It has been a busy week for Irish so called “pro-Palestinian” activists. Why ‘so called’? Because I can’t really understand how you can call yourself pro-Palestinian and at the same time deny the Palestinians from their right for self-determination by advocating for a one-state solution, but that is for another debate.
And why busy? Because of two incidents that from a first look seem unrelated, but yet they are inseparable. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement activists managed to place yellow stickers on items produced in Israel in the popular ‘Tesco’ supermarket chain in Ireland. The stickers on the products read “For Justice in Palestine Boycott Israel”. What products exactly? Well, all of them. The yellow BDS stickers were found on all Israeli products that originate from Israel, outside and within the 1967 borders.
It happens to be that ‘Tesco’ is a British chain established by a Jewish businessman, Jack Cohen, with hundreds of outlets in Ireland. Jack Cohen has already sold ‘Tesco’ to another company but hey, BDS activists still need to work with something.
A few days later, the city of Limerick in western Ireland has witnessed what happens when you mix anti-Semitism, BDS and local politics: offending posters that were posted on a bridge in the city, stated that Ireland’s Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who is Jewish, “has learned well from his homeland how to crucify the little people” and another, with a picture of the Minister, claimed that “Ye will all be as poor as the Palestinians when are finished and be glad to have €5 a day.” For dessert, the final poster stated that “Jewish influence in our dictatorship has brought Palestinian devastation to Ireland”.
Nothing is accidental about the timing of these events, nor their content. It is no accident that BDS activists chose yellow as the color for stickers, no accident that it happened on a pre-owned Jewish supermarket. Mostly, it is no accident that vile posters smearing the only Jewish minister of Ireland were posted days later on city streets, connecting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with “Jewish influence” in Ireland. The most absurd thing about it is the group that is behind some of these activities, which goes by the kind name of ‘Irish Friends of Palestine’. Dear Palestinians, if you read this, I think it is time to find some new friends.
As the world commemorates this week the horrible events of 1938 ‘Kristallnacht’ (Night of Broken Glass), we should make no mistake about manifestations of anti-Semitism when we see them. In the next few days there will probably be attempts to explain that the stickers or posters were misinterpreted and that we haven’t really understood their intention. Right, it was all by accident. Accidentally anti-Semitic.