Little more than a freak show
AHEAD OF last weekend’s antiIsrael conference there were loud calls from some influential figures within the Jewish community that it should be cancelled or prevented from taking place.
Having attended two of the three days in Cork, I would argue it was right that the event went ahead.
In reality, the conference proved to be nothing short of a freak show, but it did allow 40 “academics” from institutions across the UK, America, and Israel to exercise their right to free speech — and in the process expose to whoever was watching just how poisonous their views really are.
In the audience on both days I attended was former Labour frontbencher Clare Short. In Ireland to apparently show her “solidarity” towards the event, she complained when I objected to a suggestion from one open antisemite in the audience that “Zionists deprive their children of affection to ensure they become killers”.
“You really are rude,” said Ms Short, when I asked the organisers why this kind of antisemitism was allowed to go unchallenged. “You mustn’t interrupt,” she added.
Ms Short could later be heard in conversation with two women seated beside her — with one insisting that Israel as a Jewish state must be by definition racist. Their chatter turned to a one-state no Israel solution. “The Jewish people would need protection, though,” Ms Short observed. But only if they shut up and behaved themselves, one