Late last month, the Irish Parliament was prepared to pass a piece of legislation that would have made it a crime for anyone engaging in trade with Israel. The bill, which aimed to compliment and support the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), would have sent to jail Irish citizens who bought souvenirs in Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria, or penalized them with a fine of $310,000. The bill would have made it an offense for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an “occupied territory,” or extract resources from an “occupied territory.”
Irish ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly, told the Israeli officials that the recent bill in the Irish Parliament calling for a boycott of Israeli settlements in the West Bank was raised by independent representatives in the senate, and that the Irish government opposes it. Whether in fact the Irish leaders truly opposed the proposed law, or more likely, feared the actions the Trump administration might take against Ireland, credit must go to the Trump administration for its prompt and effective action to thwart this nefarious law
When officials in the Trump administration learned of the impending bill in the Irish Parliament, the U.S. State Department was directed to open up official channels to the Irish leaders in a bid to scuttle the bill and avoid a standoff with the Irish government over the proposed bill. The Trump administration officials made it clear to the Irish leaders that passage of the bill would put them at odds with the U.S., and subject them to inclusion on a list of countries supporting boycotts against the State of Israel. Law professor Orde Kittrie, at Arizona State University and a Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies pointed out that, “In addition to running afoul of U.S. federal law, the Irish bill (to boycott Israel) would subject companies to U.S. state-level sanctions, violate EU and international law, threaten Ireland’s vital economic links to the U.S., and hinder the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Ireland and Sweden have distinguished themselves as being the most pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel states within the European Union (EU). The anti-Israel positions Ireland has taken are rather incomprehensible. Israel is a thriving democracy, with a strong and fair-minded Supreme Court that upholds the rule of law. It has moreover, an impeccable record on human and civil rights, especially considering that Israel is surrounded by internal and external enemies, and being subjected to continuous Palestinian terror campaigns. Israel has also a great deal to offer Ireland in the high-tech, medical and agricultural technology fields. Conversely, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has abused all democratic norms, including the failure to hold Presidential elections. There is a noticeable absence of the rule-of-law in the PA, and gross human rights violations. The PA is responsible for inciting Palestinians to commit terror against Israel, and its educational system fosters intolerance and hate toward non-Muslims, and Jews in particular. The same PA has been unwilling to make peace with Israel in spite of generous Israeli concessions made by successive Israeli governments. Therefore, this begs the question of why Ireland has displayed such an unfair if not hostile stance toward Israel.
Nicky Larkin, an Irish documentary filmmaker and once vehement anti-Israel activist, confessed that “An Irish artist is supposed to sign boycotts, wear a PLO scarf, and remonstrate loudly about The Occupation. But it’s not just artists who are supposed to hate Israel. Being anti-Israel is supposed to be part of our Irish identity, the same way we are supposed to resent the English.” Anti-Israel activists’ attitudes toward free speech further frustrated Larkin. “Free speech must work both ways. But back in Dublin, whenever I speak up for Israel, the Fiachras and Fionas look at me aghast, as if I’d pissed on their paninis,” he said. He also challenged his fellow artists’ support for the BDS movement. “What do these armchair sermonizers know about Israel? Could they name three Israeli cities, or the main Israeli industries? What happened to the notion of the artist as a free-thinking individual? Why have Irish artists surrendered to group-think on Israel? Could it be due to something as crude as career-advancement?” he asked. He concluded with another question: “Perhaps our problem is not with Israel, but with our own over-stretched sense of importance—a sense of moral superiority disproportional to the importance of our little country?”
Irish pro-Palestinian sentiments developed from a perceived affinity between the Irish Republican movement and the Palestinians. It was certainly helped by the documented links between The Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), both terrorist organizations. The Irish wrongly perceived the British to be pro-Jewish, and therefore choose the other – the Palestinians. Yet in the mid-1940’s, as the Palestinian-Jewish underground organizations (Haggana, and Etzel) fought the Brits in Palestine, the Irish supported the Jewish struggle against the British. Today however, Irish affinity with the Palestinian-Arabs has extended beyond the IRA and the PLO. It has infused the Irish culture itself, and can be seen in the Irish government actions, whether it is a right or left government.
In 1989, Ireland invited the PLO to open an office in Dublin. It later elevated it to a diplomatic mission. During the Palestinian-Arab terror attacks against Israeli civilians in 1995, the Irish government refused to condemn these attacks. The Irish government supported the 2010 pro-Hamas (Palestinian Islamist terrorist group in Gaza) Turkish-led flotilla, which sought to break Israel’s arms blockade of Gaza. Ireland was also one of the most vociferous EU countries seeking to thwart the EU from labeling the Shiite-Lebanese radical group as a terrorist organization. In October, 2014, the Irish Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to recognize Palestine as a state. The Ireland – Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has taken a prominent role in promoting the BDS campaign against Israel in Ireland. Irish academics are most adamant in their efforts to boycott Israeli academic institutions. On September 16, 2006, 61 Irish professors signed a petition published in the Irish Times, urging academic institutions throughout the world to adopt a policy of boycotting Israeli institutions of higher education.
A study published in recent years found that over 20% of Irish citizens questioned had responded that they would deny Irish citizenship to Israelis. 11.5% stated that they would deny Irish citizenship to Jews. Less than 60% said that they would accept a Jewish person into their family. The study confirmed that anti-Zionism can easily lead to anti-Semitism, which Ireland’s policies currently foster. An Irish culture, focused exclusively on blaming Israel while at the same time, apologizes and excuses Palestinian terror and wrongdoing, cannot simultaneously proclaim its support for Israeli-Palestinian peace and be taken seriously. Israel’s security concerns are rarely regarded with anything other than contempt.
As contemptible as the Irish polity is toward Israel, it is Ireland rather than Israel that will end up as the loser. The irrational Irish policies coincide with the suicide pact the EU states have signed. By inviting Jihadist-Muslims from the Middle East into their countries, coupled with a native demographic decline, Ireland along with the rest of Western Europe is marching toward the abyss of a cultural and civilizational death wish.
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