Fri, Feb 18, 2011; Updated: Tue, March 22, 2011 | By Rob Harris
The Many Vices of Richard Boyd-Barrett
Populist disingenuous hard leftism, support for Islamicist terror and advocacy for the destruction of Israel.
The Republic of Ireland is holding a general election on the 25th of February. After the 1990’s bloom of the Celtic Tiger, the economic crisis has bitten hard, causing an almost unprecedented amount of political upheaval since the foundation of the State. The ailing populist party Fianna Fail is set to make immense losses which will result in a swing to the left in the Irish parliament. Moderate centrist party Fine Gael is set to become the largest party in the State, followed by the Labour Party. Sinn Fein gained broader political acceptance in the 1990s due to the peace process. Whilst they have failed to become a large party in the State, due to their blood stained reputation, this general election is seen as a new opportunity for the leftist party. Indeed Sein Fein/IRA leader, Gerry Adams, has resigned his seat in the British Parliament to run for a seat in the Republic, which signifies Sein Fein’s serious intent.
One of the most prominent members of the hard-left in Ireland is Richard Boyd Barrett. He is one of the leaders of the Trotskyist hard-left SWP (Socialist Workers Party), and the People Before Profit Alliance. In 2009, he managed to get elected as a councillor for the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, located in South County Dublin. He is attempting to get elected as a TD (member of Parliament) with People Before Profit, as part of a new coalition of hard-left parties called the United Left Alliance.
Richard Boyd Barrett contested the Dún Laoghaire constituency in the 2007 Irish general election. Prior to the election he participated in quite a number of populist local campaigns, which were given a very high profile by the local media. Surprisingly Boyd Barrett got a large vote, only loosing in a fairly close vote to present Green Party TD Ciarán Cuffe. The Green Party is set to take a dive in popularity due to its association with Fianna Fail, being minor partners in the last government. Add to that the rise of popularity of the left, the unduly high level of media exposure because he is seen as a poster-boy for the left, and it looks as if Boyd Barrett could win a seat in the Irish Parliament.
Richard Boyd-Barrett is seen as a key figure in the swing to the left today. Even the British Guardian gives a huge amount of focus to him in this article, which gives a comically gushing display of support: “Articulate and energetic, there is a whiff of glamour about him. His mother is the Irish actor Sinéad Cusack, with whom he was reunited in 2007 when she realised her son had been a voice opposing the Iraq war a few years earlier.” However, he was not always perceived as thus.
In the early to mid 1990’s, Boyd Barrett played the role of leftist cliché to a tee. He tutored at University College Dublin for three years whilst writing his masters degree. Apparently, unfortunate students of English were fed single-minded marxist critiques of literature, where most analysis focused on the rise of the working class, whilst the important themes were simply ignored. He used to hang around universities converting innocent new Arts students to the virtuous life of socialist militancy, while trying to flog copies of the Socialist Worker. He ran repeatedly for political office at council and parliamentary level but continually failed, e.g. losing his deposit after he ran in Dún Laoghaire for the Dáil in 2002. Ireland was doing well at the time and people had no time for this messianic faintly disturbing figure that fiercely latched onto the issues of the week. Yet young Richard was nothing if not persistent!
His first big opportunity came with the Afghan and Iraqi wars! It was excellent fodder for an ardent socialist trying to justify his hatred of America. He started up an organisation called the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) which he still leads. It took advantage of the feeling of outrage at US actions in Iraq. Soon Boyd-Barrett began getting, and continues to get an extraordinary amount of coverage in the Irish media (e.g. the Irish Times), and airspace on national broadcaster RTE, long before he was even elected a councillor. He seems to gets more coverage than TDs, and even junior ministers. The Irish media is perhaps no different to media institutions in other Western countries. With its vaguely liberal-left sympathies, it probably isn’t hard to see Boyd-Barrett’s appeal to programmers and journalists.
Yet, as many have observed before, the majority of people at such “anti-war” demos actually support violence and this holds true for the IAWM, which also targets Israel at any given opportunity no matter how justified the action of that State. Indeed Boyd-Barrett’s “Irish Anti War Movement” is probably a deliberately deceptive misnomer, an upsetting fact for those truly seeking to promote peace advocacy. Indeed in a notorious 2006 IAWM conference, one IAWM speaker stated:
“The IAWM is NOT a “Peace organisation”… The IAWM, as stated in its constitution, is an anti-imperialist organisation whose main objective is to stop the use of Shannon [airport] and other Irish facilities by the forces of the Empire.”
Alan Shatter, TD and Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence in the newly elected government stated after the IAWM invited a well known Islamicist to speak in Ireland some years ago:
“The [Irish] anti-war movement [is] not a peace movement but a strident anti-American one… Rather than an organisation which wishes to see the peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world through discussion and compromise, it is a collection of misty-eyed old Soviet Union sympathisers who have now befriended Islamic fundamentalists.”
Too hot to Trot(sky)?
The People Before Profit Alliance (PBP), which some suspect of being the marketing department of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), made an entrance on the Irish political landscape in October 2005. Both groups insist they are not related but many familiar with the SWP saw through the façade quickly. Of five People Before Profit candidates in the 2007 general election, four were long-standing members of the SWP. Clearly the old party’s Trotskyist stance scared away many voters. Roughly speaking, outright Trotskyism aims to replace capitalism with a “dictatorship of the proletariat”. It would be an understatement to say the SWP does not appeal to voters. The People Before Profit Alliance re-labelling was intended to broaden Boyd-Barrett’s support to make an electoral breakthrough. Boyd Barrett has been accused of deliberately hiding his SWP affiliation, effectively misrepresenting himself to the voters of Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown, which is a relatively conservative middle-class constituency. However, the rebranding has stayed and seems to have largely worked.
It shouldn’t be difficult to understand why the SWP is abhorrent to many voters, even the majority of left wing voters. One example is a comical socialist re-evaluation of the Dublin 2006 riots in response to an Orange Order [Northern Irish Unionist] march. The SWP stated in David Spart style wording:
“The riots on O Connell St reveal the deep-seated social tensions at the heart of the Celtic Tiger[.] About 500 mainly young working class men stopped an Orange parade and then mainly turned their anger on the Irish Gardai and commercial property. The media and the political establishment have responded with a blatant class prejudice…. The rioters are supposed to have ‘low intelligence’ and are branded as ‘thugs’. But behind the class prejudice is a deep-seated fear in bourgeois circles about where Irish society is going. The Orange march through Dublin was a provocation…. Socialists do not join in the condemnation of young working class people who riot against the police – especially given this wider context.”
Could this be the same march where thugs rampaged through the streets of central Dublin, some of which assaulted innocent bystanders including a visibly pregnant woman, attacked journalists, threw petrol bombs and many other missiles, and destroyed privately owned cars? Yes it is but not to the SWP, a party that justifies violent hooliganism.
It would be fair to say Boyd-Barrett’s wish to minimise his association with the SWP, and instead focus on the People Before Profit brand was a key element in his campaigns since 2006. Indeed he seemed rather defensive and uncomfortable with the “socialist” tag during an interview for a show on RTE television recently, preferring to use the term “democracy”, in stark contrast to his campaigns of just a few years ago. Yet there is no sign that his politics has changed in the slightest. This is only a superficial makeover to appease voters.
Obviously Boyd Barrett’s star was in the ascendant, and it was not due to the preaching of far-left socialism while marching up and down political street incessantly. Clearly he learnt some lessons in populism when he changed tack somewhat in the mid 2000’s. He got involved in campaigns that would have had little interest relevance to workers, such as the Victorian baths in Dun Laoghaire, which nearly won him a seat at the 2007 general election under the People Before Profit moniker. His perception on the Southside of Dublin went through a further metamorphosis when it was revealed that he was the biological son of actress Sinead Cusack. No longer is he seen as a loonie-left outsider but rather something of a celebrity associated with well known Irish acting dynasty, the Cusack’s. Albeit initially reluctant, he seems happy to exploit this association in the media.
A cursory glance on the Internet suggests that a lot of people have an almost instinctive dislike of him in articles and on Irish political forums, even socialists who regard Dear Leader as a little bit power mad. Many critics accuse him of being a champaign socialist of the highest order. However, he has quite a number of fans that leap to his defence:
“He has heard the ‘champagne socialist’ accusation a million times and laughingly points out that if people knew how little he earned, they’d change the record. The SWP has a policy that none of its activists should earn more than the average industrial wage, “the reality is that we all earn a lot less than that”.”
Unfortunately he did not elaborate, and some have raised the issue because there is very little to suggest his source of income. Little wonder with commentary such as:
“When he left UCD, he travelled to Spain to teach English before returning to Dublin and his masters degree. He remained at UCD tutoring for three years. Since then, apart from a couple of brief spells teaching and working on the building site of London [!], he has been a full-time political activist with both the SWP and latterly, the Irish Anti-War Movement.”
Boyd Barrett has occasionally mentioned his “middle-class” upbringing. However he doesn’t advertise the fact that he is the adopted son of an extremely wealthy architect and property developer, rumoured to be named in the Ansbacher Report on high-finance tax concerns. Apparently he lives in a detached designer house located behind high walls in Glenageary, South County Dublin. The area and its environs of Killiney and Dalkey attract some of the very wealthiest people in Ireland. Of course coming from a very wealthy background doesn’t mean he is not a genuine committed socialist. However, his relatively luxuriant lifestyle (and the substantial cost of repeatedly failing to be elected over the years), without any obvious source of income prior to being elected a councillor in June 2009, suggests he is a man of “independent means”. One must suspect that such a fact would be a little embarrassing when lecturing others on matters of sacrifice, and the status of the working man.
Indeed Boyd-Barrett’s stance on some issues, demonstrates a very real disconnect with the reality faced by the working classes. For example, his stance on hard drugs would be extremely repugnant if it was well known to those he supposedly represents:
“Richard also believes in the decriminalisation of drugs – and not just so-called soft drugs like marijuana but also harder drugs like heroin and cocaine. He says:
‘I’m not a hippy. I don’t think if we all smoke weed the world’s going to be a better place. But I do think prohibition and criminalising something that is a social phenomena – for better or worse it’s here to stay – is not helpful or a useful deployment of our resources.’ ”
This is a remarkable stance that would be bitterly resented in the less privileged working class areas of Dublin, which have been ravaged by drug addiction. The approach of the State to drugs is a legitimate discussion. It could be less punitive and more socially progressive by criminalising the addict to a lesser degree following the model of other Western nations, and while the legalising of less harmful soft drugs like cannabis can be seen as a reasonable proposition, the notion of legalising highly-addictive physically-destructive class A substances is outlandish and startingly irresponsible. It would dramatically increase serious addiction, the consequences of which would be a highly destructive if not devastating impact upon society, particularly in the poorer disadvantaged communities Boyd-Barrett apparently seeks to empower. In a stark about-turn on his “give them cake” social approach, he would sooner deploy our limited “resources” elsewhere. One would almost think him a closet hard-capitalist in this respect.
Circa 1998 a campaign was started in Dublin to address the problem of tenants rights, which led to my first “RBBE” (Richard Boyd-Barrett Experience). One of the nightmares of being a penniless student was having to deal with virtual slum landlords, such as the infamous John “Rigsby” O’Dea of 71 Ranelagh Road and a multitude of other crumbling Georgian boxes. Tenant rights had essentially been struck from the law books since a 1980’s judicial ruling and something needed to be done desperately to rectify the situation. A public meeting on the issue in a hotel by the canal had a big turnout. Boyd-Barrett was the primary speaker. All went well until there was talk at the end of the meeting of promoting SWP membership and selling their materials on demonstration and marches. No previous mention of the SWP’s connection to the campaign had been made. Several people reacted angrily and left, feeling rightly that it would damage any chance of success. After a promising start the campaign died a quick death indeed.
This was something of a Boyd-Barrett/SWP modus operandi. The SWP repeatedly started or hijacked many worthy organisations and campaigns, which were then compromised by attempting to promote their party and their own membership at the expense of the wider campaign. It also allowed SWP members to present themselves to the media as spokespeople on certain issues, enhancing their prestige. To many it was a betrayal leading to the destruction of a given campaign, which caused a lot of resentment particularly amongst those being affected by a given issue.
The most striking feature of the Boyd-Barrett/People Before Profit/SWP alliance is the sheer populism of their antics. Any issue that tugs at the heart strings or makes them appear morally superior to the authorities is latched onto in the attempt to raise profiles with further media exposure, and hopefully gain a few extra votes. One example was controversy over the redevelopment of the baths in Dun Laoghaire some years ago. He started and led the “Save our Seafront” campaign. However it strangely morphed into a campaign by his party. There were protests against Blair, the United States and anything to do with Israel, protests about rats in Dun Laoghaire, protests supporting those refusing to pay small council rents, protests against removing a disused shed from a Dun Laoghaire pier, support of the Patton Flyer, protest of a 46A route change, protest against the recessionary cut-backs at Connolly’s Shoe Store etc. etc. The US/Israeli issues are obviously close to the SWP’s heart, whether legitimate of not but the local issues are simply designed for political gain. Whilst there is a good deal of cynicism in politics, SWP/Boyd-Barrett’s particular brand of preachy opportunistic posturing is sickening indeed.
When bin charges were introduced in Dublin, he involved working class Dun Laoghaire residents in a campaign against charges that caused waste to mount up, advised residents not to pay which resulted in some ending up in court, and was well known for running behind the bin lorries and throwing rubbish into them. Most grew to accept the fees but absurdly enough his campaigning on the issue continues after eight years!
In August 2009, Thomas Cook employees protested their redundancy plans, and occupied their employer’s office, despite the fact that redundancy terms were relatively generous. Boyd-Barrett and several other activists got involved with the sit-in after reputedly egging the employee’s on to break in to the offices. Some remarked that he seemed to intentionally bring about his arrest because he only joined the employee’s for a few hours after he knew the police would act on a judicial order and then he released a statement to the press before leaving the office. He later compared the event to the great 1913 Lock Out!
Boyd-Barrett’s flirtation with Islamicism and obsessive drive to demonise Israel
The Republic of Ireland has long been a harsh critic of Israel and it is likely to worsen due to the shift to the left. Former foreign affairs minister, Michael Martin, was one of the harshest critics of Israel in Fianna Fail, and has become party leader. Labour, which has a number of extreme critics of Israel, such as Michael D. Higgins, is likely to form the next government with Fine Gael. Sinn Fein, also set to make gains, has repeatedly demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland and boycott. Aengus O’Snodaigh (TD) described Israel as “without doubt one of the most abhorrent and despicable regimes on the planet.” and also attempted to sail on the 2010 Gaza flotilla. When the Israeli Ambassador explained the cause of Operation Cast Lead in 2009 at a government committee, O’Snodaigh repeatedly compared him, and Ireland’s sole Jewish TD Alan Shatter, to Goebbels. Comical when one considers that O’Snodaigh belongs to an organisation which once backed the Nazis against Britain. There was also a shameful incident last year when a Sein Fein councillor in Carrickmacross had the signature of the Israeli Ambassador ripped out of the council visitors book. Verbose anti-Israeli windbag, Senator David Norris, is also tipped to reach the next presidency. However by far the most obsessive anti-Israeli politician with a chance at a parliamentary seat is Richard Boyd-Barrett.
Shortly before the general election, the Mail on Sunday (13/2/11) published a two-page feature on Boyd-Barrett by Jason O’Toole. He explained his support for Palestinianism
…as a student, he spent a summer working in Israel. ‘We were looking for somewhere exotic to work – and the only place we could afford to get to was Israel. We didn’t know anything about the politics. I was working with Palestinians down at the Dead Sea, and they were from a refugee camp. They were giving me a day-by-day account of the uprising and their history and the conditions they were living in. ‘Shortly after that, I went and stayed with them in the refugee camp and I saw first hand what was going on. And following that I started to look more into it.
Similarly in another article Boyd Barrett echoed those sentiments:
“…it was a year in Palestine which politicised him, he says, during the time of the intifada of the late 1980s. ‘It made me very angry and shocked. (Before that) I wasn’t partisan, I was just an observer. so yes it radicalised me. I felt I had an obligation to do something about it.’”
So he freely admitted that he is a pro-Palestinian radical. This may explain the following bizarre paragraph also from the Mail on Sunday article:
I saw some horrific stuff: I saw Israeli soldiers shooting peaceful protesters; I saw a massacre take place in Jerusalem, when 13 people were shot on the Temple Mount. Obviously, that has a big impact on you. It’s funny being in those situations – it’s almost surreal. You almost can’t believe it’s happening. But it had a political impact on me because I was just horrified that such an injustice could take place and that the whole conflict can be so badly misrepresented.
Here Barrett states that he witnessed a massacre of 13 people by Israelis on the Temple Mount. This was a curious assertion because such an event did not happen. He may be recollecting the rioting of 29th and 30th September 2000 after Ariel Sharon’s visited the Temple Mount on the 28th of September, and in response Palestinians rioted for several days. Four were shot but this was not a one-sided “massacre” as no less than seventy policemen were injured in Jerusalem alone after Muslim rioters threw rocks from the Mount down onto Jewish worshippers and tourists at the Western Wall. This led to Israeli police entering the site, which they usually avoid out of respect. Pro-Palestinians assert that this event caused the Second Intifada but intent to cause violence was asserted by leaders several months before Sharon visited the Temple Mount.
Four Muslim Arab rioters were killed in wide scale intensive violence, a very different event to a “massacre” of thirteen innocents. Furthermore some would doubt that Boyd-Barrett was even there at the time of that event in 2000 because he only told Dunphy on his lengthy 2008 radio interview was that he worked in Israel as a student in the late 80’s during the First Intifada, rather than the Second. Other interviews in recent years are similarly sketchy about his experiences while in Israel. No mention is made of what would have been an intense life-changing experience, the personal experience of a massacre. Boyd-Barrett became one of the movers and shakers in the Irish Palestinian propagandist movement since the Millennium, when pro-Palestinianism exploded in popularity. One would have thought he would have been screaming about this more recent experience through his megaphone long before now.
Boyd-Barrett has criticised anti-Semitism on a number of occasions, and whilst this article does not accuse him of such because there are all manner of reasons why one would support the Palestinians, his extremism is a concern. For years he offered uncritical support for Hamas and Hizbullah, could be found screaming for intifada on the streets of Dublin, and there are very many other examples. Is it acceptable for him to give a great deal of uncritical support to extremists that advocate death to Israeli civilians, destruction of Jewry, and denial of the Holocaust? This is also a broader party issue. The SWP is related to the British SWP that took part in an anti-Semitic incident recently. The People Before Profit/SWP Israeli obsession borders on the weird. It’s highlighted in protests that have nothing to do with the issue, e.g. April 2010 protests over the closure of two swimming pools in Dublin that had many Palestinian flags and big placards lambasting Israel.
In 2006 Boyd-Barrett’s IAWM brought Ibrahim Mousawi, a spokesman for Hizbullah, to Ireland to speak in several cities. He shared a platform with the likes of Aengus O’Snodaigh of Sinn Fein/IRA. He ran the Hizbullah owned Islamicist satellite TV station, Al-Manar, which France and Australia banned because of its intensive anti-Semitic content. Mousawi was invited again the following year but the Irish Justice Minister denied him entry. He was also banned from entering the United States due to his links to the Hizbullah. The IAWM called it a “disgraceful attack on the anti-war movement.” Mousawi has said “pain is the only language that the enemy [Israel] understands” and called Jews “a lesion on the forehead of history”. How very anti-war indeed!
At the 2006 IAWM conference Mousawi attended, a IAWM member affirmed:
“The IAWM is NOT a “Peace organisation”… IAWM, as stated in its constitution, is an anti-imperialist organisation… simultaneously extending support and solidarity with those who are invaded, and those who fight against that invasion and occupation by any means at their disposal. It is in this context that we invited Ibrahim Mussawi and it is this context that many of us, especially the older members of the IAWM, supported the Vitenamese NLF and the Catholic inspired armed national liberation movements in Latin America.”
This is an unambiguous moral justification for terrorist acts, including actions leading to mass civilian deaths. It is also a reminder of the hard-left’s abject failure to learn from the past, in which they forcefully supported tyrannical regimes and depraved terror groups.
The IAWM helped organise the “Al Aqsa Festival: Gaza’s Victory, The Road to Al Quds” at the RDS venue in April 2009. Sheikh al Baz said the Gaza war “restored to every Muslim his honour and dignity”. Azzam Tamimi said “Once you recognise Israel, you say to the world that the rape of my country and my people is acceptable,” and “It is a crime against humanity to recognise Israel’s right to exist…”. Boyd Barrett was appropriate company, adding that it is “entirely legitimate” to say “Israel has no right to exist” as “it is not a normal state but a state built on violence, oppression and apartheid”.
Boyd Barrett’s Israel fixation is extraordinary. He demonstrated around five times outside the Israeli Embassy in the space of two weeks during the Gaza Flotilla Incident, and also protested at some of Dublin’s busy supermarkets to seek boycott of Israel. He camped out to establish a “blockade” at the Embassy that prevented staff entering while the police stood by. At another demo there was the Arabic chant of “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahoud, jaish Muhammad sa yaoud” which means “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” recalling the destruction of the Jewish community of Khaybar in Arabia led by Muhammad. It was a part of the eradication of the substantial Jewish presence in Arabia.
Boyd-Barrett’s obsessive efforts to demonise Israel are quite impressive at a logistical level. For years he has been speaking against Israel at university campuses in Ireland almost continually. For example, at UCD one could not fail to notice the black and white posters for seemingly continual rounds of pro-Palestinian evening talks, which inevitably featured Boyd-Barrett. Similarly Boyd-Barrett’s IAWM runs events that make it very nearly an exclusive pro-Palestinian organisation at this stage. Consider a recent “List of Events” on their website:
– Weekly Protest at the Apartheid “Israeli” embassy 17/03/2011 – 13:00
– Vigil for Rachel Corrie at the apartheid “Israeli” embassy in Dublin 16/03/2011 – 13:00
– Solidarity with the Palestinian People on March the 15th – Dublin 15/03/2011 – 15:00
– Revolutions in Egypt and the Arab World 12/03/2011 – 15:00
– Israeli Apartheid 2011: CRH Complicity With Israeli Apartheid Information Stall 12/03/2011 – 13:00
The weekly Embassy protests are in association with an Irish pro-Palestinian group called Act for Palestine which encourages the vandalism of legal tender with the scrawling of pro-Palestinian messages.
During a meeting of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on the 11th of October 2010, Richard Boyd Barrett proposed a motion condemning Israel. Councillor Richard Humphreys, in an excellent speech sharply criticised Boyd-Barrett and his Party:
Cllr Boyd Barrett is a prominent figure in the Socialist Workers Party, which has openly stated in its newspaper, the “Socialist Worker”, in August 2006 that it supports Hamas and Hezbollah. Hamas is acknowledged by the EU to be a terrorist organisation. Its charter is openly anti-Semitic and it has engaged in Holocaust denial. Likewise Hezbollah has been categorised by many governments internationally as terrorist and is committed to the destruction of the State of Israel.
Cllr Boyd Barrett himself spoke at an Al-Aqsa Conference in April 2009 at which Hamas paramilitary material was openly on display, and he shared a platform with speakers who openly voiced support for the jihad, the Taleban and the Iraqi and Afghan insurgents. In his own speech at that conference and again at the Council meeting last night Cllr Boyd-Barrett openly questioned Israel’s right to exist. (…) he cannot pose as anti-war and as against discrimination while he and his Party lend succour to organisations that are anti-Semitic and extremist, and while he himself does not accept Israel’s right to exist.
Twenty three councillors rejected the motion, with only three voting for it. Sadly there are few champions of Israel’s cause on other councils around Ireland.
At a Council meeting on the 5th January 2011, Humphreys criticised Boyd-Barrett, this time over his 2005 trip to a Conference in Cairo:
According to an article written by Cllr Boyd-Barrett on the Irish Anti-War movement website, this conference was addressed by an individual, who is linked to Muqtada Al-Sadr’s death squads that have murdered hundreds of people including women and children, tortured and executed gay people and imposed brutal sharia law on the areas they control. He is not man enough to come to the Council and say that he is a member of the Socialist Workers Party and proud of it – he hides behind front organisations. And finally he is pretending to be anti-war when he is frequenting a conference that is attended by representatives of death squads. Cllr Boyd-Barrett is a fraud and it is high time that the people of Dun Laoghaire realised that.
It should be noted that as of 2010, according to one of the primary NGOs dealing with the Iraq war, of over 150,000 casualties, 80+% (122,000) are civilian. According to statistics, American and coalition forces are responsible for the death of at least 13,807 civilians and the rest of the civilians were killed by terrorist groups, militias and insurgents. The scale of these figures is not unknown so it makes one wonder why on earth Boyd-Barrett has little issue with Islamicist terrorists butchering civilians in Iraq, whilst obsessively crowing about the actions of the IDF over far smaller death tolls. He can only see the US as an evil imperialist state.
The IAWM’s support, first for Saddam Hussein, and then for the Iraqi “Resistance” after Saddam’s defeat is considerable. Consider Boyd-Barrett’s opinions. He never fails to place his leftist ideological crusade after allowance for the very real safety concerns of Iraqi people, whilst with a sickening hypocrisy, asserts his concern for those same people:
“The claim that the US must stay to prevent civil war between Shia and Sunni is an ignorant and cynical fiction… There is almost no history of conflict between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni… For the sake of the suffering Iraqi people we must hope that Iraqi resistance and protest here in the west force the US to pull out as quickly as possible.”
Mark Humphrys’ site has a large selection of material like the above.
Last year the IAWM invited what are apparently “leading Israeli, Palestinian and Jewish academics”, such as rank anti-Israeli Dr. Illan Pappe, and John Rose who supports Shlomo Sand’s view there is no such thing as a Jewish people, to a conference about the one-state solution organised by the IAWM, in the Gresham Hotel. Boyd-Barrett stated “We feel an obligation to reject the idea that there is only one solution, that solution being the two state solution.” He said a two state solution “… based on ethnic or religious segregation is obnoxious”. Of the meeting he stated “We… will explain why Israel is not a normal state and why a very different peace strategy is needed to the one currently being pursued if the conflict is ever to be resolved.”
Boyd-Barrett portrays Israel as in some way elementally evil. Thus the solution to the conflict is the formation of one state which would of course essentially subsume the much persecuted Jewish people, with self-determination for the first time in over 2,000 years lost under an Arab-Islamic majority regime, a regional culture which lets remember expresses more genocidal intent toward the Jews than National Socialists in 1930’s Germany. The one-state solution is advocated by many leading pro-Palestinians, such as Omar Barghouti, the principle figure of the boycott (BDS) movement. His version of the one-state solution is in fact the destruction of Israel: “It is not the occupation of the West Bank that is the problem, but the existence of Israel itself.” This is coincidentally the same boycott campaign Boyd-Barrett strongly advocates. Boyd-Barrett is either extremely stupid or extremely malign, probably the latter.
Currently Boyd-Barrett and a number of Irish artists have launched a fundraising project to help an Irish ship join an international flotilla to Gaza later this year, entitled “Freedom Flotilla 2”, to coincide with the first anniversary of the Gaza Flotilla incident last year, in which certain supposed “human rights activists” on the Mavi Mariner crossed a line by turning into combatants against the IDF, in association with militant Islamicist organisation IHH. No doubt they hope for a similar result to embarrass Israel this year, in their continual efforts to demonise and destroy the Israeli State.
Some say Barrett is a sincere individual who is committed to socialism. His commitment to it seems genuine but his band-wagon jumping, populist posturing, and re-labelling of the SWP is manipulative, to say the least. Many see Boyd-Barrett as being a shameless self-publicist motivated by political opportunism, who latches onto any current issue in an attempt to raise his profile and gain votes, where he gets an extraordinary amount of media coverage, despite repeatedly failing to get elected for years.
It should be noted that Boyd-Barrett’s commitment to hard-left socialism remains undiminished. The only difference is that he keeps fairly quiet about it today. Fearing the Socialist Workers Party will stigmatise his efforts to get elected, he uses the People Before Profit Alliance brand, which is in essence an SWP front for election purposes to fool or at least ease the worries of those not enamoured with extreme-left politics.
Despite the softening of his image, his values come before any practicality. Even raging leftist broadcaster Vincent Brown, who often gives him too much time, told Boyd-Barrett he was living in “cloud-cuckoo land” over his views on what Irish economic policy should be with regard to the current crisis: — his policies are similar to Sein Fein but more extreme. They would utterly destroy the State economically, bringing Ireland back to the poverty stricken conditions in the 1920’s/30’s, although at least his much cherished workers “equality” would be largely achieved.
One wag stated about Boyd-Barrett some years ago: “His politics reminds me more of Adrian Mole Aged Thirteen and Three Quarters than the politics of someone in their 30s”. Little has changed since then but there is another darker side to the man who blames virtually all woes on the US State, and seeks the dissolution of the sole Jewish state in existence. It is Adrian Mole gone bad, a divisive, sanctimonious and yet morally reprehensible individual.
Betraying the more moderate face of the People Before Profit Alliance, activists attempted to break into the Dail by force last year, which Boyd-Barrett pretended was an oh so innocent gathering. If he and his party can’t break into the Dail and disrupt the democratic institutions of the State using violence, then perhaps he will finally succeed in gaining entry through the democratic process which he evidently holds in contempt. If that does happen it will be a sad day indeed.
Sadly Boyd Barrett was elected a TD on the final count in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown constituency [Boyd-Barrett takes last Dún Laoghaire seat]. He beat Mary Hanafin, a Fianna Fáil minister because a large number of votes were transferred from Labour’s Ivana Bacik, who was previously eliminated, which largely favoured Boyd-Barrett as both are left-wing. Sein Fein got fourteen seats, more than trebling their influence. Another SWP/People Before Profit candidate, Joan Collins, got elected as did three other United Left candidates. This swing to the hard-left will result in considerably more hostility in the Parliament toward pet hates like Israel and the US. During the five year term, the electorate may begin to see Boyd-Barrett’s unattractive side. It seems many voters are unaware of his support for Iraqi insurgents, and even his economic policies in the current economic crisis, which are as absurd as can be imagined.