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Gaza Solidarity March Dublin 2009

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Saturday January 03, 2009 23:47author by Richard Whelan - none Report this post to the editors

Photo essay

Thousands have been protesting all over the world against the current military attacks on one of the most densely populated parts of the world - The Gaza Strip.

Today in solidarity thousands marched from the central bank to Kildare street and EU offices and finishing at GPO, Dublin

Images copyright 2009

Thousands have been protesting all over the world against the current military attacks on one of the most densely populated parts of the world - The Gaza Strip.

Today in solidarity thousands marched from the central bank to Kildare street, EU offices and finishing at GPO, Dublin

Images copyright 2009




Praying for peace while young boy looks on
Praying for peace while young boy looks on

author by Richard Whelanpublication date Sat Jan 03, 2009 23:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

more images from protest
copyright 2009






author by Acidpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 00:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It sure wouldn't be a proper Palestine march without the Israeli flag burning and a group of tots dressed up in military gear.

author by Richard Whelanpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 00:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More images copyright 2009





Burning  Israeli flag outside GPO
Burning Israeli flag outside GPO

author by Diarmopublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 00:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think it isnt a good idea that kids are dressed up as suicide bombers /soldiers at these marches...people in the march should not be seen to be for violence..some of the people in the march are definitely for Hamas which divides the protestors no??

author by Conor.M - S.E.E.Dpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 01:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great march, I think some people here are forgetting what the march was about. Stop the slaughter..... Boycott Israel

author by Ashamedpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 01:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Like many people on this site and elsewhere across the world I have watched in horror at the crminal attacks by israel on the beleagured population of Gaza. I attended the demonstration today as some small expression of my own personal solidarity with those who are suffering under the hail of missiles and mortar shells from the Israeli military.

However, I was less than impressed when I saw the completely unnecessary and counter-productive burning of the Israeli flag on Kildare Street. I put this down to the anger of a small unrepresentative group of very angry people. But, having now seen these further photographs of children at the head of the march dressed by their parents in military fatigues and the further flag-burning outside the GPO I am thoroughly ashamed that I gave my support to the IPSC and their demonstration today.

Congratulations for doing the Israeli propaganda machine's work for them. You have done the Israeli war machine a great service in Dublin today.

author by Vincentpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 01:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The burning of the Israeli flag and the militarisation of children is completely innappropriate.

IPSC must eliminate this imagery from it's campaign in order to have any chance of achieving solidaity for Gaza here.

author by Patpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 02:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not exactly helpful having kids in paramilitary gear it has to be said. TAL

author by Palestinian Liberation Supporter and militantpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 03:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No problem with the burning of the flag,no problem with the burning of any state flag really but the kids in military garb and reports of a man tryin to burn himself t death are a bit much-thats not pretending to understand the deep level of misery and anguish/anger/rage that these people feel.

author by disappointed hippypublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 09:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i thought these protests were for nonviolence, for peace, no more killing

images of child soldiers marching in dublin - what message does that convey???

people of good conscience cannot support this. please stop.

author by Stephenpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with most of the comments above.

1. Children is military gear is simply wrong and completely the wrong message to anyone attending the march, viewing the march from the sidelines or viewing photos or video of the march afterwards in the media. Another own goal I'm afraid.

2. Burning of the Israeli flag is also inappropriate as the message it gives is that we want to wipe Israel off the map. We don't. Whilst I think the actions of the Israeli government are war crimes and reprehensible I do not hold every Israeli citizen, men women and children responsible for these acts. For sure there are a lot of bad apples in the Israeli barrel but there are also some good ones.

3. I think the slogans at the march need to be refined so that they are less in number and deliver simple positive messages. For example the one slogan I can remember from the Anti apartheid campaign is "Free Mandela" or "Free Nelson Mandela". Simple and positive. "Bush, Bush, ... Terrorist, terrorist," I don't think conveys our objectives.

Of course I do fully understand the passion of the Palestinians in the march and in truth I'm sure I'd be burning an Israeli flag if one of my family was living in fear or dead in Gaza today. However the issue is how to create, manage and deliver a successful campaign to win the hearts and minds of Irish people. To achieve this we all need to restrain our passions and focus on the positive message "Free, Free, ... Palestine".

author by james - nonepublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

compared to the mass slaughter conducted by the 4th biggest military machine in the world what exactly do we lose because someone burned a flag?? c'mon get real here... the flag anyway is not the symbol of jews in general (whose oppression we would obviously oppose) but the burning of the symbol of the racist zionist aparthied state. i wouldnt mind someone burning the symbols of the nazi party or say the racist parties that were in power in south africa during aparthied....
we cant divide ourselves by condemning other protestors...
it's funny how many left wingers would have supported the struggle of the vietnamese against the US army but cant bring themselves to support the struggle of the palestinians... you want nice peaceful palestinians that die beautifully so you can weep at a distance and gain the moral high ground over the israelis...
if you or i are attacked on the street we defend ourselves...if a woman is raped she has the right to fight too does an oppressed people.. and the oppressed have no need of the approval of western liberals as to what from their resistance takes...
keep on the streets
stay united
stand 100percent with the palestinians

the violence of the oppressed is the fault of the oppressor

author by Observerpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do you seriously think Jews would be depending on the likes of you to defend them!!

They are defending themselves and you are on the same side as those attempting to wipe them out. Maybe you ought to find out more about your mad allies in Hamas.

author by Darren Cpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Israel needs to suffer a bloody defeat, as it did in Lebanon in 2006 when Hizbullah smashed its invasion forces to pieces. A region wide uprising, led by the working class. Is the best way for the masses across the region to defeat the hated Israeli state.

In this conflict all true socialists are unreservedly on the side of the Palestinians fighting against the occupation of their country. We are for the defeat of the Israeli army by the Palestinians.

The size of the anti war demonstrations in north Israel on Saturday also show that there are growing numbers of Israelis who are opposed to what their government is doing. The fact that the Israeli communist Party called for a general strike against the Gaza attacks is an excellent initiative. Progressive anti-Zionist and anti-war forces must join together with the Arab working class, Palestinian, Egyptian, Syrian and from the other countries, to smash the Israeli governments murderous plans.

In full -,1476...0,1,0

author by Observerpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are you iving in the real world. A region wide uprising of the working class! This is not the film 'Reds' you know. The simple fact is that the real choice in the region is between some sort of flawed democracy and civil society and Islamic/Arabist totalitarianism. Forces which you may or may not be aware, or simply choose to ignore, have slaughtered far far more Palestinians, socialists, communists and democrats than the Israelis could in two hundred years. There is only one way to deal with the likes of Hamas and it is not some fantasy of a socialist revolution.

author by Ciaron - Ploughshares/Catholic Workerpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 13:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here are some of my reflections and concerns after participating in the demonstration in Dublin yesterday...

In response to some of the complaints above to what other people were saying, doing, seems a pretty passive approach to going on one of these demonstrations.

For a start you should really go to the trouble of making your own placard or sign before setting out or yes you are going to end up being treated and perceived as a stooge, extra on a set holding some mass produced political party brand for the day...which has more to do with a brandlifting exercise for the said party (or the potential candidate who has got him/herself on the closed platform and a captive audience) than the issue at this case ongoing war crimes on the people of Gaza.

Crimes that Ireland is involved in (a complicity not mentioned from the closed platform where opportunist aspiring Irish politicians are too busy in a heightened state of moal outrage and superiorirty,)

..... but if you were seriously interested you could start to explore
-Raytheon in Derry supplying Israeli weapons
-Dublin cement company profiting from the construction of the apartheid wall
-Shannon Airport that has a history of moving U.S. weapons to the Israelis

The priority for us here in Ireland during any of these killing sprees..should be how is Ireland involved? and how do we confront that? This is not a priority for the aspiring politicians merely using the demonstration for media profile and electoral ambition.

Burning flags has been a student prank form of activism since the Vietnam War ( it does not imply the burning of the nation represented by the flag)...during Gulf War 1..the U.S. Supreme Court looked at it and am pretty sure ruled it as protected form of free speech under the U.S. constution...I remember som American Maoists being charged with "arson to the N.Y. subway system" merely for burning one during Gulf War 1 on top of th big military recruitment office in Times Square...that seemed a bit of a prosecutional stretch.

Messing with people's symbols is always fraught with misunderstanding and danger so setting fire to the Star of David doesn't strike me as a a great idea......I was more struck by the discipline and dignity of the Muslims on the demo lining up for prayer as we finished at the Dail....that struck me as a very powerful image.

Kids in military uniform is always distressing...but no more distressing than all the mainstream fashon around Dublin with U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, Navy etc

It's distressing in this case...that the only way people seem to be able to maintain dignity against overwhelmig bombardment and not self liquidate is hold out the threat to their tormentors that they can strike back......
....I didn't feel misrepresented or want anything censored, because I had my own placard calling for NVDA...whic I imagine some people don't agree with an abviously don't support given there lack of support in recent history for the Ploughshares, Mary Kelly and Raytheon 9 actions/cases etc

author by Andrew - WSM (personal capacity)publication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 13:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Another five images, there are additional ones at

Below are some relevant anarchist reports of anarchist protests inside Israel and in the west bank.

Palestine-Israel, more news of AAtW from a war zone
The Anarchists Against the Wall comrades arrested Saturday while trying to block the road in front of the war ministry during the big demonstration of the radical left were released with a bond equal 100.- ERO and two weeks restricting from approaching the site of the demo. (Still lenient "democracy for Jews"). However when few of us joined demonstrations of our Palestinian partners in Ni'ilin there was another level of suppression. In spite of the regulations not to use live ammunition when Israelis join Palestinians demonstration, such ammunition was used in Ni'ilin - four Palestinians were hit two of them fatally.

The Gaza slaughter: Europe's hand is bloodied too - International anarchist communist statement
We will continue to support the struggles and act of solidarity with the Palestinian people, supporting all those embryonic manifestations of self-determination that typify the struggles of whole villages in Palestine...

On the Israeli war in Gaza - Anarchist communist analysis from Syria
The majority of the Arab masses can just observe what is going on, filled with outrage and anger. This is due mainly to the general atmosphere of fear and their marginalization, strongly maintained by the ruling elites. Only a small minority of politically active individuals are participating in protests on the streets.

From the invasion of Lebanon - the message still stands
From the invasion of Lebanon - the message still stands





Related Link:
author by Ferg - nonepublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a few questions,hopefully someone can answer them.Here goes
1 What does Hamas want?
2Hadn't Israel previously withdrawn fom Gaza?(2006?).If so did this mean the raison d'etre of Hamas was no longer valid?
3 Hamas won the elections in 2007 and the power struggle against Fatah.What for?I think this goes back to question 1
4 Everybody knows where Israel gets its money and guns from, what about Hamas?
5 People have mentioned the flag burning and the children in military garb but is anybody shocked by a demo ending in a prayer session?Palestinians are not all Muslims and I don't think Israeli bombs can tell the difference between Palestinian Christians,Muslims or atheists.What would the Left think of a march ending with the reciting of the rosary?Inclusive?Exclusive?Progressive?
End the slaughter in Palestine."War can never be humanized it has to be abolished" Einstein

author by Kev - (totally in a personal capacity)publication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 14:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To those complaining about the children in military fatigues, flag burning and person setting himself on fire....

Gaza is burning, and you're worried about a flag burning? FFS! why waste your time critically commenting on these trivial actions, why not use your time call the Israeli embassy or Irish government and make demands. Gaza has just been invaded, the death toll has risen to 500, the Israeli army have Gaza city surrounded, and some of you are saying you won't attend another IPSC demo because some kids in military uniforms were briefly at the head of the march? Gaza may be totalled Grozny style, but because you disagree with an element of the march you won't go to another? Palestinians need our support now, this is the worst Israeli atrocity since 1948, we need to be on the streets, we need to be tying up the Israeli and Irish government phone lines, we need to step up the boycott campaign. That is what is important.

For the record, the flag burnings, kids and man setting fire to himself were not official IPSC actions, they were the actions of individuals on the march - individuals who I know have lost friends and family in the Israeli slaughter. And whatever my own personal feelings about, mainly, the kids (which I don't think was particularly helpful), the issue is FAR bigger than that. What's important is Gaza, not parts of a march in Dublin!

Related Link:
author by Vincentpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 14:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors


I agree with what you are saying but with a small difference. The personal anger of any single person, because of the outrages carried out against him or members oif his family, should not be allowed to colour the whole protest with rage. We here, should be seen to be clearly understanding of the facts at hand and making rational decisions to protest in a dignified manner to increase solidarity for the Palestinians amongst the Irish public.
Kids in fatigues and burning flags is also a small details in the scope of all the suffering but it is an important details when it comes up on the headlines at the 6 o clock news.

People see this rage , get a fright and switch off. Its playing straight into the hands of the enemy.

author by Palestinian - Individualpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 14:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Totally agree with most comments and this was raised to IPSC as an organiser. To be fair to them, they mentioned nothing of that was planned and sometimes it is difficult to control some angry individuals in such events. However, this is a concern for future activities as these things bring the attention away from the noble cause of the event.

author by Shaypublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 14:48author email murphy.shay at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors





author by Andrew - WSM (personal capacity)publication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were certainly aspects of the demonstration I was unhappy with, in particular the coupling of 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free' with 'Allah Ak Bar' (God is great) by a small but vocal minority of demonstrators. The first slogan used to be understood as a call for the creation of a secular republic where all the current inhabitants of the region, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and people of no religion would live. Coupling it with second turns it into a religious sectarian slogan.

But the reality of demonstrations is that not everybody who turns up has exactly the same point of view, very often you'll find yourself mixed in with people with whom you have strong disagreements with. How are the organisers to deal with such situations. I've noticed over the last days that they have tried to do what they can without pushing things to the point of conflict. At the New Year day event at the GPO one guy turned up with a 'Star of David = Swastika" banner and I say one of the Palestinian organisers take him out of sight behind the flag to talk to. Yesterday I saw the same guy intercept the father with the three kids dressed in military uniform, take them across the road and talk to them for a good few minutes. Obviously he was unable to persuade them as to how counter productive that get up was but what was he to do then?

Twenty years ago the Israeli state had a program of promoting Islamist groups in other to undermine the secular Palestinian left and nationalist movement. The political weakness of that movement coupled with that promotion has transformed Palestinian politics for the worst. But to suggest this makes it OK to walk away while hundreds of people are being killed in unacceptable. It's quite possible, as Joe Higgins did from the platform on the day, to continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza while criticizing the reactionary politics of sections of the movement. As it happens the back issues of Workers Solidarity I was handing out yesterday included such an article as well, online at

author by Vincentpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 15:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Last image of the girl carrying the "body" of another slain child is far more powerful than any flag burning or mock militarism.

author by Tompublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 16:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nobody that I know in the IPSC supports dressing children up in military clothing and bringing them to a march as was seen on Saturday.
The man who brought his children dressed like that has recently lost several members of his family in Gaza and is, understandably, going though a considerable emotional period. He was visibly upset at the march and this was also causing distress to his kids.
It would be a shame that the actions of one upset man or a minority of people burning flags would taint what was a successful march. There is more work to be done.

author by Conor.M - S.E.E.Dpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 17:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is true the demonstration was tainted. From political groups trying to hijack the march to a minority of particularly angry individuals. I saw them people praying for hope and peace, this is why I marched.
As for the man and his children dressed in military gear, he cried at the gathering at central bank and has obviously been affected by the violence in Gaza and he was venting his anger.
Another thing is the flag burning. They were burning the symbolism of Zionism, and it was a tiny minority. Dont let this get in the way of our opposition to war and murder. It is murder and the E.U holds a certain amount of responsibility. We must protest and boycott Israel, peacefully.

All groups must drop their politically motivated agenda and work together to effectively introduce 'apartheid free-zones'. If we can not hold ourselves together to help the innocent people of Gaza, and protect them from the government of Israels aggression. Then, I will have truly lost all hope in the prospect for true solidarity in the future of this island

author by Coilínpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 18:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For the record, the photo shows a handmade flag featuring two interlocking SQUARES. Meanwhile, the Israeli flag bears the star of David, which consists of two interlocking TRIANGLES. So the rag that was burnt was not a faithful representation of any national flag at all.

I think it would be inappropriate to burn the Israeli flag, as it bears the star of David, so burning it might be interpreted as hatred for followers of the Jewish faith - i.e. a form of sectarianism.

But I think it's inappropriate to have the star of David on the Israeli flag in the first place, as it is a religious symbol that cannot well accommodate the diversity of religious or political views of the population groups who claim title to live within the territory governed by the Israeli state.

Let us make a clear distinction, and keep making this distinction:
1. Judaism is one thing.
2. People of Jewish descent are another.
3. Israeli expansionism and militarism is a third thing.

I think the prevailing sentiment among the general populace of Ireland could be summarised as follows:
1. Everybody has the constitutional right to follow the religious persuasion of his/her choosing, in peace.
2. Persecution of people of Jewish descent is abhorrent - not to mention unconstitutional and illegal.
3. The persecution of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state is also utterly abhorrent. Particularly as it involves siege tactics around Gaza and cowardly bombings by unmanned drones.

And in my own view, if anything is in actual fact being "wiped off the map", as the popular misquote goes, it is the territory of Palestine:
Washington Post: Line of Separation

Salaam and shalom!

author by redjadepublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 18:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

would you be offended?

it is not the Irish flag - it the flag of Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

but I think you'd be offended by what I intended more than what or how I harmed an inanimate piece of cloth.


author by Anniepublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 18:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having been at the protest on Saturday I in no way feel like I should disassociate myself with the IPSC.

I don't know the exact numbers but RTE said 1000 and the OP said several thousand were there. Taking RTE number of 1000 that's 4/1000s or 0.4% of the protest dressed up in military outfits. That does not prove anything about the IPSC being associated with military wings of anything - someone above even pointed out that they took the guy aside but come on, they aren't the fashion police and once your man turned up with the kids dressed like they couldn't exactly change could they?

I saw the flag burning on Kildare Street but again that only takes a couple of people to do. It was not burned from the podium and the crowd certainly did not give it an enthusiastic response.

I don't think the prayer was organised by the IPSC either. The blonde woman (sorry, don't know her name) said from the platform that they had had requests from some members of the muslim community could they have time to pray there. That was done while the IPSC was clearing up the platform and people started moving down Molesworth Street. It was not a triumphant end to the protest as someone above said as the protest kept going up to the GPO.

People were yelling 'Allah Ak Bar' at different stages but then again the protest went on for ages and there were different groups with different chants at every stage so I think again that can be seen as a minority. There were other chants too - Free, Free Palestine; Save, Save Gaza; We are all Palestine, We are all Gaza; From the river to the sea Palestine will be free; 1234 we don't want your bloody war 5678 israel is a terrorist state. I don't know what peoples opinions on them are but I just put that couple down to show the range there was.

The flag and those children were trivial things on the march. I was surprised by some of them but not scared off. I turned up because even the scant attention I have paid to the news over the last week has horrified. At the Central Bank there was some heckling of one of the speakers and the organisers did their best to get people to be calm and treat him with respect. There were huge differences in opinion on the march. An early speaker explained away the use of rockets on Israel as the only form of defense but Joe Higgins came on the platform and completely denounced the use of rockets.

I've heard that there is another protest on Tuesday at the Israeli Embassy and I will be there supporting Gaza (and the IPSC).

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 19:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A video of events there turned out to have no sound, so had to be discarded.

Among the speakers whom I recognized were Rev Patrick Comerford, Anglican priest, and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate. Both were strong in their condemnation of the Israeli military massacre in Gaza.

Mairead recounted how she had been in Gaza in November with the Free Gaza Movement and had met with the Hamas leadership. She had attended a meeting of all the political parties in Gaza, including Fatah and Hamas. The six month ceasefire was holding and the political parties were ready to go to Cairo (in Egypt) to meet with their political colleagues from West Bank (in Palestine). There was great hope that Palestinian National Unity could be built, and that the ways of active non-violence would help towards the goals of ending the Israeli occupation and self determination for the Palestinian people.

A few days after their visit to Gaza, in November the State of Israel broke the truce in a series of military attacks on Gaza, which caused the death of six Palestinians.

The Israeli cabinet approved a military operation against Gaza by the forces of Israel.
The military massacre of Gazan civilians was launched on December 27th, 2008 in two separate waves of attacks when over 100 bombs were dropped on dozens of targets . Some 80 airplanes and helicopters took part in the assault destroying civil police compounds and civilian homes.

She described the massacre of Gazan civilians by the Israeli military, as a crime against humanity. It was all the more cruel considering the suffering of the people of Gaza who were already under the collective punishment policy of Israel which had cut Gaza off from the World for almost two years, and led its one and a half million people to living in what is the world's largest open air prison, and suffering one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies in the world.

author by Fitzpublication date Sun Jan 04, 2009 20:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry I'm not the best with wording but IMO a rare interplay, a chance to bring forth the tacit aversion to occupation emerged, but the IPSC scored an own goal by not removing those children and flagburners. I say this because the controlling oligarchy in Ireland relies more on internal compulsions than external constraints for beheavioral control and Israel has been relying to heavily on terrorism and pharmacological methods alone to achieve its objectives since its rhetoricians in the Jewish Internet Defence Force, The Anti Defamation League, AIPAC etc. have come across too abdurate and malevolent but now they have some scary images to replay to the idolaters if needed. Should be more careful with these protests.

author by Dusty cornerspublication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 00:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Without going into the rights and wrongs..
We have beengiven images that will be very benefecial to the state
could i politely request that it may be safer to blur faces at times?
i dont have to be too paranoid to be aware that certain people wil be perusing for future reference

author by Coilínpublication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 13:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks, redjade.

At least that graphic could be mistaken for the Irish tricolour, inverted. I've seen the true Irish tricolour on top of many a bonfire in Northern Ireland, where I lived and worked for 18 months. I took it to represent abhorrence for IRA violence, so it didn't offend me at all. I would be disturbed and offended to see the flag of Cote d'Ivoire burnt on the streets of Dublin - e.g. if somebody were to write "Cote d'Ivoire" and "Kill the blacks" on it to make their intent clear. In fact, this would offend me much more than the burning of the Irish tricolour.

I don't think people should burn other people's flags, but I don't think anybody should worry too much about their own flag.

As you say, it all depends on the INTENT, but this can be very ambiguous. In this particular case, it is quite possible that the interlocking squares were intentionally painted on the flag so as NOT to deface the star of David. And the pictures show that no anti-Semitic slogan or call to violence was written on the flag.

As Annie has written, there was a vast diversity of messages going around, and I would add the following:
Pictures of dead and injured children. Coffins.
Banners for the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers' Party, Labour Party and Workers' Solidarity Movement
A handmade banner for a Westmeath peace group - something on the lines of "Westmeath against the war"
Placards reading: "Stop Slaughter", "Free Gaza", "Caoimhe Butterly rocks"
and even: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"
Dozens of Palestinian flags in various sizes

Throughout the demonstration on Saturday, I did not see a single slogan expressing hatred for Jews or the Jewish religion, and nor did I hear any speeches or chants calling for violence to Jews or Israelis. The most prevalent messages focused repeatedly on lifting the siege and stopping the disproportionate assault on Gaza.

So the prevailing intent was quite clear: Save Gaza.

author by Susanpublication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 14:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All due respect Coilin but IMO you are getting this all wrong.

The burning of the Israeli Flag does not automatically imply any Anti-Semitism, it does certainly imply a hatred or rage against the state of Israel. Same as if a Palestinian flag were to be burned in Sderot it would not have to be done by somebody who hates Arabs or Muslims or even Palestinians, but someone who definitely harbours rage for activities of Palestinians organs i.e Hamas, Qassam brigades etc.

You are right when you eventually say " it all depends on the INTENT, but this can be very ambiguous."

Watching the flagburnings on TV or in reports it becomes even more ambiguous to an Irish person who may not be as informed in these matters as yourself, and they feel threatened by an outbreak of rage in Irish streets that resembles so much the rage they see in crowds in Lebanon and Palestine where such events are common place.

I dont think Irish people want to fly off in a rage in order to voice their disgust at the activities of Israel and the flag burnings are going to definitely disenfranchise many people who are otherwise very sympathetic to the Gazan plight. Many Irish sympathisers with Gaza in fact will also be sympathetic to Israel and will be disgusted at such overt violent imagery as the burning of Israel's state Some are merely opposed to the violence by the ISraeli army being deployed and not the actual intent of the Israelis as they might see it "to gain security ". Seeing the flag burnings will make these people start to imagine that the threat to Israel is in fact "existential" when they see violent imagery such as this on Dublin Streets.

I completely disagree with your theory about the interlocking squares being a diplomatic initiative so as to avoind buring the "actual flag" . This is a representation of the Israeli flag - full stop ! And also I completely disagree that the tricolour burning up North is a denunciation of IRA violence any more than it is a denunciation of the Republic. But you see it's a matter of perception.

People watching these events will perceive them in whatever way they are disposed to and in general these perceptions can not be guaranteed to be "Save Gaza. " as you say but will, in many cases, be perceptions of "destroy Israel".

Thats not helpful .

Remember the purpose of the processions/protests is to gain blanket solidarity from as many corners and pockets of Irish society as possible and not to allow any agrieved parties to vent personal fury that might reflect on the mainstream solidarity . Anybody feeling utterly compelled to burn a flag should by all means go ahead and do so, it is the responsibility of protest orgainsers to ensure that such people are clearly seperate from the crowd and do not represent the general sentiment. Any people who wish to burn flags but do not want to have the general sentiment of the protest painted with their personal fury, shoud refrain from doing so.

This should be made clear at the outset and in stark terms.

author by Coilínpublication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 15:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks, Susan.

You say you think I'm "getting this all wrong" but yet you agree with me on several points, so you clearly don't think I'm getting it all entirely all wrong.

I note particularly that we agree that people should not burn other people's flags. But I stand by my view that that was not actually the Israeli flag.

And I think two key points must be borne in mind:
1. It may be very difficult to rally a diverse slice of a pluralistic society to a demo while at the same time too tightly policing and limiting the views expressed.
2. It is certainly impossible to control the spin the old media choose to put on things.

For example, the Sunday Times yesterday showed a picture of three women at the demo wearing Islamic headscarves, and the Irish Times today showed three lines of Muslims bent down in prayer in front of the Dáil. So readers of those newspapers might get the perception that this was a demonstration attended entirely by Muslims. And this is very likely to alienate Christians, Jews, Buddhists and secularists.

Should we then exclude people wearing headscarves, and advise the Muslim participants to pray in private? I think that would be utterly unworkable.

Fortunately, the world views the print and TV media with a big spoon of scepticism. Polls confirm this.

author by Greg Timony - IPSCpublication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(Speaking in a personal capacity as an individual member). In response to the people who were upset at the flag burnings and other things. Personally I thought the flag burnings were a bit stupid, and the kids dressed in military garb is not something I would support either. ( Someone else has given an explanation for why the latter happening occurred). Overall thought I thought the reactions of the Palestinians on the march were very restrained given the circumstances. Bear in mind we are supposed to be a solidarity organization. are we expected to rush up to these distraught people and physically stop them doing these sort of things?. They have enough people policing their actions as it is. I didn't hear any racist anti-Jewish slogans or anything like that being chanted. In fact just before the final flag burning at the end, a Palestinian speaker gave a very reasoned speech calling on the Israelis to stop their atrocities, acknowledging the historical suffering of Jewish people and arguing that they should from their historical experience know better than to support the massacre of innocents that has happened recently. Personally I also acknowledge that there are many Jewish people throughout the world showing solidarity to the Palestinian people, including many in Israel itself. I see this as part of the struggle against all racism in the world, and hope to see a Palestine/Israel where all people can live in peace some day.

author by redjadepublication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors


You made some good points - but, I think, fail to see your own points.

If you are an Israeli in Dublin and wanted to protest this war - how would you feel in seeing your flag being burnt?

As I mentioned above, a flag is only a piece of cloth - but what it represents to most people is a symbol of the people themselves. The purpose of burning a flag of a people is not to say 'I love you.'

Is it understandable that palestinians burn israeli flags? of course. But if we are building an anti-war movement based on raw emotions and with no reason - you will soon find protests controlled and manipulated by the crazies and not by principle.

Someone from the IPSC should talk to the Dublin Palestinians and others that are burning flags, dressing their children in military uniform etc etc and tell them for the good of their own cause - please stop.

all that said, I am for free speech etc and support the right of people to burn flags - but tactically/strategically speaking - why do it?? Or rather, why stand by and not ask others to not do it?

author by Greg - IPSC (purely personal capacity)publication date Mon Jan 05, 2009 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors


I for one appreciate your desire to protest this war, and I understand it must be upsetting for people to see their flag burnt. For others though that flag represents a lifetime of oppression felt, I can understand that burning it gives them some sort of emotional release. Not meaning to be sarcastic but I don't see it as our role to give patronizing lectures to Palestinians, I'm pretty sure for one thing that most of them are more aware of the negative consequences of such actions than we (Their local solidarity supporters), having to live with the consequences on a daily basis. An example has been illustrated by Andrew from the WSM here. Unfortunately it is very hard for people to act completely rationally 100% of the time. We are all limited human individuals. I for one have not been active on the issue for some time, and only turned up in a personal capacity somewhat late. The organization of these events is run by a relatively small number of hard-pressed individuals who can't be expected to control every random element that may happen at a demo that large. Perhaps if we had had several hundred activists on the street we could have kept the over-emotional reactions under control, sadly this issue is one that only attracts intermittent support from people with a wide variety of viewpoints. As Andrew again pointed out it is difficult to co-ordinate the efforts of such a diversity of people without pushing things to the point of conflict. No one can pretend it is going to be easy in even getting close to any resolution of the wider tragic Palestinian-Israeli conflict with such a depth of historical conflict going back to the holocaust and the need by many Jews to have their own state. If we had any sort of rational world that state would have been founded in former German territory (The Soviets having ethnically cleansed tens of millions of Germans from a huge area after World war 2). Unfortunately we don't, so people of good will everywhere need to try to come to terms with present day realities to achieve some sort of humane settlement to this issue so that some day we can live in that rational world, if you'll excuse the somewhat wishy-washy sentiment. Some acknowledgment of the historical wrongs done to the Palestinian people needs to given by the state of Israel to help get that process underway I think, if you'll excuse me putting in my two-pence worth..

author by Coilínpublication date Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Redjade summarised the key issues very concisely as follows:
"all that said, I am for free speech etc and support the right of people to burn flags - but tactically/strategically speaking - why do it?? Or rather, why stand by and not ask others to not do it?"

Have you read John Stuart Mill's book, On Liberty? Here, Mill argues that society often acts tyrannically to impose its undemocratic mores on individuals and thus curtail their most fundamental liberties - e.g. freedom of speech.

He argues that we must actively encourage the expression of views that differ from our own. After all, there is NO work to be done in rallying people to support the expression of ideas we agree with - we already automatically support this, often dogmatically and stubbornly. It is precisely because we disagree with the burning of flags that we should look suspiciously at our own impulse to impose any sanction on it, even at the very subtle level of social disapproval.

In this particular instance, if we look critically enough at ourselves, we might identify a failure to question the very concept of nationalism. A failure to even notice the broad global consensus around nationalism that is symbolised by the excessive sanctity of national flags, which are also powerful symbols of self-importance and alienation from the world outside our own little patch. A failure to recognise the possibility of creating a global community without nations, where we are all just brothers and sisters in the world.

We might take different approaches to the tactical issues, e.g. the way the ould media often misrepresent events by focusing on sensational but peripheral details while failing to describe the big picture in all its diversity. "An rud is annamh is iontach," seems to be their motto, i.e. Strange things are wonderful.

One good way to deal with this is to write or phone the editors and producers to complain about bias. For example, I have written a response to the biased coverage I read and saw in the Sunday Times, complaining about three kinds of bias:
i. A picture of three women, all wearing one type of headscarf, suggesting that the crowd was not a very diverse mix of people of different nationalities and diverse religious and secular groups, including many Palestinians, Pakistanis, Iraqis and not least Irish, Muslims, Christians, socialists, etc.
ii. Describing the protest in negative terms, as "an anti-Israel protest" even though the demo was organised by the "Palestinian solidarity" campaign and the speakers, chants and placards overwhelmingly emphasised a "pro-Gaza" humanitarian message.
iii. Underestimating the number of participants - allegedly only 600.

I believe we the people can and will ultimately win the struggle to persuade the mass media to represent events fairly, as otherwise we will simply stop buying the shoddy rubbish the corporate media so often publish and broadcast - as evidenced for example by declining circulation figures, the great success of Indymedia, etc.

author by Laylapublication date Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As a Palestinian I disagree with the burning of the Israeli flag in the marches. I understand why it's done: We are all very angry and heart broken watching our brothers and sisters butchered daily. Burning the flag is one way to vent. And since we are a passionate people, we like to express ourselves openly.

However, I ask protestors to please be mindful of the negative PR that is generated by the burning of a flag. Not everyone knows the history of our denied existance. This is largely thanks to Israel's PR efforts, which are just as carefully planned as their military assaults. They don't burn the Palestinian flag, they just burn Palestinians.

For the upcoming protests I hope there will be more chanting and even singing! Calm and dignified protests are our best chance to get those unfamiliar with our history to get to know us.

Thank you.

author by JOHNNYpublication date Sat Jan 17, 2009 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You do not dress up young children in battle gear and then bring them to a demonstration.

Those images depict and obscene and disgusting instances of child abuse.

I don't support Palestinians anymore, and I'm beginning to think that the biggest stumbling block to the Palestinian probleme is the teaching of hatred to Palestinain children by Palestinians themselves.

Once again, a most disgusting display of child abuse! Shame on the organisers for not prohibiting such an outrage!

author by Kaelpublication date Sat Jan 17, 2009 18:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Its hard for kids to grow up in conflict and not get involved in this kind of thing.
Perhaps if Israeli soldiers were not killing them, maiming them and destroying their homes and lives they could grow up in your ideal view of the world.

Sometimes kids are forced into conflict in order to survive.

author by john - nonepublication date Tue Jul 23, 2013 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

you lot should be ashamed of yourselves supporting these people they dont give two f..ks about Ireland
And the racist hatred towards the Jews is sicking .A bunch of bloody bigots comments on here are sick supporting young children wearing uniforms in support of those blowing themselves up absolutely SICK THEN TO BURN THE FLAG REMEMBER HITLER DID THE SAME THING AND MUSLIMS SUPPORTED HIM.WAKE UP ISLAM DOESN'T GIVE A F..K ABOUT IRELAND IT WAS THE BRITS IN THE PAST NOW IRELAND WILL FACE ISLAM IN THE FUTURE FACT.

author by Fredpublication date Mon Jul 29, 2013 22:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Syria / Egypt /Libya

Gaza which one had the first Civil War ?

Didnt Hamas do some old fashioned defenestration a few years ago ?

Has the A Spring become the season of mellow C Wars?

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