The Irish Senate approved a bill last month criminalizing trade of products from the so-called “occupied territories,” or more specifically from Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. The BDS legislation was titled the “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018.” The bill prohibits the import and sale of goods, services, and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in the occupied territories.
In recent decades, the Republic of Ireland has become one of the leading anti-Israel within the European Union (EU). Irish politicians, journalists, and intellectuals have regularly excoriated Israel for many years. Every action undertaken by Israel has been denounced in the Irish parliament and in the media echo chamber, regardless of the context or circumstances. The parties of the hard Left are particularly hostile to Israel, demanding boycotts and the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. The Sinn Fein party is the most vocal. It is a party that has had long ties with Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups. Neither of the governing coalition parties, the Center-Right Fine Gail and the populist Fianna Fail, have defended Israel, the only pro-Western liberal democracy in the Middle East. What is rather astonishing about this latest anti-Israel bill is its hypocrisy and double-standards that clearly border on anti-Semitism.
There are over a hundred disputed territories around the world. Judea and Samaria are disputed territories and not “occupied” or taken away from a Palestinian state. Such a state has never existed. Israel captured these historically Jewish lands in the 1967 defensive war from the Jordanians, who illegally conquered them in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. For Ireland to pass judgment on this matter by legislating a punitive bill is not only hypocritical but an outrageous interference in an issue that should be settled between Israelis and Palestinians. Ultimately, the Bill will hurt the Palestinians who depend on Israeli employers based in Judea and Samaria for their livelihood.
With this boycott Bill, the Irish Republic singles out the Jewish state for punishment. Dublin has not approved a similar statement directed at China, which illegally occupied Tibet, denies its people self-determination, and has an atrocious human rights record. Nor has the Islamic Republic of Iran been cited for condemnation and boycott for its appalling human rights record, its execution of children, and it being a state-sponsor of global terrorism. Kashmir is occupied by India, Pakistan claims it, and it is employing terrorism against Indian troops, but no bill against products from Kashmir. A similar situation exists in Cyprus, where Turkish forces have occupied the Northern part of Cyprus. The Irish parliament did not boycott Turkey, nor legislate anti-Turkish laws.