Irish Times op-ed: ‘Zionist ultras’ see antisemitism everywhere

We’ve recently been commenting on op-eds by Irish Times columnist Eamonn McCann, the socialist (and former Trotskyite) who regales readers with anti-Zionist rhetoric so vitriolic that it could have originated from Soviet Department for Agitation and Propaganda.  

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Eamonn McCann, Marxism Conference 2013

In one memorable column, McCann prophesied on the inevitable demise of the Jewish State – the natural result, he suggested, of the corrosive effects of its official racist ideology.

His latest ‘meditation‘ on Israeli villainy appeared in the Irish Times on Feb 6, and included the following headline:

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Here’s the simply risible – and, of course, fact-free – opening passage:

We are all anti-Semites now, including US secretary of state John Kerry. That’s according to a clutch of ministers in Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, plus a mixum-gatherum of colonial settlers, super-Zionists and most US senators.

What evidence does he produce to back up his claim that a “clutch of ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet” and “most US senators” believe ‘everyone’ is antisemitic?

Well, here are some passages which evidently represent supporting text for his hysterical opening passage:

Influential Israeli politicians have come within an inch of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite. What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

So, McCann is now only claiming that the cabal of super Zionists came close (“within an inch”) of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite.

McCann continues:

In response, Israeli industry minister Naftali Bennett declared: “We expect of our friends to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, not to be their mouthpiece.” What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

Again, even by McCann’s account, Bennett didn’t accuse Kerry of engaging in antisemitism, only that boycotts were antisemitic, and that Kerry didn’t stand by Israel’s side in the fight against such boycotts.

He continues:

Senior official of the colonial settlers’ council Adi Mintz accused Kerry of “an anti-Semitic initiative. The anti-Semites have always resorted to a very simple method – hit the Jews in their pockets.”

Netanyahu refused to condemn Bennett, Mintz and others who had spoken along the same lines, but was himself rather more circumspect, telling his cabinet that promotion of a boycott was “immoral and unjust”.

While Mintz did suggest that Kerry’s comments about boycotts were antisemitic, the most McCann could muster against Netanyahu was to accuse him of not directly condemning Bennett, who, per the quote above, did not in fact accuse Kerry of antisemitism.

And, what about the US senators’ alleged belief that ‘everyone’ opposing Israel is antisemitic?

Well, McCann’s introduction of US senators into the tale begins when he strangely pivots away from Israeli reactions to Kerry’s comments about boycotts and addresses another unrelated topic, the response in the Senate to recent negotiations between Iran and the P5+1:

The statement quoted here most clearly reflective of stereotypical anti-Semitism was Mintz’s. However, it’s the viewpoint of the Zionist ultras which has been adopted by a majority of US senators. Forty-three Republicans and 16 from Kerry’s Democrats responded to the breakthrough in Munich by introducing a Bill imposing even harsher sanctions, with the option of war if Iran doesn’t surrender the modest gains achieved in Munich.

Whilst McCann grossly distorts the tentative agreement reached on Jan. 20 between Iran and the six world powers, he offers no evidence that any of the “Zionist ultra” senators supporting the bill – which would impose harsher sanctions on Iran if they failed to abide by a potential long-term agreement – ever uttered a word about antisemitism.

McCann’s villains – those who evidently casually accuse anyone and everyone who opposes Israeli positions of engaging in antisemitism – consist of straw men, conjured to support his polemical construct and advance his continuing Irish Times approved smears of Israel and its supporters.

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