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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 2, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

    Artist Puts Comic in the Picture

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    This particular blogger has devoted much time and energy to the fall-out from the Holocaust “joke” from our own Tommy Tiernan. The responses have been fairly dispiriting by and large and have weakened my faith in human nature – at least in its blogospheric manifestation.

    Tommy T likes to joke, so let’s hope he sees the funny side of an Irish artist portraying him as an Hassidic Jew. For more on this, click here. Incidentally, I believe artist Tom Byrne is mistaken in his belief that TT has apologised. I am not aware that he has done so: when he does, I’ll leave him alone.

    And while I’m on the subject, it is not every day this Blog has a complimentary remark to make about our current Taoiseach. But full marks to him for attending the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony. His remarks were apposite and the following extract is worth reproducing:

    We come together this evening to recall one of the darkest periods of
    European history.

    We recall in particular the horrors revealed at the extermination camp at
    Auschwitz- Birkenau 65 years ago, when the camp was liberated by the Soviet
    army on 27 January 1945.

    It is estimated that two thirds of European Jews perished in the Holocaust.
    Millions of other victims were murdered by the Nazis and their
    collaborators.

    This ceremony seeks to cherish the memory of all of those who were
    persecuted because of their nationality, ethnicity, disability, religious
    belief, political affiliations or their sexual orientation. It serves as a
    reminder of the dangers of racism and discrimination and provides lessons
    from the past that are relevant today. We remember so that future
    generations will never ignore history and, in turn, repeat its mistakes.

    The Holocaust has left an indelible blemish on the landscape of history. We
    in Ireland are very conscious of the need to learn the lessons. The Irish
    Government is actively committed to promoting an inclusive society and to
    eliminating all forms of racial intolerance in our country.

    (To read the speech in full, click here)

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Isn’t it such a shame that after the horrors of WW2 and the Holocaust were revealed, the Arab/Muslim community couldn’t muster even the most basic humanity to acknowledge the Jewish people had as many links to the area they had settled in for decades and to welcome Jewish people to come live there in peace.

      And to acknowledge, given what was revealed about the Holocaust, that it was only right and proper that the Jewish people be allowed to proceed with the creation of their own State to make sure they never suffered like that again.

      Perhaps if the Arab/Muslim community had shown some humanity a few decades earlier the worst of the Holocaust could have been avoided as the Jewish people would have had at least one safe place to go to.

      Instead what did the Arab community do? They immediately attacked the new state – imagine escaping with your life from Europe to have to fight for it again in Israel. There is already a Palestinian state – it’s called Jordan. Can anyone explain the difference between a Jordanian and Palestinian?

      The scale of the horror of the Holocaust is so far beyond what any other people have ever suffered (worse than our famine or other genocides) that it ought to have resulted in a sea-change to the hatred stirred against Jewish people in the Middle East – but it didn’t and the hatred is bred still in today’s generation.

      Better to focus the anger and hatred of your people on the successful Jewish state than have your own people focus their anger on the leaders of their own country whose corruption and failures are the reason they live in such dire straits.

    • John says:

      “Can anyone explain the difference between a Jordanian and Palestinian?”

      Oh, I don’t know, probably something along the lines of the difference between an Englishman and an Irishman.

      You’re astonishingly naive.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      No John I’m not – I’m indicating the utter ridiculousness of the situation. If you read your Irish history before 1900 you’ll see that there was no difference between those who now call themselves unionists and make out they never had anything in common with the rest of us and those who are now nationalists and make out they never had anything in common with other communities. Before 1900 the only difference between the two communities was on what form a future Irish state would take – not on whether there would be one and they would all be part of it.

      There is no difference between English and Irish that warrants any person being murdered in either of our names or that justifies the nonsense of either side.

      The Palestinians and Jordanians are from the exact same tribe. It’s like two Mayomen fighting over the right of a Galwayman to live in Galway and say he is denying them their own county!

      I understand all the arguments made for and against Israel – in the great scheme of things was it really asking so much for Arabs to accept that Jewish people had as many historical links to the area they claimed as Arabs did and that the name Palestine does not refer to a country called Palestine ‘stolen’ from Arabs anymore than ‘Munster’ refers to a country called Munster stolen from the Munsterians by the Irish.

    • John says:

      From what I can understand, if you extended your strange Mayo and Galway analogies you would not appear to have an issue with a alliance of Irish-Americans to get together and come over to Dublin and claim the country as the 51st State of America. I mean there’s loads of whites in Europe that the rest of the native Irish could go and join if they didn’t like this new fantastical set up.

      What ‘tribe’ exactly are you referring to? The reference sounds alarmingly racist.

    • robespierre says:

      In French the West Bank is referred to as Cisjordanie or “This side of the river Jordan”.

      Meaning that it’s part of the Jordan basin region and its peoples (incl. Palestinians).

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      @4: there we go again picking up meanings from a word that is not there. The Arabs make great play about brotherhood and tribes and the like and in terms of defining them, as we might in other ways define ourselves, there is no difference between someone who defines themself as a Palestinian or Jordanian – same tribe, same dialect, same history, same everything.

      Israel didn’t steal anything or replace any state. Jewish people have as deep links to that piece of land as the Arabs do. So when everywhere they go they get persecuted due to religious bigotry it stands to reason a nation for themselves makes sense – every other religion has them so why not the Jews.

      I wonder how far back you think we stop the clock with people replacing other people – I mean in Ireland do we stop at the Cromwellians, or the Normans or go back to whoever the Gaelic people replaced. Same for the middle east.

      The point being it is ridiculous for anyone to deny Jewish people the aspiration to have their state where it is. Also, if the Arab community showed some of this humanity and welcome they claim then the whole mess in Gaza and West Bank wouldn’t have arisen – now the Palestinians have backed themselve into a corner they can’t get out of. Gaza goes to Egypt and West Bank to Jordan with people free to chose in which they live and become citizens. Israel gets to live in peace and Arabs get to live normally. But their government don’t want that as it suits them to focus hatred and anger on the successful Israeli state. The Arab governments don’t want Arabs looking at how badly run and corrupt Arab governments are and if the middle east is solved that is what would happen. Israel is a red herring.

    • John says:

      You might as well throw Jordan and Syria into this new Palestine too as they too are also part of the same ‘tribe’, aren’t they?. It’s quite a convenient solution to a complex problem, (simplistic even) but it fails to recognize that it is not a campaign being championed by any Palestinians to claim Jordan as their new homeland. They have one. But it is under occupation. Only supporters of Israel who have a very selective reading of history tie Jordan with Palestine. Based on what? The eight month period under the British Mandate that put these territories together? The Romans? Either way, I personally would not like to see any more national borders in the Middle East based on British Empire interests pre-world war I. We’re still feeling the impact of lines in the sand from that period – just look at the sectarian violence in Iraq.

      No one is suggesting that Israel has no right to exist or claim to the land, but so do the Palestinians. To think you could divide them between Jordan and Egypt is absurd, and frankly racist in it’s assumption that as ‘tribes’ ‘these Arabs’ can be moved on Western ideas of borders.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      John, if you were to gather a group of Arab Muslim men in 1947 (as it’s always about Arab Muslim men isn’t it while the women are too busy actually doing everything) and ask them to divide up between who considered themselves Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese or Palestinian, there would be no one in the Palestinian group because the concept of a Palestinian nation, state or people didn’t exist.

      A Palestinian state is not economically or culturally viable and the best outcome is for Gaza to go back to Egypt (from where it came) and for the West Bank to go to Jordan (Where it was intended to go) and for those living in those places now to be given full and proper legal and citizens rights – they’ll be just as oppressed and poor due to the corrupt abusive Egyptian and Jordanian governments as they are under the Palestinian Authority – so with or without a Palestinian state their lives won’t improve much.

      Of course all Arabs should have the same freedom and human rights as Israelis enjoy but it is not Israel’s fault they don’t – it is the fault of their ‘brother’ Arabs who refuse to allow proper citizens’ rights and it is not Israel who make Arab governments corrupt and violent.

      If Israel were to disappear it would not improve the lives or prospects of any Arab people.

    • 127.0.0.1 says:

      I am really surprised at Mr Fitzgerald’s ignorance. Someone with such a sheer deficit of knowledge would usually be expected to hold there until they understood the situation more.
      Jews and Arabs are Semitic, they are of the same tribe.
      To say that the state of Israel is not an imposition of western design on the middle east is naivety in extreme or perhaps just bloodyminded prejudice.
      Israel is in possession of Nuclear weapons and it in breach of many many UN resolutions. It is also attempting to increase its size by illegal building. UK/US attacked Iraq for a lot less and Afghanistan for what reason?

      I would love to know what Mr Fitzgerald knows of the lives and prospects of the Arab people?

      Isn’t it great to have such fantastic thinkers in a country which is still practising civil war politics and Sexual/Racial/Religious discrimination.

    • Blimey O'Riley says:

      @6 & 8 Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…


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