Gaza: the view from the Sindo


 I have to hand it to my old chum Eoghan Harris – he’s nothing if not consistent. (He’s also honourable, I must add: with just a bit of nudging he coughed up on a 10-1 bet I took with him some years ago, which he lost. Ach sin sceal eile…)  In today’s Sindo, he manages to portray the Israeli side as somehow the victims in the present Middle East onslaught and  get a serious hoke in at Gerry Adams. All in one column.

In an article entitled ‘A shameful surrender to Sinn Féin’s Sharia tactics’,  he recalls how Sinn Féin a few weeks ago ‘stampeded Dail Eireann into standing for a minute’s silence on Gaza’. He says the Seanad has now ‘followed the Sinn Féin agenda with diatribes against the democratic state of Israel’.

Once more the ghost of Jean McConville is summoned. Eoghan uses it this time as a counter-weight against the Sinn Féin president’s concern over the women and children being slaughtered daily in Gaza. And he quotes at length a retired Royal Saudi Navy commodore – whatever that is – who says Hamas leaders are ‘jet-setters’.  He then goes on to recall research he did into the Holocaust, which he found, not surprisingly, horrific.

From there it’s but a hop, skip and step to accusing Irish people of being selective about atrocities – why not focus on ‘Sudan or Somalia or Yemen or Nigeria’?  And he’s really pleased that the new minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, hasn’t expelled the Israeli ambassador.

Ah me. Where to start with Eoghan? Let’s try that Dail ‘stampede’ when Gerry Adams persuaded the Dail to stand in a minute’s solidarity with the people of Gaza: surely Eoghan isn’t saying that the natural instincts of the TDs was not  to express solidarity with Palestinians? It was only a gesture but a gesture clearly worth making. Plus those TDs are in most instances tough cookies. They don’t get stampeded if they don’t feel the need to. I’d like to think they stood because they wanted to stand.

As for the Jean McConville reference: while there have been no end of claims made about Gerry Adams being involved in Jean McConville’s death, he says he wasn’t and no evidence has ever been produced to show he was. So is he to be shackled from expressing concern for mothers and children being shelled into oblivion day after day, because of a sad and brutal act some forty years ago?

As for the Hamas leaders being ‘jet-setters’ – I’m sure I don’t know. It’d depend on where they were jetting to. Maybe they were jetting somewhere to tell the world about the heartless onslaught their people are suffering. As for focusing on other atrocities in the world: one at a time, Eoghan, one at a time. Don’t be pointing to the other side of the room when in this particular corner we’re in, there’s a terrible smell of rotting humanity. As for Charlie Flanagan not expelling the Israeli ambassador: that certainly does say something about the man. It says that he’d rather, as Irish foreign minister, toe the line that the US dictates, rather than do what I’m convinced the great majority of Irish people want: kick the atrocity-defender out on his backside.

Despite all Eoghan’s wriggling, despite his using the death of Jean McConville and then the deaths of six million Jews, the stark fact remains: Israel is butchering the people of Gaza and it appears not to give a damn what the rest of the world thinks. I’d suggest if every country with any human feeling were to boot out the Israeli ambassador, it’s just possible the unfeeling monsters in the Israeli government might be forced to think again.

23 Responses to Gaza: the view from the Sindo

  1. Iolar August 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    It is interesting to note the media reports in relation to the name and the death of 2nd Lt Hadar Goldin, ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam, while at the same time, the BBC (3.8.2014) reported the deaths of “scores” of unnamed Palestinians. An Israeli spokesperson also stated that “50% of the deceased were terrorists”. There was no reference made to riot police declaring an an Anti-War rally in Tel Aviv illegal. At least 11 journalist have been killed in the course of the current slaughter of innocents in Gaza. In spite of media restrictions and real threats to journalists, it is still possible to witness the ongoing carnage in Gaza. The Israeli’s have shown contempt for international law, hospitals, centres of learning and worship. If as they suggest, such places are being used by Hamas, there are other methods to deal with such alleged threats to peace and stability, a cease fire, a no fly zone over Gaza, agreement on a U.N. Peace Keeping Force and an end to siege of Gaza by land , sea and air and respect for political mandates.

    • Norma wilson August 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

      I wonder when this United Ireland comes, as it will, what our lives will be like inside it. Oh a shiver has just run up my spine. Have just read your blog Dr Collins, and I literally feel like throwing up, and your educated? God above help us.
      I will stay, because I would never leave this land, but heaven help us, for we are as far apart, and my heart is hardening by the second.
      At present, I am half way through reading Father Sean McManus, I would advise every Protestant to read it, it is an eye opener.
      So there you have it a Priest, and a Doctor, whom I strongly disagree with.
      I hope we have as much resilience as the Jews. Because we are going to need it.
      There is not to many De Klerk’s in this world, and if you were to ask him “Did you make a mistake”, I am sure he would say YES.
      I want to live in peace with my neighbours, but not at the cost of identity, and culture, and religion and who I am.
      But I can see the similarities you all have with PLO, ANC, Boka Haram, Hamas, Isis, and all the rest of the world terrorists.
      I stand with Israel, and I hope they do not give a toss about world opinion, I hope they don’t forget about this part of the world when the dust settles!
      Have lots of avocado and mangos in my shopping basket, all from Israel.

      • August 3, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

        “I hope we have as much resilience as the Jews”
        Well you certainly pocess other dubious qualities that the Jews have,we see them every day in the media.
        So take comfort that when it comes to hardening hearts you have a lot of company but you better be good to out harden your Israeli friends.

      • Micheal August 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

        Norma you seem to have a sense of terrorism in yourself. After all you condoned the killing of children and adults alike most of whom have absolutely nothing to do with Hamas. So please do not refer to people as terrorists if we do not terrorise yet you condone the killing of innocents and seem to see yourself as Gods own messenger.

  2. Pointis August 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    Are you sure the anti-Gerry clic didn’t convene a coven at the weekend? Your old pal Mick Fealty is tweeting along the same lines that Gerry Adams has no right speaking about atrocities carried on the Palestinians with his background. He has copied in a link to an editorial in the Irish Independent penned by Eilis O’Hanlon which states “Yet no one in the Irish media seems to consider it at all peculiar right now that Gerry Adams is being regularly invited to pontificate about the conflict in the Middle East.”

    The theme is an old one used by inept managers to bully talented staff. If you come up with a good idea and I can, I will claim it as my own! If I can’t claim it as my own I will rubbish your idea and direct personal criticism towards you.

    Mick was always one to chide others who “go for the man and not the ball” obviously it is a case of “do as I say, not as I do”!

  3. Mick Early August 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Jude, not too sure that agree with you calling Mr Harris a man of Honour. After all he did promise in writing that he would never write again in the Sindo if DOB tool over. He is still there. Also if he were a man of Honour would he really be so against the peace process?? Just because he hates SF he would love to trash the whole thing in spite of the benefits to the people loving in NI!

    • Jude Collins August 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

      I mark Eoghan as honourable in terms of my taking money from him (£1,000, since you ask). In other matters, I leave him to the judgement of people like yourself. And myself, come to think of it…

  4. JimmyRiddle August 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    I’d certainly agree that Eoghan Harris is consistent ,he consistently spouses Unionist/Loyalist tripe,he consistently displays his Unionist/Loyalist amnesia when it comes to atrocities carried out in its name.
    I know he’ll condem them if asked but he has to be ‘stampeded’ into doing so which,of course makes his crocodile tears over Jean McConville nauseating not noble,not sympathetic just a handy stick with which to beat SinnFein with,consistently.
    So I comes as no surprise since he sides with Loyalist paranoia concerning everything Irish its only natural he’d find a comfortable home with Ireaeli paranoia with everything Palestinian.

  5. JimmyRiddle August 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    The Irish governments complicated attitude with the Israeli/USA/brittish slaughter of civilians in Gaza shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone given their history of silence to events in the north.
    How this state produced the incredibly brave women and men of 1916 and the war of independence is something ill never understand.

  6. RJC August 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    Tabloid in size, tabloid in scope. Using the ongoing massacres in Gaza to have a go at Sinn Féin is pretty despicable by anyone’s standards.

    It’s always helpful to know where people stand though. If you support Israel, you support the mass murder of children. It’s as simple as that.

    • neill August 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

      It’s always helpful to know where people stand though. If you support Israel, you support the mass murder of children. It’s as simple as that.

      Just look at what you typed you are being a trifle foolish.

      • RJC August 3, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

        Perhaps, Neill perhaps, but we’re all foolish in our own ways. As long as I live, I will never understand people who begin their response to children being blown up with ‘Yeah, but …’

  7. Perkin Warbeck August 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    Just as it is difficult to hear mention of the name of Eoghan Harris without thinking of two others of that tweed – Air Marshal Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris and Rolf ‘Tone’ Harris so also is it onerous not to think of Eoghan without breaking into: ‘deedle eedle eedle um’.

    The reasons are obvious, of course, so obvious, they bear repeating:

    1.Air Marshal Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris is associated with the RAF.

    2. Eoghan Harris is linked with a riff (see above).

    3.While Rolf ‘Tone’ Harris will forever be mentioned in the same breath as: Riff Raf.

    While the similarities between the first two of that tweed, Arthur and Eoghan are palpable and require no further elucidation a word or two of explanation may be required to recognise the echoes of 3 in 2.

    A riff in popular music is a brief, relaxed phrase repeated over changed melodies. Perhaps the most memorable of popular musician Rolf’s riffs was the ‘deedle eedle eedle um’ one which recurs and recurs and recurs in his anthemic ‘Jake the Peg’. The eponymous Jake as the song makes clear was born with an extra leg.

    Now, that is how it often seems to those of us who are devotees- go on, man up, and admit it, fellow psuedo-republicans !- of the weekly outpourings of Eoghainin na nAontachtoiri which are somewhat obsessed with the tireless directing of the Harris leg in the direction of the Adamsian Arse. So tireless indeed that one is often led to deduce that Eoghan, if he does it all on his own, must surely have been blessed at birth with, yes, an extra leg.

    Deedle eedle eedle um.

    Where his riff differs from a musical riff is that, instead of melodies, he concentrates on maladies. Thus, while the malady might differ from week to week – Ukraine one week, Ebola another week, Gaza this week -the cause will always be the same: PIRA. Cue another kick in the direction of the AA.

    Deedle eedle eedle um.

    Small surprise that Eoghan stood foursquare or at least three square (see above) with Foreign Minister Charles Flanagan of the latter’s, erm, courageous refusal to confer the Israeli Ambassador with the Order of the Brogue.

    Mind you, one is beginning to fear for the same FM. Scarcely 23 days in the job the poor peacemaker seems to have aged at least 23 years. Not only has his head shrunk and his dome grown even balder but his very glasses look to be a size bigger every time one glimpses him. Those big black hornrimmed,glasses once favoured by the late, g. Buddy Holly. Oh, dear, one fears the FM is already in the grip of Stockhausen Syndrome.

    His passionate defence too of retaining the Free Southern State Ambassador in situ is a sure symptom, not least when one c. and c. the Road Runner speed with which the two relevant Ambasadors were made to do the Vatican and Iveagh Two Step not so long ago. Meep! Meep!

    Eamonn McKee is the name of that Ambassador to Israel and it might be said that McKee has been confined to barracks, as it were in the Irish Embassy on the 17th floor of The Tower, 3, Daniel Frisch, Tel Aviv. So silent has he been, yet to make his appearance on the newsthirsty Irish media.

    Perhaps he is even learning his lines for a remake of ‘The Quiet Man’? A curious thing is that the Star (if not of David) then of that fillum was Barry Fitzgerald, who was actually born directly across the street in Dublin 6 where the Jewish Museum is housed. That would be Walworth Street, and indeed, is, erm, Walworth a visit.

    As Mickeleen Flynn (BF’s role) famously admonished: ‘No patty-fingers, if you please. The proprieties at all times. Hold on to your hats’.

    Deedle eedleeedle um.

    Perphas, the Ambassador has taken those lines to heart? When not, of course, organising ‘a number of Bloomsday activities in June throughout Israel’.That would be the marvellous novel – perhaps the greatest of all Irish novels – in which there is a circumtuitous racist attack perpetrated on the stock Irish character, The Citizen, by a pure-hearted, blemishfree Leopold Bloom.

    Curiously enough, to continue on the theme, Bloomfield Avenue is located the throw of the jaw bone of an ass away from Walworth Street. This is where Chaim Herzog, future President of Israel, spent his schooldays, having taken the precaution of being born in Clintonville Ave in Belfast before that. His son, who is now the leader of the ‘opposition’ Labour Party in Israel and gives undiluted support to the Government’s policies on Gaza. A bit Irish, shall we say?

    Deedle eedle eedle um.

    Incidentally, there is little to no chance of the Free Southern State Embassy being closed in Tel Aviv, at least not by Charles Flanagan, Foreign Minister. At least, not for financial reasons, always a crucial matter where Israel is involved. Look no further than the name: Eamonn. Not Eamon. This is a man who can make, erm, ‘n’s’ meet when it comes to the sheckles

    Deedle eedle eedle um.

    (Housekeeping: 1. Eoghan ‘Love Bomber’ Harris is noted for his devotion to the central heating system of those on the Unionist side of the House. Hence, his ancient Gaelic title in the language of the Leprechaun: ‘Eoghainin na n-Aontachtoiri’.
    2. Jude, please not please refrain from referring to the Foreign Minister as Charlie. It’s Charles. The proprieties at all times.).

    • Jude Collins August 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

      Charles it is then, Perkin. That’d make two Charlies – oops, Charleses in their 60s occupying positions of importance in our own dear native land and that of our closest and fondest neighbour. Just one more cord to bind us together, Lord, bind us together….

    • Pointis August 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm #


  8. TheHist August 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    It’s rather repugnant when many commentators from the North and South, mention Gerry Adams, it’s simply to refer to his alleged “violent past”. It happens that often, it’s now sounds platitudinous and irksome. The stories are normally contextualised through a totally different story and carefully spun and manipulated to suit a certain political agenda, namely Harris’ totally anti SF stance here! These same idiots fail to make reference to his role as a peace maker. Without the role of Gerry Adams in the Peace Process I think it is simply to say we wouldn’t be where we are today! Adams along with his cohorts were instrumental in bringing the republican movement from violence to embrace that of the ballot box, whilst at the same time carefully managing to bring the community of supporters along with them. If anyone could set an example of transformation from conflict to peaceful means it is Adams! Using the ongoing crisis in Gaza to attack Adams is a new low for Harris, but then again we all know how low he often goes! Regardless of the distaste of many TD’s and political commentators in the South, it is pretty clear SF are gaining ground and looking likely to push the government hard in the next general election. No doubt commentators such as Harris will continue to use such tragic events to their political advantage! Seems to me the outdated Harris is falling out of tune with irish political opinion!

    • neill August 4, 2014 at 6:38 am #

      Without the role of Gerry Adams in the Peace Process I think it is simply to say we wouldn’t be where we are today! Adams along with his cohorts were instrumental in bringing the republican movement from violence to embrace that of the ballot box

      So they stopped being violent and brought into the concept of the Ballot Box. I was wrong all these years what a remarkable job making the republican movement the same as all other parties in Western Europe what next they may even have a Leadership election….sorry more chance of Teachers doing a reasonable amount of work!

      • Pointis August 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

        Have you something against teachers?

      • Micheal August 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

        Why would Sinn Fein need a leadership election when no one has called for it?

  9. michael c August 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    The Israelis have killed more people in a matter of days than the provos did in 30 years and the casualties have been virtually all civilians.Harris ,O’Hanlon and Fealty will never tell you that.

  10. Micheal August 3, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Honestly, I become tired of all this Jean McConville stuff being brought up every time Gerry Adams TD is brought into the picture. Yes, I agree it was an awful thing to have happened to the woman let alone her family and my heart goes out to them every time I hear it but this is the problem with the North at the moment, we darn’t forget anything lest we forget them all. This is such a huge thing in the North that its actually holding back progress on other more important issues. Its past, this is the present and although the McConville family deserve the truth I have a very strong feeling that although the finger is very straight and firmly pointed at Gerry Adams I have an inkling it wasn’t him, just a feeling.

    Onto Gaza and Eoghan. I for one have never had the pleasure of knowing Eoghan harris not hearing or reading any of his writings nor his views but I know for a fact Gerry Adam is the one person who actually went to the Gaza Strip to see the death and suffering at first hand. I haven’t witnessed any other politician doing so, well, not to my knowledge anyway. The great ‘Dail stampede’ as it shall henceforth be known in political circles I feel, was brought on by Gerry Adam asking, out of the blue, that the Dail Stand for a minutes silence. Yes, true and if anyone were to ask I would say I asked him to. For too long now politicians have been standing idly by wondering whether they should or should not approach the subject of the Israel – Palestinian conflict and I’m glad to see Sinn Fein have jumped in feet first. I have to agree with Jude though, these politicians in the South aren’t soft they have more experience with main stream politics that we have up here. Our politicians are green compared to the South (no pun intended) where they are hardened political assassins and know what to do and what not to do unlike the eejits up here but yes they have their moments.

    You know folks keep saying they stand behind Israel, “the only democratic state in the region”. What they seem to forget is Hamas is the democratically elected representatives of the people of Gaza and so are elected officials. Israel and Hamas is like our Britain and the IRA, one has a huge amount of firepower, they other is pretty much a guerrilla army. Israel says its using precision munitions which can take down a building and leave others standing around it. Going by the pictures and news bulletins and watching the Channel 4 news I would tend to disagree with this. The use of white phosphorus bombs are illegal in international law yet Israel use them with impunity.

    Mr Harris can say what he pleases. Gerry Adams is not leading the Dail on and yes, some people down there may think they have been duped but that is through their own lack of foresight and not due in any part to Gerry Adams nor Sinn Fein.

  11. Argenta August 4, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    What about a strongly worded letter from your good self to the Editor of the Sindo?Do you think Eoghans former wife would publish it in the interests of free speech?!!

  12. paddykool August 4, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    I’ve been aware of Eoghan Harris and his writing over the years but I’ve really no idea why he has a bee in his bonnet about Gerry Adams and why he should be able to connect him with Jean McConville and then with the killing in Gaza . Republicans had good reason to engage in an armed struggle back in the early 1970’s. They may not have been republicans when it kicked off but that’s what they became.Of course if their homes were not being physically attacked ,they may have become SDLP voters …but that’s life…that’s the choices people are given!
    Their communities were being attacked by a militarily stronger force and a system of local government that was biased against them. We all lived through those days …or maybe not …so we can talk about those times as first -hand experiences. Some of us lived far enough away from those Belfast and Derry streets to only experience those times through the media . …Mostly. It was wall to wall reportage then…every reporter on the planet was here… so many of us actively believed that they were living in the heart of it even though many were some distance away . Of course, most of us experienced the death of people we knew either intimately or peripherally in our hometowns.People were shot beside us on the streets and many of the pubs we drank in were bombed or raked with gunfire. People we went to school with or who we worked with, or who were related possibly were killed. I knew people from both communities whose lives were shortened during the conflict. Most dead in their twenties or early thirties. You can remember them as you walk around the graveyards. Lots of them.
    Like I said , though , a lot of information came as second-hand news through the media. I never met Gerry Adams and have never had a need to but I read in a book that he ordered the death of Jean McConville . That’s where I got my information. Apparently “the Dark” had fallen out with Gerry Adams because Adams wanted to pursue a peace process so he let it be known that it was Gerry who gave the order to kill Jean McConville…in a matter- of -fact way. That was one of the places i saw this stated. The question is ..had “the Dark” an axe to grind ? Was he telling the truth? Was he just a bitter man who would have preferred that Adams had continued to espouse violence? If he was, or preferred , any of those things he was not unlike the unionists who opposed the Agreement .He ,like them ,was happier with the war as it was .He knew who he was then .He had an identity. Gerry Adams took that away. I can see why unionists and “the Dark” would rather that wasn’t the case. Adams had a different vision, though.
    Did Adams order a killing here? I certainly have no idea and” the Dark” is dead so how can anyone prove the truth of his statement or whether his memory was at fault or not. My own memory would certainly let me down now and then and I’ve often been confronted by friends remembering situations that never happened or that happened in a different place or even a different year. Memory can be like that.Try it some time in conversation with some old mates .You’ll be astonished at the memory of some of the stuff you were supposed to have done. So what is the point if none of us can ever get a “hard piece of evidence” about Gerry and Jean McConville? To those who want to disparage Adams it’s something to cling to though.
    We can all bring up deaths that had no resulting trial or that weren’t investigated properly …deaths by either side or deaths of people totally uninvolved .One of the first I can remember was the shooting dead of John Gallagher in Armagh by a car full of B Specials. As far as i know that family just had to live with the man’s death and forget about justice .That is the earliest I can remember .I wasn’t there for that one but a friend saw it happen. Like i say , we get a lot of it second-hand.
    Has Mr Harris a better source ? was he there? is he telling a truth or a memory? Has he a particular axe to grind himself?
    As for the Gaza business. What is happening there is an obscenity …pure and simple. We should all bow our heads in shame for doing so little to stop it …but then , we are a bloody-minded breed …and many would always prefer to think with their fists rather than their intellect. We’ll only ever get involved if there are riches to be gained . Otherwise we’ll move like molasses while children are bombed and blasted into mulch.