Here is the president of the United States speaking in East Jerusalem:
My first thought on hearing Biden’s comment was that the women of Easter Rising would have wanted to string him up for abortion heresy. But jokes (and eternal damnation) aside, it’s difficult to understand what the president is saying here.
Is he contending that the “Palestinian people,” like the Irish, have first claim to the land, ignoring the consistent Jewish presence in Israel since — let’s be conservative — a few centuries before the unified Kingdom of Israel, around 1000 BC, or around 1600 years before the Muslims invaded? Is he saying that the British took control of Israel in 1917 so they could settle the land with foreigners and displace Muslims? Does he realize that the British were in “Palestine” — where they often abdicated their responsibility to protect the Jewish minority — only 30 years, as opposed to 850? Doesn’t the Jew who fled Europe to return to the Middle East have more in common with the Catholic who fled England for Ireland in the 1600s or America later on?
The first mention of a modern “Palestinian people” did not appear until the early 20th century, an invention of the British mandate. It initially described both Jew and Arab. The latter people incited pogroms, then wars, and then campaigns of terror to rectify the situation, all of which led to their tragic fate. A Good Friday agreement for the Palestinians is always within reach. All they need do is embrace reality and reject terror.
But let’s concede that Biden, who not long ago reportedly discussed a united Ireland with an IRA fugitive, isn’t merely repeating some progressive speechwriter’s words. And let’s point out that an ideological kinship between terror groups PLO and IRA existed in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s (though, of the two, only the Irish would make peace.) In some Irish communities, where dueling Israeli and PLO flags still fly, there is a political affinity between people who view themselves either as occupied or terror victims, even though the situations aren’t really comparable. Maybe Biden finds himself in agreement with those who fly the Fatah colors?
Maybe someone will ask him what he meant.