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Acclaimed Irish literary festival’s refusal to accept Israeli state funding welcomed by artists and human rights campaigners

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The decision by Listowel Writers’ Week Festival, an internationally acclaimed literary festival in the Irish heritage town of Listowel County Kerry, to refuse funding from the Israeli Embassy in Ireland has been welcomed by artists, human rights campaigners and Palestine solidarity activists in Ireland, and is being hailed as victory for the growing Palestinian-led global Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

The festival’s courageous and principled decision came after festival organizers were informed that the acceptance of any such funding would be in breach of the Palestinian civil society call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and after being contacted by concerned members of the public, several of them artists who are due to take part in the festival.

Screenshot: Listowel Writers' Week Facebook posting

Screenshot: Listowel Writers’ Week Facebook posting May, 24, 2016

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) Chairperson Fatin Al Tamimi thanked the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival organisers saying: “As a Palestinian woman who is exiled from her homeland, I thank the festival for refusing to take Israeli state funding for this event. This decision is courageous, principled and absolutely the right thing to do. This is a small, but certainly significant, positive gesture that will be appreciated by the Palestinian people struggling for freedom, justice and equality, whether under Israel’s apartheid regime or living in exile.”

Listowel Writers’ Week program

Listowel Writers’ Week Festival Programme 2016

The issue initially came to light on Sunday morning when members of Ireland’s artistic community began highlighting on social media that the Listowel Writers’ Week brochure listed an event in which the Israeli Embassy in Ireland was explicitly thanked for its support, along with the embassy’s logo.

After having seemingly been contacted by a vast number of people expressing their concern and dismay at this acceptance of funding from the Foreign Ministry of Apartheid Israel by one of Ireland’s leading literary festivals, the organisers posted a clarification on their Facebook page stating that “No monetary exchange has taken place between Listowel Writers’ Week and the Embassy of Israel in Ireland. The Embassy’s support is in the form of supporting the author’s travel to Ireland”. However, this form of support is still a violation of the cultural boycott guidelines issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

Logo: The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Logo: The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

The IPSC undertook to write to the festival informing them of the Palestinian cultural boycott call, explaining its rationale, how Israel abuses cultural sponsorship to whitewash its crimes against Palestinian people, and why the moral imperative was to refuse to accept such funding.

Happily, the festival announced yesterday morning that it was honoring its commitment to bring over the Israeli writer Savyon Liebrecht to speak about her work, but was rejecting the Israel Embassy funding – a move in line with the cultural boycott guidelines which does not seek to boycott individuals but Israeli state institutions.

In its letter, the IPSC explained the background to the BDS call and outlined Israel’s use of ‘culture-washing’ as means of deflecting from its crimes:

We at the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) are extremely disappointed to note that one of the talks at Listowel Writers’ Week, that of author Savyon Liebrecht, is “kindly supported by the Embassy of Israel in Ireland.”

You may not be aware of the fact that in 2005, in response to decades of occupation, oppression and colonisation a call was issued by a broad spectrum of over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli state “until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law”.

A year previous, in 2004, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) – which includes the Palestinian Writers’ Federation and Palestinian League of Artists – issued a call specifically asking for cultural boycotts of the Israel state and its institutions. PACBI issued guidelines for this boycott; these guidelines include asking artists, cultural foundations and promotions companies to refuse any sponsorship, funding or payment-in-kind (including funding for artists to travel abroad) offered by the Israeli state.

In your statement on this issue, you say that the Israeli Embassy in Ireland is “supporting the author’s travel to Ireland”. This clearly constitutes a form of sponsorship – whether or not a monetary exchange has taken place, the Embassy is funding the author’s appearance at the festival – and travel funding is the most common form of sponsorship for many arts events, and it is therefore in breach of the PACBI cultural boycott guidelines.

We believe that these calls for nonviolent solidarity from the oppressed Palestinian people, similar to those that came from South Africa during the apartheid era, must be both listened to, and crucially, adhered to. Accepting financial support, in any form, from the Israeli Foreign Ministry most certainly breaches this call for a boycott.

The Director-General of Israeli Foreign Ministry, Nissim Ben-Shitrit, was quite frank about the overtly political and diplomatic role such state funding of cultural tours plays, saying that Israel sees “culture as a hasbara [propaganda] tool of the first rank, and [does] not differentiate between hasbara and culture”. Indeed, according to Israeli poet Yitzhak Laor, the contract that the state requires artists availing of its travel funding to sign explicitly stipulates that the “service provider [ie, the artist] is aware that the purpose of ordering services from him is to promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel … The service provider will not present himself as an agent, emissary and/or representative of the Ministry”.

We wish to be very clear that the BDS campaign is not aimed at individuals, and we are not raising any issue whatsoever with the attendance at the festival of the writer herself, rather solely with the support of the Israeli Embassy, the official representative of that state in Ireland, for the event.

The Palestinian civil society call for a cultural boycott has correctly identified the Israeli state’s abuse of the arts as an exercise in ‘culture-washing’, a means to distract from Israel’s atrocious human rights record and to present itself as a liberal and culturally tolerant state, when it is anything but.

The letter explained how the IPSC believe that Israel’s consistent human rights and international law violations, and it’s ongoing war of repression against Palestinian culture, meant that the festival could not in good conscience accept this support from the Israeli state:

Israel is in constant breach of multiple international laws and 2016 marks the 68th year of its ongoing colonisation of Palestine and oppression of the indigenous people. The Palestinian people are subjected to occupation, apartheid, siege, internment, and war crimes by the Israeli state; among its numerous crimes, in the past 15 years Israeli occupation forces have killed over 2,000 Palestinian children, wounded 13,000 and jailed 12,000.

Israel’s oppression of Palestinian cultural workers is continuous and most recently poet Dareen Tatour was imprisoned and is now held under house arrest for the content of her poetry. On May 21st Israel denied Palestinian writer Ahmed Masoud entry to the West Bank where he was to participate in the 9th annual Palestinian Festival of Literature (Palfest), and read from his novel ‘Vanished’.  Other similar examples include the following: in 2002 Israel prevented the Palestinian poets Zakaria Mohammed and Ghassan Zaqtan from travelling to Ireland to read their work. In May 2009, Israeli soldiers prevented the opening of the Palestine Festival of Literature in Jerusalem. In April 2011, the venue hosting the final event of that year’s Festival was attacked with tear gas by the Israeli army. In 2011 Israeli occupation forces assaulted the Freedom Theatre in Jenin. In July last year, award-winning Palestinian-American author Susan Abulhawa was denied entry to Palestine.

Furthermore, the Israeli state will soon be implementing the so-called ‘loyalty in culture’ in law that will cut funding for any cultural activities that the state does not deem ‘loyal’ enough, including “denying the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state” and “marking Independence Day as a day of mourning”. In other words, Palestinian citizens of Israel, 20% of the population, are being denied the ability to artistically express their desire to live in a state of all its citizens or to commemorate and mourn the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba (Arabic for ‘Catastrophe’) that led to the exile of over 750,000 indigenous people to facilitate the creation of the state of Israel.

Such attacks on Palestinian literature, culture and historical commemoration make the acceptance of any support for any aspect of a literary festival in Ireland from the Israeli Foreign Ministry (via the Israeli Embassy) utterly unacceptable and we sincerely hope that you will refuse to take it.

The letter also explained that there was huge artistic support in Ireland and worldwide for the cultural boycott, and that in the past Irish festivals had similarly rejected such funding when they were made aware of the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel:

Since 2010 more than 500 creative and performing artists in Ireland have signed the IPSC’s ‘Irish Artists’ Pledge to Boycott Israel’, the text of which reads: “In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge not to avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”.

Among the signatories are novelists, poets, painters, sculptors, film-makers, dancers, composers, performing musicians and others, including many members of Aosdána. Of the writers featuring at Listowel Writers’ Week, six have signed the Pledge and we will be contacting them to inform them that the festival is accepting sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy. We feel sure that the involvement of official support from Israel for the festival will prove problematic for them as signatories of the Artists’ Boycott Pledge.

There is precedent in Ireland for rejecting such Israeli state sponsorship. In August 2006 the Dún Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures declined an offer of funding from the Israeli Embassy for the Toy Vivo Duo to attend the Festival, itself providing the €1500 that enabled the Duo’s participation. The IPSC welcomed this principled decision, and did not protest the Duo’s presence, given that no Israeli government sponsorship was involved. That same year the Irish Film Institute cancelled the Israeli Embassy’s partial sponsorship of its Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in the wake of Israel’s murderous onslaught on Lebanon.  We strongly urge you to follow such examples and refuse to take this funding.

All over the world people, among them writers, are increasingly aware of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and support for the cultural boycott is growing exponentially. Just last month, more than 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Alice Walker, Richard Ford and Junot Díaz, called on the PEN American Center “to reject support from the embassy of Israel” in an open letter.  “It is deeply regrettable that the festival has chosen to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government, even as it intensifies its decades-long denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people, including the frequent targeting of Palestinian writers and journalists,” says the letter, also signed by former president and vice president of English PEN, Gillian Slovo and Kamila Shamsie; poet Eileen Myles; authors Louise Erdrich and Ahdaf Soueif; and the Palestinian writer Ahmad Qatamesh, whose imprisonment without charge by the Israeli government was criticised by PEN International.

The letter closed with a call to remember the artists of 1916 who resisted British colonialism, the Irish origin of the word ‘Boycott’, and quote from Palestinian performance poet and BDS activist Rafeef Ziadah who has just completed a tour of Ireland, including in Dublin where she took to the Abbey stage as part of the International Literature Festival:

During her time in Ireland Ms Ziadah had an official meeting with President Higgins, and was interviewed on the Arena arts show and Pat Kenny’s radio programme. She also led the Afri Famine walk with Cathryn O’Reilly, a leading member of the Dunnes Stores strikers who were suspended by management for refusing to handle the “fruits of apartheid” in 1984 during the anti-South African apartheid era.

Ms Ziadah has said: “Opponents of the cultural boycott of Israel say that art should be separate from politics. The supposed separation has offered Palestinian artists and art no protection from political persecution and censorship. Israeli attacks on Palestinian art range from shutting down exhibitions and preventing Palestinians from performing to stopping institutions from sponsoring and hosting events. This siege on Palestinian artists must be broken. Breaking the siege means that Israel has to change, and it won’t do that without pressure. That’s why many Palestinian artists have appealed to cultural workers and artists in the rest of the world to boycott Israeli government institutions. As with South Africa, the cultural boycott is an especially important method of resisting apartheid; Israel openly abuses culture as a form of state propaganda. The cultural boycott call has been attacked as detrimental to free expression. But the alternative is complicity in the abuse of culture by an apartheid state. Israel uses culture as a weapon to sell ‘Brand Israel’, and to cover up its attacks on the Palestinian people, just as apartheid South Africa tried to use sport to cover up its crimes.”

As we commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising and honour those artists who strove to end injustice, we ask that you not besmirch their legacy by ignoring the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality by accepting funding from the Israeli Embassy. Ireland’s proud history of solidarity with the oppressed, not to mention our invention of the word ‘Boycott’ in a struggle for indigenous land rights, demands that we listen to the oppressed, stand against injustice and refuse to be complicit with those states who perpetrate it.

PalFest Ireland have issued the following statement in support of the festival’s decision.

PalFest Ireland (Irish Artists Supporting Palestine) warmly welcome and applaud the decision of Listowel Writers’ Week to reject support from the Israeli Embassy in Ireland with immediate effect. We also welcome the fact that writer Savyon Liebrect’s event will still take place at this year’s festival.

Following on from poet and boycott-advocate Rafeef Ziadah’s sellout performance “We Teach Life” in the Abbey Theatre two days ago, this shows that Ireland is indeed the beaconlight for the international boycott movement against Israel.

The Irish Land League of Davitt and Parnell lit the flame in 1880. They called the strategy of isolation “Boycott” after landlord’s agent Captain Charles Boycott.

The Dunnes Stores strikers fanned it in the 1980s to help bring down South African apartheid. Nelson Mandela came to Ireland to personally thank them.

Today Ireland stands firm with the people of Palestine, and against any attempt elsewhere to crimininalise the strategy of boycott against Israel. We invented the word “boycott” to decribe a non-violent mass movement of isolation. We will not allow it to be commandeered or misrepresented.

PalFest Ireland congratulates Listowel Writers’ Week on their decision and look forward to the event being part of a fantastic festival of literature.

To quote James Connolly close to the centenary of his execution, “Ireland can be as a beaconlight for the oppressed of all nations”. Events such as Rafeef Ziadahs’ tour and Listowel Writers’ Week’s principled decision, show that Ireland has indeed become the beaconlight for the BDS movement – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

This article was originally published on the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s website. 

About Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is an independent, non-party political organisation committed to a just and sustainable peace in the Middle East. IPSC campaigns for justice for the Palestinian people, through raising public awareness about the human rights abuses in the occupied territories, violations of international law and the historical causes of injustices to the Palestinians that lie at the heart of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Follow them on Twitter @ipsc48

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35 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    May 25, 2016, 1:39 pm

    huge shout out to all the activists and festival participants who persevered, ireland soooo rocks!

    • lysias
      May 25, 2016, 2:16 pm

      The Irish, who were themselves the victims of a settler colonialist policy for centuries, understand what the Palestinians are going through.

    • Sycamores
      May 25, 2016, 3:17 pm

      huge shout out to all the activists and festival participants who persevered, ireland soooo rocks! –

      +1

      further academic and cultural boycott from a British historian

      British historian Catherine Hall, who specializes in colonial history, rejects £225,000 Israeli award from Dan David Foundation for ‘political’ reasons

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/british-historian-snubs-israeli-award-due-to-political-reasons-a7044491.html

      • xanadou
        May 25, 2016, 10:33 pm

        With all the bribes that Israel throws at the world, they would score better if they spent that money to keep the electricity on and clean water flowing in Gaza.

      • Marnie
        May 26, 2016, 12:56 am

        @xanadou –

        The desperation is hysterical – paying people to watch their hasbara films
        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/05/israel-young-movies/#sthash.4j9I4kwS.dpuf
        and this well-earned and much admired [email protected]!# off to the israeli embassy. It would be so cool if countries would start kicking out their israeli ambasadors and close the doors on all israeli embassies.

        So much good will could be generated if the israeli govt would abandon it’s hate fest and embrace the notion of freedom for all. Instead it’s going down it’s usual path with no good outcome possible except the obvious end of something that should have never been allowed to begin. Why are human beings such slow learners?

    • gamal
      May 25, 2016, 5:13 pm

      “ireland soooo rocks!”

      yes all along the Raglan Road

      “I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign
      That’s known to the artists who have known
      The true gods of sound and stone”

      https://youtu.be/8xvkvFviIj8

      • Annie Robbins
        May 25, 2016, 8:50 pm

        thank you again gamal!

      • Marnie
        May 26, 2016, 12:58 am

        That was really beautiful.

      • John O
        May 26, 2016, 12:33 pm

        One of my favourite songs, sung beautifully. I was lucky enough to see Luke Kelly perform a couple of times many years ago.

      • amigo
        May 26, 2016, 3:45 pm

        gamal–let,s not forget Patrick Kavanagh–the man who wrote those words.It was first titled , “Dark haired Miriam ran away”.I doubt that anyone but Luke Kelly could have done a better job of turning that great poem into a great song.Luke sadly died too soon at the young age of 46.So much we never got to see or hear..Only one of the original dubliners is still alive –John Sheehan .

      • gamal
        May 26, 2016, 6:59 pm

        “let,s not forget”

        thanks, mo charra, on and off I have lived in Ireland now for about a decade, I love Ireland and the Irish but am very ignorant about it still, I knew none of that, in the West Cork i will die in they welcome the Egyptian boys who sail over on their fishing boats, the local girls snap them up, everyone is married, due to their good looks and sober family orientated ways, for me Ireland is a little heaven, thanks for that.

        I am in Galway at the moment the place is full of American coach parties its so busy I live in the back of beyond, I have been watching Irish people heal Americans of all their stress, its a big deal really sweet to watch, some Americans don’t understand that I am not Irish and lecture me about the beauty of “my” country, to me the Irish can sometimes be quite strange, but i like strange and may not score too highly for normal myself, i am a great beneficiary of the generosity and openness of the Irish. I am making out like a bandit.

      • Mike Hite
        May 28, 2016, 6:26 pm

        Great tune

    • Emory Riddle
      May 26, 2016, 10:11 am

      This must be due to the new, new, new anti-semitism

      • Annie Robbins
        May 26, 2016, 11:17 am

        maybe it’s the new new knew anti semitism.

      • Mooser
        May 26, 2016, 4:43 pm

        Maybe it’s the so nue, so sue antisemitism?

  2. oldgeezer
    May 25, 2016, 1:48 pm

    I love the various examples where Israel has blocked Palestinians from holding or participating in such events.

    Their whines and tears are so empty when they complain about cultural boycotts against them. BDS merely follows their example unto other nations.

    In fairness we all know poetry represents a violent security risk to the state of israel.

  3. amigo
    May 25, 2016, 5:58 pm

    Congrats to BDS Dublin and the folks in Listowel The home of the late John B Keane who wrote ,

    ” “Beautiful Listowel, serenaded night and day by the gentle waters of the River Feale.
    Listowel where it is easier to write than not to write,
    Where first love never dies, and the tall streets hide the loveliness,
    The heartbreak and the moods, great and small,
    Of all the gentle souls of a great and good community.
    Sweet, incomparable hometown that shaped and made me.”.

    This is payback to the Israeli Embassy in Dublin , who facilitated the theft of Irish Passports and put Irish lives at stake.Suck on that Boaz and stand by for more of the same.

    This is how BDS will defeat Zionism .A little town here and a big city there.

  4. Kay24
    May 25, 2016, 7:39 pm

    I really like Ireland and the Irish. They have shown so much empathy for the Palestinians in many ways, and unlike my own country, does not kowtow to the demands of the zionists of apartheid land. A good example for other nations, who are either afraid to stand up to Israel, or do not want to see Bibi throw a tantrum.

    Again, I mention that it is such a beautiful country, and worth a trip.

  5. Ossinev
    May 26, 2016, 1:16 pm

    @kay24
    One of the things that has disappointed me over the years given the history of the Irish and their experience of colonialism/land theft and oppression is that there appears to be no strong voice from the Irish American community in support of the Palestinians and challenging the mainstream pro – JSIL bias. My impression is that in all other respects they appear to be a fairly strong “lobby” population or group.

    Happy to be corrected on this one.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 26, 2016, 1:55 pm

      My impression is that in all other respects they appear to be a fairly strong “lobby” population or group.

      really? please enlighten me. i am out here on the west coast and it seems to me like they just blend here (except on st paddy’s day of course). what issues to irish americans lobby for as a group. i sort of thought they were all over the map politically except being primarily dems vs gop (but i could be wrong there). there are irish americans in the palestine movement for sure, they just don’t have badges on identifying their ethnicity (like most other white americans i presume).

    • Annie Robbins
      May 26, 2016, 1:56 pm

      i’m going to google the american irish lobby, maybe i am clueless.

      oh looks see:

      • Bumblebye
        May 26, 2016, 3:31 pm

        Just read (then watched) this while listening to “The Briefing Room” on bbcR4 – this weeks topic? “The New IRA”! This series is David Aaronovitch’s new baby (he already works for the Rupert at The Times) – last week’s prog was ” Anti-Semitism on the Left”.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07c4tqc

        btw, notice the sweeping generalisation that *all* Irish Americans believe in unification?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 27, 2016, 5:50 pm

        thanks bumblebye, checking out now. hmm

    • amigo
      May 26, 2016, 3:24 pm

      0ssinev , Tend to agree with you , that the level of pro Palestinian supporters is far greater in Ireland than with their brethren is the USA.I think this is partly because we have precious little zionist influence here and are not scared to speak our minds in the open.The Irish community in the USA are assimilated and worry about being accused of being antisemites if they condemn Israel.The Younger more recent arrivals just want to make a new life for themselves and are keeping their heads down.

      I believe there are many small groups of pro Palestinian supporters scattered around the USA.I bet a considerable percentage of those who took to the streets in American cities during the last Israeli slaughter in Gaza were Irish. Give them time .When the truth about Israel finally gets out , the American Irish will show their disgust for oppression and colonialism.

  6. Mike Hite
    May 26, 2016, 2:57 pm

    Way to Go Ireland and Listowel Writers’ Week Festival

  7. Ossinev
    May 27, 2016, 1:15 pm

    @Annie Robbins
    “really? please enlighten me. i am out here on the west coast and it seems to me like they just blend here (except on st paddy’s day of course). what issues to irish americans lobby for as a group. i sort of thought they were all over the map politically except being primarily dems vs gop (but i could be wrong there). there are irish americans in the palestine movement for sure, they just don’t have badges on identifying their ethnicity (like most other white americans i presume)”

    Steady on Annie. I did say that I was happy to be corrected. I think I was perhaps overly influenced by the input which the Irish American Lobby appeared to have had on the the Peace Process in Northern Ireland and the realization of power sharing there. I had assumed/hoped naively that this would naturally translate to support for the Palestinian cause. As Amigo says perhaps it is down to assimilation and fear of being accused of the dreaded A-S but as the truth about Israel leaks out more to the American mainstream the American Irish will look to their own history and recognize clearly who they should be working to support ? One can only hope.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 27, 2016, 2:32 pm

      Steady on Annie. I did say that I was happy to be corrected.

      sorry if i sounded harsh Ossinev, that was not my intent. let me rephrase my impression wrt your statement referencing irish americans having a “fairly strong “lobby” population or group.” first off, i wouldn’t be surprised if they did in a place like boston. but as a californian who grew up here i never heard of any kind of local irish american lobby. certainly surrounding the issue of the ira back in the day, pertaining to ireland/uk — no doubt they had one. but as far as having a fairly strong lobby, that video i linked to had 900 views. i don’t know about legislation they lobby for either wrt the environment, global warming, privatization, minimum wage, the nra, etc etc. so as a group, i don’t know where they stand or if they stand together politically (albeit i think most are dems). and we have LOTS of irish americans in SF. and no doubt there are plenty of irish americans active in a many political activists groups, i just do not know if they identify within those groups actively as irish americans.

      and if they were a strong lobby, don’t you think i would have heard of their appeals? unlike say the israel lobby, which everyone is aware of whose pressure is felt by all our politicians. and i think this kind of “non ethnic” participation is common, at least out here in california. whereas sometimes there are definitely ethnic groups who make a political stances (for instance the mormons were very active in lobbying against proposition 8 in california – against gay marriage) many (probably most) californians participated in activism for or against prop 8 via groups who were not ethnic specific. there are of course many exceptions (like immigration wrt hispanics) but i think this model extends to many white americans whether they be german, english, french, swedish, norweigian, italian, and the list goes on. so for example if you were to ask a passerby on the street what an italian american lobby group might advocate wrt school vouchers, i doubt anyone could tell you. and i lived in seattle for 10 years, lots of swedish there, but i have no idea where they may stand politically on most issues. of course, i could be wrong.

      and, in our local pro palestinian group, i have no idea what many of the non jewish white american activist ethnicities are with the exception of one woman with a british accent. in fact, i don’t know the ethnic background of one of my best friend since college who i see all the time. maybe she told me once but i forgot. i doubt any of the people i know who are not in my family even know what my family’s cultural background is. because we’re a multi cultural society (in the bay area at least) people often advocate in multi cultural political groups.

    • lysias
      May 27, 2016, 6:41 pm

      As the son of immigrants from Ireland, I am very conscious of being Irish and only partly assimilated. But the Irish-Americans who have been here for several generations (and the ancestors of many of them came over as long ago as the Potato Famine), they are very much more assimilated.

      Second-generation Irish-Americans like me are much more common in the Northeast in places like the New York and Boston metropolitan areas than they are in the country as a whole.

      • silamcuz
        May 28, 2016, 12:54 am

        Lysis.

        Its interesting for me that you rightfully identify yourself as an Irish-American, acknowledging your roots and heritage, as well as not co-opting with the oppressive “white” identity many unfortunately take for themselves. I believe this is a beautiful thing, to be proud of who you are, instead on taking false pride over delusional ideals such as white supremacy, Jewish supremacy etc.

        However, I think it should be noted that Irish-Americans though peacefully immigrated to America, the move was a direct result of the European occupation of Native American land. As such, it mirrors very closely, IMO, to the “peaceful” migration of European Jews into Israel. Although many moved to Israel with the honest intention of returning to Zion, in practice they took part in the what is basically, large scale population transfer, ethnic cleansing and criminal theft of property and resources.

        Many left-wing Israelis acknowledge this fact, and admit to their complicity in crimes of Zionism. These folks are working tirelessly to redeem themselves and be accountable for their actions. Yet, we do not see the same pattern of behavior and enlightenment within the American left, atleast not those outside of themillenniall generation. As you have said it yourself, you believe you have “assimilated” in American society, but what does that entail? Do you believe assimilation in the American context is a positive accomplishment?

      • lysias
        May 28, 2016, 10:46 am

        I wouldn’t claim it is an achievement at all, to the extent that it happened (as I said, my assimilation is only partial). It happened when I was very young, and happened involuntarily.

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2016, 1:03 pm
  8. Ossinev
    May 27, 2016, 4:51 pm

    @ Annie Robbins
    Thanks for the feedback and an interesting perspective on the nature of ” ethnic ” and multi cultural groups in the US. You are in the field of battle as it were when it comes to Americans and their views on the I/P conflict whilst we in the UK are no more than observers from afar. It is always good to have live and unbiased reports from the front.

    • Annie Robbins
      May 27, 2016, 6:02 pm

      anytime ossinev. and i’ll just amend that to say the east coast is culturally a little of different than the west coast and i’m not much of expert on it. but i do recall the first time i ever visited there when i was 18 (which was many years ago and may not reflect the scene now), most people first time we met (certainly everyone’s parents) asked me my last name and what my father did for a living. that was something i was really not used to at all growing up in northern california.

  9. Mike Hite
    May 28, 2016, 6:28 pm

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