Ireland Takes Another Anti-Israel Turn
The recent Occupied Territories Bill passed in the Irish Seanad with a standing ovation — another historical moment in Ireland’s support of the Palestinian people. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman stated what Israel’s recrimination should be: “Israel should immediately close the embassy in Dublin.” This is not a sudden volte-face; rather this call represents an act of resignation following the systematic assault of Israel by the Irish people.
In the past few months, students at Trinity College have endorsed a boycott of Israel. During Israel Peace Week last year, the president of Maynooth Students for Israel (MSI) was physically assaulted. Israel’s ambassador to Ireland was also barred from speaking at Trinity College by pro-Palestinian activists, all while law enforcement officials looked on. Members of MSI also received a death threat from a pro-Palestinian Irish citizen, who warned them to bring “bullet-proof vests” to their demonstration against the Occupied Territories Bill.
Furthermore, Irish academics have sought to erode Israel’s legitimacy as a state. Under the guise of “academic discussion,” academics have sought to dispute Israel’s founding as a democratic and legitimate state, despite the fact that Israel was founded by a UN resolution. This assault began with an conference at an Irish university — UCC — entitled “International Law and the State of Israel; Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism.”
When challenged on the antisemitic character of the conference, organizers rallied against the “Israel lobby,” which they say suppresses academic freedom. The sequel to this conference was held at Trinity Seminar, titled “Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The Case for the Academic Boycott of Israel”. In fact, this conference featured Steven Salaita as as a keynote speaker — the same Salaita who argued that Zionism had transformed antisemitism into a badge of honor. Salaita has also doubled-down on his 2014 tweet, which had said that “I wish all the f***ing West Bank settlers would go missing.” The Irish Times reported that Salaita was denied a position at the University of Illinois due to his protesting of Israel’s actions in Gaza, and his celebration of Hamas’ kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers who later turned up dead.
As the Irish case against Israel is bolstered, so has the Israeli defense been weakened by the inevitability of the BDS takeover of Ireland’s discourse on Israel. All that is seemingly left to do is for Israel to cut the chord — albeit with the scissors put in its hand.
Pro-Palestinian activists and supporters have opted for an incremental approach, whereby inroad after inroad is made at the expense of Israel, in order to break the proverbial camel’s back. And this effort is succeeding.