Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

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Israel picks a fight with Ireland

August 7, 2009

It seems that Zionists and AIPAC will go to any lengths to stifle anyone critical of their murderous regime. There is no end to whom Zionists will pick a fight with.

Now it’s Mary Robinson, first woman president of Ireland and former UNHR high commissioner who has supported Palestinian rights and criticised the tactics of Israel against the Palestinian people. Mary Robinson has been included to receive the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom Award by Obama.

Zionists object of course – anyone who criticizes Israel’s bloody tactics in Palestine cannot possibly be a good person. That pretty well means that a majority of people in the world are on Israel’s and AIPAC’s black list. The Irish people have long supported Palestine and protested the savage treatment of its people by Israel with boycotts of Israeli products and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

Usually, the Irish like just about every country and nationality in the world. And, I might add, are welcomed everywhere, especially on UN peace keeping missions because of their congenialality and resolution of tense conflicts with good will rather than bombs and bullets. Israel should get some sort of medal itself for raising the hackles on Irish backs and being boycotted not only by Irish people, but also by Irish academia, a feat no other nation has accomplished in Irish history. Congratulations to Israel.

I would here argue the merits of case affirming Israel’s violation of human rights, but it would takes weeks to list all the proven instances of its blatant disregard for human rights over decades. And of course, I would be arguing with people whose minds are immersed in Israeli propaganda. Only a fool argues with fools.

Before or after you read the following article you might want to review Mary Robinson’s credentials in the area of human rights activities.

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson: Human rights are good for business

Global Elders

Jewish groups decry Obama’s choice of

Ireland’s Mary Robinson for award

Protests against the former Irish president, who critics say is anti-Israel, could become problematic for President Obama.

By Peter Wallsten

August 7, 2009

Source

Reporting from Washington — Jewish congressional members and lobbying groups are protesting President Obama’s decision to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Irish leader Mary Robinson, who they say has a long record of harshly criticizing Israel.

The award announcement prompted the first criticism of Obama by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a group he courted during last year’s campaign. Jewish groups in the U.S. have been largely supportive of the president. But the Robinson award is the latest in a series of recent disagreements with Obama, and some Jewish leaders are growing skeptical of his commitment to Israel.

Last month, Obama hosted Jewish leaders at a White House meeting designed to soothe tensions over his differences with Israel over the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and lingering concern over the tenor of his outreach to the Muslim world.

By Thursday, several members of Congress — including two Jewish Democrats — had rebuked the decision to bestow the country’s highest civilian honor on Robinson during a White House ceremony planned for Wednesday.

Among their concerns was her role as the United Nations’ high commissioner on human rights in the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. The U.S. and Israel pulled out of the conference over objections to a document it produced accusing Israel of racism in its treatment of the Palestinians.

Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a member of the Jewish caucus to the conference, said Thursday that Robinson “allowed the event to be hijacked by extremists who had no interest in peace.”

The episode, Cooper said, “degraded” the global human rights effort, setting the stage for the second racism conference, held this spring, in which a keynote speaker was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a fierce enemy of Israel who has questioned whether the Holocaust occurred.

Robinson “simply did not have the guts . . . to step into the fray and say it can’t be this way,” Cooper said. “She’s a nice woman and a good person, but the fact that you mean well isn’t a prerequisite to get our nation’s highest honor.”

Robinson, Ireland’s president from 1990 to 1997, told Irish reporters this week that the accusations had no merit and blamed the controversy on “a lot of bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community.”

“They bully people who try to address the severe situation in Gaza and the West Bank,” she told a radio network, according to an account in the Belfast Telegraph.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D- Nev.) said Thursday that the “biased views expressed by Mary Robinson against the nation of Israel remain deeply troubling, and her tarnished record of actions on this issue cannot be erased with the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Berkley blamed Robinson for the “highly charged anti-Jewish attacks against Israel and its supporters” at the 2001 conference and said her actions “deserve to be condemned.”

Another Jewish Democrat, Rep. Eliot L. Engel of New York, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Robinson was a “screw-up” and a “mistake.”

A White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, on Thursday stood by the president’s decision, calling Robinson a key figure in history. “Mary Robinson was the first female president of Ireland, whom we are honoring as a prominent crusader for women’s rights in Ireland and around the world,” Vietor said. “She has dedicated her career to human rights and working to improve an imperfect world.

“As with any public figure, we don’t necessarily agree with every statement she has ever made,” Vietor said, “but it’s clear that she has been an agent of change and a fighter for good.”

Still, the controversy looked to be growing.

The World Jewish Congress on Thursday accused Robinson of an “endorsement of Palestinian violence as legitimate political activity, and the outrageous equating of the Holocaust to the suffering of the Palestinians,” adding that Robinson’s record “renders her unqualified to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor.”

The criticism from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which called on Obama to “firmly, fully and publicly repudiate [Robinson’s] views on Israel,” was especially problematic for the president.

As a candidate, he delivered well-received speeches to the group as he presented himself as a staunch supporter of Israel. AIPAC’s incoming president, Lee Rosenberg, is a Chicago friend of Obama’s and was a key fundraiser during the campaign.

Defenders of Robinson point to a 2003 op-ed she wrote in the New York Times deploring the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, and they note that during the 2001 racism conference she waved a booklet of anti-Semitic cartoons and declared, “I am a Jew.”

But critics point to a 2002 report compiled by the late Rep. Tom Lantos of California, a Holocaust survivor and delegate to the Durban conference, who said that Robinson’s conduct “left our delegation deeply shocked and saddened” by her remarks about Israel.

Related

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Picture of demolitions in Palestine

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Ireland must re-invent itself

May 9, 2009



One of the main drivers of the Celtic Tiger was the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Ireland with lower corporation taxes. Ireland having been in the economic dumps for decades jumped with glee at the prosperity of jobs that American corporations brought to Irish people. The other main driver was the property boom, fueled by low interest rates and speculation.

Both drivers are bust now: the corporations that fueled our economy are moving jobs to countries with lower costs (wages); thus we are again seeing a migration of Irish people to countries that have been the benificiaries of these jobs. It was, of course, inevitable. The bottom has fallen out of the property market worldwide and will not recover soon.

Yet Ireland is capitalistic, through and through. We seek not to examine our system and its moral failures, but to maintain our prosperity. It has not really occurred to the government (or the people) that capitalism itself is failing from internal contradictions, way beyond the control of the Irish government and industry.

Ireland is more dependent than ever on the EU, our own Big Brother, and locked into a capitalist form of economy for the foreseeable future. But the capitalist system is doomed, sooner or later.

For our own good, and the good of all, the word ‘socialism’ must creep back into our moral dialogue as a partial solution to the crisis of today. Putting ‘people before profits’ must be our priority in fashioning the Ireland of tomorrow. Ireland was a leader in economic development for the world previously; it must now find the courage to lead again with innovative thinking that moves us away from the shackles of corporate capitalism.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Economic theory without a moral dimension is savagery. When Ireland prospered from FDI and the jobs of foreign corporations, the people gorged themselves on affluent consumption without a thought to the real corporate priority of ‘profits’ before people. The consequences of ignoring the moral dimension of corporate strategy has left the Irish gobsmacked with the speed at which jobs are leaving the country.
  • It is always a mistake to ignore the basic philosophy of those on which one depends. What goes around comes around. It was Einstein who said that the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We cannot fix what was the wrong direction; we can only be aware of the right direction. The Irish people themselves must decide whether personal affluence or common good is a priority for Ireland’s future.
  • With the current economic crisis, the approval of the Lisbon Treaty is likely as terrified Irish people vote in a desperate attempt to save themselves. Personally, I find provisions of the Treaty very troublesome, especially the prospect of having Nicholas Sarkozy or Tony Blair president of the EU for 2 1/2 years. (Both did extreme damage to the political unity of the EU in just the 6 short months of their terms recently: imagine what havoc they could wreak for five times that period?)
  • The Irish government scrambling to maintain Ireland’s lower tax rate for corporations may very well be in vain. First with more power, the EU has a strong eye toward ending this deferential designation for the entire Eurozone. Second, Obama is getting set to close the loopholes for American corporations who outsource their operations to avail of tax breaks internationally. (Article below) So the strategy of attracting more FDI for another boom maybe fatally flawed altogether.
  • We are not going back to the Celtic Tiger consumer frenzied lifestyle. The entire Western world is in the same position. Ireland is about to relearn the lessons it has forgotten from days gone by: less is often more. Waste and self-indulgence support corporate profits, but do not necessarily produce a happy, secure culture.

Once the Irish are finished lamenting the loss of materially surpassing the rest of the world, they may consider how to re-invent themselves and their economy in a way which affirms the basic values deeply embedded in the Irish culture. This will require some real focus on the now-to-the-future link, rather than action from financial panic; it will require solidarity and vision.

Ireland is small, but that is as much a boon as a disadvantage. By bonding with other small countries in the EU like the Czech Republic, the Irish people can change the future. Small countries of the EU can indeed tip the scale on the direction of what ‘political unity’ means in Europe.

Now is the time to lead with fresh thinking. But first we must stop and reconsider our basic values and shade the glare of unfettered consumerism from our vision; we must stop panicking and start observing the abundant opportunities that surround us. If the Irish people do not decide the direction of their future now, it will be decided for them.

European ‘tax havens’ face Obama action
President Obama is spearheading a tax shake-up

By Alex Ritson
BBC News
Source

Ireland and the Netherlands are two countries which could fall foul of President Obama’s plan to crackdown on tax havens.

For many years, some of the best-known American companies in the world, including the software giant Microsoft have maintained large operations in European countries with low corporate tax rates.

President Obama claims current US tax law for American corporations has created a system where “you pay lower tax if you create a job in Bangalore, India than if you create a job in Buffalo, New York”.

The argument centres on what are known as “tax deferral rules”, which make it more expensive for American companies to reinvest overseas profits at home than abroad.

Tax rates

Now tax experts are warning that President Obama’s proposals will make many American corporations reconsider their overseas investments – and that this could be very bad news for Ireland and the Netherlands.

Currently, an American company which invests in Ireland pays corporation tax on its profits there of 12.5% to the Irish government.

In the Netherlands, the rate of corporation tax is 25.5%.

As long as the American company never brings the profits home to America, that’s the only tax it will ever have to pay.

Until now, that’s been a big disincentive to ever bringing the profits home, where the corporation tax rate is more than three times that of Ireland’s – at 39.25%.

President Obama sees that as a loophole and believes that by closing it, he will raise an extra $60bn in taxation over the next five years for US government finances.

Different standpoints

John Christensen, from the UK-based pressure group the Tax Justice Network, says action is long overdue.

“This will start to undermine the tax advantages that countries used for booking profits offshore like the Netherlands and Ireland offer to the American companies that use these places.,” he says.

“These countries are tax havens – not in the traditional sense, of offering secretive banking like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands – but in terms of offering facilities for profit shifting to international corporations.

“It’s just the start – and it’s clear that Obama will go a lot further”.

But Charles Cain, the chairman of the CM Skye investment fund, which is based on the Isle of Man says the United States will ultimately be the country that suffers most.

“If Obama’s plans go through, US corporations will find a way to move out of the US altogether, so as to avoid the problems,” he says.

“In so doing, probably Ireland and the Netherlands will be net beneficiaries”.

Recession deepens

The Irish Government told the BBC it would monitor the progress of any legislation carefully, and says it has sent a senior executive to its embassy in Washington to engage with the US administration and Congress.

As the global recession deepens, the US government, is keen to gain a bigger slice of the profits which multinational corporations keep in so-called tax havens around the world in order to pay for spending commitments at home.

But it is likely to win few friends in Ireland or the Netherlands by grouping them with Bermuda as “small, low tax countries” that supposedly account for a disproportionate share of the foreign profits of American companies.