The Face(book) of Irish Labour?

Labour Party Ireland

28 January 2013

Why do Irish Labour Politicians belong to an anti-Israel Facebook group?

By Jacqueline Mulhern (Twitter @JacqMulhern)

Ireland is keen to deepen its links with Israel, in particular through growth in tourism, commerce and investment, as well as more traditional sectors such as food and drink.

Breifne O’Reilly
Ambassador of the Embassy of Ireland in Israel

The Ireland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) is a Dublin-based group of activists who advocate a boycott of Israeli products, services, cultural institutions and academics. It was founded by a former member of the Irish Republican Army and it has many Sinn Fein politicians and supporters among its ranks. (Sinn Fein is the political arm of the IRA). Its aims are described on its Facebook page in the photo below:

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Faceboob

From the IPSC Facebook page

In the last paragraph, IPSC describes itself as a “non-party” political organisation, but the presence of left-wing politicians contradicts that statement.

In November 2011, it launched an unsuccessful protest to cancel an Israeli film festival in Dublin. Not only did the activists try to stop the film festival from taking place, but they also tried to block the entrance of some Irish attendees. As a result, public scrutiny of this group has increased and support has diminished.

Dialogue is a two way process and I see the Israeli Film Days, which we are launching here tonight, as mirroring the annual Irish Film Week at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv.

Remarks by the Tánaiste† at the opening of the Israeli Film Festival
Film Base, Temple Bar, Thursday 24 November 2011

Ireland’s Labour party, which is headed by Tánaiste and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, has called for a boycott of Israeli settlement goods, but not goods produced in the rest of the country. In an official visit to Israel in January 2012, he made it clear that he does not support a cultural boycott of Israel, nor does he approve of boycotting foreign artists whose work appears in Israel. He has made numerous other public statements confirming his opposition to a total boycott of the State of Israel.

In addition , the Tánaiste repeated during a Dáil debate on 17 May 2012, that I made clear on that occasion that the Government does not support cultural or other boycotts against Israel.

The IPSC is advocating a complete ban of ALL Israeli goods and services from the EU, not just Israeli products from the Territories. Likewise, anyone or anything from outside of Israel coming into Israel is met with virulent protests and demonstrations, orchestrated by people from the IPSC. Articles about Israel appearing in the Irish media are flooded with anti-Israel vitriol from people who are actually IPSC activists/sympathizers, although the group’s numbers are small.

If the Labour Party position is so clearly against this kind of behaviour, then why are these Labour Party politicians aligning themselves with the IPSC?

Action item

  • Contact these politicians on Facebook and ask them why their names appear in this Israel-bashing group.
  • Ask the Labour party to clarify its position on the boycott of Israel.

The list includes:

Sean Crowe and Robert Dowds, both members of the Dáil (one of the houses of the Irish parliament or Oireachtas)

Cllr Mick Duff, Cllr Marie Corr, Cllr Pat Kavanagh, Cllr Rossa Murray and a few local Labour Party councils (see photos)

In Dáil debates, Sean Crowe has said in regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict that What is going on is ethnic cleansing…Somebody must say stop. However, he stopped short of calling for a total boycott of Israel.

Labour Party members of IPSC on Facebook

Claire Kilduff

Claire Kilduff

Cllr Pat Kavanagh

Cllr Pat Kavanagh

Cllr Rossa Murray

Cllr Rossa Murray

Dit Labour

Dit Labour

Labour Gorey District

Labour Gorey District

Labour Kilkenny

Labour Kilkenny

Marie Corr

Marie Corr

Mick Duff

Mick Duff

Ornella Cassioli

Ornella Cassioli

Robert Dowds

Robert Dowds

Sean Crowe

Sean Crowe


† Read the full official press release.

About Jacqueline Mulhern

Twitter contact @JacqMulhern
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