Israel says Irish bill to prohibit settlement products is ‘immoral’

“Legislation, which promotes a boycott of any kind, should be rejected as it does nothing to achieve peace," the Israeli embassy in Dublin said.

By
July 4, 2018 15:31
4 minute read.
MEMBERS OF Students for a Just Palestine protest a scheduled lecture by Ambassador to Ireland

MEMBERS OF Students for a Just Palestine protest a scheduled lecture by Ambassador to Ireland Ze’ev Boker at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The passage of a bill in the Irish parliament next week prohibiting “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources” from the settlements would be “catastrophic” for Israeli-Irish ties, senior sources in Jerusalem said on Wednesday.

Israel is working quietly and behind the scenes to try to thwart the passage of the legislation, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The bill will go to the Irish senate next week.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


While passage of the measure would not lead to a rupture in Irish-Israel ties, it could strengthen voices inside the Foreign Ministry that always suggest Dublin whenever lists are drawn up of consulates and embassies abroad that should be closed because of budgetary constraints.

Israel’s embassy issued a statement saying that the bill that would make it a crime punishable by prison time to import anything from the settlements, which also includes east Jerusalem, is “immoral.”

The embassy is “concerned by bills that further the divisions between Israel and the Palestinians,” the statement read. “Legislation that promotes a boycott of any kind should be rejected, as it does nothing to achieve peace but, rather, empowers the Hamas terrorists as well as those Palestinians who refuse to come to the negotiating table.”

According to the statement, “Closing doors will not in any way facilitate Ireland’s role and influence. There are direct parties to the conflict. Boycotting one of them will not do any good and is immoral.”

The main opposition party Fianna Fáil decided Tuesday evening to back the bill, giving it a big boost and legitimacy from an established party. The bill received enthusiastic backing last week at a Dublin concert by the fanatically anti-Israel former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins, the party’s spokesman on foreign affairs, told the online Irish newspaper TheJournali.ie that he and a colleague “traveled to Israel and Palestine to see at first hand the reality of what is happening on the ground,” before taking a view on the bill.

“Having done that and having met with a wide range of agencies and groups, it is my view that Ireland passing the Occupied Territories Bill has the potential to send a strong message that the issue of illegal settlements is being taken seriously and needs to be addressed,” he said.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was in Israel last month. Earlier this year he expressed reservations about the bill, saying that while it would send “an important signal to the Palestinian people,” it would not enhance Ireland’s international position.

On Tuesday he tweeted opposition to the bill, writing: “The Irish government has always condemned construction of illegal settlements. But this bill asks Irish government to do something it is not legally empowered to do – trade is an EU competence, not an Irish one. FF [Fiana Fáil] knows this – so this move is both opportunist and irresponsible.”


The bill’s sponsor, an Independent senator named Frances Black, tweeted in response that she had two legal opinions disputing Coveney’s claim. “I believe if we wait for EU leadership, we could be waiting forever,” she wrote.

In a tweet on Sunday, Black thanked Waters for his support, and wrote that it was “time for Ireland to take the lead, stand up for justice in #Palestine & end trade in #SettlementGoods.”


Discussion in the Irish senate on the bill was postponed in January following government opposition and a strongly negative reaction in Jerusalem.

The current move also comes amid calls in Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which is scheduled to be held in Israel. Though Fianna Fáil will support the bill against the settlements, it is unlikely to support a Eurovision boycott, its leader, Micheál Martin, was quoted as saying.

Martin, asked about the Eurovision boycott in TheJournal.ie, said he has “never been a boycott fan,” and that “I think the Eurovision is neither here nor there, to be frank, in terms of the profound crisis that Palestine represents, particularly Gaza.”
Ireland, along with Sweden and Spain, are considered among the fiercest critics of, and most unsympathetic countries toward, Israel inside the EU.

Sources in Jerusalem dismissed the notion that this move could lead to a snowball effect in other European parliaments, saying that the influence of Ireland – with only 4.8 million people – is limited, and the country is not a “central player” inside the EU.
In 2015, the EU issued guidelines for labeling products from the settlements, but stopped short of calling for a boycott.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The tallit (prayer shawl) is a customary Jewish prayer garment.
September 21, 2018
Uncovering the tallit, the long-standing traditional textile in Israel

By DENNIS ZINN