10 January 2013
2012: The year in review
Guest post by Jacqueline Mulhern (twitter handle @JacqMulhern)
While 2012 was a good year for Israel advocacy in Ireland, it’s worth looking at the past year to see how much work needs yet to be done, and to compare that with what has been accomplished. If I have omitted something significant from the list, please let me know and I will amend it. Thanks.
JanuaryTánaiste† and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore came to Jerusalem to condemn the settlements and ignored Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‘s request to condemn Hamas violence. Gilmore put responsibility for the region’s problems solely on Israel’s government. He met with activists in Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem, who complain that they might be evicted from their homes. See photo.
In a separate press conference, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barakat, said that New York City doesn’t let people build illegally in Central Park, how could he allow people to build illegally in East Jerusalem?
Well-known Irish travel writer Dervla Murphy wrote an open letter to Irish President Michael D. Higgins, imploring him to cancel a proposed visit to Israel and to boycott the state entirely, not just settlement products. She traveled on the Irish Ship to Gaza in 2010.
(We blogged this in Dervla’s delusions.)
It became public knowledge that the Communications Co-Ordinator of Amnesty Ireland is Justin Moran, former chair of Dublin Sinn Fein. This was mentioned on Mark Humphreys’ website. He wrote that “This is not surprising because he is a former prominent member of the human rights abusing group Sinn Fein himself”. He was Chairperson of Dublin Sinn Fein. It was also discussed in the Cranky Notions blog. (Thanks to John Connolly for this info.)
Irish musical group Dervish announced on Facebook that it decided to withdraw from a concert appearance in Israel. They cited internet bullying as part of the reason, but Raymond Deane, head of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, denied coercion and defended the political pressure applied to Dervish.
On 15 May, the Tánaiste called for an EU-wide boycott of Israeli settlement goods, even though the EU has a trade agreement with Israel called ACAA (Agreements on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products) that was renewed in July 2012. It is not clear on what legal basis he can call for a unilateral revocation of that agreement. Simply declaring the settlements “illegal” is not sufficient. He said he supported the ban on moral grounds, but did not make any public demands of Hamas or Fatah to cease violence or to give diplomatic recognition to the State of Israel.
Trocaire, the official development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, also called for a boycott of Israeli settlement products and decided to circulate a petition to that effect, forwarding it to Irish politicians. Trocaire seems to give money to every major group that criticizes Israel. The list includes Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, Rabbis for Human Rights, Gisha, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Yesh Din, Badil and Sadaka. There are at least three former/current members of the IPSC at Trocaire: Garry Walsh, Eoin Murray and Eilis Ni Riain.
(We blogged this in Cognitiva disjunctione pro Christianis)
Emily O’Sullivan attempted to vilify Israeli Deputy Ambassador to Dublin in a letter to the Irish Examiner, claiming Nurit Tinari Modai denies the existence of Palestinians. IPSC lists an Emily O’Sullivan as a member on their Facebook page. Is this the same woman?
Calls for a moment of silence to remember the 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics were largely ignored by the Irish media. While the moment of silence was requested by the Israeli government and headed in large part by member of parliament (MK) Danny Ayalon, the Irish Times bizarrely claimed that no Israeli official had requested it.
(We blogged about this call, in general, in Sixty Seconds.)
An army bomb-disposal team was called to investigate a suspicious device found at the Israeli embassy in Dublin. After an investigation, it was determined that the incident has been a false alarm, police said.
Unfortunately, coverage of the incident was used as an excuse for Israel hating comments, at the bottom, which are not necessarily moderated by the publications. For example, websites such as thejournal.ie. Israel’s right to exist is questioned and it is accused it of war crimes no matter what is in the article.
As the Dáil‡ debates on boycott of settlement goods not one pro-Israel voice was consulted. Israeli Embassy was not informed of this meeting or its results.
Broadcaster Vincent Browne called Israel the “cancer in foreign affairs” on 23 October and issued a clarification on 25 October where he refused to apologise. Numerous complaints were made against the network tv3. While Browne remains on the air, he seems to be more careful about his choice of words, but he remains a long-time critic of Israel.
Pro-Israel rally at Dublin’s GPO met with opposition from activists who call themselves pro-Palestinian but in fact their behavior is more anti-Israel instead of dedicated to helping Palestinians.
Hamas terrorism in Israel brought out scores of Jew hating and Israel hating messages in the Irish media, in social media in Ireland and the comments section of Irish media sites. A few Irish media professionals criticized Israel’s defensive actions in the November 2012 war with Hamas.
Raymond Deane of IPSC spoke on Joe Duffy radio show and insisted that any program or cultural event that appeared in Israel would have to be boycotted. This attitude stands in contrast to the Tánaiste who said that the Irish government did not support a cultural boycott of Israel, but a boycott of Israeli settlement goods.
Facebook page for Israel in Ireland was hacked twice and a post about Christians in Bethlehem was put up. The Embassy told the New York Times it did not know who posted it, but it apologized anyway.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions called for a boycott of Israeli goods.
Irish Times printed a list of settlement goods, turning from journalism to advocacy of boycott by giving these guidelines, without clearly stating out it felt about the boycott. However, the headline, Human cost: Items imported from Israeli settlements showed its bias clearly.
Clearly this list needs to be balanced by a review of the positive things. Any Ireland observers volunteering? Thanks Jacqueline from Five Minutes for Israel.
† The Tánaiste (Irish pronunciation: [ˈt̪ˠaːnəʃtʲə]) is the second-most senior officer in the Government of Ireland, and acts as the deputy head of government.
‡ Dáil Éireannn (/dɔɪl ˈɛərɒn/; Irish: [d̪ˠaːlʲ ˈeːrʲən̪ˠ]) is the lower house, but principle chamber, of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament).