Kevin Myers: Cead mile failte to Hell, Mr Israeli ambassador
Trying to argue Israel's case to the Irish is no longer the futile burden of Zion Evonry. God help his successor in just about the worst assignment an Israeli diplomat can ever get
The Israeli Ambassador Zion Evonry is returning home: his time in Hell is done. Now it is the turn of some other poor bastard in the Israeli diplomatic service to come over and meet the conjoined forces of hatred, ignorance, blindness, hysteria and prejudice that the name ' Israel' invariably inspires. Short of Hamas opening up a few death-camps for Jews now, rather than after they've finally defeated Israel, I'm not sure what would destroy the irrational Israelophobia that is so powerful in Ireland.
Critics of Israel deplore its origins within the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which committed the British to making a homeland for the Jews. So do I. It was not British land, and no British government had any right to make any promises about it. But I cannot revisit the past and restore the Hapsburg Empire, or overthrow Bolshevism. Many things resulted from that terrible time. One of those was the formal creation of a homeland in Palestine for Jews. The forces that erupted across Europe in the following decades produced an entirely new world order, in which Israel took its place, as thousands of Palestinians either fled, or were forced to flee, their homes.
But comparable things happened across the world around the same time, in the Punjab and Bengal, East Prussia and Sudetenland, the Baltic and Tartary. And so we must deal with the world that history has bequeathed us. We cannot endlessly undo events or 'return' people to the land their ancestors once inhabited -- either in Kashmir or in Kansas.
But this is where the world religio-cultures divide. For most Muslims do not accept that such historical processes are irreversible. They believe that once land is Dar al-Islam -- the abode of the faithful -- it can never be relinquished. If taken by non-believers, it then becomes Dar al-Harb: the abode of war, and shall remain so until it is restored to Islam. And so Israel has for the past 62 years been Dar al-Harb.
Indeed, neither the 'secular' PLO nor the Islamicist Hamas sees a long-term resolution in the Middle East that will genuinely include the state of Israel. Even for many 'moderate' Palestinians, the twin-state solution is the merely the stepping-stone to the status quo ante the Balfour Declaration. Palestine will thus be restored to the Dar al-Islam and the Caliphate.
Now, if you oppose the right of Israel to exist, that's clear enough: you want the Jews of Israel either dispersed or killed, so there's not much to discuss, other than train timetables, methodology (gas or gun?) and corpse-disposal. It's been done before; maybe this time, you'll get it right.
But if you support the right of Israel to exist, but condemn Israeli methods for coping with Palestinian terrorism, then how do you propose to deal with the volleys of thousands of Hamas rockets into Israeli towns from Gaza? You want a proportionate response? Very well, tell us what is proportionate. If you are against suicide bombers, but are opposed to the wall that has successfully prevented suicide bombers from entering Israel from the West Bank, then what is your realistic and efficient alternative to the wall?
Emoting over the plight of the Palestinian refugees -- a fond pastime in this country -- begs the question: why are they still refugees? Why haven't they been absorbed by their Arab neighbours as the Muslims of the Indian Punjab have been in Pakistan; as the Hindus of Lahore have in Amritsar; as the Germans of Danzig have been in Hamburg?
Why? Because, quite simply, most of Israel's neighbours don't want a permanent, irreversible peace with the Jewish state. They want Dar al-Harb by terrorism and political instability until the day of jihad arrives, after which the Dar al-Islam will be restored. If this means keeping the people of the Gaza Strip confined in an open-air madhouse, so be it. Thus, Gaza is the paradise where Shariah law rules, where it is illegal for girls to ride bikes, where honour-killings are legitimate and where all the members of the 'secular' Fatah movement have been butchered by Hamas. And if Islamic fundamentalists do that to their fellow Palestinians, what have they in mind for the Jews, whom the Koran calls "pigs and monkeys"?
One-hundred-and-fifty Irish 'artists' have announced they are boycotting Israel. What, 150? That's about 140 more than I thought we had. Poor Israel! Being boycotted by Irish daubers it's never even heard of. Yet strangely enough, these 'artists' don't condemn the totalitarian Islamo-Nazism of Hamas, or the emerging Fourth Reich of Iran. No, instead, they obsess over the misdeeds of a democratic state the size of Munster in a democracy-free, Arab landmass as big as the US.
Ah well. Trying to argue Israel's case to the Irish people is no longer the bitter, futile burden of Zion Evonry. So, safe home, my friend, and God help your successor, in just about the worst assignment an Israeli diplomat can ever get. The only local consolation I can draw from this endless tragedy is that without it, the modernist composer Raymond Deane, who is also the leader of the Ireland-Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, might otherwise be writing even more of his 'music'. So thank you for that, Israel: and shalom, Zion.