Pro-Israel Irish cabinet minister set to arrive

Alan Shatter, viewed in J'lem as being "courageous" for speaking up in Dublin on Israel’s behalf, to meet with Neeman, Livni.

Alan Shatter 370 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
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.”
According 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.”
Last summer, 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.”
The minister 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.
The minister will spend three nights at the Dan Accadia Hotel in Herzliya, and one night at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.