Let me begin with a disclaimer. In no way am I condoning the actions of Israeli forces in the recent chapter of the perennial Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I completely disagree with their disproportionate show of force in response to the terrorist attacks aimed at them by Hamas.
What I find most sickening about the whole affair, however, is the inherent hypocrisy of anti-Israel protests working their way up and down the world.
Forgive me if my language is somewhat coarse over the course of the following text. I don't want this point to be drowned in a pointlessly pretentious show of eloquence.
Reading of some of the more recent protests, two startling details emerge. In a protest in London, the window of a local Starbuck's was kicked in. A McDonald's was attacked in Paris. Anti-Israelism and anti-Americanism go hand in hand, not to mention the abhorrent anti-Semitism which has also reared its ugly head lately (synagogues have already been attacked across the world.) Why do these people constantly seek to resort to violence? Does this not completely fly in the face of their constant shrieking cries of "justice for Palestine", a nation subjected to some of the most hideous violence in the world today (not that it hasn't dealt out its share, either)?
Scuffles ensued at a recent protest in Dublin between supporters of Israel and those of Palestine. While I can't say for certain who started it, I can take an educated guess. The Irish contingent of these people seem to come from the one core group and have all the time in the world to lend their voices to causes to an almost professional degree, and seem to be led primarily by one man; Richard Boyd Barrett, a contemptible excuse for a human being if ever there was one. He and his cronies are guilty of constantly hijacking worthwhile causes with their own unique brand of deliberately orchestrated violence and disorder.
Take one example particularly relevant to all students. Those who attended the anti-third level fees protest in October 2008 will remember this well. As the student masses gathered, along arrived these professional protestors, whistles, banners and dole cheques in tow. Not only that, but their Glorious Leader, RBB, was inexplicably given a voice on the speakers' podium at the protest's conclusion by someone who really should have known better. He took the opportunity like he takes every opportunity that has ever landed on his grubby little lap, and he twisted it to bleat his ridiculous anti-capitalist agenda to his appreciative followers. Thankfully, the rest of the crowd present were not so gullible.
But what of his followers? Throughout the course of the march, they constantly tried to push their way to the front of the throng, no doubt so as to display their banner and claim it in the name of the Irish Anti-War Movement or whatever fucking moniker they were operating under on that particular day. Before accusations are thrown my way as to not being aware of their true intentions, they've done it before, many a time, so it's easy to spot when they're trying to do it again. I have a message for them come the all-colleges protest on February 4th - fuck off. You're not welcome.
Something worrying came to light after the protest ended. Across the street lay broken eggs and flares (one of which was let off by them during the speakers' time.) When I was asked by a colleague why no government representative was invited to speak, the answer was simple; had a government speaker been present, those wankers would have egged them. What a wonderful image that would have given our cause.
This is democracy, though, and people like this are given a voice. But why do they choose to corrupt that voice? There's such a thing as peaceful civil disobedience.
When you attack police officers, throw projectiles and kick in shop windows, you lose all claim to a "peaceful protest".
When you burn the flag of a sovreign state, you lose all right to call for Palestinian sovreignty.
When you support the actions of terrorist organisations like Hezbollah and Hamas, you lose all right to call Israeli soldiers "terrorists".
When you advocate violence against Israel, you lose all right to call for a end to Israeli violence.
When you demand a boycott of Israeli goods, a move which will impact upon the ordinary, apolitical Israeli citizen, you lose all claim to support the ordinary citizen caught up in all of this.
When you scream for the withdrawal of your nation's Israeli ambassador, consulate or envoy, you lose all right to advocate a diplomatic resolution to the situation.
The slaughter being carried out by the government and armed forces of a nation that was a brainfart of the Allied powers drunk on victory cannot be allowed to continue. But nor can these shambolic, sickening excuses for supposedly "peaceful" protests.
Cop on, people.