Irish politicians are obsessed with Israel and ignoring antisemitism

Antisemitism in Ireland is spiking amid the demonization of Israel in public discourse.

While Ireland’s Jews have thankfully not suffered any physical attacks, Irish politicians should be combatting any and all forms of this hate wherever it rears its head. Instead, they ignore the growing threat towards this small Jewish community, while stoking its main cause.

Israel’s ambassador to Ireland recently warned about the dangers of dismissing concerns about antisemitism in Ireland. She stated that the demonization of Israel in Irish public discourse ultimately leads to the vilification of an entire society, a concept that should be easy to understand.

However, instead of stepping up and ensuring the safety of all Irish citizens, President Michael Higgins responded by accusing the ambassador of being “deeply irresponsible” and of engaging in a “PR exercise.”

It doesn’t end there. President Higgins later met with Ireland’s Chief Rabbi Yoni Wieder, where the rabbi was lectured for most of their meeting about the atrocities being committed by Israel in Gaza.

This attitude permeates the Irish political class from the president down.

Current Prime Minister Simon Harris demonized Israel’s military action against Hamas, saying Israel’s actions resemble “revenge” rather than a coherent military response as did his predecessor Leo Vardakar.

The leader of the opposition Sinn Fein party, Mary Lou McDonald, characterized Israel’s actions in Gaza as “barbaric, hateful, cowardly war crimes,” and called for Israel’s ambassador to Ireland to be expelled.

Matt Carthy, the party’s spokesperson for foreign affairs, said, “Every diplomatic, economic and political measure at our disposal must now be utilized to sanction Israel for its blatant, cruel and cowardly disregard for international law and the basic rules of humanity,” and called for Ireland to join South Africa in the International Court of Justice case, accusing Israel of genocide.

A far-left member of parliament, Paul Murphy, even urged support for Hamas attacks on the Israeli military.

What are the results of all this demonization?

Irish Jews are scared to appear visibly Jewish.

Irish Jews have been bullied in schools and universities.

Irish Jews have been refused service.

Irish Jews have been verbally attacked.

If Irish politicians are just criticizing Israeli policies, why are Jews being targeted solely based on their identity, regardless of political views?

This demonization has also led to almost 80% of the Irish public believing the false narrative that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians, according to a February 2 poll.

And the police don’t act when pro-Palestinian protesters wave flags of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist organization proscribed by the European Union, right in front of them.

Fostering hate towards Israel while ignoring hate towards their own Jewish community, Irish political leaders are failing their citizens, especially their Jewish citizens. It’s sad that this needs repeating: Jews are not responsible for the actions of the Israeli government, and there is never a justification for diminishing or ignoring antisemitism.

This summer the European Commission will publish its scorecard on the efforts of EU governments to combat antisemitism.

Don’t be surprised if Ireland comes in last.

About the Author
Andrew Srulevitch is director of European affairs for the Anti-Defamation League