Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why is Ireland so hostile to Israel? Why do the Irish support BDS? What Is It about Israel that upsets them?

Alex Grobman, Ph.D., writes @ The Jewish Voice and Opinion
During her formative years, Israel received significant support in Ireland. Having experienced religious persecution themselves, the Irish identified with Jews. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, according to Professor James Bowen of the National University of Ireland at Cork.

Bowen, who serves as national chairman of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), says the initial sympathy expressed towards Israel disappeared when the Irish learned how the Arabs were “dispossessed” of their land in 1948 and then experienced the “horrors of the post-1967 occupation.”  Founded on November 29, 2001, the IPSC has no policy regarding the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, according to Bowen, it believes the decision to turn the area into two states, a federated state, or a single state should be made by the Palestinians and Israelis, who, the group says, have a legitimate interest in the outcome.

Promoting BDS
However, IPSC does not see itself as merely an interested party trying to support both sides. The group and its national chairman have taken a prominent role in promoting the Boycott-Divestment-and-Sanction (BDS) movement in Ireland against Israel. In fact, Irish academics have been particularly adamant in their efforts to have Israeli academic institutions boycotted.

In a letter to the Irish Times dated September 16, 2006, 61 Irish professors signed a petition urging academic institutions throughout the world to adopt a policy of boycotting Israeli institutions of higher education.

The date was no coincidence. The Irish professors, calling themselves Academics for Justice, published their letter on the anniversary of the 1982 massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon. In that incident, thousands of Arab civilians, mostly Lebanese Shiites and Palestinians, were killed by a militia controlled by the Philange, a predominantly Christian-Lebanese party. The Philange claimed the attack on Sabra and Shatila was retaliation for the assassination of then-newly elected Lebanese-Christian president Bachir Gemayel. Although Israeli soldiers did not participate in the massacre, the IDF, which was already in the area, did nothing to stop it.

Academics for Justice have proclaimed September 16 as Ireland’s “Boycott Israel” day. [...]

More Irish Demonizing of Israel
But teachers are not the only segment of society promoting BDS against Israel in Ireland, where a de facto cultural boycott of the Jewish state has been in effect for years. A classified Israeli Foreign Ministry report revealed in December 2011 that, for more than a decade, no Israel dance or theatrical company, musician, or filmmaker had been invited to Ireland. Thirty-four Irish artists—one-fifth of all Irish performers receiving public funds—signed a petition calling for a cultural boycott against Israel. Irish artists and performers interested in maintaining relations with Israel are subjected to verbal and written attacks.
The Irish press regularly demonizes Israel and tirades against the Jewish state’s leaders are published in the name of “human rights.”
Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church of Ireland, which is funded by the Irish government through Irish Aid, is also anti-Israel. Although Irish Aid’s mandate is to “promote coherence across the full range of Irish government policies on issues such as agriculture, trade, the environment, and fiscal matters,” Trócaire has assumed a major role in fostering the demonization of Israel. In January 2013, for example, Trócaire produced a series of biased “educational resource guides” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that drew strong criticism from Israelis and some Irish commentators.

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