No shamrocks for Genocide Joe – no greenwashing of US imperialism

By Harper Cleves

When Joe Biden mistakenly referred to the Israeli invasion of Rafah as “our military operation” – this was more than a slip of the tongue; it reflected the reality that US imperialism has played a decisive role in this genocide. They have sent, and will continue to send, billions to the Israeli regime, as well as giving them diplomatic cover for their genocidal war. 

It is this context in which the Irish Government parties of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the Green Party – as well as opposition party Sinn Féin – are choosing to continue the annual tradition of visiting the US for St Patrick’s Day and (in the case of the government) bestowing the sitting US president with a gift of shamrocks.

Solidarity from below 

The Irish working class has consistently demonstrated consistent solidarity with the Palestinian cause. A February 2024 ‘Ireland Thinks’ poll showed that 79% of Irish people think the Israeli State is committing genocide in Gaza. In most working-class estates, you can see Palestinian flags being flown in solidarity, and fundraisers have been organised in communities to provide aid and medicine for the people of Gaza.

Irish politicians have felt the pressure from the movement of solidarity from below and were forced early to come out in favour of a ceasefire. And yet, when governments were asked to record their reactions to Israel being charged with genocide in the International Court of Justice case, Ireland was listed as critical alongside the likes of the US and the UK. They have also refused to expel the Israeli Ambassador and allow US warplanes to go through Shannon. 

Falling short

Sinn Féin in particular, has enjoyed a reputation for being longtime supporters of the cause of Palestinian liberation. And yet, throughout this genocide, Sinn Féin has consistently fallen short when it has come to standing in solidarity with Palestinians. At the onset of the violence, they refused to call for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, only changing their position after receiving a groundswell of opposition from would-be supporters.

Upon receiving criticism from voters and members alike for persisting with their plan to visit the White House even amidst ‘Genocide Joe’s’ continued funding of the the Israeli siege on Gaza, former Party leader Gerry Adams said at a fundraising event ‘they [Palestinians] would not expect us to do anything– any more than we would expect them to do anything – which would set back our own struggle.” 

This quote, incredibly crass when faced with the enormity of the genocidal violence facing Palestinians today, was also proven to be untrue. At a Sinn Féin-hosted ‘Solidarity Rally for Palestine’ event in Belfast, a number of Palestinian activists, some with family in Gaza, were thrown out of the event after calling on Sinn Féin to boycott the White House on St Patrick’s Day. 

Cosying up to imperialism 

Sinn Féin is unfortunately less concerned with ending a genocide in Palestine than it is with securing funding from Irish American donors, and using US imperialism to hopefully bolster its own political ambitions. As far back as 2003, during the imperialist invasion of Iraq, Sinn Féin politicians shook hands with war monger President George W. Bush.

All of these political parties may claim that maintaining this visit allows them to keep a ‘dialogue open’ with the US so that they might influence the course of events in Gaza. However, this visit reflects their unwillingness to undermine their relationship with and dependence on US capitalism – even if it means shaking the bloody hand of a man responsible for the murder of over 10,000 Palestinian children.

We must continue to pressure the government parties, and Sinn Féin as the would-be alternative, to boycott the White House this St Patrick’s Day. Joe Biden is facing tremendous pressure internally, losing votes amongst young people and people of colour by continuing to support the Israeli state. This could strike a further blow to his prestige and the prestige of US capitalism.

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