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  • Harper and Israel

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 1st February 2012 (All posts by )

    (with a tip o’ the hat to David Foster – Thanks for the title)

    While the Irish government, in typical fashion, is working overtime to ingratiate itself with the Palestinian cause, Harper’s government in Canada continues to impress. From announcing “Canada will take that stand [to defend Israel in the public sphere] whatever the cost” to opposing a bid for statehood by the PA, Harper has shown unusual cojones .

    And now the next chapter – yesterday, FM John Baird reiterated Canada’s support for Israel in the now-typical unbridled fashion:

    On a visit to Israel, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told an audience of 350 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum that “Israel has no greater friend in the world than Canada.” He then surprised them by saying “Canada does not stand behind Israel… .” After a slight pause he continued: “Canada stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel” in any threats and challenges it may face. He was met with warm applause.

    Just in case you think Baird talks only to the cheering section, behold this:

    Over lunch with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, then later with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Foreign Minister Riad Maliki, the Ottawa tag-team [of Baird and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty] went out of its way to impress upon the Palestinian leadership that it should abandon its efforts to obtain United Nations recognition and return to the negotiating table with Israel “without preconditions.”

    Two foreign ministers touring Israel in this past week. Two very different policies.

    Posted in Israel | 2 Comments »

    Oh, this is going to be a cheerful Monday…

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 29th January 2012 (All posts by )

    So tomorrow (Monday) morning there’s going to be a new pact signed in Brussels at the EU leaders’ summit which basically wrests more fiscal power away from Greece, and turns it over to a “Eurozone budget commissioner”. Here in Ireland, the current government is going to sign on with the understanding that it won’t need to ratify it with the people (75% of whom are hankering for a vote). According to the Independent, President Higgins can refer it to the Supreme Court for a legal test. I doubt he’ll do it – he’s a Labour man and his party is currently sharing power with Fine Gael. All should make for hours of exciting Eurocrisis soap opera on the radio…

    Posted in Europe | 1 Comment »

    Getting to the bottom of PJs

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 29th January 2012 (All posts by )

    So while I was doodling out a thoughtful post on British identity in the Emerald Isle, this whole pajama business in Dublin blew open, meriting mention not only in the London Times editorial section on Friday(sorry-behind a paywall), but Althouse as well! So what’s up with dressing down?

    The debate that took place was fascinating – in part because there really was no debate. The Dept of Social Welfare hung up a bunch of signs asking people to show up in street clothes, and Irish punditry applauded. I read this as part of a continuing meme in Irish thought and culture – that Irish manners, once the finest to behold, are crumbling due to American/British media, the Celtic Tiger, the end of the Celtic Tiger, the Church, the lack of the Church, Leinster Rugby losing to Connacht, so on and so forth. Mind you, this is a nation where people still thank the bus driver as they exit the bus. Where thank you notes are sent with profusion. It’s not a political thing one way – or the other. It’s more like a nationwide “Mind yer manners” moment.

    Posted in Diversions | 4 Comments »

    Across the ocean, a message over the wireless…

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 24th January 2012 (All posts by )

    As the newest Chicago Lass (hardly a boy, last I checked), I want to thank Jon for letting me join in on all the blogging. Briefly, our family moved to Dublin this past August from the United States. That was a blogworthy effort all on its own, with our lives boiled down to 54 boxes on a cargo ship and 27 luggage pieces on a plane (we had a lot of bags to watch over). Of course we also had four kids & Grandma along.

    I am not Irish, although I have a name and face that “passes”. Twelve months ago, I could not have distinguished between Croke Park and Bushy Park, told you what potcheen was good for or understood what “Dia duit” meant. Twelve months ago I would have never predicted life would take our family here.

    It has been an unusual experience – being an American in a city that is very Irish, very engrossed in Europe – and, dare I say it… very British at times (the truth that dare not speak its name). It is at once engulfed in the past, and yearning for the future. In this small island, the last rugged rock until Newfoundland, I have come to understand things about the United States, about Europe and the UK, and most of all, about Ireland – a land filled with magic and contradiction, with sadness, with laughter, and with fear and hope for what lies ahead. I hope to share these discoveries with you.

    With warmest regards,
    Your correspondent from Innisfree

    Posted in Anglosphere | 10 Comments »