By Mideast Punchlines: Old McDonald had a farm…

The Irish are normally such likeable people. We like them because they tend to drink too much Guinness and brawl with one another in public. We like them because, for the English, they are the butt of deprecating humour, just as the Polish are in the US. This humour means that the average Englishman thinks that the average Irishman is a sandwich short of a picnic. Well, the Irish can be nasty too. Very nasty, especially if connected to the Irish Times, which is currently one of the most viciously anti-Israel media outlets.

No less a personage than the Times’ Environmental Editor Frank McDonald has launched a hate-filled diatribe against Israel. Most notably, he abuses the Holocaust as a means to attack Israel.
Comparing Gaza with the Warsaw Ghetto, he says, “they operate the same, though not in terms of outcomes, of course; we all know that the Jews crowded into the ghetto in Warsaw who didn’t die there later perished in the Nazi death camps… Inhabitants of the ghetto managed to survive by selling their remaining possessions to buy extra food, usually at exorbitant prices. Smuggling was rife, with hundreds of Jewish children wriggling through tunnels or holes in the wall, “sometimes several times a day… returning with goods often weighed more than they did”. Just like the Gaza boys do now in the tunnels at Rafah, in fact, he says..
McDonald goes on to list scores of goods that are allowed by Israel to be imported into Gaza, including myriad herbs and spices, goats and donkeys, etc. To be quite frank, Frank, you must be a pretty poor journalist if you don’t check your facts. Since 2012, the only goods that are restricted are arms, weapons and various war materiel, and certain items that have military as well as civilian applications.
Of course, McDonald conveniently forgets, in his odious comparison, the fact that no Jewish organisation had ever sworn to destroy Germany and turn it into a Jewish state. No Jewish organisation had ever fired thousands of rockets at German towns and cities. No Jewish organisation had sent suicide bombers into Germany and slaughtered hundreds of Germans when they went about their lawful business.
To give credit to Al Jazeera, they allowed Middle East historian Mark LeVine to point out that Gaza is not the Warsaw Ghetto. Even after the latest war, he says, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank remain rooted to the soil, not buried beneath it. The Warsaw Ghetto was used by the Nazis to confine Jews into the smallest possible space, eventually in preparation for their ultimate extermination – which became official Nazi policy within a year of the ghetto’s creation. Out of an initial population of over 400,000 Jews, 100,000 had died of disease and starvation by the time the uprising began in 1943. To be comparable, by 2007 , more than 300,000 Gazans would have to have died from similar causes.


Small FistWell,  the children’s favourite “Old McDonald Had a Farm…” usually includes a few sheep and goats, but I don’t think a donkey is in the lyrics. Is this because, according to Frank McDonald, donkeys are banned from entering the farms of Gaza? That can’t be true, because we know for sure that at least one donkey was allowed to enter the Strip… Yes, Frank, I do mean you.


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