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Ireland's Anti-Israel Drift: How Did It Come to This?


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Lawrence A. Franklin

March 17, 2019

Ireland's legislative lower house (Dáil) on January 29 approved a bill that would make it a crime for Irish citizens to import or sell any product produced by Israelis in areas located beyond the 1949 armistice lines, most of which, such as Jerusalem, were actually liberated by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War from their illegal occupation by Jordan in 1948-49, after Israel was attacked by five Arab armies who were literally hoping to crush it the day of its birth. In 1967, Egypt, presumably hoping to finish the job it had started in 1948, created a casus belli (cause for war under international law) by announcing a blockade of Israel's access to the Red Sea via the Straits of Tiran.

So, Ireland has actually turned history on its head: it has sided with the aggressors and demonized the victim, all under the self-righteous guise of moral preening. The proposed Irish law would ban goods produced by Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from being marketed in Ireland.

The vote was 78 in favor, 45 against, with three abstentions. The "Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018" received the backing of the government's two main opposition parties: Sinn Fein and Fianna Fáil. Sinn Fein is a long-time supporter of the Palestinian-led movement to try to destroy Israel by strangling it economically. The proposed law is opposed by the minority governing party, the Fine Gael. Previously approved by the upper house (Senate) in a 25 to 20 vote on 11 July 2018, the bill has yet to be signed into law by Ireland's Prime Minister.


Additionally, the bill could adversely affect Ireland's trade with the United States, as the US government strictly opposes companies participating in any foreign boycotts it has not approved. This potential predicament, according to Arizona State University law professor Orde Kittrie, "could force US companies with Irish subsidiaries to choose between violating the Irish law or violating US Export Administration Regulations." If the bill does become law, harsh penalties could be meted out for violators, including a fine of 250,000 euros ($285,000) or five years in prison.

The Irish electorate's feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are possibly influenced by continual public displays of Irish hostility toward Israel, such as the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), which helps organize anti-Israel events in Ireland. The annual "Israel Apartheid Week" was held this year from February 23 to March 3. Others take place throughout the year. In June 2018, for example at a Tesco supermarket in Dublin, anti-Israel activists removed Israeli vegetables from the store's shelves.


Ireland would do well to stop its unjust assault on a fellow democracy and work to cleanse its own image, as well as that of a country that began 70 years ago with nothing but sand and malaria and, on a scale of countries, surely deserves a seat near the top. Neither Israel nor Ireland is perfect country -- what country is? -- but Israel has brought much good to the world, as well as to its own Arab citizens. If you can find one Arab Israeli who would prefer to leave, no one is stopping him. Where is the exodus that some of the Irish might imagine should be taking place in a country supposedly so appalling?

Finally, who in Ireland is asking what is the source of financial aid flowing to those in Ireland who would like to destroy Israel? One possible source of funding might be the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

For those who might doubt the shared values Israel and Ireland, they might recall the codename of former Jewish underground fighter in Mandatory Palestine, and later Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, was "Michael Collins" -- after the great Irish military hero.

What is essential is that this double standard -- one set of rules for Israel and a whole other set of rules for countries actually committing atrocities -- must stop.

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