Ambassador to Ireland slams call for Israel boycott

Zion Enroy condemns trade unionists' decision to support blanket boycott and disinvestment campaign.

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Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony condemned last week's decision by the The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) to call for a boycott and disinvestment campaign against Israel. "The Irish Congress of Trade Union's call for a boycott of Israeli goods and services following the publication of its report, is counterproductive and should be condemned," he told The Jerusalem Post. The union also called on politicians to influence their European Union counterparts to initiate change "with regard to the illegal actions of the Israeli government." "The Congress delegation report recommends that this course of action be pursued in order to encourage Israeli compliance with international law and to cease its violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people," it reported. Speaking about the boycott and disinvestment campaign, an ICTU spokesperson told the Post: "We are in the early days of a campaign that unions representing almost 850,000 members have voted unanimously to pursue. Interestingly, since we made this call, no organization has stepped forward to condemn it or ask us to reverse our position." The delegation visited the area last November and met with trade unionists, human rights activists, senior union officials and politicians, including Hamas officials. It was led by President of Congress Patricia McKeown, who said in the report's introduction: "We witnessed [in Gaza] the consequences of a siege which international law defines as the collective punishment of a people and consequently a war crime." According to Evrony, the ICTU report is a one-sided and simplistic perspective of the conflict. "It erroneously absolves the Palestinians of any responsibility for the conflict and the current situation. It ignores the death and destruction caused by Palestinian terrorists and Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist." He said that the ICTU fails to condemn or criticize Palestinian terrorism and is completely dismissive of Israel's security needs, and that the boycott call "contradicts the international trade union spirit of solidarity and fraternity." An Irish government spokesman told the Post that they oppose any form of boycott directed towards Israel. "ICTU's decision also stands in stark contrast to the ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in Jerusalem and it ignores Israel's continued commitment and desire for peace as well as its readiness to compromise," Evrony added. "A biased, simplistic approach to the conflict, demonizing one side and totally ignoring the responsibility of the other side, will neither help the Palestinians nor will it promote peace". "The government has made its position clear that it remains firmly opposed to any boycott of Israeli goods and is also firmly opposed to academic or cultural boycotts of any kind," the spokesman said.