The late Mary Holland once explained to me why she had changed sides on the Israel-Palestine issue after spending just a few hours in the region. She had arrived as a supporter and admirer of Israel, looking forward to experiencing the ways in which people who had survived one of the most appalling atrocities in all of human history were gathering in their ancestral homeland to envision and create a state of their own."Settlers" in Haifa? It looks like accuracy is not exactly McCann's forte.
As soon as you walked out of the hotel, she recalled, you could see something was terribly wrong. Arabs shrinking back on the pavements to allow Jews to pass, being literally, physically pushed out of their way if they didn’t move fast enough, and, worst of all in her account, the Arabs’ heads-down acceptance of it all.
My old political mentor, Tony Cliff, born Yigael Gluckstein, founder of the Socialist Workers’ Party, recounted a similar sort of epiphany. A teenage member of the socialist Zionist group Hashomer Hatzair in the 1930s, he discarded the Zionist component of his belief “in one go” after watching a group of Jewish settlers moving through a market in Haifa systematically pouring kerosene over the produce on display on Arab fruit and vegetable stalls.
I wrote in the comments:
Funny; I have visited Israel frequently and have not seen any such incidents. Arab schoolgirls walk fearlessly in Jerusalem, giggling amongst themselves like any other kids. Jews and Arabs shop together in the malls, Arab and Jews work together in the hotels and hospitals.
There are some problematic incidents, as there are every other place in the world, including Ireland. They should be denounced but to generalize them to judge an entire people is...what's that word again? - oh, yeah, bigotry.
By the way, according to Shin Bet, in August alone there were 72 firebomb attacks by Arabs against Jews recorded. Should you judge all Arabs by those standards? Or is it only Jews that are damned by the small-minded thinking of today's politically correct bigots?
UPDATE: By sheer coincidence, it appears that the late Mary Holland had two children. The father? Eamonn McCann!
There's journalistic integrity for you!