Let's Teach Joe Biden Why the Palestinians Are Not like the Irish
President Biden's recent comment at a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel — where he compared the Palestinians' situation to the Irish under British rule — could be dismissed as a simple gaffe, except that the false analogy (the technical terms is casuistry) is gaining ground in Europe for all the wrong reasons.
In simple terms, the Irish have almost nothing in common with the Palestinians — not in their history, not in their culture, not in their situation.
Yes, the Irish were oppressed by the British, but that does not make them similar to the Palestinians, as if severe oppression were unique to the Palestinians. It makes the Irish similar to much of humanity.
Let's go over some facts:
1. The Irish are indigenous to Ireland. They have roots going back thousands of years in Eire. While I am not one to dismiss Palestinian nationality, it does not go back thousands of years. In fact, it is the Jews who go back thousands of years in the Holy Land. In the matter of indigeneity, the Irish are closer to the Jews.
2. The Irish — indeed, all of the Celts in general — are famous for strong women. The Irish produced Grace O'Malley, the Pirate Queen. The pre-English, indigenous British Celts produced Boudica, the queen who nearly drove the Romans out of Celtic Britain.
And the Muslim Arabs?
The Muslims mutilate their women with FGM and honor-kill them to keep them terrified and weak.
The Jews, on the other hand, honor Deborah, one of their prophetesses, who showed more courage than the warrior Barak.
In the case of women, the Irish are closer to the Jews. Jews and Celts produce strong women, while Muslims kill them.
3. And this is a biggie: the Irish really do drink.
Jews will drink, albeit moderately. Observant Muslims don't at all. By inspection, the Irish and Jews are closer.
This is not laughable. It indicates that the Irish and the Muslim Palestinians have genuinely different worldviews on basic levels.
4. The death tolls are not even close.
The Irish have come close to national destruction at the hands of the British twice — the first by Oliver Cromwell, the second time by the consequences of British land and economic policies in Ireland during the potato famine.
The figures are even more horrific for Ireland, however: a total of 618,000 deaths from fighting and disease out of a total pre-war population of c. 1.5 million, or 41 per cent of the population. No figures are given for transportation to Barbados. Further confirmation of the above figures can be obtained from The Civil War 1642–1651 by Michael St John Parker[.]
The Palestinian death toll from the 1947–49 war was — at a high estimate — at most 13,000, almost certainly less — essentially less than 1% of the population. Compare that to Ireland's 41% (see above).
The Arabs are not even in the same ballpark.
On the other hand, the British exclusionary White Paper of 1939 all but stopped immigration into Israel, just when the Jews needed it the most, during World War II. Hitler initially just wanted to deport the Jews. As a result, millions of Jews died. The death of Jews as an indirect result of this British policy exceeded even the levels of devastation to the Irish in numbers (6 million Jews, 618,000 Irish) and approximate the percentages (33% of Jews worldwide/66% of European Jews, 41% of Irish).
In death tolls, the Jews and Irish are far more similar, though even the Irish devastation was less.
5. The interference with food was not the same.
[The British government] also rejected another boatload of Indian corn already headed for Ireland.
Even if one alleges — only for argument's sake — that Israel committed ethnic cleansing in 1947–49, that is a far cry from the bloodshed inflicted on the Irish by England, or England's interference with aid during the famine. Contrariwise, Israel does not stop the flow of food into Gaza, as evinced by Gaza's continued population growth.
6. While the British did persecute Catholics, that officially ended in 1829, though severe social discrimination continued. Israel's record may be mixed, but nowhere did Israel treat the Muslims as badly as the English treated the Irish.
And frankly, Islam is the most intolerant religion of all. North Africa was once totally Christian. So much for Islamic tolerance.
7. While not diminishing the horrors inflicted on the Irish, their wars were often part of larger struggles.
This is not quite as well known, though it should be. The English (who ran the British government) went after not only the Irish, but also the Highland Scots (who were also Gaelic Celts, but Protestant). Almost three quarters of the Highlanders were driven out during the Highland Clearances. The English like to claim it was merely economics, but not when three quarters were driven off. Those who doubt can attend a Highland Games rally in North Carolina and ask about the history.
The only thing that the Irish and Palestinians have in common is that both feel persecuted. Every other metric shows more similarity between the Jews and the Irish. Whatever side one takes in the English/Irish debate, or the Israeli/Palestinian debate, the Celts are in no way similar to the Palestinians.
Ah! But didn't Ronald Storrs, the first military governor of Palestine, predict that a Jewish state would form "for England a little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism"?
It was a stupid statement when it was made. The pro-British Orangemen who garrisoned the northeast of Ireland for Britain were chiefly Lowland (not Highland) Scots. These Lowlanders were themselves chiefly of English, Norman, and Viking ancestry — not so much Celtic like the Highlanders — and all but indistinguishable from the English. Their loyalty was to be expected. The Jews who settled the Holy Land had no blood connection to England, as the Irgun guerrilla war against the British would later prove.
The Balfour Declaration's purpose was to form a "little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism", according to Ronald Storrs, "the first military governor of Palestine since Pontius Pilate" (his words). Not everything went to plan: the Zionist movement fell out with and, in the case of two groups, waged a campaign of guerilla warfare against Britain in the 1940s.
Bad analogies produce bad consequences. Just as bad are those who take the bad analogy — comparing the Jewish state to Ulster Orangemen — and then twist the consequential conclusion to the other extreme.
If the Zionists are like Orangemen, then the Irish are like Palestinians.
The first premise was false. The conclusion is even worse.
A more accurate statement might be:
Menachim Begin, a Zionist, fought the British; therefore, comparisons of the Palestinian dynamic to anything in England or Ireland are out of order.
This idiocy has taken off among the Palestinians, and even among many of the Irish, who should know better. Some Irish politicians have picked it up. Counter-but-still-erroneous has been taken up by pro-British Orangemen, who might support Israel, but often for the wrong reasons.
Thankfully, there are a few Irish people who have emerged out of the propaganda matrix. This site, below, points out the critical major difference between the IRA and the Palestinian cause.
[A]t no point [during the campaign against English rule in Northern Ireland] was there a desire to wipe out the United Kingdom. Nor was there ever a stated desire to commit genocide against British people. By contrast, Hamas and Fatah regularly try to outdo each in other in calling for Israel to be wiped off the map.
That is it in a nutshell. The Irish wanted freedom and independence from England, not the destruction of England.
All analogies of Palestine to Ireland collapse on that critical point.
All of this nonsense has been picked up by President Biden. It is horribly adolescent and off base, and superficial at best. Dishonest at worst. No competent historian would buy in to it.
Image via Pxhere.