No 1368 Posted by fw, June 12, 2015
Terms defined: Oireachtas – Irish Parliament // Teachta Dála (abbr. TD) – member of the Parliament, equivalent to Canadian MP // Dáil Éireann – lower house of Parliament // Taoiseach – Prime Minister
“In one case, the genocide of all Palestinians, including children, has actually been advocated and they have been referred to as “snakes”. Does the Taoiseach agree that if we are defining terrorism, that is the language and thinking of terrorists? It is absolutely unacceptable in civilised politics and international relations for the Head of Government of a state with which we carry on normal relations to advocate those sorts of views, which we know have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinian men, women and children. Given that the Taoiseach met Mr. Netanyahu in Paris earlier this year, what does he have to say about the expression of such views by the Israeli Government?” —Richard Boyd Barrett, Deputy of Irish Parliament
Thanks to Ali Abunimah for his post that first brought this shocking story to my attention: Video: Shocking words of Israeli leaders read aloud in Irish parliament by Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada, June 10, 2015.
What follows is an embedded video of Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett’s question to the Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny, during question period in the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Barrett reads into the record the names and a selection of the “most brutal and cold-blooded” remarks they have recently uttered about Palestinians. Below the video is a slightly abridged official transcript of Barrett’s blistering attack on Israeli government officials. Links to external citations have been added.
In his response to Barrett, the Taoiseach (prime minister) begins: “The Deputy has read comments made by a number of Ministers in the Israeli Government. On the one hand, I suppose one might say they are all on-message. I find that message regrettable and most unhelpful. I do not agree with those statements.”
And don’t miss the SEE ALSO link at the bottom. Watch Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett in action again in the Irish Parliament. On this occasion he challenges the Israeli ambassador to the Republic of Ireland at an Oireachtas committee meeting over Israel’s brutal war assault on Gaza. Barrett challenged the Israeli representative over their apartheid regime and racist policies, charging Israel is not a normal state and should not be treated as such.
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his attendance at the protest in Paris following the killings at the Charlie Hebdo offices; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: The world was of course utterly appalled by the killing of 12 innocent people, ten of whom were journalists, at Charlie Hebdo earlier this year. I have to ask the Taoiseach about the attendance of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the demonstration he joined in the aftermath of those killings. Before I ask the Taoiseach about two aspects of this matter, I would like to mention something that might come as news to him. My main question is about Benjamin Netanyahu. The co-president of the French-Jewish Union for Peace, Pierre Stambul, was arrested at 1 a.m. last night in France. He was dragged out of his home, handcuffed and taken into police custody. I believe there is a connection between the arrest under France’s anti-terror laws of a man who is part of a French-Jewish peace organisation and the fact that he was due to speak in Toulouse later today at a meeting promoting boycott, sanctions and divestment against Israel.* I suggest that this man of Jewish origin was arrested under France’s anti-terror laws because he was supporting the boycott of Israel in support of the Palestinian people. That follows a consistent pattern in France that pre-dates the Charlie Hebdo killings. For example, the French Government banned a number of pro-Palestinian or Palestinian solidarity demonstrations in France in July of last year, at a time when 2,300 Palestinians were being killed by Israel. Will the Taoiseach condemn such actions by the French Government against people who are legitimately expressing their opposition and outrage regarding the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians and calling for solidarity with the Palestinian people? [*When he spoke, Mr Barrett was not fully informed about the Stambul arrest. As it turned out, Stambul was falsely arrested as a result of a “murder hoax” call to police].
I would like to ask the Taoiseach about Benjamin Netanyahu. The Taoiseach has rightly said he was appalled and shocked by the Charlie Hebdo killings. He went so far as to join a mass street demonstration, which I do not think is something he has ever done before in my experience. He had certainly not done so previously during the term of office of this Government. He mentioned that he met Prime Minister Netanyahu on that occasion.
Is the Taoiseach aware of the public statements made by Benjamin Netanyahu and several leading Ministers in his Government, in which they have stated in the most brutal and cold-blooded terms their belief that it is legitimate to kill Palestinians, including innocent women and children? I will give a quick flavour of some of the statements that have been made.
The Israeli Minister of Defence, Moshe Ya’alon, said a couple of weeks ago that Israel is “going to hurt Lebanese civilians to include kids of the family”. He continued by saying that Israel “went through a very long deep discussion … we did it then, we did it in [the] Gaza Strip, we are going to do it in any round of hostilities in the future.” [For more information, see Israeli defense minister promises to kill more civilians and threatens to nuke Iran, Electronic Intifada, May 6, 2015]
The military chief of staff, Benny Gantz, who headed up the last two military assaults on Gaza, has said that “the next round of violence will be worse and see this suffering increase”. [For more information, see Next round of violence will be harder on Gaza, ex-IDF chief says,” Israel Hayom, May 5, 2015].
According to the Minister of Education in the Netanyahu Government, “there will never be a peace plan with the Palestinians… I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state”. He has also said that “if you catch terrorists, you have to simply kill them … I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life and there’s no problem with that”. [For more information, see Naftali Bennett, The Party Faithful, The New Yorker, January 21, 2013].
This is the Minister of Justice: [Palestinians] are all enemy combatants… this also includes the mothers of the martyrs… they should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there. [For more information, see Ayelet Shaked, Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes, Electronic Intifada, July 7, 2014].
That was the Israeli Minister of Justice in the last few months. The Israeli deputy Minister of Defence has said that Palestinians “are beasts, they are not human”.
This is the last one. According to the Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Hotovely: My position is that between the sea and the Jordan River, there needs to be one state only – the state of Israel… There is no place for an agreement of any kind that discusses the concession of Israeli sovereignty over lands conquered [in 1967]. [For more information, see Tzipi Hotovely, Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely tells world: Don’t be afraid of me, Ynet, May 16, 2015].
These are the official statements of several Ministers of the current Government of Israel. In one case, the genocide of all Palestinians, including children, has actually been advocated and they have been referred to as “snakes”. Does the Taoiseach agree that if we are defining terrorism, that is the language and thinking of terrorists? It is absolutely unacceptable in civilised politics and international relations for the Head of Government of a state with which we carry on normal relations to advocate those sorts of views, which we know have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinian men, women and children. Given that the Taoiseach met Mr. Netanyahu in Paris earlier this year, what does he have to say about the expression of such views by the Israeli Government?
The Taoiseach: The Deputy has read comments made by a number of Ministers in the Israeli Government. On the one hand, I suppose one might say they are all on-message. I find that message regrettable and most unhelpful. I do not agree with those statements. When I met Prime Minister Netanyahu briefly in Paris, I said to him that when I had an opportunity to go to Gaza a number of years ago with a delegation from here, I found the situation completely intolerable. I told him that I am a strong supporter of the two-state solution and that peace is always possible. I reminded him of the example offered by a small country like Ireland, where people were able to sit down and work out their differences after 30 years of violence, with the result that lives have been saved and a fragile but stable peace situation, which has to be worked on constantly, has been put in place.
MY COMMENT — In the subtitle of this post I asked “How Come?” — How come questions of the kind asked by Irish Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett in the Irish Parliament dare not be asked in the Canadian House of Commons? Here are two possible answers. First, with the possible exception of a Bloc Quebecois MP, any Canadian MP who dared speak out as Barrett did would be kicked out of the party. (See, for example, Are Canadian MPs afraid to speak candidly and factually about Israeli culpability in the Gaza conflict? Posted Nov. 26, 2012).
Second, party leaders dare not risk offending Canadian Zionists who are in positions of power and influence to intimidate not just political leaders at all levels but community leaders as well. See, for example, Company president resorts to intimidation to pressure U of Windsor to “obliterate” BDS referendum Posted March 13, 2014,
Richard Boyd Barrett- Israel is not a normal state and should not be treated as such — Published September 4, 2014 — Richard Boyd Barrett challenges the Israeli ambassador to the Republic of Ireland at an Oireachtas committee meeting over Israel’s brutal war assault on Gaza. Barrett challenged the Israeli representative over their apartheid regime and racist policies, charging Israel is not a normal state and should not be treated as such.
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