Response to What I Saw This Weekend

Hi Dan, The swastika/star of David image is, without any quibble, abhorrent. But I don't think it was meant as an anti-Semitic statement. The image we saw has been used in Israel in protest to the government oppression of the Palestinian areas. It has been well documented in Israel and abroad that the Israeli government has been using against the Palestinians (notably in Jenin)some of the same methods the Nazis used in the Warsaw Ghetto ( I'm sorry I couldn't find a better link, but there were just too many to trawl through at this hour when I should be working! Anti-Semitism is *never* acceptable. But neither is this anti-Arab rhetoric that has been a spreading cancer in the last couple of years. I don't believe that the people who were at the march on Saturday supporting Palestine were being anti-Semitic. I think they were just making the point that the US can look the other way when their allies oppress their own people, but risk launching WWIII when a formerly US-friendly government disobeys. Maybe the Palestine issue isn't strictly an anti-invasion-of-Iraq issue, but I could have raised my anti-vivisection placard on Saturday if I'd wanted. The point was we were there for the same reason, and the sheer numbers present did the speaking for us. The protest was also marked by a lack of anti-American feeling. Not the other way round. The Irish adore America. Most college students spend at least one summer working there. Over 20 million Americans claim Irish descent, for God's sake! 70,000 Irish jobs are dependent on US firms (including my own). One of the main reasons our own government are not standing up to US pressure for backing a war in Iraq is fear of economic retaliation. It's not anti-American to oppose the American government. It's our right and our obligation to speak out when we see wrongs. As the quote goes, "All it takes for evil to prevail is for men of good conscience to remain silent". Or something. Over 80,000 people turned out to see Bill Clinton speak in College Green in 1995. The US help has been critical in the northern peace process, and we have a lot of reasons to be grateful. But the vast majority of the people here do not want to live in a world where we are bullied by the US every time they aren't getting their own way.

Created By: Mollie Huggins