This afternoon I turned up for the third vigil in a row staged by Sinn Fein in opposition to the Israeli War on Gaza, the venue again being The Tholsel in Drogheda’s town centre. With my previous companions busy for one reason or another I headed down on my own, ten minutes late and without my phone and its built in camera
On my own but hardly alone I assumed my place in the group. As with previous weeks there was a sizeable turnout, and no rain from Yahweh to deter us from protesting against the actions of those who tell us they are a government of his chosen people and therefore have licence to murder pretty much in the same way that he murdered his way through the Old Testament.
It is always interesting to observe the ordinariness of the people taking part in our weekly vigil. No "lords and ladies", poodles and corgis in tow, just normal people taking time out from their daily routine to register disgust at affairs the great and the good seem neutral on. Taking part in today’s event was a man with one hand on the pram his child lay in and awkwardly using the other to brandish a poster, held in place by his chin. He managed. The presence of his young child evoked a symbolism. Children of that age and younger have been routinely murdered by Israel for less. People of all age groups came out today: pensioners, teenagers, infants - people of conscience with the same age profile as the murdered of Gaza. On more than one occasion passers-by would stop and ask what the vigil was about. They were seeing it for the first time which meant more people are being reached.
Our weekly protest might be a small event in a small town in a small country. But as part of the Irish collective effort it is bearing fruit. During the week it came to light that the deputy Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Nurit Tinari-Modai, had taken grave exception to the persistence of the Irish objection to the criminal regime she represents. Apart from our government, that is, who she claims is behaving in a balanced manner. Which means taking no side between those who commit crimes against humanity and the humanity the crimes target. She was reported as having lambasted us as heathens although this was later denied. What was not withdrawn were her comments that we are:
ignorant, anti-Semitic, with an intensely rooted hatred of Jews, that under the disguise of caring for Palestinians they accuse Israel of crimes against humanity, that Israel is the embodiment of evil ... It is very hysterical. So they burn Israeli flags, they commit vandalism in shops that sell Israeli produce ...They threaten, they demonstrate in cities and towns. This is the mob standing behind the call for boycotting Israeli goods ….. It is frustrating, it is challenging, but we have no alternative but to win.
All of us do some of those things. Some of us do all of those things. What none of us do is massacre children as they sleep or play soccer on a beach. There is solace to be drawn from the fact that we are discomfiting this liar for hire and are "frustrating and challenging" Israeli war crimes and their spin doctors in Ireland.
Being smeared by this repugnant cheerleader for a repulsive war is a badge we can wear with pride. Maligning is her stock in trade. A few years ago she urged a smear campaign against fellow Israelis in Ireland conscientious enough to put humanity ahead of their tribe and who campaigned on behalf of Palestinian rights:
It is possible to obtain names of the Israelis … you have to try and hit their soft underbellies, to publish their photographs, maybe that will cause embarrassment from their friends in Israel and their family, hoping that local activists would understand that they may actually be working on behalf of Mossad.
Happy to be a heathen and in the mood to reinforce the point, I turned up wearing my atheist badge. Better to stand with the heathen than the hangman.