“Terrible as an army with banners”?

Edward SaidPalestinian-American philosopher and political activist – stated that:…Palestinians needed to remember that “most liberation struggles in the Third World have produced undistinguished regimes, dominated by state worship, unproductive bureaucracies, and repressive police forces.”

–  from The Wisdom of Edward Said Has Never Been More RelevantCurrent Affairs magazine of politics & culture, October 2023.


On Sunday May 26th, in the pouring rain, about 500/750 pro-Israel people walked the kilometer distance from St. Stephen’s Green West to the barricades outside Dail Eireann.

Under thunder-threatening dark skies and the hammering of rain falling on opened-up umbrellas, we soaked people walked down the road towards the Dail, the seat of Irish government buildings. We were an inclusive ethnic and cultural melting pot of people, going by the accents. I overheard Caucasian and non-Caucasian accents: Americans, Israelis, Italians and Irish citizens: white, black and Mediterranean olive skin hues.

Many carried Israeli flags, in XL and more diminutive sizes. Others carried placards stating: Free Gaza from Hamas; No to Terrorism and Yes to Israel’s Right to Defend Itself.

Two brave women marched in “cosplay” clothing representations of the October 7th rape victims. They held placards that read: ‘Rape is not Resistance.’ There was some muted megaphone chanting in Hebrew and English, some shofar rams horn blowing and some recorded Middle Eastern songs, presumably Israeli. The grumble of a lone Harley Davidson hog added its gruff tones to the good humored, peaceful cacophony.

When we got to the speaker stage, at the end of the march route, we saw that welded fencing had got placed short of the Dail (government) gates. Were we really as “terrible as an army with banners”? No, we were more symbolic shofar trumpet blowers circling the walls of Jericho.

A gaggle of screeching pro-Palestinian women on the opposite side of the road junction heralded our arrival. Thankfully, those keffiyeh-clothed, flag waving furies were “kettled” by An Gardai (the Irish police) as well as several white police vans blocking some of their vitriolic view.

Why was their pungent presence even allowed, seeing as they have more than enough  menacing marches and repeated infrastructure blockages?

We pro-Israel supporters cheered, applauded and finger-whistled at the logical and respectful speeches. Meanwhile, across the junction, the hard-to-hear cracked record repetitive mindless chants continued incessantly.

On our black stage stood a diverse Jewish contingent: an ex-government Minister of Justice; a trendy-looking young rabbi to Ireland (the first in 18 years); and the millennial-mannered leader of the Irish Jewish Student Council. Each made short, en pointe, succinct speeches.

The Christian contributions mainly came from the founder of the Israel Ireland Alliance; the leader of The International Christian Embassy Israel; a decades-long advocate for Yisrael; and a biblical address from a Pentecostal church pastor:

Psalm 122 commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Faced with the shocking rise of anti-Semitic hate and prejudice worldwide, it’s important for us as the church to both pray for and publicly stand with the people of Israel… when they are being ostracized, demonized and isolated for wanting to deal with the terrorism on their borders…

The straightforward case for Israel’s right to exist and the need for Judeo-Christian intellectual values got heard loud and clear, regardless of all the spiteful shouting and siren disruption from the anti-Jew conspiracy crew.

After the pro-Israel speakers there were some Jewish and Christian biblical prayers. Then came the celebratory songs, sparking off some spontaneous group dancing in the crowd. This Israeli party atmosphere was in stark contrast to the soprano-screaming of agitprop protesters across the road.

Watching and listening to such peoples’ positive proclamations and knowing the hard-won history of Israel. It was very hard to restrain tears…and some finger whistling… so loud that it agitated my wife’s ears!

Pro-Palestinian protestors outside the seat of Ireland’s parliament,  Dail Eireann Circa 500/ 750 peaceful pro-Israel people on Molesworth St, opposite Dail Eireann.

About the Author
Louis Hemmings has been writing prose and poetry since 1972. Some of his work has been published in Poetry Ireland, The Irish Catholic, Forward (USA) and Books Ireland. He is a late-life journalism student in Dublin, Ireland. He is married 38 years, has two boys, buried a stillborn and holds an ecumenical Christian point-of-view.