Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney speaks during a news conference in Dublin, Ireland, April 12, 2018..
(photo credit: CLODAGH KILCOYNE/REUTERS)
Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney – whose country is on the verge of making it a crime to import dates grown by Jewish farmers in the Jordan Valley – accused US ambassador David Friedman of bias for tweeting on Monday against a UN vote denying a Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
“More than 2,000 years ago, Jewish patriots (Maccabees) captured Jerusalem, purified the Holy Temple and rededicated it as a house of Jewish worship,” Friedman posted in his tweet. “The UN can’t vote away the facts: Jerusalem is the ancient and modern capital of Israel. Happy Chanukah from this blessed city!”
Friedman’s tweet was in reference to two anti-Israel resolutions that were passed in the UN on Friday that referred to the Temple Mount only by the Arabic term “al-Haram ash-Sharif,” thereby ignoring any Jewish connection to the site.
Friedman’s tweet, some nine hours after it was posted, was retweeted some 530 times and garnered over 1,600 “likes.”
Not everyone, however, liked it.
Coveney, whose country – along with all the 28 EU countries – voted for the resolutions that Friedman blasted, replied to Friedman in a twitter post, saying that the ambassador is working on a new peace initiative “that we all hope will be fair, balanced and successful. But comments like this will be seen as provocative and biased. Not helpful in creating the necessary environment of compromise.”
Friedman is on the US administration’s team drafting its long-awaited peace blueprint.
On Wednesday, the Irish senate advanced a bill that would make it a crime to import or sell goods originating in settlements and east Jerusalem.
The legislation, which the Irish minority-government has opposed, would impose a fine of up to €250,000 or five years in jail for those found guilty of trading with Jews living beyond the 1967 lines.
In order to pass, the bill – which has now passed two legislative hurdles – needs to pass another reading in the senate (Seanad Éireann), before going to the house (Dáil Éireann) for final approval. It will then need to be signed by the president.
Coveney did not use words such as “biased” or “provocative” on his Twitter feed on Wednesday, the day the Irish senate took its latest action on the bill, to describe the legislation. In fact, he made no mention of it at all.
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