This article first appeared on Times of Israel in January, 2014. More than a month later, Frank McDonald responded with a diatribe against me (who cares), Ariel Sharon (ditto), and a slur against Holocaust victims. For this last one, I will not forgive him.
Irish Times Editor on Women and Sharon
Frank McDonald is the Environmental Editor of the Irish Times and apparently that means he is an expert on Israel, Gaza, World War II, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the life and times of Ariel Sharon. He’s also, from what I can tell, a rather simple-minded fellow given to absurd conclusions and, if his past is any evidence, a bit of instability when it comes to women. McDonald chose his Twitter account as a method to rant about Sharon and how unfair it is for so many to focus on praising Sharon rather than condemning him.
One could argue that not speaking ill of the dead has been the norm when someone dies but why bother? I’m not about to praise Sharon here – because despite the many things he did for our country and our people, I also believe caved in to those like McDonald who have the audacity to judge Israel by one standard and the Palestinians by another.
McDonald thinks it was Israel’s responsibility to protect the Palestinians in Lebanon from being murdered by a Lebanese Christian group…I would wonder where McDonald was and why he did nothing to stop the Christian group himself.
Sharon was no more “on the ground” there in Lebanon than McDonald and if Sharon suffered from anything, it was that he refused to believe the Phalangists would be as brutal as they were. Given what the Palestinians had done to them, this believe was certainly naive.
But I can’t help but wonder why Frank McDonald never blamed the UN’s Multinational Force in Lebanon for withdrawing and not protecting the Palestinian refugee camp and why it was left to Israel. It would seem the world trusting Israel would make them as responsible for the massacre as Israel having trusted the Phalangists and believing that they would follow Israeli rules of engagement. With all his holier-than-thou judgmental personality, McDonald misses the fine points in just about every one of his arguments.
And given his illustrious career is in…mainly environmental and noise issues…I don’t think much of his political meanderings into the complexity of Middle Eastern politics. But his audacity turns to ignorance and stupidity when he dares to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto via his Twitter account.
Several people tried to show McDonald the error of his ways by point out that the Warsaw Ghetto was liquidated and its residents either massacred in the streets of Warsaw or herded into cattle cars and deported to death camps.
One person posted pictures of Palestinians at a mall with their latest iPhone 5 purchases, which differ, of course, dramatically from any and all pictures we have from the Warsaw ghetto. For the record, there were no luxury malls in the Warsaw ghetto, no fancy restaurants or expensive cars.
There were no mansions and no pools and the residents of the Warsaw ghetto sure as heck didn’t have miles and miles of sandy beaches. But there are none so blind as those bent on spreading hatred and clearly Frank McDonald is that. Rather than admit his ignorance, he compounds his idiotic remark with a defense…attempted defense…nope, not even that.
Oh, wonderful…”an Israeli guy” said something stupid…therefore, McDonald’s idiotic comparison must be fact and Sharon and Israel are elevated to the level of Nazi Germany? Seriously, Mr. McDonald. Is that the best you can do? Some “Israeli guy”.
For the record, “some Israeli guy” is Dov Weisglass, adviser to several Israeli leaders, who has denied the comment and the only place where this quote can be found is on anti-Israel sites. An extensive explanation and debunking of this quote can be found here: http://bbcwatch.org/tag/dov-weisglass/
Let’s ignore the facts, McDonald. Forget that Dov Weisglass never actually said that. How about the FACT that Israel delivers thousands of tons of food and supplies to Gaza every month…I don’t recall the Germans ever doing that in the Warsaw ghetto.
And let’s not ignore the thousands of injured and sick Gazans who are regularly admitted to Israeli hospitals for the most advanced medical care in the Middle East…I don’t recall the Nazis every doing THAT in the Warsaw ghetto.
Did you by any chance know, Mr. Frank McDonald, that the Prime Minister of Gaza’s own grandchild was brought to Israel for medical care…you want to know what the Germans did to Jewish children? Over a million of them were murdered…and they were starved to death…even the UN has confirmed that no one is starving in Gaza and a simple search of the Internet will find dozens of pictures of mall filled with candies and sweets…you know, like the sweets they were handing out on 9/11 and today because Ariel Sharon died.
There were regular roundups in the Warsaw ghetto – where innocent men, women, and children were pulled off the streets, herded into cattle cars and sent to death camps where they were gassed…I know for a fact that there are no gas chambers in Gaza (or in Israel); innocent men, women, and children are NOT rounded up and sent to death camps in Gaza. Hell, we don’t even send terrorists and murderers to death camps. Sadly, we release them back so that many will come again to attack our children, our women, our communities.
No residents of the Warsaw ghetto attempted to infiltrate German cities, board German buses to blow them up. Whatever resistance was made, was done against the Nazis, not the German people. By contrast, the Palestinians try to avoid attacking our army, much preferring the “softer” targets…like 3 month old Hadas Fogel, whose throat was slit.
Residents of the Warsaw ghetto never fired a rocket or a mortar into a German city. They never fired an anti-tank missile at a German school bus…killing a young boy, either.
The comparison of Gaza with the Warsaw is NOT valid. It is an outrage; it is a crime of slander against those who fought courageously in the Warsaw ghetto against Nazi tyranny. It is libel against the Israeli people. It is an insult to the lives and deaths of over 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and over 6 million Jews alive and well in the land of Israel because we protect ourselves against people like McDonald and the lies they spread.
What Frank McDonald said was vile but more it was inaccurate, false and intentionally misleading. If the Irish Times does not fire him, if they continue to keep him as their environmental editor, they are complicit in McDonald’s slanted journalism.
But it gets better…
If you do a bit of research into the life and times of Frank McDonald, what you find is that he doesn’t like noise…so much so, he apparently hit a woman in the River House Hotel in Eustace Street because he was “frustrated” about the noise level…now there’s a sane man for you.
I’m sure if I was concerned about noise levels in Ireland, or at least Dublin, McDonald would be the first person I’d run to (well, I’d probably try to stay a few feet away from him, just in case), but where the heck this man thinks he has a right to comment on Gaza and Israel and Sharon is beyond me.
Ariel Sharon will remain a complex part of Israeli history. Like any man, like most men, he was good and bad. He made good decisions and bad.
What McDonald did to Sharon is equivalent to my erasing whatever good McDonald might have done as a journalist in favor of referring to him solely as an abuser of women. Oh, and lets be clear. McDonald didn’t hit the woman because he was fighting for some great cause, protecting innocents.
No, he hit her because he lived across from a pub and there was a lot of noise (duh) coming from the pub and he couldn’t sleep. So he went there to complain and the woman asked him what he expected, given that it was a night club.
His response was to abuse her. (Journalist hit hotel manager in row over noise)
By contrast, no matter how you feel about Sharon’s actions, you cannot say that Israel was unprovoked in its war against Lebanon. The war was a result of numerous terror attacks, an attempted assassination on an Israeli ambassador, and much more.
We’re talking terror and death here, not some noise that stopped someone from sleeping. Lebanon did nothing to stop the Palestinians from using their land as a launching ground against Israel – then or now.
In the midst of that action, longstanding allies of Israel, the Christian Phalangists, did something despicable. One could follow Frank McDonald’s pattern and make the following comparison: Just as McDonald allowed his frustration over some noise to spill over into violence, the Phalangists allowed their frustration over numerous massacres and murders by Palestinian militia to spill over into violence as well. In McDonald’s case, it was physical abuse; in the Phalangists case, it was a massacre.
Are they equivalent – McDonald’s physical attack of an innocent woman and that of the Phalangists’ murder of 800 Palestinians? About as equal as McDonald’s comparison of Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto, would be my response.
And if I’m lucky enough to have McDonald read this and get really angry…I’ve accomplished my goal.
If McDonald can hold Sharon personally responsible for the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon – a massacre that was conducted by Christian Phalangists, not Israelis, than we should be allowed to hold McDonald responsible for the fact that Dublin is considered “Ireland’s crime capital.”
As for Sharon, as least his motives were to defend his country – while McDonald just wanted to get some sleep after choosing to live across the street from a night club. I guess it seems so simple to McDonald – go in, rough up a woman and demand that a pub be quiet; or make an outrageous comparison between Gaza and the Warsaw ghetto, completely ignoring the fact that were Gaza to stop attacking Israel, there would be peace and the blockade (that does NOT involve preventing food, supplies and medicine) would be eased.
Yup…the idiocy of simplicity strikes again.
I won’t waste your time with most of McDonald’s response. There were two points I found of interest. The first was a story of how he’d been in Israel and was shocked, oh, so very shocked…oh wait, his term was “shaken” – “I was also really shaken by an incident that took place after we had dinner in West Jerusalem” (he has to point out WEST Jerusalem so that he can side with the Arabs in wanting to divide the land, I guess. A taxi driver asked him why he was getting into an “Arab taxi?”
McDonald was surprised how the person knew – which is dumb because most Israelis can tell the difference between an Arab and a Jew (as most Arabs can tell the difference between a Jew and an Arab). The taxi driver explained,”it’s on their number plates.” Which I’m pretty sure was a misquote because any difference has to do with the color of the plate and nothing written on it. But McDonald couldn’t be swayed by facts when there was a chance, yet again, to belittle the Holocaust, and so he thought to himself, “My God, in the Nazi concentration camps, Jews had yellow Star of David symbols and numbers tattooed on their arms.” And then he goes on to make the absurd conclusion/comparison that “Israelis were treating Palestinians as “untermenschen” just as Jews had been treated in other countries over the centuries.”
Now, the first problem here is that McDonald took the taxi driver’s explanation of “Arab” when in fact Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews have the same license plate, ID cards, etc. The difference is between Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinians, who are not citizens, do indeed have different license plates (as do members of the diplomatic corps, police, taxis, and the army. McDonald decided that prejudice exists (by the way, last I heard each of the 50 states in the US have different license plates too.
But the comparison – that of the tattoos burned into the flesh of Jews to license plates is disgusting. Of equal disdain was McDonald’s attempt, whining as it was, to explain a “relatively minor incident” – that being when he hit a woman “in a moment of madness.” I was raised on the concept that there is no justification for violence – clearly McDonald was raised with some other values. Sheesh, the man HIT a woman because a nightclub was noisy at night. He says I got the details from Wikipedia – and then goes on to confirm each one. Yup, longstanding argument that a night club shouldn’t make noise at night. The poor woman did explain that “it’s a nightclub, what do you expect?” – And bam, he hit her. Seems obvious to me. She clearly was asking to be hit – I mean, noise in a nightclub…
Anyway, I find it deeply upsetting that the Times of Israel allowed McDonald’s tattoo comment to stand on their site. I don’t care about his comments to me – they are as absurd as most of his other comments.