“An Obstacle to Irish Government Coalition is a So-Called ‘Occupied Territories’ Bill.”

“Mr. Prime Minister, your coalition should be formed on the basics of combatting the COVID pandemic and its economic ramifications. Perhaps, after all, the ‘Occupied Territories’ Bill is germane. A boycott of Israel would, indeed, have a negative impact on cooperation in finding the cure for both!”

Paris, 11 June 2020

In a letter to Irish Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed its members’ deep concern that “since the recent Irish general elections, an obstacle to forming a coalition is a so-called ‘Occupied Territories Bill’ (entitled ‘Control of Economic Activities’), which focuses on the State of Israel.”

Samuels recalled “an Ireland that had identified with the Jewish State, as both sought freedom from British control”... He was thrilled, in 1976, to see the 1920’s canopy of his namesake, 'Samuels', on their Lombard Street shop in Dublin's Jewish quarter.

The letter noted: “in the 1950s, Irish linguists sought to revive Gaelic based on the experience of modern Hebrew.”

The Centre reminisced how, “in the 1980’s, we received Irish public support in the case of Dutch Nazi war criminal Pieter Menten, whose post-War art collection had been looted from murdered Jews. He had purchased a mansion in County Waterford. His Irish fate was resolved by the well-beloved Jewish lawyer, Stanley Asher Siev and your predecessor, Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald, who barred Menten from Ireland”... “This was followed by the case of the Hunt collection in Limerick.”

Samuels continued: “In 1986, in conjunction with Failte Ireland (Tourism Development Authority), we brought a Congressional delegation of American Jews and Irish Americans to Jerusalem and Dublin. The Irish authorities wished to adopt tourism, business and investment ties with Americans of Irish forebears, based on the experience of the relationship between Israel and the Jewish diaspora.”

The Centre was saddened that, “with the ‘Troubles’ in Ulster, we encountered a negative political shift towards Israel and Jews in general”... continuing, “the ‘Occupied Territories Bill’ is a cover for ‘BDS’ (Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment)... For Jews, ‘Boycott’ awakens the Nazi slogan ‘Kaufen Nicht Bei Juden’ (‘Do not buy from Jews!’).”

It added, “The objective of BDS is the disappearance of the Jewish State, as is made clear by the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) Definition of Antisemitism – an organization and a definition we urge Ireland to join and adhere to.”

“BDS calls Israel an ‘apartheid state’, thereby defaming a country where the latest elections brought in 15 Arab M.K.'s, now representing the third largest party in the current Knesset (Parliament).”

“Mr. Prime Minister, your coalition should be formed on the basics of combatting the COVID pandemic and its economic ramifications. Perhaps, after all, the ‘Occupied Territories’ Bill is germane. A boycott of Israel would, indeed, have a negative impact on cooperation in finding the cure for both!” concluded Samuels.