The Irish Times aroused anger last Monday, December 3, by reporting on what the Irish Congress of Trades Unions (ICTU), the faithful supporters of most leftist-totalitarian dictatorships, was demanding a ban on imports from “illegal Israeli settlements.”

The paper jumped on the bandwagon.

As Honest Reporting explains, “Instead of an editorial or a public statement supporting a boycott, the paper [included] what is effectively a guide on how readers can boycott Israeli goods, including a slideshow of images such as the iconic Ahava cosmetic brand.” (Disclosure: I often buy Ahava hand cream and it’s great.) Folks, that’s the Irish “schleeveen” (a sly, underhand individual) to a tee: don’t openly state something, but make your point in an avoidant, circuitous manner. And never, ever accept responsibility.

The Irish Times’ website offers a colorful display of products, simply titled: “Human cost: Items imported from Israelis settlements.” Likewise, it’s the schleeveen who says one thing with full knowledge that it opens the door for a far greater act. There is a growing movement within Ireland to ban not simply goods from Israeli “settlements,” but from Israel itself. (The fact that Irish technology, medicine and agriculture would be crippled overnight if we actually did boycott Israel is another matter.) This is simply the latest in what is now becoming a campaign of vilification of Israel by the Irish Times. Long ago, it reported the news. What is increasingly troubling about the Irish Times is that such articles are reminiscent of the route her fellow-traveling London Independent has taken. The advent of affordable color printing and effectively unlimited space online has enabled the pursuit of campaigning journalism, rather than reporting.

The pop-psych analysis, and attribution of causality (invariably of Israel causing the otherwise peaceful Palestinian Arabs to react violently to, well, anything), are the consequence of decades of useful idiot reporters assuming that they are the experts and that every news report needs a poetic, gushing conclusion.

Emotions reign, and nothing fires up the Irish more than the rich-poor, Western-Developing World, “colonialists”-“ indigenous peoples” dichotomies in conflict that is the Israel-Palestinian Arabs issue.

These attacks are invariably founded on the usual junk-law claims to which any Israeli is well accustomed. Sadly, how Israel came to “occupy” the Golan, Judea, Samaria (and formerly Gaza); what exactly these oft-quoted international laws say about the voluntary settlement of peoples; the composition of the UN Human Rights Council and the voting blocs within the UN General Assembly; how exactly Israel and Apartheid South Africa are the same; Balfour, the Mandate, 1948, 1967 and all that – these are irrelevant.

Despite the glaring lack of knowledge of history, geography and diplomacy, something turns so many Irish into scholars of Middle Eastern history as soon as the likes of the Irish Times shows a picture of an Arab child crying, holding her teddy bear, and an IDF soldier standing nearby.

Despite the truth behind the Hamas acronym (Hides Among Mosques And Schools) the fact that her apartment building or school or hospital is being used as an ammunitions silo or rocket launch pad is irrelevant. Arabs are suffering, Israelis are rich and powerful, therefore Israel is at fault. It’s Foreign Policy for Marxism 101.

While we are fiscally conservative enough, social justice (another leftist misnomer) poisons our understanding of foreign affairs in particular. It’s based on one simple criterion: the poorer and weaker deserve what the richer and more powerful have, regardless of how they got it. And there you have the Irish Times. With the death of religion in Ireland, the Irish Times op-ed pages are more influential than the Pope ever was.

It’s at this point in discussions that the Irish get agitated. Facts, history, geography – this is intellectualizing the problem, we think. People are suffering and we demand action.

We Irish could start using Alan Dershowitz’s “worst first” logic of tackling human rights injustices. While Israel is hardly perfect, morality and efficiency dictates you target the world’s worst violators first. Do the Irish really believe that a figure of two in every five UN Human Rights Council resolutions being directed at Israel accurately and proportionately reflects the evil in the world? If not, do the Irish see the life of a Cuban, Chinese, Nigerian or (even prewar) Syrian as being of far lower value than the life of a Palestinian Arab? So, I ask: When will ICTU and the Irish Times call for a boycott of every plot of land that is deemed “occupied” or the “occupier” of lands of peoples who are not independent? Researching global territorial disputes supplies a large and truly surprising – and largely unknown – list of genuinely occupied territories far too numerous to discuss here.

But disputes over Ceuta and Melilla (Spain and Morocco), Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh (China and India), Jammu and Kashmir (Pakistan and India), Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia and Russia), Northern Cyprus (Turkey and Cyprus), Kurdistan (Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria) – to name but a few – barely raise an eyebrow.

Vladimir Putin can bomb the hell out of Georgians over Abkhazia and South Ossetia and as long as the Irish don’t have an upcoming World Cup qualifier there, it’s irrelevant.

The Polisario people who fight against Morocco for a free Western Sahara should be a shoe-in for ICTU and the Irish Times: the people are Arab, are part of the Socialist International, and are hemmed in by a 2,700-km. wall.

Oh, but wait: their oppressors are Arab. Ah, who cares then? Yes, perhaps there is something special about Israel being the “occupier” after all.

The writer is an Irish psychologist and executive coach living in Switzerland.

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