The names of political parties often don’t convey much information.
Published: 12 October 2021
If you were a stranger to Northern Ireland politics, what would you make of the Democratic Unionist Party, the Progressive Unionist Party, the Traditional Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party?
At least all four are clear about being unionist, whereas the newcomer might have found it helpful had Sinn Féin (We Ourselves) and the Social Democratic and Labour Party put nationalist in their titles.
And going south, what about Fianna Fáil (Soldiers of Destiny) and Fine Gael (Tribe of the Irish)?
Fianna Fáil’s full name adds “The Republican Party”, but since the Republic of Ireland Act of 1948, which Irish political party isn’t a republican party? And to confuse our unfortunate student further, if anyone says republicans in the north or south, they’re talking about Sinn Féin, whose name might more helpfully be “Political Wing of the Allegedly Defunct Irish Republican Army Led By Apologists For Their Failed Terror Campaign”.
Yes, yes, I know there are decent if naïve people who vote for Sinn Féin, but it majors on hatred — hatred of Brits, hatred of unionists, ill-concealed hatred of what some of them call ‘The Free State’ (to signify that privately they think the legitimate government of the Irish state is actually the IRA), and to add an international twist, hatred of Israel, which in many cases is a hatred of Jews.
If anyone doubts that, I suggest they read ‘Antisemitism in Ireland’ (see link below) a devastating report on the Republic published last week by David Collier, an investigative journalist, who with well-researched factual information spends his life combating the propaganda campaign geared enable the destruction of Israel.
Now I am an unapologetic Zionist. I believe that as the victims of centuries of hatred and persecution, the Jews need their own state. Although I am no more an uncritical friend of Israel than I am of unionists, I am similarly on their side against terrorists and hate-peddlars who want to expel or subjugate them.
Having been brought up in the Republic of Ireland, I am well aware that there was always some anti-semitism of the ‘Jews-crucified-Jesus’ variety, but I’ve been appalled how in recent years this has morphed into actual loathing of a well-functioning, democratic state that despite being surrounded by enemies treats its minorities decently.
With good reason, the Israeli foreign service assesses Ireland as probably the most hostile European government, for as Collier shows, much of this is driven from the top down. There are very few political voices challenging one-sided political and media opinion that has adopted Palestinians as the most fashionable of causes.
Forget about the murders of Putin’s political opponents or China’s genocidal policies against the Uighurs, the bad guys are the Israelis, at present condemned for military operations in Gaza targeted against Hamas. There are only rare mentions that the operations are defensive, that after Israel left Gaza in the interests of peace, Hamas imposed a brutal, totalitarian government, and that it terrifies Israel civilians with rocket attacks.
Against this background, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is seen as noble, yet its goal is the destruction of Israel.
In May a shameful partisan motion in the Dáil demonising Israel, driven by Sinn Féin, was loudly supported by pro-Palestinian charities like Trócaire and Christian Aid and by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
It was passed unanimously.
A call to expel the Israeli ambassador and diplomatic staff was defeated because that was too much even for the very pro-Arab Simon Coveney.
Now that I’ve read all 202 pages of Colliers’s research and analysis, my belief that Sinn Féin is the driving force in behind the Irish demonisation of Israel has been borne out.
Yes they have a few vociferous allies on the hard left and among the deluded, including those who have accepted from Palestinians without question the kind of propaganda a tourist would get from a Falls Road taxi driver, but they lead the pack, putting into effect with great success their decades of experience of demonising their victims in Northern Ireland.
Unionists will recognise the tactics.
Let’s just look at a few examples of Sinn Féin Twitter hate-speech.
Reda Cronin, SF TD for Kildare North, tweeted that Israel took Nazism to a new level; Aengus Ó Snodaigh, SF TD for Dublin South-Central, when he was Sinn Féin spokesman on international affairs and human rights tweeted: “Israel is without doubt one of the most abhorrent and despicable regimes on the planet”, and Matt Carty, SF TD for Cavan-Monaghan: “If ever there was a regime that not only deserved to have diplomats expelled but to be internationally ostracised it’s Israel.” Sinn Fein activists and supporters pump out lies and abuse daily, but make no mistake, this is led from the top.
In his day, Gerry Adams was one of the leading Irish enemies of that vulnerable little country. These days, Mary Lou McDonald is running fast with his baton. If you don’t believe me, read her disgusting speech in the debate of 25 May.
The IRA and its supporters had to invent a new reality in order to maintain their hatred and justify their brutality.
I call them Sinn Féin – the Hate Party.