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Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos

By Aidan O’Brien | CounterPunch |July 13, 2018

Ireland’s oldest university – Trinity College Dublin – gave Hillary Clinton an honorary doctorate in late June. It was one big love in. Clinton was paraded and praised like a people’s champion. And in return Clinton fawned over Dublin’s cutting edge liberal politics.

A Trinity College professor orated about Clinton: “Almost sixty-six million people have given her their vote of confidence, sharing her belief that a true democracy is a society in which everyone is equally valued as a human being.”

And Clinton’s response: “These last few years in Ireland have been a testament to the power of young people to shape the future – from the 2015 marriage equality referendum, which saw historic youth turnout, to this year’s abortion referendum…. No demographic is better positioned to be a force on the side of democracy, progress and equality.”

Behind these delusions, platitudes and lies there is a logic. A disturbing one – one that actually built Trinity College Dublin way back in 1592. And one that sustains the same College today in 2018. It sustains Clinton too. It’s the logic of imperialism. And the shameless culture of empire worship that goes with it.

Hillary Clinton personifies the last thirty years of US imperialism. And so by honoring her, Trinity College honors three decades of US savagery across the planet. Firstly, during Hillary’s “reign”, there were the wars which the US orchestrated – for example, in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. And secondly, there’s the neoliberal wars against the global working class which Bill and Hillary Clinton have sold nonstop – from NAFTA (1994) to the repeal of Glass-Steagall (1999) and onto the bailout of the banks (2008 – to the present). The resulting social chaos across the world is a testament to Hillary Clinton’s politics. She more than Donald Trump is the face of the corrupt American Empire.

Her contempt for America, democracy and the world is no secret. The Podesta emails (released by WikiLeaks in 2016) – for example – reveal a two faced politician: a Wall Street Clinton and a Main Street Clinton. For $225,000 a speech Clinton tells the banksters the truth. And for votes she tells the American people fairytales. In her own words: “But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”

Referring to the Podesta emails in October 2016, the New York Times noted that: “Mrs. Clinton describes herself as “far removed” from average Americans and their finances.” The reason? “The Clintons have made more than $120 million in speeches to Wall Street and special interests since Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001.” These facts sum up the deep politics of Clinton. To say the least, she represents America’s 1%.

And so she had no problem dismissing half of America’s 99% as “a basket of deplorables”. And no problem either conspiring against the other half of America’s 99% – those who vote Democrat. In November, 2017 CNN reported: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren [Massachusetts] said she believes that the Democratic National Committee [DNC] was “rigged” in favor of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primary. Asked…… by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether she believes that the Democratic campaign organization was tipped in favor of Clinton over her primary opponent, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren responded without hesitation: “Yes.””

Because Clinton’s political machine had all the corporate money – she or her handlers got to pick the members of the DNC. Therefore in key Democratic primaries the superdelegates, which decided the vote, were her puppets. Such are Clinton’s democratic credentials.

Clinton’s real heart of darkness, however, is found in the bowels of US foreign policy. The key to understanding Hillary Clinton’s view of the world and humanity is Madeleine Albright (Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State). And the key to understanding Albright’s dark heart is her infamous words on CBS television in 1996. Asked about the death of 500,000 children – caused by the US / UK sanctions against Iraq – Madeleine Albright said that “we think the price is worth it”.

This barbaric sentiment reflects the soul of Hillary Clinton’s Weltanschauung because it was Hillary who prompted Bill Clinton to appoint Madeleine Albright as Secretary of State. Hillary clearly identified herself with Albright’s take on the world. Writing in popsugar.com in 2016, Lisette Mejia quotes Albright as saying: “I would not have been secretary of state if it had not been for Hillary Clinton….. She would go to [Bill] and say,…. ’Why wouldn’t you name Madeleine? She is more in tune with your views than anyone else and she expresses them better than anyone else.”

The fact that Hillary Clinton tried to quickly follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton (she twice attempted to be the US President  – in 2008 and 2016), indeed suggests that Madeleine Albright was “more in tune with [her own] views than anyone else”. And expressed “them better than anyone else”. And the fact that Hillary actually ended up following in the footsteps of Albright in the US Department of State (she was Obama’s first Secretary of State, 2009-13), points to a startling parallel between these two female imperialists. One that eerily manifested itself in another blunt barbaric remark caught on camera. When asked in a 2011 television interview to comment on the murder of Muammar al-Gaddafi (and indirectly on the murder of Libya – a clear case of genocide), Hillary casually said “we came, we saw, he [and Libya] died”. And then she laughed.

No one has expressed the horrors of US imperialism in the last three decades better than Hillary Clinton (in one guise or the other). And no one has supported them more than Hillary Clinton.

So why did Trinity College Dublin celebrate her? Firstly: as Edward Said wrote in a 2003 preface to his book Orientalism (1978), “there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.” Trinity College Dublin is the embodiment of this chorus.

And secondly: Trinity College Dublin was built in 1592 by the first queen of chaos (Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I), so it only makes sense that it celebrates the latest queen of chaos – Hillary Clinton (the image is Diana Johnstone’s). The chaos theory of Empire is in the DNA of Ireland’s model university. Trinity College might reject the chaos of revolution (a statue of Edmund Burke – the critic of the French Revolution – guards the entrance of the university), but it has always defended the chaos of imperialism.

When Britain’s Tudor Queen built Trinity College in Dublin – the Irish were like the Iraqis and Libyans of today. They were fair game, thrash, expendable, a price worth paying and a laugh. And Trinity College rationalized it for the imperialists. That was it’s raison d’être.

Edward Said explains, in his book Culture And Imperialism (1993), the Irish situation back then as follows: “In Ireland, [Angus] Calder says, the idea of murdering Gaels was from the start ‘as part of a royal army or with royal approval, [considered] patriotic, heroic and just.’ The idea of English racial superiority became ingrained; so humane a poet and gentleman as Edmund Spenser in his View of the Present State of Ireland (1596) was boldly proposing that since the Irish were barbarian Scythians, most of them should be exterminated.”

The idea of Irish inferiority and the inferiority of colonized people’s everywhere ‘became ingrained’ in places like Trinity College Dublin. How else could the Empire have survived?

Today the American establishment continues what the British establishment started way back in the 16th century. And so places like Trinity College Dublin continue to dress up barbarism in the clothes of civilization – yesterday they did it for Britain, today for America. As Noam Chomsky has insinuated so often – the general rule is that intellectuals lie for a living. Ireland’s intellectual-class have just proved the point.

Aidan O’Brien lives in Dublin, Ireland.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel diplomats say Irish bill banning settlement produce will ‘empower terrorists’

MEMO | July 4, 2018

The Israeli embassy in Ireland has claimed that a draft bill calling for a ban on the sale of goods made in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) will “empower terrorists”.

The Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 was launched by Independent Senator Frances Black in January and will be voted on in the Seanad on 11 July at 2.45pm.

The embassy’s remarks came after opposition party Fianna Fáil announced yesterday that they intend to back the bill, with spokesperson Niall Collins TD saying it had “the potential to send a strong message that the issue of illegal settlements is being taken seriously and needs to be addressed”.

The Occupied Territories Bill wants to make it an offence “for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory”.

The Israeli embassy said such bills “further the divisions between Israel and the Palestinians”, without clarifying what this precisely meant.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan has called for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to expel the Israeli ambassador.

“The Irish Government must give a strong and unambiguous statement that there can be no impunity for Israel’s mass killing of Palestinian citizens and its continued illegal occupation of Palestine”

said Sheehan.

“It’s long past time for An Taoiseach to expel the Israeli ambassador and officially recognise the State of Palestine as approved by the Dáil in 2014. There can be no further delay.”

Read also:

Dublin City Council backs BDS, urges expulsion of Israeli ambassador

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

Ex-British soldier to face manslaughter charge over Troubles checkpoint killing

RT | June 19, 2018

A former British soldier has been informed that he will stand trial over the death of a Catholic man in Northern Ireland in 1988.

Victim, Aidan McAnespie, 23, was shot dead after being hit by one of three bullets fired from a machine gun in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, while he was on his way to a local Gaelic football match.

Named as David Jonathan Holden, 48, in a letter by the solicitors representing the deceased’s family, the former Grenadier Guardsman is believed to be currently living in England. His first court appearance is expected to take place within the next three months.

Holden had been initially charged with manslaughter immediately after the killing, however, charges were dropped in 1990. He was subsequently fined for negligent discharge of his weapon and medically discharged from the Army, saying that having wet hands during the incident had caused his weapon to accidentally misfire.

The family of the deceased, however, have maintained that prior to his killing, McAnaspie was subject to a campaign of sustained harassment by the Army.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr McAnespie’s death was the subject of an Historical Enquiries Team (HET) review which reported in 2008. The British government expressed “deep regret” about the killing in 2009.

Calls by the family for a fresh investigation into the killing were taken up by the Northern Ireland Attorney General John Larkin, who in turn asked the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for a re-examination of the killing.

In 2016, the PPS adhered to the request, saying the dropped charges would again be investigated using all available evidence, including a new ballistic report.

Upon deciding to go forward with the prosecution, a statement from the PPS said that the decision was made after “careful consideration of all the evidence currently available in this case.”

“That evidence includes further expert evidence in relation to the circumstances in which the general purpose machine gun was discharged, thereby resulting in the ricochet shot which killed Mr McAnespie.

“The decision to prosecute was reached after the Test for Prosecution was applied to the available evidence in this case in accordance with the Code for Prosecutors.”

Speaking through one of their solicitors, the McAnespie family said that “a crime is a crime,” adding that “everyone deserves justice”.

Vincent McAnespie, Aidan’s brother said: “It’s truth and justice we want to get. He was just an ordinary local lad from the community that just wanted to go about his ordinary everyday life.”

News of the new investigation was met with blowback from a politician supporting the introduction of a Statute of Limitations for British soldiers. Tory MP Leo Docherty, in a series of tweets, called the legal pursuit of soldiers and veterans “a national disgrace,” and stressed the need for legislation to be introduced to protect them “from this madness.”

June 19, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Ireland’s book of condolence for Palestinians killed in Gaza blocked by pro-Israel groups

MEMO | May 21, 2018

A request by the Irish Republican Party, Sinn Fein, to open a book of condolence in Belfast city council for Palestinians killed in Gaza last week was blocked by Unionists allied with the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group.

Denouncing the book of condolence as “deeply shameful”, the Israeli lobby group accused Sinn Fein of supporting terrorists for wanting to mark the killing of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.

The two main Unionist parties, who have strong ties with the pro-Israel lobby group, blocked the request, which forced Sinn Fein to open an internal book of condolence. According to the rules, a book of condolence can only be opened with the agreement of all parties at City Hall.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) council group leader Tim Attwood said he was “disappointed” that Unionists blocked the book of condolence “to mark the killings and injuries inflicted on the people of Gaza”.

“People of Belfast are horrified and wish to express their sympathy at the tragic loss of life,” he added.

Meanwhile,  Sinn Fein group leader on the Belfast City Council, Deirdre Hargey, was reported as saying that her party would be opening its own book of condolence in the party’s room at City Hall, open to all members of the public.

The request for the book of condolence came after a number of Palestinian solidarity protests were held across Northern Ireland last week. Sinn Fein reacted to the killing and the pro-Palestinian demonstration by also demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

This is the second time in two months that the plight of Palestinians became a cause of tension in Belfast. In March the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group invited the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, to speak at an event in the local public library. Activists denounced the decision saying that Regev “has a long history of excusing, apologising and justifying [Israel’s] murder, torture and genocide as well as land theft from the indigenous population of Palestine.”

Members of the community in Belfast who supported the decision to open a book of condolence were disappointed by the Unionist parties. They told MEMO that many Unionist politicians and councillors were members of the Friends of Israel and revealed that Unionist parties have all hosted friends of Israel events.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Expel the Israeli ambassador’: Irish FM blasted for double standards over Gaza and Skripal case

RT | May 15, 2018

Ireland’s foreign minister is being accused of hypocrisy for failing to expel Israel’s ambassador over the IDF killing 60 Palestinians on Monday, despite sending a Russian diplomat home over the Skripal case without evidence.

Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney expelled a Russian diplomat in March following Britain’s claim that Russia was behind the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England. The decision faced pushback from many in Ireland who claimed it was a hasty move, made before any evidence was presented.

Opposition politicians and activists are now questioning why the same robust response applied in the aftermath of the Skripal case has not been implemented in a situation where 60 people were killed and thousands more injured by Israeli forces.

Coveney issued a statement on Gaza, Monday, saying we all have “a political responsibility to try to reduce tensions and protect unarmed protesters.” He said he was “gravely concerned that the use of force seems disproportionate to the threat” and called for an independent investigation.

The minister also summoned Israeli Ambassador Ze’ev Boker to a meeting on Tuesday to express his “shock and dismay” at Monday’s events, The Journal reports.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald says Coveney’s actions don’t go far enough, however, and called for the Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled.

“I know that the Tánaiste [Deputy Prime Minister] has called in the Israeli ambassador – actually the Tánaiste should be sending the Israeli ambassador home. The Irish State now needs to recall our diplomatic mission from Israel,” she said.

The Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is also calling for diplomatic expulsion. “This is the single deadliest day for Palestinians in the occupied territories in four years,” IPSC National Chairperson Fatin Al Tamimi said. “The ambassador for apartheid and his staff should be expelled, and the Irish Ambassador in Tel Aviv recalled, just as South Africa has done.”

Irish people on social media called Coveney out for taking a different tack in his treatment of the Russian diplomat, suggesting the Irish government is happy to follow Britain’s orders but will fail to act on “crimes against humanity.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will hold protests across the country Tuesday, calling for an end to the “ongoing massacre of unarmed Palestinians” by Israeli forces.

May 15, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Ireland 1848

An experimental documentary of the Great irish Famine. Shot as a film might have been shot in 1848 fifty years before the cinema was invented.

April 21, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Remembering Ireland’s Great Famine

A review of Black ’47 a soon to be released film about the famine in Ireland

By Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin | Dissident Voice | April 13, 2018

Weary men, what reap ye?—Golden corn for the stranger.
What sow ye?— human corpses that wait for the avenger.
Fainting forms, hunger–stricken, what see you in the offing?
Stately ships to bear our food away, amid the stranger’s scoffing.
There’s a proud array of soldiers — what do they round your door?
They guard our masters’ granaries from the thin hands of the poor.
Pale mothers, wherefore weeping— would to God that we were dead;
Our children swoon before us, and we cannot give them bread.”
— “Speranza” (Jane Wilde, mother of Oscar Wilde)

Last Wednesday I attended a preview for a forthcoming Irish film, Black 47 (Director Lance Daly), about the worst year of the catastrophic Irish famine and is set in the west of Ireland in 1847.

The story centers around an Irish soldier, Feeney (James Frecheville), returning from serving the British Army in Afghanistan only to find most of his family have perished in the Famine or An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger) as it is known in Gaelic.

The English and Irish terms for Ireland’s greatest tragedy are infused with different ideological approaches to the disaster. By emphasising the failure of the potato crop only, the impression is given that there was no food to be had on the island when the opposite was true – there were many other crops which did not fail but were not accessible to the vast majority of the people – hence, the Great Hunger.

Feeney (James Frecheville), Black 47 (Director Lance Daly)

In Black 47, the colonised fight back as Feeney puts the skills he has learned abroad with the British army to effective use in Ireland. He kills or executes the various people involved in the British colonial system he blames for the starvation and death of his family: from the bailiff to the judge to the colonial landlord. Moreover, Feeney goes a step further as he refuses to speak English to those in power before he kills them, reflecting back to them an immediate understanding of the powerlessness of those without the linguistic tools to negotiate compromises (as was seen in the film when a monolingual Irish speaker gets tough justice for ‘refusing’ to speak English in court).

Back in the late 1980s a book entitled ‘The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures‘ [1989] showed how the language and literature of the empire, English, was used by colonised peoples in the creation of a radical culture to aid their resistance to the hegemony of imperial power. However, now with many of his family dead, Feeney has ceased to be a Caliban profiting on the language of his masters and becomes a powerfully drawn hero who is uncompromising in his insistence that the Irish language and culture will be a respected equal to the imposed English language and culture of the colonists.

In the film the ruling class and their hierarchy of supporters are flush with food and the army is used to transport harvested crops to the coast and exportation. This fact is displayed symbolically when one of Feeney’s victims is literally ‘drowned’ in food, as he is found head first in a sack of wheat.

The international aspect of the Black 47 narrative hints at the geopolitics of the day with Feeney’s return from Afghanistan and the concurrent mass emigration to the United States from Ireland. Feeney’s indignation at finding out how his masters have treated his own family and compatriots as he risked his life for them abroad is similar to the treatment of the African-American soldiers of the Vietnam war on their return to the United States.

But this is not a black and white, Irish versus the Brits, movie. There is complexity as some of the British show empathy for the desperate Irish and pay the ultimate price or go on the run.

Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more a man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.

— Francis Bacon

Black 47 is a revenge movie which is cathartic for an audience feeling the utter helplessness of the victims living in a brutal system without real justice, where what should have been their protectors (the law, the state, the army, etc.) became their attackers and betrayed them. In previous food crises, according to Christine Kenealy:

The closure of ports was a traditional, short-term response to food shortages. It had been used to great effect during the subsistence crisis of 1782-4 when, despite the opposition of the grain merchants, ports had been closed and bounties offered to merchants who imported food to the country. During the subsistence crisis of 1799-1800, the government had placed a temporary embargo on the export of potatoes from Ireland. In 1816 and 1821, the British government had organised the shipment of grain into areas in the west of Ireland where there were food shortages. The grain was then sold on at low prices. Similar intervention and market regulation occurred in Britain.

Unfortunately for Ireland, Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan (2 April 1807 – 19 June 1886), a British civil servant and colonial administrator, was put in charge of administering famine relief. Trevelyan was a student of the economist Thomas Malthus and a believer in laissez faire economics and the free hand of the market. Trevelyan described the famine as an “effective mechanism for reducing surplus population” as well as “the judgement of God”.

Famine Memorial in Dublin by artist Rowan Gillespie

With this change in attitude on the part of the British government towards food shortages, the crisis was doomed from the beginning. Kinealy states:

In 1847 alone, the worst year of the Famine, almost 4,000 vessels carried food from Ireland to the major ports of Britain, that is, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool and London. Over half of these ships went to Liverpool, the main port both for emigration and for cargo.

Ultimately, one million people starved to death and one million emigrated reducing the population by about 20% – 25%.

Black 47 is an uncompromising film that depicts the harrowing results of a crop failure combined with an ultra exploitative system that knew no moral or legal boundaries. Sure, attempts were made by well-meaning people to alleviate the crisis but the failure of the state to end the crisis on a macro level resulted in an unprecedented disaster for the Irish people. It will go on general release in September.

Further research:

For those interested in finding out more about the Great Hunger, here is a select list of material covering different aspects.

Art

The preview showing of Black 47 was to complement a concurrent exhibtion of art in Dublin Castle showing at the Coach House Gallery until June 30. The exhibition, titled ‘Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger‘, is an exhibition of the world’s largest collection of Famine-related art.

​Belfast mural

Music:

Sinéad O’Connor – ‘Famine

Damien Dempsey – ‘Colony

Christy Moore – ‘On a Single Day

Books:

The Great Hunger by Cecil Woodham-Smith

The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy by Tim Pat Coogan

The Graves are Walking by John Kelly

Atlas of the Great Irish Famine edited by J. Crowley, W. J. Smith and M.Murphy.
(Massive hardback volume covering almost all aspects of the famine throughout Ireland, lavishly illustrated.)

National Famine Commemoration Committee

The National Famine Commemoration Committee was first established in 2008 following a Government decision to commemorate the Great Irish Famine with an annual national famine memorial day.

Film
Ireland 1848 – ‘An experimental documentary of the Great Irish Famine. Shot as a film might have been shot in 1848 fifty years before the cinema was invented.’

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His artwork consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes as well as Irish history and cityscapes of Dublin. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Film Review, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Irish Senate delays vote on anti-settlement bill under Israeli pressure

Press TV – January 31, 2018

Under pressure from the Tel Aviv regime, the Irish Senate has postponed a vote on a bill that forbids the import and sale of products from Israeli settlements as well as the services originating from the occupied territories.

The bill, entitled Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, states that it is “an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances; and to provide for related matters.”

It also says that those who “assist another person to import or attempt to import settlement goods” would be committing a crime punishable with up to five years in prison.

The Irish Senate debated the motion on Tuesday. Senator Frances Black, who had put forward the motion, described the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds and the Golan Heights as a “war crime.”

She also stressed the anti-settlement bill was actually about respect for international law and standing up for the rights of vulnerable people.

“It is a chance for Ireland to state strongly that it does not support the illegal confiscation of land and the human suffering which inevitably results,” Black said.

“In the occupied Palestinian territories, people are forcibly kicked out of their homes, fertile farming land is seized and the fruit and vegetables produced are then exported to pay for it all,” she added.

A group of Israeli activists, among them former lawmakers and ambassadors as well as legal experts, artists and academics, had also sent a petition to the Irish parliament, asking it to support the motion.

They urged “Ireland to support any legislation that will help enforce differentiation between Israel per se and the settlements in the occupied territories,” read the petition. “The Israeli occupation of the territories beyond the 1967 borders, ongoing for more than 50 years with no end in sight, is not only unjust but also stands in violation of numerous UN resolutions.”

However, the Irish Senate suddenly decided to adjourn the debates regarding the bill until July as the regime in Tel Aviv scrambled to torpedo the measure.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney “had asked today for time… He has given a commitment in writing that if the debate is adjourned today the government will facilitate time for this debate to be resumed before the summer recess in July,” Senator Alice Mary Higgins said.

The cancellation came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Irish bill, saying it seeks to harm the regime and support the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which campaigns for Palestinian rights.

“The initiative gives backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The Israeli premier further ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon Irish Ambassador to Tel Aviv Alison Kelly.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The continued expansion of Israeli settlements is one of the major obstacles to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

In recent months, Tel Aviv has stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands in a blatant violation of international law and in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ireland May Criminalize Trade with Israeli Settlements

Palestine Chronicle | January 25, 2018

Ireland is set to discuss a new bill that seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods originating in illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian Territory.

Independent Senator Frances Black, yesterday, launched the “Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018”, which is scheduled for debate in Seanad Éireann on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

According to a press release announcing its launch the bill “seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories”. “Such settlements,” said the statement, “are illegal under both international humanitarian law and domestic Irish law, and result in human rights violations on the ground”. Despite the illegality of the import and sale of goods from Israeli settlements, the statement points out that Ireland is still providing “continued economic support through trade in settlement goods”.

Drafters of the bill revealed that the legislation had been “prepared with the support of Trócaire, Christian-Aid and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), and applies to settlements in occupied territories where there is clear international legal consensus that they violate international law”. They insisted that the “clearest current example of these violations were the expansion of settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, which have been repeatedly condemned as illegal by the UN, EU, the International Court of Justice and the Irish Government”.

Speaking in advance of the bill’s introduction, Senator Black said:

“This is a chance for Ireland to stand up for the rights of vulnerable people – it is about respecting international law and refusing to support illegal activity and human suffering.”

Black said he is “passionate about the struggle of the Palestinian people”. He insisted that “trade in settlement goods sustains injustice” and explained that “in the occupied territories, people are forcibly kicked out of their homes, fertile farming land is seized, and the fruit and vegetables produced are then sold on Irish shelves to pay for it all”.

The bill is seeking more than mere denunciation of Israeli settlements and is trying to get governments around the world to treat settlements as illegal. Black pointed out that six years ago the Irish Government criticized the relentless progress of Israeli settlements, but they have failed to do anything about it since.

“In years since then it has only gone one way, with settlements expanding, more Palestinian homes being demolished and land being confiscated. It’s clear that empty promises have not worked but nothing has been done. Ireland needs to show leadership and act” Black protested.

The Occupied Territories Bill 2018 will be debated at Second Stage in Seanad Éireann on Wednesday and will be streamed live on Oireachtas TV. It has been co-signed by Seanad Civil Engagement Group Senators Alice-Mary Higgins, Lynn Ruane, Grace O’Sullivan, Colette Kelleher and John Dolan, as well as Senator David Norris.

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Death of an Irish Hunger Striker

By Pauline Murphy | CounterPunch | September 8, 2017

One hundred years ago Thomas Ashe became the first Irish Republican to die on hunger strike. Ashe was imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail in Dublin for delivering a ‘seditious speech’ to a public gathering in County Longford. On the 20th of September Ashe decided to go on hunger strike when he was denied the status of political prisoner. Five days later on September 25th he was dead.

Although Ashe is considered the first Irish Republican prisoner to die on hunger strike, his death was not the direct result of starvation, instead it was caused by force feeding. This brutal act carried out by prison authorities involved inserting a tube into the mouth of the hunger striker and pushing it down into their stomach. Gruel was poured down this ghastly device which caused gagging, vomiting and for Thomas Ashe – death.

Austin Stack was also a Republican prisoner who went on hunger strike around the same time as Ashe. Stack also underwent force feeding but lived to recall the terrible technique used by the prison authorities: ” It was very painful. My eyes watered during the whole time so that I could see nothing. I vomited during and after the process so that not one half of the food entered my stomach. My clothes were covered with vomit. There was no attempt made to examine me.”

The act of refusing food is a powerful weapon used by those who have nothing else left to fight with. This tool of protest against injustice was first used in the early 1900s by imprisoned British and Irish suffragettes. It was also the first time force feeding was used to break a hunger strike.

In 1912 Suffragettes Gladys Evans and Mary Leigh became the first prisoners in Ireland to hunger strike for political status and receive the treatment of force feeding. They were jailed along with Lizzie Barter who flung a hatchet at British Prime minister Herbert Asquith while he was visiting Dublin. She missed Asquith but hit Irish Home Rule leader John Redmond instead!

Barter evaded arrest but was apprehended the next day when she was involved in a disturbance at Dublin’s Theatre Royal where the British PM was due to speak. Barter hurled a burning chair into the orchestra pit while Leigh and Evans were caught at the same venue attempting to set fire to the royal box.

The Suffragettes were jailed in Mountjoy for “having commited serious outrages at the time of the visit of the British Prime Minister”. Leigh and Evans went on hunger strike and were force fed until they were released months later.

In September 1913 Labour leader James Connolly was arrested after speaking at a mass rally with Jim Larkin outside Liberty Hall in Dublin city. Connolly was sentenced to three months imprisonment and was labeled a common criminal. Inspired by the Suffragettes, he went on hunger strike which lasted eight days before he was released. While Connolly came out of his hunger strike unscathed, the same cannot be said for James Byrne.

In October 1913 Labour activist James Byrne was arrested on false charges of intimidation and he was sent to Mountjoy jail. The 38 year old father of six from Dun Laoghaire was a secretary of the trades council and when he was denied political status in prison he followed the example set by Connolly just months previously and he went on hunger strike. Byrne also undertook a thirst strike and his health rapidly declined while imprisoned. The authorities released Byrne when his condition worsened and just under two weeks later he died of pneumonia. His funeral drew thousands of mourners and James Connolly delivered the graveside oration.

In 1917 the death of County Kerry native Thomas Ashe resulted in an inquest which revealed the barbarity of force feeding. The inquest also revealed that he had been stripped of his boots, bed, bedding and clothes. Ashe was left with a single blanket and the cold stone ground to lie on. The pathologist’s report revealed markings and bruising around Ashe’s mouth and jaw indicating the brutality of force feeding.

The verdict of the inquest declared that Ashe “died of heart failure and congestion of the lungs….. that his death was caused by the punishment of taking away from the cell, bed, bedding and boots and allowing him to be on the cold floor.” British authorities refused to accept the result of the inquest and many copies of it were burned by order. The copies that survived ensured the truth was revealed and the act of force feeding was later abandoned but, the act of hunger striking for political status would remain a staple of protest for Republicans throughout the rest of the 20th century. Following the death of Thomas Ashe 100 years ago, 22 more Republicans would die in prison in the following years and decades after 1917.

Pauline Murphy is a freelance writer from Ireland.

September 10, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu slams Ireland’s pro-Palestine stance

Press TV – July 12, 2017

Enraged by Dublin’s financial aid to anti-Israel Palestinian rights groups, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at visiting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney over his country’s pro-Palestine policy.

Netanyahu’s office made the criticism in a statement issued on Tuesday after the premier’s meeting with Coveney in Jerusalem al-Quds.

The premier “expressed his dissatisfaction over Ireland’s traditional stance” on Palestine and urged Coveney to condemn what he called Palestinian “incitement,” the statement read.

He also challenged the top Irish diplomat over Dublin’s assistance to the “NGOs that call for the destruction of Israel,” it added.

Coveney, for his part, said in a news briefing that his discussions with Netanyahu touched on a range of issues, including Israeli settlements, the humanitarian and political situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip and the so-called peace process.

“Of course, we have clear differences on some issues, but these differences are honestly held and openly expressed,” he noted.

Ireland runs Irish Aid, an official overseas development program for overseas development.

A number of Palestinian rights groups, such as Al-Haq, Addameer and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, are funded by the program.

During his three-day trip, which began on Monday, Coveney is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, United Nations officials and representatives from the NGOs funded by Irish Aid.

Speaking prior to his departure for the occupied territories, Coveney said he was “looking forward to hearing a diverse range of views from” the Palestinians, Israelis and NGOs.

“Of course, I will also use the opportunity to make clear Ireland’s concerns about the impact of the continuing occupation and the fact that, as things stand, the prospects of a comprehensive peace agreement remain dim,” he pointed out.

The meeting took place on the same day that Ireland’s South Dublin County Council voted unanimously to fly the Palestinian flag over the County Hall in Tallaght for a month in solidarity with the “oppressed people of Palestine.”

It has become the fourth Irish local authority to make such a move in recent months.

“I am delighted with [the] vote in solidarity with the people of Palestine. It might seem like a very small gesture but I know from the reaction to similar decisions made by other councils that today’s vote will be applauded across Palestine and elsewhere,” said Councilor Enda Fanning.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Palestinian officials say they want the resolution of the conflict with Tel Aviv based on the so-called two-state solution along pre-1967 boundaries.

However, Netanyahu has on several occasions said Israel should maintain its military occupation of the West Bank under any agreement with the Palestinians.

In recent months, the Tel Aviv regime has stepped up its illegal settlement construction activities in the occupied lands and oppressive measures against the Palestinians, leading to an increase in global anti-Israel sentiment.

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 5 Comments