‘Most shocking was that fully a third of Irish members of parliament of voted to expel Israeli diplomats from Ireland.
By Lawrence A. Franklin, The Gatestone Institute
The Irish Parliament, on the night of May 25, 2021, staged a “legal Kristallnacht” against the nation of Israel. Following an avalanche of vituperative anti-Israel and anti-Semitic diatribes by members of the Dáil Éireann (lower house of Parliament), its members voted unanimously to discuss a motion on whether or not Ireland should support BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) legislation to try to strangle Israel economically.
Ostensibly, the BDS movement’s goal is to shift world opinion to declare that Jewish settlements in the historically named areas of Judea and Samaria are supposedly illegal seizures of Palestinian Arab land. In truth, the principal and outspoken objective of Palestinian organizers of the BDS movement is the destruction of Israel.
Disturbingly, the May 25 motion was fully supported by at least two of Ireland’s leading NGOs sponsored by the Irish Catholic Church: Sadaka and Trócaire. Pro-BDS Sadaka, in particular, makes no pretense about being bitterly opposed to Israel. Even more shocking was that fully a third of Irish members of parliament of voted to expel Israeli diplomats from Ireland.
Sein Fein (“Ourselves Alone”), a democratic socialist party and that won the most votes in Ireland’s 2020 parliamentary elections, has been spearheading the increasingly anti-Israel orientation of Ireland’s foreign policy.
Ireland, by virtue that it stands alone in its official state-to-state condemnatory initiatives against Israel’s policies “in the territories,” is, according to Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, perceived as supposedly the most anti-Israeli state in the European Union. Other EU states may often be critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians — for instance Sweden, Belgium, and Luxembourg. When Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn hosted a convocation of several EU states who were considering granting diplomatic recognition to a supposed “state of Palestine,” Sweden, Belgium, and Ireland were a few of the states that sent representatives to this meeting.
Unfortunately, there has been virtually no push-back from Ireland’s general public or civil society institutions. This lack of support for Israel is distressing, as much of the pro-Palestinian rhetoric and criticism of Israel is not only unjust but has been morphed into blatant anti-Semitism by some political and cultural Irish public figures.
One legislator, Catherine Connolly, raised the anti-Semitic theme of “Jewish Supremacy” analogous to the world Jewish conspiracy trope found in the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic document. The chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, Maurice Cohen, pointed out that Connolly’s performance strayed into classic anti-Semitic language.
There is understandably some sympathetic sentiment among the Irish people for the plight of Palestinians, as there is also among Israelis, saddened to see people suffer unnecessarily under a brutal and corrupt Palestinian leadership, which has full autonomy over much the territory under dispute. The Palestinians long ago agreed, in the Oslo Accords of 1993, to settle those disputes by direct negotiation, not by external fiat.
One Palestinian shopkeeper in Dublin suggests that there is a shared feeling with the Irish of having fought against colonialism and oppression. Yet there is little evidence that the bulk of the Irish citizenry support this prejudicial assault on Israel, much less, the poisonous anti-Jewish rhetoric.
Palestinians or Arab Israelis?
All Israelis — about 20% of whom are Muslims, along with Christians and Druze — have identical rights under the law. Israeli Arabs can vote, have political parties and prominent job opportunities, and are members of Israel’s parliament.
Confusion likely arises because the people known as Palestinians are not Israelis. They are Arabs who fled what is now Israel when armies of five Arab countries — Egypt, Syria, Trans-Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq — attacked Israel on May 15, 1948, the day the British Mandate over Palestine ended. These countries were hoping to destroy the new State of Israel in its crib.
When, after Israel’s unexpected victory, the Arabs who had fled wished to return, they were refused as fifth-columnists: people who had shown sympathy or support for the enemy. The Arabs who had fled suddenly found themselves without a home, displaced. These are the people who later called themselves Palestinians. The Arabs who stayed in Israel during the war are full-fledged Israeli citizens and have exactly the same rights and legal protection as Jews, although there is always room for improvement in everyone’s standard of living.
The one exception is that Arabs are not required to serve in the Israeli military; in the event of possible conflicts with Arab states, Israelis did not want brother fighting brother. Many Israeli Arabs have nevertheless been voluntarily joining the military in record numbers, often despite harsh criticism from other Arabs.
In Ireland, Jew-hatred does not well up from the general public but seems clearly driven from the top down. These Goebbels-like attacks on Israel include salvos from several Sinn Fein members of parliament. One of them, Martin Browne, represents Tipperary and claims, falsely, that Israel created ISIS. Another, Matt Carthy representing Cavan-Monahan, has stated that Israel is the worst human rights offender on earth — presumably dwarfing China, North Korea, Venezuela and Iran.
Others include People Before Profit Party members Gino Kenny and Brid Smith, representing districts in Dublin, who have called for the expulsion from Ireland of Israel’s Ambassador. Leading Irish novelist Sally Rooney refused an offer by Israeli publisher Modan to translate her latest book into Hebrew, expressing support for the BDS movement.
The behind-the-scenes launch pad for much of this anti-Semitic rhetoric might be the outsized influence enjoyed by Ireland’s Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) The ICC is the religious, political, and financial wellspring of Islam in Ireland.
The Campus Scene
Another impetus for the appearance of Jew-hate in the Irish parliament is the full-time activism of pro-Palestinian propagandists on Ireland’s college campuses. This campus activism is spearheaded by Palestinian students who have granted scholarships to study in Ireland. These students and sympathetic teachers recruit Irish natives to form chapters of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) that operate on and off college grounds. The chairwoman of the IPSC is Fatin al Tamimi, a Palestinian who emigrated to Ireland three decades ago. There are IPSC chapters in most of Ireland’s large cities. Then there are the faculty-assisted Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters on the campus of several universities. SJP university chapters are in Dublin’s Trinity College, the National University of Ireland (NUI) of Maynooth in County Kildare, and County Galway’s NUI chapter in Galway City, all of which support the BDS movement, as does the Union of Students in Ireland.
There also exists an apparent tacit alliance of convenience between pro-Palestinian politicians, academics and Sinn Fein leftists with right wing, racist Holocaust deniers and proponents of anti-Semitic tropes such as Rothschild financial manipulators and Christ-killers.
There are about 2,500 Jews in Ireland, with census reports indicating that from 2011 to 2016, the Jewish population rose by nearly 30%. Although the number of Irish Jews may be on the rise, the political influence of Irish Jewry is waning. The last elected Jew in Ireland, the former Irish Attorney General Alan Shatter, was drummed out of office in 2014 following the Irish media’s broadcast of unsubstantiated charges of political corruption against him.
Although Shatter has been subsequently exonerated, his case lends evidence that anti-Semitism is alive and well in Ireland. The exhaustive examination of the just-released report compiled by David Collier, titled “Ireland Antisemitism Report,” details classic examples of widespread Jew-hatred among politicians, academics and Palestinian students on the grounds of several Irish universities.
Under the rubric of developing a “social justice” foreign policy profile for Ireland, some of Ireland’s anti-Israel critics may have helped ignite a vicious anti-Semitic campaign that is poisoning what was once a most welcoming Irish society for Jews.
Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.
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