THE ISRAEL Defense Forces (IDF) may be good at carpet bombing Palestinians in civilian areas of Gaza but its public relations expertise leaves a lot to be desired and its recent PR initiative involving Ireland and U2 lead singer Bono blew up in its face.
Bono looked emotional when dedicating U2 song ‘Pride’ to the victims of the massacre by Hamas at a music festival in Israel near the border with Gaza a fortnight ago. The IDF spin doctors must have assumed that getting a sympathetic Bono apparently on their side gave them an opening to a normally hostile audience in Ireland. Thus, the official IDF social media account shared a video of his comments before tweeting: “This is Israel’s Bloody Sunday.”
This indicates a slender hold on Irish politics in Derry, the north and Ireland generally, with the Palestinian flag popular in republican areas and the Israeli flag often seen in loyalist areas.
It did not go down very well in the Bogside and other nationalist areas of Derry and a spokesperson for the Bloody Sunday March committee, Kate Nash, said its members were “staggered beyond belief” at the comment.
She said there was no comparison between the events in Palestine and what happened in Derry on January 30, 1972.
“This is beyond outrageous,” Nash continued. “To have the memory of our innocent dead sullied by the apartheid forces of the Israeli state will cause deep hurt and anger in Derry.”
Nash – whose brother William was killed and whose father Alex was seriously injured on Bloody Sunday – also had a go at the British government, telling the Belfast Telegraph that it does “not even offer the weakest of condemnation of the Israeli state”.
She also said: “We send our solidarity to those who fight for justice and freedom for the Palestinians living under illegal occupation.”
Strangely, while Irish media have followed closely much of the global reaction and commentary on the Israel-Palestine war, no national newspaper in the south picked up on this story involving the Israeli military, Bono and Bloody Sunday relatives.