(Originally Published on Indymedia.ie in December 2010)
Throughout the history of the Irish state, Ireland was seen as an almost backwater of the Western World. It was a country literally and both metaphorically on the fringes of Europe with an economy which always seemed to be floundering in the doldrums. All of this changed in the nineties with the onset of the Celtic Tiger which was effectively brought about by low corporate taxes, an educated workforce and the low cost of wages. All of this led to a massive upturn in the economic fortunes of Ireland but when things should have naturally slowed down, those with political power ensured that the Celtic Tiger was extended beyond its natural lifespan by creating a bubble. The bubble in this case was a property bubble and like all bubbles in economic history, it was bound to burst. The government, and their associates in the banking industry and construction industry, did their best to try to convince people, not only in Ireland but also all across the world, that Ireland was the perfect economic model to follow. In reality it was all smoke and mirrors when in actual fact the entire economy was based on a lie; the need for more and more property. This lie, along with the cronyism at the very top of Irish politics, has led to the situation which we are now in where we are likely to default on our sovereign debt within the next 2 years.
On the 24th of September 2003 noted political scientist and author on the issue of Palestine and the Holocaust, Professor Norman Finkelstein, engaged in a debate with Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. The resulting hour long debate, chaired by Amy Goodman, resulted in accusations of plagiarism leveled at Dershowitz and his new book, “The Case for Israel”, by Finkelstein. As a result of this and the hour long debate, a long standing feud emerged between the two professors which directly resulted in the denial of tenure for Finkelstein at DePaul University and attempts by Dershowitz to suppress the publication of Finkelstein’s then upcoming book, “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History”. Further accusations were leveled at Finkelstein’s mother, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and concentration camps during the Holocaust, by Dershowitz who accused her of being a collaborator.
On Saturday the 2nd of October 2010, Irish economist David McWilliams appeared on The Saturday View alongside government Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin. During the show McWilliams insinuated that the government had been lying to the people of Ireland about the bank bailout. He went on further to say that there are certain members of the civil service and are those within the government who are intent on keeping the “status quo” and the ongoing bank bailout is a part of this. Mary Hanfin in turn called McWilliams “scandalous”.
On 17 November 2010, in the J M Synge Lecture Hall of the Arts Building in TCD, Ilan Pappé spoke strongly to an attentive audience on “The Current Struggle Against Nakba Denial” at the book launch of academic and activist Ronit Lentin’s “Co-Memory and Melancholia: Israelis Memorialise the Palestinian Nakba”. The meeting was chaired by academic and past chairman of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign David Landy.