Alan Shatter 370.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ireland’s Justice, Equality and Defense Minister Alan Shatter, who has been
characterized in Jerusalem as a “courageous supporter” of Israel inside Ireland,
is scheduled to begin a five-day visit on Monday.
He will arrive from
Lebanon, where he is meeting Irish UNIFIL troops.
Shatter, who is Jewish
and comes from Ireland’s right-of-center Fine Gael party, has in the past spoken
up on Jerusalem’s behalf in a country considered among the most critical of
Israel in Europe.
Three months ago, The Irish Independent website
reported that Shatter refused to “rule out Ireland buying more Israeli weapons –
despite continuing controversy over its policy towards Gaza.”
to the report, “Ireland has spent over 14m. euros on Israeli weapons in recent
years despite UN claims that it committed war crimes during its previous
invasion of Gaza, and the use of Irish passports by Israeli secret service as
cover in murder and political assassination.”
Shatter told Sinn Fein
politician Sean Crowe, according to the report, that there were no “restrictions
or embargoes in place on Israel or Israeli companies.”
Shatter was lauded by the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism
(CFCA), a state forum monitoring anti-Semitic activities around the world, for
fighting “cultural fascism” against Israel.
According to an article on
CFCA’s website, Shatter “fights the battle against the delegitmization of
Israel. Violent anti- Semitism is rare in Ireland, but the Irish government has
a strong anti-Israel bias.”
The article continues by saying that Shatter
accused the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSG) in May of waging a
“cyber-bullying” campaign by directing members to “target” the website of Irish
folk group Dervish in order to intimidate the group into canceling planned
concerts in Israel. He said the group was ignoring the constitutional rights of
Irish citizens to “get on with their lives, to travel and to perform around the
world free from bullying, intimidation and discrimination.”
was quoted as saying, “It is absolutely understandable that the group, in the
face of an ‘avalanche of negativity’ and ‘venom’ on social media websites, took
the decision to cancel their concerts – but it is a great pity that the bullying
tactics of the IPSG worked.”
He urged Irish artists not to give in to
“cultural fascism” by boycotting Israel.
He also said it was
“extraordinary” that these boycott campaigns “occurred at a time when thousands
have lost their lives in Syria. IPSG has remained silent about crimes against
humanity being committed there.”
Shatter was also quoted as saying that
papers recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan suggested Ireland
was a “promising ground” for al-Qaida to find support.
During his visit,
Shatter is scheduled to meet with both outgoing Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman
as well as his likely replacement, Tzipi Livni. He is also scheduled to travel
to Ramallah and meet with Palestinian Authority officials.
will spend three nights at the Dan Accadia Hotel in Herzliya, and one night at
the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.