Irish MEP condemned for suggesting Palestinians return to intifada

Paul Murphy, a Socialist Party MEP for Dublin, sparks ado with call to “overthrow the capitalist establishment of Israel.”

MEP Paul Murphy 370 (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
MEP Paul Murphy 370
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
LONDON – An Irish member of the European Parliament has been condemned for suggesting that Palestinians begin an intifada to “overthrow the capitalist establishment of Israel.”
In an interview last week with the Russia-based television network RT, Paul Murphy, a Socialist Party MEP for Dublin, said that a “struggle” along the lines of the first intifada was “necessary.”
“You’ve seen significant protest, significant movement, the potential to redevelop a struggle along the lines of the first intifada.
That’s the kind of thing that is necessary,” he said.
“Such a movement could link up with the genuine Israeli left, with working people and young people, who don’t benefit from the oppression of the Palestinians, overthrow the capitalist establishment of Israel.”
An ardent pro-Palestinian activist, Murphy took part in a flotilla to Gaza in 2011, contravening the position of the European Union, which opposes the use of flotillas as a legitimate action. After a brief detention, Israeli authorities deported him back to Ireland.
Last year, the Socialist MEP – who is not an advocate of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel – said that a new intifada based on mass resistance was preferable to diplomacy.
“The revolutionary wave sweeping the region can have a real impact on the struggle of the Palestinian people. The mass movements – particularly the uprising in Egypt, one of the prison guards of Gaza – concretely pose the question of action to support the Palestinian people,” he was quoted as saying on the Socialist Party’s website. “They can inspire a new intifada based on mass resistance, not diplomatic maneuvers. This is key in the fight for real liberation.”
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, MEP Charles Tannock, Foreign Affairs and Human Rights spokesman for the UK Conservative delegation, condemned Murphy’s suggestion, saying only violence would result.
“Paul Murphy is wellknown for holding extreme militant views on such issues and has regularly attacked my views on Israel in debates in plenary,” he said. “I utterly condemn his call for another intifada, which is neither remotely justified nor helpful to the peace process, and would only result in futile and needless violence with a risk of injury, both to Palestinian civilians whom he wishes to help and to IDF forces and Israeli civilians.”
Such an intifada “would be a massive setback to resuming peace talks, as being pushed by US Secretary of State John Kerry as we speak.”
Baroness Sarah Ludford, Liberal Democrat MEP for London, echoed Tannocks comments, accusing Murphy of being irresponsible and provocative.
“Besides being grossly irresponsible, this provocation is spectacularly ill-timed, given the prospect of the re-launch of peace negotiations,” she told the Post.
“The last thing needed at present is inflammatory rhetoric; everyone who is wellintentioned towards Israel and the Palestinians should be rooting for negotiations – not violence – to succeed.”
Fellow Irish MEPs also condemned Murphy. Gay Mitchell, MEP for Dublin for the European People’s Party, told the Post that his comments were a sinister attempt to gain publicity.
“Mr. Murphy is trying hard to get any publicity in the run up to next year’s European elections, without consideration of the implications for the lives of others.
His prescribed treatment is usually worse than the disease.”
Sean Kelly, European People’s Party MEP for Ireland’s south constituency, said it was “abhorrent” for Murphy to suggest a path of violence.
“In a region already beset with conflict, it is abhorrent to call for violence as a tool to achieve collective goals,” he said.
Kelly said Murphy’s remarks are only made worse by the fact that he is aware of a successful model that led to a peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
“The only route to a peaceful settlement of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is through dialogue and compromise on both sides. We have a successful model in the Northern Ireland peace process, which makes it all the more abhorrent that Mr. Murphy, who as an Irish citizen has benefited from this process, is now calling for violence elsewhere,” he told the Post.
Marina Yannakoudakis, Conservative MEP for London, also criticized Murphy’s remarks.
“These kind of comments are unwarranted and frankly quite nauseating. 100 innocent Israeli civilians were killed in the first intifada and Paul Murphy should know better than to issue a call to violence that could lead to more unnecessary deaths,” she told the Post on Wednesday.