If it wasn’t passed around as fact it would be laughable. The Jerusalem Post is carrying a story which furthers Ireland’s reputation as the world leader in anti-semitic hate. Yeah, and here was us thinking it was the Chinese that Ted wanted us to hate.
A bizarre attack on Caherciveen and Ireland by Sarah Honig (see here), a political analyst for many decades of the Jerusalem Post, begins by positing that no matter how many concessions Israelis make to their ‘physical safety’ in order to improve their image internationally (whatever that means) it is to no avail. Anti-Semitism, she implies, is at the heart of a flagging Euro-zone and is employed to keep us feeling better.
Her visit to the town that is dominated by an ‘imposing Catholic church’ is a nod to Daniel O’Connell – a man, she presumed, whose struggle to ’emancipate catholics’ would elicit sympathy in the locals towards a nation ‘far more ancient’ who similarly cast of the yoke of British Imperialism.
But no, as she walked through the town she was harassed by teenagers in santa hats who wanted money for Palestine. She tried to reason with them, asking who Palestine needed to be free from? ‘The Jews’, came the reply. She opined that the money would not go to plant olive trees but to terrorists, the reply ‘What do you have against Palestinians? What have they done to you? They are only against Jews. Jews are evil.’
Ms Honig claims to have continued to question ‘the boys’ but they were simply too poorly educated to reply to her more nuanced political interrogation, however she discovered they were part of a school outing to collect money for Palestine – for the terrorists don’t you know. She then challenged the teacher who simply nodded along to accusations while another youngster added that the ‘Jews crucified our Lord’.
Honig continues with a list of events that highlight Ireland’s anti-semitism from Limerick Pogroms to the modern day.
As part of the ongoing Hasbara (Propaganda) campaign that is central to Israel’s international politics, these kind of stories are weekly if not daily. Ireland is not singled out for charges of anti-semitism, we’re simply too small for all that bother, but when we are charged it is sustained and without recourse.
The central lie in this story is what Kevin Myers would call a blood libel no doubt. That by collecting for Trocaire at Christmas we are actually conditioning our children to be anti-semitic, racist or anything along those lines. It bears repeating. Collecting for Trocaire…and a nation stands accused.
Here is the reply on the school website from the Principal:
RESPONSE TO JERUSALEM POST ARTICLE 29 Jan. 2013
As PrincpaI of this school I was shocked when I read the contents of the blog by Ms Honig. The students and teacher vehemently deny the remarks attributed to them.
Part of our mission statement states that ‘we are committed to developing people who are fair, caring assertive…’and we are .
Colaiste na Sceilige has worked with the Trocaire Pamoja –together for human rights – Project for the last number of years.
Last year our students looked at Uganda and raised money for Trocaire for two mobile h.i.v. clinics by singing Christmas carols.The year before it was Honduras and they raised money for Trocaire to build a house for a family. This year it was Palestine and they raised money for Trocaire to buy olive trees for displaced Palestinian families.
The lesson content provided by Trocaire states clearly that ‘Trocaire is neither pro Palestinian nor pro Israeli’and having spoken to the teacher and students it is clear that the material was delivered in an unbiased manner. Anything else would be entirely unacceptable.
Students read newspapers ,watch the news and are in touch with the world around them.Ms Honig has referred to the plethora of anti Israeli feeling in the media.
We try to teach our students to be critical thinkers to examine both sides of an issue . We may not always be satisfied with the conclusions students draw and can only try to set them right when they go wrong.
By making such allegations, and indeed publishing photographs of children on a website without parental consent, the writer has been irresponsible and has done our school and the people of Kerry a great disservice.
Coláiste na Sceilge