Dan Boyle: When Calling Out Murder Is Anti-Semitic



From top: O’Connell Street, Dublin on Tuesday night following the deaths of protestors in Gaza; Dan Boyle

I have come to the conclusion that I must be something of an anti-Semite. It is a difficult thing to define. Most dictionaries describe Semite as a grouping of languages from the Middle East, spoken by now long disappeared peoples such as the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. In the present day largely only Hebrew and Arabic survive.

While I have no animus against these historic cultures, it seems that the evolution of anti-semitism has become directed solely at one linguistic group and their faith/belief system.

There can be no doubt that, despite having contributed positively, and hugely out of proportion to their numbers, to global culture and history, the Jewish people have seen their fate to have become the most demonised, prejudiced against, and persecuted of people.

In the period of World history that has been dominated by adherents of Christianity, Jewdom has been horribly discriminated against. Culminating in the unforgivable and unforgiving Holocaust of the Second World War.

A level of Christian guilt saw the making of The Balfour Declaration of 1917. This was a well-intentioned initiative in recognising the need for a Jewish State. Once put in place after the Second World War, its application to address a colossal, horrendous wrong, created a whole new series of further wrongs, now against the existing inhabitants of Palestine. The British brilliance with borders reached new heights here.

The basis of any religion is that its adherents are a chosen/special people. The fervency of such beliefs when linked to a national identity is a particularly potent mix.

That said the emerging State of Israel came through its beleaguered beginnings, when all around it sought to prevent its establishment, with additional strength. The new State sought to be more democratic and somewhat more diverse than its neighbouring countries. Credit should also given to the level of innovation that was created in the new State, in the least auspicious of circumstances.

However, somewhere along the line the justified sense of siege felt by Israelis has been transformed in hubris. Going beyond thinking themselves as ‘God’s Chosen People’, they began to see other people, with whom they shared the same space, as a sub species. Creatures to be corralled, caged, interned, interred, kicked and spat upon. All in the name of National Security.

This term has replaced patriotism as the last refuge of scoundrels. Any angry waving of arms, or throwing of sticks and stones, provokes a ‘justified’ shoot to kill response from those with the superior technology and weaponry. When the opposing arsenal includes Swiss Army knives and Molotov cocktails, an even more vicious response is evoked.

Any criticism of this is refuted not as being an expression of revulsion, but as an extension of an age old sectarianism, irrationally and hatefully aimed towards Jews and Jewishness.

Questioning the actions of the Israeli State through its government, now apparently, constitutes the height of prejudice.

This redefinition has passed many of us by. Nonetheless some of us must now redefine ourselves, through our audacity in calling out murder is as murder does, as being anti-Semites.

We inhabit the same space as the Ku Klux Klan and the most crazed of Islamic fundamentalists. In the Middle East there can be no nuance. Only the righteous can prevail.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle


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32 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: When Calling Out Murder Is Anti-Semitic

  1. ollie

    not much difference between a war to establish a jewish state and a ear to establish a muslim state?

    1. bisted

      …at least the pretense of a two-state solution has finally been abandoned…it was used solely by the zionists to continue their ethnic cleansing and establish their apartheid regime.

      The only solution that has provided a peace over the millenia has been the secular state of Palestine…

        1. bisted

          …no new state…just reverting to the old secular state of Palestine that was there before the Nakba

          1. Andrew

            There was no state called Palestine, secular or otherwise, before the so called Nakba and again I ask what is to become of Israel when this new state is established which most certainly would not be secular.

          2. bisted

            …the zionist project has failed and should be dismantled before there is any further bloodshed…

          3. bisted

            …typical of those pesky Palestinians…not accepting being driven out of their homes and land…how ungrateful…just look how well it has worked out in the 6 Counties…

          4. realPolithicks

            “…the zionist project has failed and should be dismantled before there is any further bloodshed…”

            And what happens to the current citizens of Israel?

          5. realPolithicks

            “…dunno…what happened to the citizens of Palestine?”

            Don’t know and don’t care is what you are really saying. You also stated “before there is any further bloodshed” thats just Palestinian blood though right, not Israeli blood.

  2. Paul

    Been like this for a good while too – sometimes when I look at how Israel acts today I wonder if everything we’ve been led to believe about them and their persecution might have been embellished at the very least and outright falsified at worst.
    But that’s a story for another day as it’s proven unlikely that lies get told by victors, the truth always reigns supreme irrespective of who’s creating it.

    1. spudnick

      This is the worst kind of comment. Superficially, coherently written; but actually a word salad with a very unpleasant inference at the heart of it.

    2. Junkface

      Bloody Hell! Are you denying the holocaust Paul? This is why the first US General on the scene at Auschwitz insisted that their cameraman film everything, all of the horror, and no one was aloud to touch anything until it was all recorded. He knew future generations might say it never happened.

      Also, you should really visit the Jewish Holocaust museum in Berlin to really get to grips with the reality of persecution of Jews throughout Europe going back almost 1000 years. You need to educate yourself, read History books.

    3. Starina

      oh look, a Holocaust denier.

      Not all Jews are Zionists. Not all Zionists are Jews. Many Jews do not support the Israeli apartheid (myself included). Many Israelis do not support the Israeli apartheid.

      Also, what part of 6 million dead Jewish people makes us the victors?

    4. realPolithicks

      I’m not in the least bit surprised that this character is a holocaust denier.

  3. Twunt

    Hamas is led by an anti-Semite who questions the Holocaust. Hamas murder gays and adulterers. Hamas manipulate weak people into sacrificing themselves by suicide bombings and stupid publicity stunts. Hamas play the victim to lefty liberal media. Hamas are worse than the IRA.

    Israel cannot help themselves in taking the bait. This will continue for a long time.

    1. Junkface

      I agree. Its probably one of the most complicated problems to solve in the world. This is what happens when an Empire power decides to do something like The plantation of Ulster with Scottish and English Prodestants in the 17th Century. Robbing land of the people who lived their as far back as they know. It creates chaos and resentment that lasts generations, so its crazy that the British with the UN did it again with the Palestinians, displacing them with Jews in 1948. The British Empire has created chaos in the world, well at least two of the most troubled regions, not to mention Iraq and Iran,

  4. shitferbrains

    “Chosen People ” means chosen to believe in one god . The British worked hard at the UN in 1948 – through Ernest Bevin – to prevent the establishment of Israel. Professor Norman Geras answered the question of whether criticism of Israel was anti-semitic by saying ” No it isn’t. Unless it is “. Good article otherwise.

  5. shitferbrains

    ” The state of Israel should be dismantled before there is any more bloodshed ” Possibly the most inane comment ever.

    1. bisted

      …mmm…think I said the zionist project…is that the pariah ‘state’ you refer to?

      1. shitferbrains

        The zionist project is now a state whether you like it or not. Have you any examples of state dismantling that haven’t involved violence ? Have you not noticed what happen to those states that try to cram reluctant ethnic groupings under a single banner..like the former Yugoslavia , or Czechoslovakia ? They fly apart .

  6. Dinny Do Well?

    All killing is wrong. Palestinians should not have been wound up to encroach on the border. The IDF should not have killed them. There are two wrongs here not making anything right, or even best thing to do.

    No political will or leadership on either side, or someone in the middle, to stop this killing and engage so both sides can live together.

    The politics of the last atrocity continues.

    1. Iwerzon

      “There are two wrongs here not making anything right..
      Eh, I think one of the wrongs is a bit worse that the other.

  7. Dinny Do Well?

    Good post Dan. But you’re not an anti-semite. it’s a handy slur that now lost its currency in the market of hate anyway.

    The Elephant in the Room of course is…. the 2019 Eurovision.

  8. Iwerzon

    Israel, as we know it today, is doomed and it is their own making. The rest of the world knows them for the fascists (ironically) that they are and there is evidence of international movement to address their barbaric behaviour. The apartheid Israeli state – with it’s unregulated nuclear arsenal – sectarian constitution and self destructive siege mentality will soon reach the end of the road. A South Africa style boycott is inevitable. The Palestinians living in what Israelis claim as Israel and who are disenfranchised will eventually get their vote and the demography will change. Refugees will eventually have their right to come home. Israel knows all this yet they are delusional. If they act now they may well secure a 2 state solution before it is too late.
    Have a listen to this Israeli journalist being interviewed about the genocide in Gaza the other day:

  9. tiny_d

    This whole article feels like a bit of a straw man, based as it is on the (wrong) presumption that anyone who criticises the Israeli state’s actions is automatically labelled an anti-semite. By doing this, Dan’s argument also risks downplaying actual anti-semitism, which is a very real and dangerous thing. And the old “Arabs are Semites too” thing is BS too – the term “anti-semitism” has the very specific meaning of hatred of Jews, nothing else.

    It’s pretty simple really, if you condemn Israel’s actions, say so, and if you think those actions constitute murder, explain why. No need to fall into the “I’m here to fearlessly tell it like it is” cliches.

  10. Deimos

    Alas hatred of “the jews” is a small but virulent part of at least one “holy book” from this region, making it almost impossible for followers of those books to live in peace with anyone Jewish. So whatever the behaviour of Israel, be it shooting live rounds or offering “land for peace” – there is unlikely to be peace.

    You need to carefully read the antisemitic holy books to find the roots of this hatred, or just Google it. Suffice to say that while those books are treated as instructional texts there will be no peace in the levant.

    Peace Dudes and Dudettes

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