Palestinian narrative appropriation is not confined to Ukraine

Response to "Annexations are not confined to Ukraine", Kathy Sheridan in the Irish Times, 14 September 2022. Opinion, by David Guy

Ever since I first took a deeper interest in the Israel-Arab conflict, I have noticed Palestine supporters shamelessly appropriating the struggles, narratives if you will, of groups over the world, as if they were mirror images of the Palestinian.

When I was nineteen, it was Palestinian identification with the Viet Cong. Somehow guerrilla war with the United States equated to Palestinians bombing planes, buses and supermarkets. There is even an Irish connection. In 1986, Palestinian Nezar Hindawi gave his unknowing, pregnant Irish girlfriend Anne-Marie Murphy an explosive suitcase and sent her on a plane to Israel. Viet Cong, indeed.

Other appropriated narratives include those of Australian Aborigines, Native Americans, South African Blacks, Irish Republicans (supported, armed and financed by the Soviet Union’s KGB as were the PLO), Black Lives Matter and even the Jewish narrative of Right-of-Return. Ms. Sheridan’s appropriation of the Ukrainian narrative is a current case in point.

Ms. Sheridan not surprisingly has internalised Palestinian Cognitive Dissonance. When they are initiating violence they are resisting occupation. When they suffer the inevitable consequences, they are stone-throwing children, punished for no conceivable reason, with nary a mask nor an AK-47 in sight.

Just as an intellectual exercise, perhaps Ms. Sheridan could imagine being strapped to a chair and having them throw ‘pebbles’ at her. How long before she screams for the Gardai to save her? If she is stronger-willed or perhaps more resistant to accepting reality, those children, often with beards and prominent Adam’s apples, can progress, as they do, to knives, petrol bombs, suicide belts, firearms, rocket propelled grenades, incendiaries, anti-tank missiles, mortars and high-explosive rockets, until she imagines a reason to protect herself.

As a brief exercise I have thought of some compelling reasons why the world including Ireland doesn’t equate Palestinians with Ukrainians. The inhabitants of the Ukraine haven’t refused compromise for seven decades. They haven’t engaged in high profile terrorist attacks against Russia and ethnic Russians. They haven’t threatened the destruction of Russia and its replacement with a Ukrainian state. They haven’t betrayed former friends and allies. They haven’t taken billions in world aid and used it to make war and line the pockets of a corrupt elite. They have honest elections.

2011 Eilat bus attack: Ukrainians haven’t engaged in terrorist attacks against Russians
2011 Eilat bus attack: Ukrainians haven’t engaged in terrorist attacks against Russians

Perhaps it is something more to do with self-interest. Kiev is not simply closer to Dublin. What is happening over there is already having serious economic effects on Ireland and Europe as a whole. Palestine, not at all. They do not and have never produced anything the world needs or wants, except stricter baggage checks and longer lines at airports.

Along with Ms. Sheridan, I also wish the performers from Lajee Dabka well on their tour. Bethlehem plays a major part in Christian imagination, Catholic and Protestant. What a pity the Christian population of that city is not so slowly being ethnically cleansed by the Muslim majority.

Opinion, by David Guy

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