(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony has called on Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams to condemn protesters, among them Sinn Fein activists and a Sinn Fein councillor, who last week tried to physically bar his entry into the town hall of a small market town called Carrickmacross to meet the mayor.
Evrony said the Sinn Fein councillor, one of some 20 protesters, among them other pro-Palestinian activists, shouted abusive comments, said he was unwelcome, and demanded that he leave the town.
According to Evrony, he was able to enter the building only after the police intervened.
Evrony, in a letter to Adams, suggested that he condemn the actions of his party members, and said that those actions were incompatible with Adams’ “professed commitment to the principles of dialogue and the peaceful exchange of views.”
According to Israeli officials, Sinn Fein has demonstrated “extreme bias” against Israel, and the group – the political wing of the IRA – “has been at the forefront of campaigns to boycott Israeli goods and promote divestment from Israel.”
The Sinn Fein councillor, Matt Carthy, called on the organization’s Web site for Carrickmacross Mayor Kerr Colon to “apologize” for inviting Evrony to town, and said she should “be ashamed of herself for hosting a civic reception for someone who simply wasn’t welcome in Carrickmacross.”
Calling the Israeli government a “rogue government,” Carthy said Carrickmacross “does not want to be associated in any way with the Israeli government, which has been condemned for engaging in war crimes by numerous international organizations and has repeatedly refused to abide by International Court and UN decisions.”
Carthy said that at the next town council meeting he would propose that any costs associated with Evrony’s visit not be paid by the council, and that the page in the “distinguished visitors book” signed by Evrony be removed.
Evrony said that while he knew in advance that a demonstration was planned in Carrickmacross, “I decided not to cancel the appointment but to go ahead with it in order to explain Israel’s position and to encourage trade and tourism between Ireland and Israel.
“My purpose was to clarify the misperceptions held by some people about Israel and to explain that it is doing all it can to achieve peace with the Palestinian people. The protesters are misinformed about Israel, and were clearly not interested in dialogue with me.”
Evrony said that the incident was not representative of Irish people.
“This is an unusual event,” he said. “Overall, I have been received here with warmth and hospitality, despite some disagreements about Israel’s policy. I intend to continue making Israel’s case everywhere in Ireland.”
Ireland is largely considered among the most unfriendly – if not the most unfriendly country – toward Israel in the EU.