Irish Times

Irish Times op-ed: Sharon tried cleansing Palestinians due to ‘chosen people’ belief

In October we posted about a shameful smear at The Irish Times – by a socialist activist, former Trotskyite and occasional ‘Comment is Free’ contributor named Eamonn McCann – with the following headline: 

McCann’s piece included fantastical anecdotes such as this:

The late Mary Holland once explained to me why she had changed sides on the Israel-Palestine issue after spending just a few hours in the region.

[when you] walked out of the hotel, she recalled, you could see something was terribly wrong. Arabs shrinking back on the pavements to allow Jews to pass, being literally, physically pushed out of their way if they didn’t move fast enough, and, worst of all in her account, the Arabs’ heads-down acceptance of it all.

McCann added a few more alleged examples of racism before concluding that it’s such “settled hatred that lies at the heart of Israel’s official ideology“, and predicting that such Israeli hatred will be the “cause of its downfall in the end“.

Today, Jan 16, The Irish Times published another vicious attack on Israel by McCann, in a piece ostensibly comparing Ariel Sharon with Ian Paisley:

irish timesMcCann begins:

Ariel Sharon and Ian Paisley shared more than bulkiness and belligerence. Each based his ideology on books of the Bible – the fundamental reason neither could contemplate compromise or regard enemies as equals.

The first five books loomed large in each of their ideologies. (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy constitute the Torah.)

Sharon will have been mindful of: “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and saidTo your descendants I give this land . . . the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:18-21).

McCann further contextualizes the passage from Genesis, thus:

Sharon’s ruthless determination to cleanse the land of Israel of Palestinians was not rooted in analysis of contemporary reality – he didn’t see it primarily as a necessary response to anti-Semitism in the wider world, or to the Holocaust – but in the first instance as a duty conferred on the Jewish people by Yahweh.

The massacre [in the Palestinian village of Qibya in 1953] was undertaken [by Sharon] as retaliation for the killing by Palestinians of a Jewish mother and her two children. Sharon will have believed as he went about his work that he was wielding the sword of God – and will have had the same sense of righteousness when supervising the Phalangists’ pitiless butchery of more than 2,000 Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon in 1982.

First, McCann’s charge that Sharon tried to “cleanse the land of Israel of Palestinians” is a libel “not rooted in reality”, and of course nothing but ahistorical anti-Zionist agitprop.

Additionally, his claim that Sharon “supervised” the Christian Arabs who massacred Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila in 1982 is of course demonstrably untrue.  The Israeli commission on the incident found Sharon “responsible for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge when he approved the entry of the Phalangists into the camps”, and nowhere is there any suggestion that he “supervised” the killing.  Indeed, the commission explicitly criticized IDF leaders for NOT supervising (their word) the Phlangists’ activities.

But, most importantly, McCann is suggesting that the recently deceased (and decidedly secular) Israeli leader initiated such supposed acts of “ethnic cleansing” because he felt, by virtue of the words written in the Torah, that Jews are “chosen” by God, rendering non-Jews expendable.

As we observed following Deborah Orr’schosen people slur at the Guardian in 2011, the antisemitic use of the idea of Jewish “chosenness” – which most Jews understand as a requirement to fulfill an elevated ethical purpose – has a long and dark history.

In 1973, the Soviet Union actually initiated a debate at the UN on the subject of Jews as the chosen people, which they argued was evidence of the Jewish religion’s inherent racism.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most widely distributed antisemitic forgery in history – a book still quite popular in much of the Arab world – is premised partly on the distorted idea of Jews’ “chosenness”, and represents a widely used theme at one of the more popular antisemitic sites on the web Jew Watch, a clearinghouse of Judeophobic conspiracy theories replete with quotes such as these:

“The Jewish conception of the Jews as the Chosen People who must eventually rule the world forms indeed the basis of Rabbinical Judaism.”

The most well-known white supremacist in the U.S., David Duke, uses the theme of Jews’ “chosenness” to prove that Jews are the most racist people on the planet, and has argued the following in his book ‘Jewish Surpemacism:

“Israelites are a “chosen people,” chosen by God above all the other peoples of the world…[which] is a blatant expression of ethnic supremacism.”

The odious notion that Jews are religiously programmed to conquer, rule and murder non-Jews due to a sense of superiority has a undeniably racist pedigree and, at the very least, shouldn’t be legitimized by the editors at the Irish Times, or any other “respectable”, putatively “progressive” media outlet. 


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41 replies »

  1. ” McCann’s charge that Sharon tried to “cleanse the land of Israel of Palestinians” is a libel “not rooted in reality”,

    It is another gift for CIFWatch .Here we are talking about a hyperbolic overstatement and not a dangerously unstable Israel/Palestine situation and one side that has no need to compromise.

    Some so called Palestinian supporters should receive financial help for their services to Israel.

    • Webbsite:

      “It is another gift for CIFWatch .”

      Once again I’d ask how is this a gift?
      It creats tension and dangers for Israelis and Jews world wide.
      Do you believe CIF Watch believe it to be something good, worth keeping or something it wishes to recieve?
      Do you believe the state of Israel enjoys this or wishes for this viral dangerous loose speech?

      This strengthen my belief you have no understanding of Israeli culture or even of Jewish one.
      None what so ever.

      • ” This strengthen my belief you have no understanding of Israeli culture ”

        I have never been . It is difficult to get a flavour being hounded as I am when I post here despite my condemnation of violence against the people.

        The Times article was an own goal then ..rather than a gift for Israel.There is no need to overstate in any discussion about Sharon. He did not “cleanse the land etc etc ” and it is so easy to show it is extremist rhetoric that we can all stop worrying about a catastrophic and bloody lurch into Lebanon ?? .

        Again nothing like as bad as Iraq .. but laying waste streets of an ancient city.??..and many hundreds of civilians killed not including the toll of Sabra .We know since -WW2 that any major incursion into city will kill civilians predominately hence Sharon planned to kill children .

        Same as Blair. There are smart Army guys with computers that can tell you exactly how many will die. However I digress. Sharon had a limited and brutal view of the world was an ex soldier cast in an inflexible mould and shou;d never have been allowed to invade a foreign country in the first place. Forget Sabra . It was only hundreds, the rest of that war in Lebanon killed thousands.

        • Webby, in a funny way I admire you. You have such a beautiful, naive innocent view of the world, in which anyone who conducts a war “plans to kill children”. I note you have criticised Tony Blair and his government and their invasion of Iraq (which is very brave of you – I wonder what action you would have chosen faced with a butcher like Saddam – perhaps you would have embraced him like Gerrge Galloway, thus conddemning yet more thousands of his own people to persecution and death). Do you similarly condemn Churchill for his actions during WoWII – much of which was fought in urban environments? Did he (and Roosevelt) “plan to kill children” when they bombed Axis material in European cities?

          Unfortunately, sometimes war is inevitable, and sometimes it is the least bad option. Of course that is not to say it always is the right thing to do (and it is your right to argue the specific case on any war), but rather as Britain was left with little choice but to go to war with Germany in 1939, what was ISrael supposed to do when faced with a neighbour which had been overrun by a terrorist group determined to use it as a base for an assault on Israel with the aim of its destruction? I don’t defend all actions taken in war – I wish no civilians ever died, and there is a clear duty on combatants to minimise such deaths – but to characterise it as “Sharon planned to kill children” is simply obscene.

          • “Do you similarly condemn Churchill”

            So the Palestinians …who are they in your example ??? are they the Czechs or the Nazis here because I have to warn you it is anti semitic to liken the Israelis to the Nazis hence my guess is you mean the Palestinians .

            As you know you are allowed to call them the nazis …funny old world.

            • “So the Palestinians …who are they in your example ???”

              It is irrelevent and you know it.
              He was comparing actions which leaders sometimes have to take not specific nations who take these actions.

        • Yes, little paul, the civil war in Lebanon killed ten thousands.
          Approximately 90.000 dead, about100.000 wounded, 20.000 missed, 600.000 emigrated.
          We can see why an obsessed like you is clinging to his antisemitic stereotypes and cries “peace” against Israel while civil wars are going on, in Nigeria, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, …
          Hypocrisy is a constant feature of peace movements and their self empowered believers, not surprisingly.

        • I have never been . It is difficult to get a flavour being hounded as I am when I post here despite my condemnation of violence against the people.

          Pig headiness should be hounded. Why did ‘they’ eventually ban you from Guardian threads?? You must have a lot of time on you hands.

        • Webbsite:

          Once again I have to take issue with your comment;

          “It is difficult to get a flavour being hounded as I am when I post here…”

          You recently stated you supported Israel since at least 1967 (unless I’m mistaken) and only changed your mind around the time of the second Intifada and the Lebanon war.

          The internet was made public on this side of te pond around 1992-1993.
          This blog I believe was established around August 2009.

          That would give you a fair amount of time to get a flavour of a culture you “supported” or claim to have supported.

          You continue by saying:
          “He did not “cleanse the land etc etc ”…”
          I think you meant to say he did not intend to cleanse, didn’t attempt to cleanse and never have.
          Weren’t you?

          Then you say:
          “but laying waste streets of an ancient city.??..”

          Ancient? Shatila camp was 34 year old at the time.
          I guess that makes most people on this blog ancient relics, right?
          Or did you mean Beirut?
          Once again you seem to ignore the civil war raging from 1975 in this part of the world.
          The true responsible of the mess are the Syrians and the various factions and always have.
          The proof stares at you every day when you see footage and read reports from Syria.

          In fact doesn’t it bother you how quickly did Hobeika changed sides and allied himself with the Hafez Al Assad after the massacre?
          I am not a conspirecy theorist but the general rule conspirecy theorists go by is asking who gained the most…
          In the Massacre Syria was the one gained the most while Israel, Arrafat and many of the Christian factions lost most.

          then you go on saying:
          “Sharon had a limited and brutal view of the world was an ex soldier cast in an inflexible mould and shou;d never have been allowed to invade a foreign country in the first place. Forget Sabra . It was only hundreds, the rest of that war in Lebanon killed thousands.”

          Where do one begin?
          “invade a foreign country” – more like a foreign fracture of a former French colony that was being used constantly to attack my kibbutz and the ones around my house..
          “the rest of that war in Lebanon killed thousands.” – I agree. Remind me how many were killed and raped prior to the Isaeli invasion or Israeli retaliation?
          Was it all Israel’s fault? Perhaps what is happenign now in Syria is also Israel’s fault cause had there be no Israel’s there might not have been Assad regime…
          By that logic no UK no Nazi Germany.
          You also forget that Syria invaded Lebanon well befdore our 1978 minor intervention or the 1979 Litani operation.
          “Sharon had a limited and brutal view of the world was an ex soldier cast in an inflexible mould” – However much I didn’t aprove Ariel Sharon to paint someone in those rough brush strokes is being exactly what you claim he was.

          Maybe it is time you take a long hard look in the mirror. Just once.

  2. It’s not unusual to see people outside the conflict talk about themselves and their own countries under the guise of analyzing a foreign conflict but it’s rarely as blatant as this. Writers from Ireland are especially bad in this regard, sometimes I wonder why they even pretend to they’re talking about Palestinians and Israelis.

    • Irish writers are, as they say in the vernacular, fantastic gobshites who love writing for its own sake. That’s great if you’re Flann O’Brien, less good if you’re a journalist.

  3. What makes the IT article a farce from the very start is that Sharon was by all accounts not even religious in the first place!

    The bit about “cleansing” is a revision of history you see all too often on the blogosphere. But the “God-given” claims are just complete speculation, i.e. fiction.

    • Absolutely. Did the author back up a single one of these speculations with anything concrete at all, such as say, something Sharon wrote or said? No. Total bollocks.

      • This article has much in common in terms of “thoughts as facts” with the mush put out by al-Grauniad.

  4. yeah and because racism & ethnic cleansing is a “core Israeli value” (according to the Irish times) someone who ignored the danger of a massacre perpetuated by a third party is found guilty by an Israeli court of law.
    That makes perfect sense.

  5. the Irish Times must have some very interesting staff members – one of them their Environmental Editor Frank McDonald.
    He’s as mild mannered as berchmans when speaks about the violent Israelis who can’t tolerate a couple of “homemade” rockets launched at them and making Gaza like the Warsaw Ghetto, but otherwise couldn’t hold back himself and beat up a female bar manager.
    His defense:
    He told his counsel Colm Mac Eochaidh: “I lost my cool and put my hands on each side of her head and shook her head briefly. I left and a bouncer ran after me. He put my hand behind my back and pinned me against the wall. He forced me back to the pub and accused me of assault and I apologised.”
    Any thought about the well known hysteria called “disproportionate reaction”?
    The bouncer is the real culprit naturally and he is the victim as usual with his kind of bullying worms.
    His reason he lost his temper is the noise of the bar. He somehow thinks that exploding rockets are just the same like Irish lullabies.

  6. Adam one question, why do you term McCann as a ‘former Trot.’?

    As far as I’m aware he is still a prominent member of the Socialist Workers Party of Ireland.
    A bunch of fruitcakes who are not only biased against Israel, but also opposed the Belfast Agreement and accused Sinn Fein of selling out to Imperialism.

  7. “bunch of fruitcakes who are not only biased against Israel, but also opposed the Belfast Agreement ”

    Shows you just how weird the SWP is. Imagine opposing the Belfast Agreement! 🙂

  8. Well I think cifwatch is a great place to come to – it clearly demonstrates how isolated is Israel is getting day by day – Some 40 years ago, Guardian would be writing editorials praising the heaven on earth the zionists were creating in Palestine with their Kibbutz it would not have occured to the liberal journalists that the Palestinians were not allowed in the Kibbutz as racist – Today the truth is spreading far and wide and even into the US and even Australia(as reported on cifwatch) where Boycott movement is finding itself on a role – and growing faster than in the case of South Africa – So can we say the writing is on the wall sorry for the pun or is it that the Wall is the biginning of the end for Zionism

    • Israel will continue to prosper, making great strides in science and medicine. Its Arab citizens will continue to prosper. The nearby Muslim countries will continue to slaughter their own citizens, and western radicals will continue to not care about the death of a single Muslim– unless it was at the hands of a Jew defending his country. When the Arab world accepts the permanance of the Jewish homeland, there will be peace.

  9. It’s really a shame that people actually fall for the stupid nonsense that you find in rags like the Irish Times. If all this nonsense were true then the Arab brat who just happened to be an Arab and yelled “zooz, zooz” (move, move) behind me at the market would have incarcerated in an open-air prison for the rest of his life.

    • I agree Michael
      An off topic question though; Why call him a brat?
      By that token most Israeli kids (regardless of ethnic roots) are brats…

      I read in one of the talk back Israeli responses that went like this:

      “The Israeli patriot knows better than any IDF commander and chief of staff where to hit the enemy and how to respond.
      He knows better what needs cutting and where to grow the economy.
      He knows all about the way inflation rate should go but refuses to acknowledge the global economy.
      He knows where we need to pull out of and where to build.
      He laughs at the US when their house prices plumetted or when their government get caught at misbehaving, yet constantly ask how come they are not harsher on the PA.
      He votes a leader and within seconds curses him and the opposition leader as the worst thing that happened to the country.
      He looks outside the window and hate the country and all who lives in it because they behave like middle eastern mobsters, yet he shouts at the govt for being too soft on crime and immigration.
      He is abusing the police on face book for harrasing citizens but is upset that they don’t respond in time to tackle youth.
      He thinks the TV is rubbish and expenssive but he chats about the new reality TV gossip.
      He thinks the govt should do far better for the people but he believes Israel is the best country in the world.”

      Of course this is not true but it made me laugh.

        • That’s what I thought.
          I agree with you entirely in that case!
          It is very true what you brought up as opposing to the “Arabs shrinking back on the pavements to allow Jews to pass, being literally, physically pushed out of their way if they didn’t move fast enough, and, worst of all in her account, the Arabs’ heads-down acceptance of it all.” which was what McCann wrote about an idea he got from a third party (who probably never even used those exact words).

          My experience with many people in Israel whether Arabs or Jews is that many are loud and wouldn’t shy from being in your face.
          Whether they sell you something or protest about something you said.

          Of course there are the shy ones but there are many many shy Jews in the country who would be scared of answering back to anyone.

          Take into account that many Druze ladies in general would shy away when spoken by strangers around their villagers you can get the wrong impression.

          I still recall the Israeli / Syrian Allawiite from Rajar that worked in Kiryat Shemona Shawarma stand racially abusing my brother and I for being Ashkenazi.
          Now if I was a Syrian national and an Alawiite in an Israeli city would I go around doing that had I fear a smack in the face or a law suit?

          • Just for clarifying the term he called us was “Friedmanns” which is an abusive term used by Arabs against Ashkenazi Jews.

      • That reminds of a joke a friend of mine often makes. I happened to think about it today.
        A news approaches asks several different people and says “excuse me, what is your opinion on the meat shortage?”
        The American asks “what’s a ‘shortage?”
        The Russian asks “what’s an ‘opinion?”
        The Indian asks “what is ‘meat?”
        The Israeli asks “what is ‘excuse me?”

    • They fall for it for all the same reasons as they fall for the rubbish put out on CiF and elsewhere in al Grauniad – because it chimes with their prejudices, which by definition are not thought about at all.

      • ” it chimes with their prejudices ”

        Thats it isnt it? The rest of the world is prejudiced. The guy I took my penname from was completely insane at times and he said that he knew when he was about to have an attack.. when he thought everyone else was crazy.