Healypublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 14:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Would that be the same Ilan Pappe who retained his post at Haifa University despite overseeing Teddy Katz's discredited, mendacious blood libel of an MA thesis? The same Ilan Pappe who is so committed to an academic boycott of Israel that he continues to draw a state-subsidised salary there? The same Ilan Pappe who lives freely in Israel despite supplementing his income by pimping himself out as a Jewish mascot for anti-Israel groups the world over?

I especially like the sneer about state-sponsored peaceniks, coming as it does from a man whose entire income derives from state-funded grants, commissions, bursaries, etc - except whatever he presumably gets from the Palestinian Authority.

author by Malachypublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 18:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Raymond Deane, I repeat what I said. Placing the support of Israel on the same moral par as the support of paedophilia is outrageously vile.

author by --publication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 21:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Oh really?
AB Yehoshua is a peacenik? I thought he is an extreem rightist genocide advocator!

author by Ronpublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 21:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What would you say, had I said I would like to see the Irish people living safely amongst the British Empire?

author by Danpublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How come the existance of the state of Israel is wrong, but the existance of US, Australia, New Zealand - all states who truly genocided the original inhabitants, is fine and moral?

author by Margaretta D'Arcy - Aosdanapublication date Sat Apr 07, 2007 09:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Monica Muller ,if you contact Dr. Mona Elfarrera Deputy Director of the Union of Health Worker Committees Gaza, she can supply you with all the information you need. Her blog is "Gaza with Love " as well as many interviews with her on her web pages on the condition of Women, Health ,children and Human Rights in occupied Palestine

author by Monica Mullerpublication date Sat Apr 07, 2007 09:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I take it then that there are no hospitals in Palestine set up by the people for the people - which of course means everybody has to go to Israeli hospitals which take in patients regardless of creed, colour or religion.

Ms Darcy, I appreciate your concerns, but starting a campaign should entail giving answers to questions, not sending me off to log at a blog.
What I really, really fail to understand is why the campaign is so aggressive and excluding rather then trying to include people.
Boycott artist who are funded by Israeli culture organisation? Be consistend and boycott Israeli health service, would that be at least logical?

author by Margaretta D'Arcy - Aosdanapublication date Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Monica Muller, I met Dr. Mona Elfarra in Galway as part of Trocaire's Lenten campaign and she was anxious that we would further our knowledge about the health conditions in the occupied territories of Palestine. I pass this information to you on the assumption that you are really concerned about women, health, children & human rights in that part of the world.

author by PaddyKpublication date Sat Apr 07, 2007 14:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Monicas, Malachy's, Dans and Trevors would not in my mind constitute Fellow travellers of the Pro-Israel community. For example, here is a typical attack on decent logic from Trevor:

" I did note that someone up there referred to the "anti-Palestinian cabal" though. Why not just say "Jews" instead of "cabal" for decency's sake, if it's not too much an effort; it would definitely sound much less antisemitic"

This guy no more supports Israeli or Jewish independence or sovereignty than he does Irish or American independence. As I said there is an anti-Palestinian faction motivated purely by bigotry. These people are instinctually driven by race hatred and in this case "terrorist Arabs" are their chosen target. As such these types have nothing to do with the point I am making to you. Their standing behind the Jewish people is more a Human shield act in protecting their own miserable hides than an act of support. This scapegoating tactic for actions of the Israeli political regime and its policies (polity- as I meant it) by saying it is the actions of "the Jews" has ugly historical resonance that troubles these types not.

Polity does not equal State. It can, if you wish to interpret it that way, but by definition it doesn't.

Its my opinion that people are entitled to support Israel the state without necessarily being politically aware of it's cruel activities in Palestine, as some people, most people, are not deeply politically motivated or well-informed. If they were they might be shocked but they would still support Israel in most ways, as in the National territory of the Jewish people. Like it or not, however this singlemindness generally manifests itself in reality, it is not equitable to paedophilia.

You said :

"Perhaps you mean those "peace activists" who support the state, but not the way it behaves."

Yes, and as I have outlined above, anyone who genuinley supports Israel for Israelis sake and not out of Anti-Arab/Palestinian bigotry. Albeit for what one might consider misguided or ignorant or simplified Nationalistic motives - say Hello to Jusef Bloggs. Israel is not going away and it is the genuine supporters of Israel, string vests and football hats included, that will eventually make the necessary compromises that will bring the Palestinian state into existence. Possession is nine-tenths of ownership and people are generally not reasonable on these matters when confronted. Your sentence, which I feel is ill conceived, is a source of ammunition for the extremist bigots that dwell on Indymedia and the fascists In Israel and America that would gladly pull down the whole temple rather than move a single settler to achieve peace.

Perhaps you mean those who support the destruction of Palestinian society and the rights of its people are no better than those who support the destruction of Human society and the rights of children.

Or perhaps you meant to say some people unwittingly support Paedophilia like some people unwittingly support the destruction of Human rights.

I would certainly agree with that type of sentiment.

author by Felix Quigleypublication date Sun Apr 08, 2007 14:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think you mean the SECOND Palestinian Arab state based on the historic area of Palestine. And you mean the 22nd Arab state in total.

The Jewish people being offered all of the historic land of Palestine in Versailles following the end of the First World War.

Then the British Government removed 78 per cent of this area and gave it to the Arabs of this area Palestine. That was to become Transjordan and later became independent as the present Jordan. The inhabitants of Jordan are believed to be about 80 per cent Arab Palestinian. No Jew ever allowed to live there, although that land was promised as a Jewish Homeland.

Eventually the Arabs were offered a division of the REMAINED Paddy K.

That means that the Arabs would have gained a 90 per cent total of the original Palestine area. The Jews roughly 10 per cent of the original.

I am referring of course to the famopus 1947 Un Resolution (November)

The Jews did accept this. Thje Arabs went to war.

With the setting up of the state of Israel on the basis of this Resolution the new state of Israel was atacked on the VERY NEXT DAY.


You can tell me if any of these facts are incorrect but I think they are factual.

No I think the question remains that the Jewish state of Israel is just not accepted in ANY form by the Islamist Arabs.

That may be a possible starting point (not Deane and Darcy's studied insults of the wonderful Jewish people) who in the great great majority have ALWAYS supported Israel as their only homeland

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Apr 09, 2007 15:21author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was to be expected that the Aosdána motion - now even mentioned in The Jerusalem Post, though with some questionable statements - should attract reaction. And so it should. Indifference to how artists feel around politics is good neither for the artist nor liberal and progressive politics. And I would not be surprised if there will be those writers or artists who will try to make career capital of some kind by aligning themselves with the anti-motion lobby even now, after the event. Perhaps particularly now. The D'Arcy/Aosdána motion was fruitful from many points of view; it was passed, it created discussion abroad, it opened up debate on the roles of Irish artists and politics, it pointed Aosdána in the direction of further political involvement - and perhaps a re-writing of parts of its constitution which prevent more radical and direct involvement in the future. Therein, of course, lies the potential 'threat' to many artists and writers whose politics is of a more mé-fhéin kind. Let's congratulate Deane, D'Arcy, and all those who voted the final motion through at Aosdána. This is as much a radical and welcome forward cultural move as our reassessment of the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland!

author by William Wallpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Art-ist claims there is a consistent current of anti-Semitism in 'Irish intellectual circles' and goes on to justify the statement by saying that the 'Irish intellectuals' he meets in clubs around Dublin blame israel for everything.
Leaving aside the notion of a set of Dublin clubs frequented by intellectuals, Art-ist is practising the now standard conflation technique adopted by Israeli apologists - that is to claim that to be anti-Israeli is to be anti-Semitic. I note that Israeli apologists are thus seeking to identify the state with a single religion or ethnicity, and, simultaneously, anxious to argue that Israel is not a theocracy and is not mono-ethnic.
As a writer who ocasionally attends gatherings of other writers and artists, I have never encountered anti-semitism among my fellow artists. Nor do I know of a single living writer who has made anti-semitic statements.
If to be critical of the state of Israel is to be Anti-Semitic, then how is it possible to question the state's actions at all? What if Israel gassed the entire Palestinian population: would criticism of its actions be anti-Semitic?
I've just finished reading a biography of William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw, a genuine twenty four carat anti-semite. His invective is always directed at Jews for being Jews, at what he saw as their 'racial characteristics'. This is true anti-Semitism.
I commend Raymond Deane and Margaretta D'Arcy for their courage.

author by art-istpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am a girl, first mistake.

I am not an apologist, i do not frequent 'clubs', but when dragged out i do encounter
people who are infected with this idea that israel is all about killing Palestinians.

if you forgive me- but there have been numerous stories on the newswire of angry young men
attempting to make political capital of the Geo-political situation in Palestine and Israel
which is truly uneducated.

There is a use of hate symbols.
Incendiary language.
attempts to paint a complex situation in black and white.

This does not make me an apologist- it makes me a concerned anti-war
citizen who has kids to raise and will not raise them in a climate of

I do not believe that calling attention to the Palestinian plight through fomenting
race-hate is a responsible position by any group- it is incitement and I will raise
my children to seek knowledge and balance in their approach to any situation.

I abhor intellectual laziness.

so Please take your silly little arguments and mountain out of molehill
dreams and do it elswhere- I am interested in peace as are the Palestinians and Israelis
and not out of making capital from other's agony.


I am not an apologist.
I reject hatred be it war or apartheid and whomever is inciting young
irish men without a balnced approach to the situation has blood on their hands
as far as I am concerned. it debases Irish people as a society-
I will repeat incitement and political gain from spinning a politcal situalion
of great complexity is a debasement.

author by Felix Quigleypublication date Tue Apr 17, 2007 13:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Palestinian Arab movement was founded by Nazi antisemites. Is that true or false? Who was Hajj Amin el Husseini, what was his relationship to the Arab Palestinian movement, (Answer its main leader over 30 years) and what was his relation with the Nazis, ie Hitler and Himmler (he was a very special associate of Eichmann)???

Israel as the Homeland of the Jewish people has become the centre of attack of antisemitism. The Arab "Palestinians" were offered a state on at least 3 occasions.

We have seen on this very Indymedia site in Ireland lies printed on the issue of Dir Yassin directed atgainst the jewish state of Israel.

The issue of Dir Yassin must be placed in its overall context. The main aspect to this context is that just a short time before on two occasions the Arabs were offered a state of their own. That would make it for them the SECOND Palestinian Arab state on the area alotted to the Jews as a Homeland, the first of course was Transjordan, making up 78 per cent of the total.

Youlton and Deane leave that out.

The first of the two occasions was the offer made following the Lord Peel Commission of 1936 when the Arabs were offered a large (second) state and the Jews a tiny sliver of land.

The second was just immediately before Dir Yassin and was of course the UN Resolution of November 1947 when the Arabs were offered their own state and the Jews their own state, but the Arabs turned this down flat again while the Jews accepted. The Arabs rejected and went to war and this is the origin of the Dir Yassin issue. Whatever else you find out about Dir Yassin it has to be set in that context, the context of war begun by the Arabs after they rejected the UN Resolution of 1947 creating two states. The two state solution was never really on because the root of the problem was always for the Arabs the liquidation of the Jewish presence in the Middle East. The Arabs and Islamist were genocidists from the beginning!

That aspect of things is ignored totally by Youlton of the Irish AntiWar Movement. So we find Youlton with Deane of the ISM in favour of going to war. Some anti-war leader is Youlton! Deane just hates the Jewish Homeland of Israel.

author by William Wallpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2007 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Art-ist,
The standard grammatical shorthand of using 'he' when the gender of a writer is unknown may be old-fashioned, but can hardly be called a mistake.

I'm glad you abhor intellectual laziness. In that case you might answer the substantive charge I make, which is that conflating 'anti-Israeli' and 'Anti-Semitic' is, in fact, a sleight of hand designed to silence all criticism of the acts of the state of Israel no matter what those acts might be.

If you are anti-war, I assume you are also against the Israeli attack on Lebanon. Are you against all war, no matter what the circumstances?

Do you object to people commenting on all 'geo-political' issues? In that case, your own anti-war stance is hardly logical. You should refrain from making any judgment on any issue about which you do not have first-hand knowledge, including war.

As regards the use of hate-symbols, perhaps you could point us all in the direction of some writers and artists who use them. Are we to imagine intellectuals attending these clubs wearing swastikas?

As regards the validity of criticism of the state of Israel, I refer you to the principles of the Matzpen movement, a socialist organisation founded and based in Israel. Their founding principles may be read here:

Principle 11. states: "Our socialist principles place us in irreconcilable opposition to Zionism. We regard Zionism as a colonizing project, carried out at the expense of the Arab masses (primarily the Palestinian Arab people), under the aegis of imperialism and in partnership with it. Zionism is also opposed to the interest of the mass of exploited workers in Israel, placing them in historical conflict with the masses of the entire Arab East."

Perhaps, if you studied the material supplied by Matzpen and other critical movements from within Israel, you would be in a better position to argue your case.

I join with you in wishing peace with dignity on the Middle East. But until the opression of the Palestinian people is addressed that peace is very unlikely.

Finally, I doubt very much that any of the artists you attack are making capital, and particularly not out of other people's agony.

author by William Wallpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2007 14:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The thought just occures to me that i said that i did not know of a single living writer who had made anti-semitic comments. I should state that i am referring to living Irish writers only.

author by Edpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2007 17:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If YOU are against war, perhaps you are against the attack of Hizballah on Israel, too?

author by William Wallpublication date Wed Apr 18, 2007 16:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am not against war.

author by william Wallpublication date Wed Apr 18, 2007 17:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A good deal of the posts on this thread seem to be arguing that artists in particular, and members of Aosdana especially, have no business speaking out on political issues.
Firstly, do the people who propose this viewpoint feel artists are especially stupid, ignorant of world affairs or craven? Or does this argument extend to everybody? Do they think that writers, composers, and practitioners of the visual arts have less right to express their political opinions and try to persuade the organisations of which they are members to take action against what they perceive are wrongs?
Secondly, how do these same people feel about those artists who advocated a boycott against South Africa during the period of apartheid?
I would have thought that artists, who generally have many international contacts, who do not simply travel for holidays, but who interact on a close personal basis with people of many cultures, would actually be good people to assess international politics.
Since many of the world's most effective political statements have been made by writers, artists and musicians (Orwell, Shostakovich, Picasso, Neruda to name but a few), perhaps those who object to artists taking a role in politics might like to have those works banned.

author by art-istpublication date Wed Apr 18, 2007 18:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Galway issue- particularly the actions involving the symbol
of the Star of David witrh a line through it- got mixed into the whole
issue on Israel/Palestine.

artists are political- they must be.

BUt- there is a problem with artists working together in quasi-committee
especially when the funding they receive is from the Arts Coucil.

If you examine the arts act 2003- you will find that funding has been tied
by John O Donoghue to the State- in that art must reflect the State.

Now - Independent artists such as Jellet/Hone/Yeats and the Friends of the
Hugh Lane gallery brought Art to ireland- Roualt/cubism etc.

they bucked the established ideology of art -which In de Valera's time existed
in a quasi-vacuum of art that 'reflected the state's interest.
Interestingly this was endemic in Stalinist Russia and in the post-weimar
hitler era too.

Art must be free from state funding and work independentl of committee to buck
an establishment- in this case a pile of vandalising gombeens who like horse
flesh and are destroying heritage for their own amusement!

Ok- sorry If I was heavy on it- but truly I believe that accepting established
laurels from thicko TD's is not the way to go!

author by William Wallpublication date Wed Apr 18, 2007 22:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Art-ist
I agree with what you say in this last post.

I've been saying something like it myself at www.williamwall.eu.

author by Malachypublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

William Wall challenges the reader to indicate any living Irish writers who are antisemitic. It would be safe to assume however that there are plenty of living Irish writers who are antisemitic considering the amount of dead Irish writers who were antisemitic (Francis Stuart, Athur Griffith,et al). The difference today is that they invariably conceal their anti-semitism behind the cloak of anti-zionism.

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Young Fine Gael in UCD is organising a debate this evening (Thursday 19th) at 7 pm in Theatre R of the Arts Block on the subject of the boycott of Israeli products, including academic and cultural goods.

Speaking against the motion, arguing that a boycott is a useless/destructive/divisive/and perhaps even an anti-semitic tactic will be Simon Harris of Young Fine Gael, Fergal Reid of the Young PDs, Richard Mulrooney of the UCD Law Society, the Irish Times Political Correspondent Deaglan de Breadun and that erudite neo-con Richard Waghorne of the the Irish Daily Mail and the Freedom Institute.

A most interesting coalition of Chris Bond of Labour Youth, Daithi de Roister of Ogra Sinn Fein, Vincent Durac, David Landy of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Michael Youlton of the iawm will argue for the motion - why a boycott is right and necessary, who's arguing for a boycott and why the struggle of the Palestinians against racism and colonial oppression must be supported.

All welcome

author by PaddyKpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 13:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Give em Hell, MichaelY !

look forward to reading about it.

author by Goblinpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 13:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Always amazes me how the left and right divide over Israel, with the right-wing rowing in uncompromisingly behind Israel.
Anyone any objections to declaring Israel a right-wing state? Can we now call this a black and white issue?

author by William Wallpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 13:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's a bit stupid as an argument, really. Not worth responding to. Dead guys were anti-semitic so living guys must be!

author by Trevorpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Very true Goblin, but remember that left-wing totaltarian regimes have more blood on their hands that their right-wing counterparts. What's your point? Have you fooled yourself into believing that being from the left makes you more of of a humanist? Tell your story to somenone who had to have his mid-life crisis languishing in a Siberian Gulag, in a country where your nationalityy would be printed as "Jew" on your passport if you had the misfortune to be a Jew.
Like Aosdana, the left always derive their income from the state, i.e. from other people's money and other people's work (the right), hence their conservatism ,their commitment to the status quo. Right or left? - as a humanist I have little trouble choosing which camp I want to belong to. The opposition of the left to Israel might make them feel all warm and fluffy amongst their dinner party friends, but to an objective observer their motives and actions remain highly suspect, very much in tune with their policies and actions in the recent past.

author by Malachypublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 13:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yeah, that's exactly it William, "Dead guys were anti-semitic so living guys must be!" What do you want? Bells on it!

author by Goblinpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 14:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It maybe true when you say that the Right has less blood on its hands than the Left when you compare the death tolls of say, Nazism to Communism (under Stalin).

I am no fan of Stalin or his methods and I consider him a traitor to the Left even if he did help defeat Hitler and his Ultra-right wing ideology.

As for your quip about left-wingers sponging off right-wingers that displays a limited if somewhat stereotypical understanding of the concepts. Left wing people are not by virtue of their politics poor, nor are right-wing people by virtue of their politics rich. This is far beyond economics and cheap shots Trevor.

Right -Wing ideology is inherently dangerous as it is insular, hard-hearted, selfish, racist and intolerant.
All well known and irrefutable facts.

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