The Whiskey Talking

A new brouhaha is surfacing that can only be described as surreal. An Irish dance company in Israel will be initiating Israel's first national Feis (a Celtic folk dance celebration). Now, by any stretch of the imagination, 'tis a glorious idea. But in the Mideast, nothing is simple. Nor in Ireland. It seems the Irish are upset.

IT IS [sic] due to be the first Irish dancing festival in Israel, attracting competitors from across the world. But calls for a boycott by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) are threatening the future of a Tel Aviv feis due to take place in August. -- The Sunday Times

Why the Irish would be upset that the Jews have embraced Celtic dancing is a wonderment. The Jews are usually a discerning breed, and a Hebraic imprimatur on Gaelic art should be seen as quite an achievement. But the benighted Irish have always confounded the observer.

It is necessary to start with the world-renowned Carey Dance Academy, founded "by John Carey, a former world champion who toured with Riverdance ..." They set up shop in Israel, where lure of the Gael seems to have caught on, with a fair degree of success, as this Irish flash mob at the Ramat-Gan shopping mall should show (Click Here).  And they drew competition from other Israeli companies, as this glorious display of young Hebrew lasses doing a quick step at Rehovat for Puim (Click Here) has shown.


It seems the Carey Dance Academy had a wee bit of inspiration -- probably arrived at in a most unfortunately sober moment of reflection, sobriety being the source of so many problems for the Gael -- and decided that now was the time for Israel to have a National Feis, being a competition of all thing Hibernian. There would be fair young lasses, Irish music, probably some fiddles, and, course, the pipes... the pipes... would be calling. Who knows, but some pluck lad might even bring some whiskey to lubricate the festivities. Everything but a declaration of war against England. A grand time was guaranteed.

The Carey Academy Israel invites dancers from all over the world to compete in Irish solo and ceili dancing. This most romantic and at the same time exciting championship will take place under the hot Mediterranean sun of the colorful city of Tel Aviv. Live music will be performed by Anthony Davis from Birmingham. The highly qualified world class judges Seamus and Aine O’Se from Dublin, will judge to the highest standard. The sea of impressions and of awards are waiting for you! Join the feis, show your skills, surprise your competitors, and amaze the audience. -- FACEBOOK

'Tis a grand idea, one would think, in the spirit of a John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. One can almost hear the seraphim strains of the Isle of Innisfree wafting over the Holy Land.

Aye! alas, it seems a donnybrook is brewing.

It seems the real Irish, the ones in Eire, have arrived to conclude that the Israelis are hated imperialists, no better that the noxious British blaggards who oppressed the Gael, and still occupy Ulster. The Irish now support the Palestinian resistance, and are furious that any Irish dance troupe would stage a Feis in Israel. The Irish support Palestine.

Now what on earth there is in common between a whiskey drinking Catholic Gael, descendent of a race known for ferocious women, and an abstemious sharia observant Muslim who terrorizes their females -- Maureen O'Hara would have straightened them out -- is beyond comprehension, unless apprehended through a flagon of the craythur.  But the Irish, the real Irish in Eire, are now upset and asking for a boycott of the Feis.

Saints preserve us!

The problem is that the Irish are misinterpreting history. Their focus is off, always a consequence of toxic spirits -- probably a consequence of drinking Bushmill's, that Protestant bilge made in occupied Antrim, rather than some genuine Tullamore Dew from Country Offaly. One has to remember, Catholic whiskey supercharges the neurons, while Protestant whiskey befogs the critical senses. The Irish have misinterpreted the Israelis as being analogous to the perfidious Saxon, and have drown the wrong conclusions.

A quick recapitulation of history should suffice to clear the mind. It is recommended to assess this list with the assistance of a pint of Guiness so as to fortify the reason:

  • In the 7th century Islamic Arabs invaded and settled in the Holy Land.
  • In the 17th century Saxons and Lowlanders invaded and settled in Ulster.
  • Judea and Samaria is the religious heartland of Israel.
  • Armagh in Ulster is the religious heart of Ireland, where Patrick built his church.
  • The invaders of the Holy Land were predestinarian Islamicists.
  • The invaders to Ulster were predestinarian Calvinists.
  • The Muslims instituted Muslim supremacy.
  • The Calvinists set up a Protestant Ascendancy.
  • The Jews were oppressed and betrayed by the British.
  • When weren't the Irish oppressed by the British?
  • The Irish had the IRA.
  • Ytzhak Shamir's code name was Michael, named after Michael Collins, founder of the IRA.
  • Ireland won partial freedom in 1921.
  • Israel won partial freedom in 1949.
  • Ireland was divided.
  • Israel was divided.
  • The Irish still want the rest of their country back.
  • The Jews still want the rest of their country back.

There are some differences to be sure. The Jews are far more sober -- a most deleterious predicament to find oneself in -- and this may account for the different levels of success to each society.

The Irish have tended to view the world in light of their own experience leading to some bizarre alignments. In the 16th century, the Irish aligned with absolutist Catholic Spain. In the 18th century with anti-Catholic Republican France. IRA members seem to have assisted the Irgun in the 1940s. By the 1970s, they were assisting Qaddafi. The only thing these contradictory affiliations had in common was enmity with England.

Their struggle with England warped the Irish worldview. I cannot fault the Irish for rising up against England. Our George Washington did the same thing; but the Irish lacked Washington's discernment -- which is not to condemn them; Washington was a rare man. But this myopia has distorted their worldview entirely, and led to serious misjudgments which no amount of even the finest whiskey can alleviate.

One could just as easily make the case that the Irish are more like the Jews than the Palestinians -- well, except for sobriety.

When it comes to the whiskey, the Irish share nothing in common with Muslims at all. The Muslims are prohibitionist pagans, no better than some scandalous teetotaling Protestant temperance societies. What are the Irish thinking? Begorrah! Get hold of yourself man!  Sit down. Have a drink! You'll feel better.

At first, an affiliate school in Minnesota applauded the feis but was shillelaghed into silence.  Extremists were taking over the argument. As Yeats said, "The centre cannot hold."

But after the O’Shea School of Irish Dance in Saint Paul, Minnesota announced on their Facebook page (now scrubbed) their delight at their affiliate school in Dublin, the renowned Scoil Rince ui She, being asked to adjudicate the event, everything suddenly kicked off. -- Mondoweiss

So the Carey Academy is under great worldwide pressure to cave; yet they issued this statement in defiance:

It is not about politics, it is about bringing together people of different backgrounds, teaching them to respect each other no matter of their race, religion etc and thus create understanding, not drawing more lines in the sand. Irish dance, as well as any art form should not be limited to any particular group of people but available to anyone willing to learn.

“We are dancing for peace and friendship, not for politics, -- Irish Central

So we will wish Mr. Carey the luck of the Irish, and tell him to duck. And we hope the Irish in Ireland will start drinking better hooch, so their discerning faculties will restore. May the feis go on.

Let this be a lesson to you all.  Only drink the good stuff!

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is not Jewish, Latin, nor Arab. He runs a website,, where he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.