Diplomacy

Ireland Blocking E.U. From Blacklisting Hezbollah, Putting Spotlight on Anti-Israel Diplomacy

Ireland is reportedly blocking efforts inside the European Union to formally blacklist Hezbollah as a terror organization. Britain recently initiated procedures to add the Iran-backed terror group to the E.U. blacklist, after Bulgarian officials linked Hezbollah to the July 2012 Burgas bombing that killed six civilians and a Cypriot court convicted a confessed Hezbollah member on terrorism-related charges. The U.S. has repeatedly called upon the E.U. to follow its example and ban the group, which has established deep roots on the Continent.

Ireland, which holds the E.U.’s rotating presidency, reportedly disagrees:

Government officials in Jerusalem accused Ireland on Wednesday of leading opposition inside the EU to placing Hezbollah, or at least its “military wing,” on the European Union’s terrorist black list. According to the officials, Ireland – which holds the EU’s rotating presidency – was supported in this position by Sweden and Finland at a working group on Tuesday that debated the issue. A consensus of the EU’s 27 states will be needed to blacklist Hezbollah’s “military wing,” a move now even backed by Germany and France.

Initial E.U. objections from Germany and France – which analysts attribute to fears that Hezbollah would retaliate both against European peacekeepers in southern Lebanon and potentially on E.U. soil – were reportedly overcome due to Hezbollah’s activities in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Syria. The evidence that Hezbollah has conducted terrorist activities on E.U. soil – which includes the testimony of a confessed Hezbollah member convicted in Cyprus on terror-related charges – reportedly has not swayed the Irish.

Ireland has often found itself the subject of international criticism for permitting and promoting vociferous anti-Israel activity bordering on anti-Semitism. Bilateral Israeli-Irish ties have been strained by Dublin’s funding of NGO’s that promote among other things boycott efforts against Israel. In addition to promoting pro-boycott NGO’s, Ireland has also funded artists who bolstered boycotts of Israel.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center implicated global boycott efforts as anti-Semitic:

“Enough is enough,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post from Jerusalem. “It’s high time the Jewish world and all those truly interested in a true peace in the Holy Land to have a zero tolerance for campaigners for BDS – an anti-Semitic, anti-peace poison pill.”

Earlier this year the country’s national broadcasting regulator rejected claims that prominent broadcaster Vincent Browne had engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric when he described the Israel as “the cancer in foreign affairs” on his late-night show. The rhetorical move to label Jewry a cancer is considered a canonical anti-Semitic trope.

[Photo: albertw / flickr]