The U.S. departed almost radically from an habitual practice on a resolution at a United Nations Security Council meeting Monday. It didn’t vote in Israel’s favour.

The Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza during the remaining weeks of Ramadan. The resolution passed with 14 votes in favour and the United States abstaining. Israel was furious at American perfidy.

They had a right to be surprised. Over the past five decades, the U.S. has vetoed over 50 UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, while consistently supporting Israel in the General Assembly as well. At least four of those resolutions have condemned Israel settlements on Palestinian land, considered illegal under international law.

In 2012, the UN General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority—138 to 9—to accord Palestine non-Member Observer State status. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, referred to the vote as a “birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine.” The U.S. chose not to wish the Palestinians a happy birthday and voted against (as did we.) While the U.S. and Canada prattle on about a 2-state solution, they voted against this logical and meaningful first step to that end.

Extremely unbalanced votes in the General Assembly, with Third World nations voting in favour of Palestine and the U.S. and Canada voting to serve Israel’s interests are typical.

The reason for the polarization is no mystery. Many Third World nations have suffered occupation and oppression themselves and therefore empathize with the Palestinians. The U.S. and Canada on the other hand have been the occupiers and oppressors (as our Indigenous people can attest to) so our sympathies lie with the aggressor.

There is however one Western country that consistently votes with the Third World in support of the beleaguered Palestinians. That country is Ireland.

We need not wonder why. Ireland was Great Britain’s first colony and has a long experience with being occupied by an aggressive and powerful neighbour.

Irish sympathies have now turned against a favourite son—the current president of the United States, as described in The New York Times article “Biden Loves Ireland. It Doesn’t Love Him Back.”

As the article states, the President is proud of his Irish heritage. And the Irish have been proud of him. He has loved them and they have loved him. Now it appears they are falling out of love all because of his position on Palestine.

The Irish were shocked at the Hamas attack on Israel but they have also been appalled at the horror Israel has inflicted on Gaza. The Irish government unequivocally condemns the October 7 attacks and calls for the release of Israeli hostages. It also urges restraint by Israel while calling for a cease-fire and a political solution. In a recent survey, over 70 percent of the Irish people said the Palestinians live under an Israeli apartheid system.

According to the Times, protests against the war “are large and spread across the country, with attendees diverse in age, class, ethnicity and political affiliation. They bring together trade unionists, Gaelic football players, journalists, ordinary citizens young and old, politicians, health care workers, L.G.B.T.Q. people and many more. It is a truly national phenomenon.”

The Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar explains the passion: “Leaders often ask me why the Irish have so much empathy for the Palestinian people. The answer is simple: We see our history in their eyes.”

And the finger of blame for the devastation is pointed directly at the man they consider the chief enabler—Joe Biden, the president of the main supplier of the weapons that bomb Gaza into rubble and kill Palestinians in the tens of thousands.

Irish eyes are not smiling upon the U.S. president. “No shamrocks for Genocide Joe” goes the chant.

Biden loves Israel and he loves Ireland. If he wants to continue consummating both these loves, he will have to do more than one abstention in the Security Council.

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