Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vincent Browne's "cancer" remark

Most evenings I watch the Vincent Browne show on Ireland's TV3 Channel. I was not watching two weeks ago when during a discussion on the third Presidential debate Browne stated that "Israel was a Cancer in Foreign Affairs". Browne has claimed that he was not referring to Israel itself when he used the word cancer and that the true meaning of his statement was that Israel has a cancerous affect on US foreign policy because both political parties "bow" to Israel. For a short time I was willing to lay off Browne and take him at his word that the grumpy, but likable uncle figure had his words to some extent taken out of context. But on reflection it is clear to me that this is nonsense. I know what he meant. He knows what he meant and the viewers know what he meant.

The use of the word "cancer" was reckless, irresponsible and bigoted. A cancer is something that kills everything it infects. It has to be destroyed if everything around it is to survive. For Vincent Browne to give in to the narrative that dominates much of the Arab world is unforgivable. The narrative I speak of is the one which we see from Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and others. This narrative seems fit to blame literally every problem that exists in the Muslim world on Israel and Jews. It is a similar narrative to that used by the Nazis in the Third Reich. It is truly mind boggling that a prominent Irish TV personality would give credibility to this narrative. And that is what he has done. This story has already made the Israeli and Palestinian media and by making this statement Browne has reinforced the perception in Jerusalem that Ireland is vehemently anti Israel while simultaneously making it harder for Palestinian elements to moderate toward Israeli recognition. This is what I personally find unforgivable. Ireland is a country that has overcome a conflict that was once thought to be as equally intractable as that in the Middle East. We have overcome that conflict and instigated what is regarded by many as the worlds most successful peace process. One would hope that the Irish nation has learned from this and that our contribution to other world conflicts would only be positive. Not Vincent Browne however. In his mind our contribution should be no more sophisticated than "Israel is a cancer". It amazes me that he sees this as reasonable. "Israel is a cancer", not religious extremism, not Islamic fundamentalism or even authoritarian rule, to Vincent Browne the cancer is the democratic state of Israel.

Browne's response to date has been pathetic. He has fallen back on the old false grievance that "criticism of Israel is not anti Semitic", as if all he had done was merely criticise Israeli policy. He of course did much more than this by referring to the whole nation as a cancer. Can we imagine the reaction if someone had said the exact same words about Palestinians. Or if someone referred to blacks, Ireland, or members of the travelling community as a cancer, the latter being a cause which Vincent Browne himself has been vocal about. Vincent Browne has let himself down with these comments. As a political pundit who speaks to the Irish people for an hour every weeknight he is in fact quite a powerful man who has the ability to shape public opinion on many issues. On the issue of Israel he has not only fallen on the wrong side of it but has put himself in the same category as the bigots and anti Semites that relentlessly bash Israel out of all context and proportion and by doing so he has associated Ireland with these views. He has done the country a great disservice in this matter. My estimation of him has decreased significantly in the wake of this controversy. Below are the comments.


Cranky Notions said...

Well said, Ted!

JP said...

Hi Ted,

It was a woeful gaffe sound bite especially for a TV journalist of his experience, but do you really think that he's anti Semitic - i.e. that he hates all Jewish people simply because they are Jewish?? Also for the record, I believe it is perfectly possible to be critical of Israel without being anti Semitic.

Ted Leddy said...


I agree completely that it is "perfectly possible to be critical of Israel without being anti semetic". I have challenged many people on the pro Israel side about this in the past.

On whether Browne himself is anti semetic I cannot answer this. It's kinda like when you're playing football and you jump for a ball and elbow the guy behind you. It looks like an accident but it really hurts the guy behind you. Only you know if you did it on purpose. I think anti semitism is kind of like that. Only Vincent Browne knows his true motives for saying something so offensive.

Gold Fingers said...

I believe he was trying to indicate that Israel dominates the U.S. consciousness as a topic for concern than it should.Especially vis a vis the presidential debate.As for the formation of Israel,thats a given.He messed up trying to cover his tracks after spurting a no no but its a storm in a teacup.Israel cares less about Ireland than we do about them.

joushikijin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joushikijin said...

I beg to disagree: "The use of the word "cancer" was reckless, irresponsible and bigoted. A cancer is something that kills everything it infects. It has to be destroyed if everything around it is to survive." That is exactly what Israel did for the past 60 years. You as Irish should have more sense, they invaded and occupied a country believing it is their god given right. Does this sound remotely familiar to you?

Abe Bird said...

Vincent Browne is a cancer in the domestic Irish fragile affairs. Israel is the only healthy cell in Middle East Islamic cancer boils the Arab fogy states apart. Islam is a religious of expansion by massive conversion and wars, and its behave is not the outcome of the Muslims-Jews conflict in Palestine but rather the opposite, the Muslims-Jews conflict is the outcome of the Islamic surge began on early 20th to spread by force for dominating lands and seas over the world. Israel is only one and the outspoken conflict among hundreds of inner and outer conflicts throughout the globe. Iran-Iraq bloody war had nothing to do with Israel rather than the nowadays bloody war among the fragile parties in Syria. I can add the wars in Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Afghanistan-Pakistan, Pakistan-India, Turkey-Kurds, Jordan-PLO, continuous Bloodshed in Lebanon, Somalia-Sudan massacres, and of course hundreds of suicide bombing all around the world – 911, London 7/7, All these has nothing to do with Israel or Jews!!!!
Many Muslims share the efforts to conquest the West, though most Muslims might not supporting it actively, but passively, yes they do. The Muslims are building caves on sleepy terror cells protected by their holy Mosque umbrella. Bloodshed is a defensive Islamic act while terrorism is the operative act. Re-settling the West with millions of Muslim immigrants is a mass-must-step to contain the West and to conquer and convert its Christian natives.
In order to reach their aim, the Muslims are spreading lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories again the common eligibly “enemy” of both Muslims and Christians – the Jews. With that success the Muslims succeeding to baffled and numb their Christian mates and prepare the ground for the outcome of a new Islamic Jihad to control the Christian states.
Vincent Browne is one of nutty led characters that help the Muslims, by clearly knowingly or by cleanly innocence, to bridge the difficulties of convincing the masses reviews. Leaving Christianity worldwide in total ignorance about all crimes committed by Muslims against Christians is a sin and disgrace. When people around will understand how deep they are in that domestic struggles all over the world, it might be too late to stop the Islamic rage eruption that will follow.

Israeli citizen