Diplomacy

Israel Slams Ireland over “Hypocritical and Anti-Semitic” Boycott Law

Israel has warned Ireland that the advancement of “hypocritical and anti-Semitic” pro-boycott legislation will have serious repercussions for the relationship between the two countries, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

Irish Ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly was given an “angry rebuke” over what Israel’s Foreign Ministry described as a “scandalous” bill, which prohibits importing Israeli goods from East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

The Dail, Ireland’s lower house, passed the legislation on Thursday by a vote of 78-45 with three abstentions. The upper house of the Irish Parliament, the Seanad, passed the so-called Occupied Territories Bill in December.

Israeli officials told the ambassador that the law was the result of “pure hostility on the part of its initiators and deserving of full condemnation.”

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that, “Instead of condemning Syria for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians, Turkey for the occupation of northern Cyprus, and terrorist organizations for murdering thousands of Israelis,” Ireland was singling out Israel for discrimination.

The ministry recommended that Ireland should “concentrate on dark dictatorships and terrorist organizations instead of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Officials said that “It was clarified to the ambassador that the hypocritical and anti-Semitic legislation will have serious ramifications for Israel-Ireland relations and [Ireland’s] status in the region, should it be advanced.”

The legislation, brought forward by Ireland’s Conservative Party Fianna Fáil would make illegal “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.” Likewise, those who “assist another person to import or attempt to import settlement goods” could face up to five years in prison.

Sinn Fein, a left-wing party affiliated with the Irish Republican Army, which in turn has links to Hamas, supported the bill.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney stressed that the government opposes the bill as it would put Ireland in breach of EU law and expose Dublin to legal action by the European Commission. “Trade is an exclusive competence of the European Union,” Coveney said.

The minister also warned that if the bill becomes law, it would make it difficult for companies based in the United States to operate in Ireland and vice versa, because of U.S. legislation in support of Israel.

Earlier this week, Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair, an Ireland-based low-cost airline, said that he foresees an expansion of his business to Israel.

“If we can offer reasonable prices then Israel with its weather and beautiful beaches can become a preferred destination. We can bring millions more to Israel,” O’Leary said. “We can grow as fast as the authorities allow us to.”

In 2018, Ryanair flew 602,000 passengers to Israel.

[Photo: VideoParliament Ireland / YouTube]