Israeli-Arab speaks at Irish Parliament, defending Israel

Yoseph Haddad spoke at the Irish Parliament, defending Israel against "Apartheid" status.

Irish Flag 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Irish Flag 370
(photo credit: Reuters)

Israeli-Arab Yoseph Haddad spoke at the Irish Parliament, on February 24, making him the first pro-Israel speaker to address the body in at least 15 years, according to a press release by Jackie Goodall, executive director of the Ireland Israel Alliance. 

In light of the recent report by Amnesty International labeling Israel as an apartheid state, the IIA invited Haddad and Israeli journalist Emily Schrader to speak at the parliament before it reaches a decision on the matter.

“I was happy to come to the Irish Parliament and share my point of view as an Israeli Arab citizen, to present facts and figures that refute the Amnesty report and to reflect the Israeli reality," Yoseph said in his speech. 

"I have received many responses from MPs who have thanked me for opening their eyes, which proves that the purpose of my visit there has been achieved,” he said.

“While Amnesty stokes the flames of hatred against Israel, it is us Israelis, both Arabs and Jews, who pay the price on the ground.” 

"As an Israeli, I was shocked by the hostility and lack of information about Israel in the Irish Parliament," Schrader, who accompanied Haddad on his visit to Ireland's capital of Dublin, had said earlier at the parliament. "For more than four years they haven’t welcomed a speaker who supports Israel, so it was really historic that the speaker of the parliament hosted Yoseph for this event." 

 Jackie Goodall (credit: Courtesy) Jackie Goodall (credit: Courtesy)

"For me, the most exciting thing was that members of the anti-Israel Sinn Fein [Irish political Party] not only attended Yoseph’s address, but asked questions and had a discussion," she said. "By the end of the event, they were unable to defend their accusations against Israel.”

“We set up in 2018 because a growing number of Irish citizens were increasingly concerned that the narrative in the Irish public arena regarding ‘Israel/Palestine’ was disproportionally focused against Israel," Goodall said. "Our objective is to bring more balance to that narrative and to make a constructive contribution to the debate.

"We are very pleased that the Inter-Parliamentary Friends Groups are now formally up-and-running," she said. "Israel has friends in the Irish Parliament who are prepared to speak out in defense of Israel, and we need to encourage their voices."

"We would also point out that it is not antisemitic to criticize Israel. It is perfectly legitimate to criticize Israeli government policy, but we will continue to call out instances where there is a disproportionate focus against the nation-state of the Jewish people."