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September 6, 2016 11:06 pm

‘I’m a Zionist,’ Irish Journalist Writes in Criticism of Celtic Fans Who Waved Palestinian Flags During Recent Game Against Israeli Team

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Irish journalist Ruth Dudley Edwards. Photo: Twitter.

Irish journalist Ruth Dudley Edwards. Photo: Twitter.

Fans of a popular European soccer team who waved Palestinian flags during a recent home match against an Israeli team are clueless about the history of the Middle East conflict, an Irish columnist wrote on Monday.

Ruth Dudley Edwards of the Belfast Telegraph opened her Monday column by saying she had received “vicious” online responses from “ignoramuses, anti-Zionists and anti-semites” after a previous column in which she criticized the behavior of Celtic fans during an Aug. 17 game in Glasgow against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Edwards then proceeded to offer a history lesson and passionate defense of Israel to Celtic fans.

“I’m a critical friend of Israel…but I passionately believe in its right to exist,” she wrote. “In other words, I’m a Zionist.”

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Edwards wrote:

Israel is a fine country which contributes mightily to the world, culturally, scientifically, technologically and in many other ways, while being in the Middle East a model of democracy and religious tolerance where women and gays can live like free people.

I’m desperately sorry for most Palestinians, but their miserable plight is mainly the fault of bigoted and callous leaders who at every turn have blocked a two-state solution with a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine living side by side in peace.

Furthermore, Edwards noted, “Twitter will scream that Jews have no right to settle in the Middle East, yet they’ve been there for over 3,000 years.”

She continued:

The land they presently occupy, as well as the West Bank, was mainly occupied by Jews until sequential persecution from the first century AD by Romans, Christians and — from the seventh century — Muslims, forced most of the survivors to flee.

As a people, they have never ceased to yearn for their ancient homeland which provided a refuge for many tens of thousands at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century from Russian pogroms and the rising anti-semitism in Europe.

Edwards also castigated the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), writing that the group “was supposed to help them [Palestinian refugees] escape their refugee status, but like so many institutions which — consciously or unconsciously – make their own survival a priority, it preferred to grant that status forever to anyone descended from a Palestine refugee.” She went on to say that “[i]t suits most Arab countries to encourage generation after generation to think themselves helpless victims of Israel, leave them to rot in camps mainly supported by the West and feed them anti-Jewish hate.”

As reported in The Algemeiner, another Belfast Telegraph columnist recently wrote it was “time to stand by Ireland’s Jews” following the desecration of Jewish graves at a cemetery in the Northern Irish capital.

Henry McDonald said that some had pointed to the recent fining of Celtic over its fans’ display of Palestinian flags during the game against Hapoel Be’er Sheva as the catalyst for the vandalism. However, McDonald declared, “[W]hatever the motivation, or even the rights and wrongs of the Israel-Palestine question, it is undoubtedly the case that the desecration was motivated by anti-Jew hatred.”

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  • richard harris

    As far as I can make out the only posts here which do not attempt to insult, demonise or denigrate anyone are from those who support the Celtic supporters who wished to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.

    As for a ‘history lesson’ from the learned journalist … she gave us merely opinion with few actual facts but a whole lot of patronising comment.

    “Twitter will scream that Jews have no right to settle in the Middle East, yet they’ve been there for over 3,000 years.” Well Twitter ‘screams’ nothing of the sort (unless you have evidence) and plenty of Jewish historians such as Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe might suggest that the author qualify the statement about Jewish presence in the region being ‘in some form’ and ‘alongside their Arab neighbours with whom they peacefully shared an existence’.

    In common with many other Zionists and right-wing Israelis Ms Edwards wishes to translate a simple show of solidarity into an attack on Israel itself … when it is nothingof the sort. One would have to wonder why?

    • Panim

      Mr. Harris.

      Are you Christian?

      Do you think your bible lies to you? It documents Jews being in the Holy Land when Jesus was born, some 600 years before Muhammad arrived (probably without a visa).

      Now the Muslims protest, where were they when Jesus was being tried?

      In 1099, Jews fought the Crusaders along side Muslims.

      As long as a non-Muslim does not rule over a Muslim, there is peace, but when a non-Muslim attempts to enforce laws that are not according to Islam you have Nice, Paris, NYC, and other attacks.

  • Marcus

    The Belfast Telegraph columnist is ignorant about what the flag waving was actually about. It was a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people, particularly the youth, it wasn’t anti-Israel. The game was shown on Israeli TV and the point was to show that 2500 miles away people haven’t forgotten the plight of the ordinary, working man Palestinian. A go fund me page was set up to pay the fine the club would be receiving from UEFA with the hope of raising the expected £15k penalty, it has now reached £168k for a youth club in Bethlehem and a medical charity.
    The mopes and hand-wringers, like Ms.Dudley-Edwards, are disingenuously suggesting that the Scots and Irish unilaterally oppose Israels right to exist, utter hogwash, the vast majority understand the situation perfectly well, they just don’t forget that there is 2 sides to every story and that ordinary Palestinian lives matter too.

    • Steve

      The “working man” Palestinian also refuses to agree to peace with Jews or with Israel, and chose, the last time the Palestinians had elections, to be represented by the lunatic Hamas terrorist organization, who would mass-murder every single Israeli Jew the second they had the power to do so.

    • Bobby Stern

      What a crock!

    • Stas

      That’s very touching. I do hope the money will really go to help children and job creation, and not for salaries of professional anti Israel fighters in PLO or as stipends to plain terrorists, that PLO openly pays. Palestinian Arabs are relatively poor not for luck of funding (they received huge amount of money), but because of rampant corruption (how Arafat became a billionaire?), and spending on terror instead of on wealth production.

    • Lynne T

      Unfortunately the lives of Palestinians matter much less to their ostensible leaders than they do to anyone else, including the government of the State of Israel.

    • This event was spouse to be an international sporting event not an arena to show hatriate and propaganda on false issues
      This people who accepted to have these flags waving has been tackled on the doors and without knowing found them self waving.these flags I even believe most of them they did not even know who represent this flags.
      Most of the Celtics believe on freedom and democracy and we all know the best model for this is Israel. God bless Israel

  • Sara

    Bravo!!! Only few people in this world know exactly what’s going on in the Middle East and are not scared of saying it. God bless Israel!!!

  • Frank Adam

    A bit like Abrahams bargaining to save Sodom and Gomorrah even if there were only ten good people there?

    Whatever Israel’s faults the behaviour of the Arab “leadership ” of the Palestine Arabs since 1920 is a textbook case of how not to succeed in politics, ie “Making Friends and Influencing People.”

  • moshe moshad

    if they wouldn’t put all that jew stuff on the gravestones no one would even know which graves were jew.

    • Maybe we should all convert too, because if there are no jews left, there won’t be any antisemitism. No. Hiding our jewish identity is something we should only do when we have no other choice (like the Moranos during the Spanish inquisition).

    • Aisha

      Moshe Moshad/Yaakov the resident antisemite pretending to be a self-hating Jew. Every Jewish site has many of them.

      If you need evidence that these are 99% non-Jewish antisemites, study the edits of antisemitic admins/editors of Wikipedia, you’ll see the majority of people by far obsessed with exaggerating self-hating Jews are non-Jews with an obsession with the Jews.

    • Panim

      Moshe, Do you see anyone going to Ramle to destroy Christian and Muslim graves? Was it in Tunis, that the CWGC cemetery was destroyed? Why? Are they all Jews?

      The hatred of some has no boundaries. If you think that hiding will cause anyone to like you, you are mistaken.

  • Gertrude

    So now we have 2 Scott/Irish people that are not seriously obsessed with murdering us, and blaming everything wrong with the world, on us for thousands of years straight.

    We have her and Niall Ferguson, 2 down a few million to go.

    • Andrea

      Actually, you will find that the majority of Irish don’t actually care about what is happening in the middle east, one way or another. It is a minority of loud idiots who are beyond annoying regarding everything else as well. Our left in Ireland has been high jacked by malcontents and identity fanatics who are obsessed with blaming imaginary enemies such as jews, for Ireland’s and the world’s ills, instead of telling everyone on our island to look in the mirror at the source of the real problems in Ireland.

      I for one am apposed to the destruction of Israel and want to see a negotiated settlement between all sides in every conflict, in which everyone can live in peace.

      As for the BDS people, they are anti-semetics blinkered by hatred of jews to the point they actually prefentially attack sales of goods produced by Palestinians, so as to get Palestinians fired and production moved to jewish areas. They do not seem to comprehend how much modern medicine depends on Israeli inventions, how much modern electronics and software is either wholly or partially designed in Israel or that Israel is usually the fastest country to deliver emergency aid to any disaster.

      Here in Ireland we turned a blind eye for decades to the systematic working to death of women in work houses run by the catholic church, the systematic sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children by the church and the sale of children for adoption in foreign countries from women who were deemed to be impure.

      As for the fanatical support for Hamas and PLO. Until I see a gay pride event in Gaza, I will stay opposed to those organisations.

      I know Israel is far from perfect, but living in Ireland we have no right to point our fingers and judge anyone.

  • SteveHC

    A wonderful woman indeed!