Ireland’s hostility towards Israel must be stopped – opinion

Ireland’s hostility towards Israel must be stopped – opinion


Fed by self-importance, ignorance, and malice, Ireland’s abuse of Israel has gone from tragedy to farce.


The march on O’Connell Street. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Assassinated at age 32 in a roadside ambush, Michael Collins was an inspiration for underground fighters worldwide, including future prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, whose underground name – “Michael” – was borrowed from the Irish rebel.

The Jewish and Irish liberation movements had a lot in common – national traumas, dormant languages, intercontinental diasporas, and the British enemy – and initially respected each other.

Collins at one point hid among Dublin’s Jews disguised as an Orthodox Jew. An Irish Jew, Robert Briscoe, was the IRA’s arms purchaser and served as an adviser to Menachem Begin as the latter set out to turn his own anti-British militia into the political party it indeed became.

That’s how things were when the Jews were anti-British. But by the mid-1950s, as Britain and Israel became allies, Ireland became Israel’s foe. Last week that enmity got out of hand, making it plain that it’s time for Jews to stand up to Ireland’s abuse.

When did Ireland’s hostility start?

IRISH HOSTILITY toward Israel bubbled on two levels. Clandestinely, the IRA inspired and helped Palestinian terrorism. Officially, Ireland delayed its exchange of ambassadors with Israel until 1993.

Dublin’s explanation for this standoffishness was that Israel was violating United Nations resolutions. That claim alone, besides being debatable, was also hypocritical, as many of the countries Ireland did not shun were violating not only UN resolutions but the UN charter itself.

Still, fingering Israel – which included even a protestation of the 1981 bombing of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor– was part of a self-important mindset, a version of the role Romania played those days within the Eastern bloc by making the occasional anti-Soviet statement.

Israel, for its part, had more urgent problems to deal with and saw the Irish position less as part of the Israeli situation and more as part of the Irish psyche. Ultimately, Israelis figured, Ireland is part of the West, if even a marginal part. In 1993, this “let them be” attitude seemed to have paid off when the Oslo Accords finally made Dublin accommodate an Israeli embassy.

Even so, Ireland never sought a middle ground between Israel and the Palestinians. Dublin took the Palestinian side. By far the most anti-Israeli country in Europe, Dublin actively incites other European countries against Israel, Israeli diplomats report. Deluding itself that it is still living in the days of Michael Collins, Dublin adopts and spreads the libel that Israel is part of what Ireland’s liberators fought.

Irish politicians and activists are campaigning for anti-Israeli boycotts. In 2018, for instance, Dublin’s city council passed resolutions supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, and also calling to expel Israel’s ambassador.

It was in that to-hell-with-Israel spirit that Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, responding to the release of nine-year-old Irish-Israeli hostage Emily Hand, tweeted his delight that “an innocent child who was lost has now been found.”

Like a Flat-Earth believer watching the landing on the moon, the Irishman just couldn’t bring himself to admit that his Palestinian heroes’ victim was not “lost,” but abducted, and was not “found,” but released, and that her ordeal was not about some accident, as he insinuated, but about crime – the mass deployment of slaughterers, rapists, hijackers, and arsonists applauded by the very Palestinian leadership that Ireland has been hailing for decades as engines of freedom and crusaders for peace.

This, then, was the general atmosphere that last week made Ireland’s anti-Israel audacity climb another rung as its women’s basketball team, in a formal match, refused to shake the Israeli team’s hands. 

Yes, as with previous Irish bravadoes, this one also caught the Jewish state while it is busy with more urgent issues, but a few things do have to be said now from Jerusalem to Dublin, in very plain words.

THE FIRST thing is that we Israelis have nothing to apologize for. Palestinians are getting killed because they started a war and the Israelis are fighting back.

You care for the Palestinians’ civilian losses? So do we, but your Palestinian heroes deliberately hide among and under their population, along with the arms they clearly plan to use to massacre us. If you have a better method for saving civilian lives while fighting this, tell us what it is. Since you have no such advice, we conclude that what you are out to prevent is not Palestinian death, but Israeli victory.

The second thing you should know is that you are not the freedom fighters your ancestors were. You were all not even born when they fought bravely for the freedom you enjoy. Not one of you ever populated a battlefield, dodged a bullet, attended a fallen soldier’s funeral, or suffered war’s grief. We have, and still do.

There is nothing you can teach us about war’s morbidities, and in this writer’s case, there is also nothing you can teach about sacrificing for peace. And so, when you barge into our arena as self-appointed pontiffs who will say anything to our war’s one side and nothing to its other side, you only display your political bias and expose your moral demise.

Lastly, you may not recall this, but we Jews remember that during World War II Ireland declared neutrality, refusing to join the Allies despite Winston Churchill’s pleas. Snubbing Britain was more important than defending justice, freedom, and human dignity, not to mention the Jews.

Some Irish heroes, in fact, actively collaborated with Hitler, most notably IRA chief of staff Sean Russell, who spent three months training in Nazi Germany while shepherded by Edmund Veesenmayer, an SS officer who later was among the organizers of Hungarian Jewry’s extermination.

The Irish diplomats who just made their athletes shame ours are picking up from where Russell left off, waltzing with jihadism now the way they he did with Nazism then. Dublin’s conduct back then was a tragedy. Now it’s a farce.
The writer, a Hartman Institute fellow, is the author of the bestselling Mitzad Ha’ivelet Ha’yehudi (The Jewish March of Folly, Yediot Sefarim, 2019), a revisionist history of the Jewish people’s political leadership.

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