That new Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney made his first trip outside of Europe a visit to Israel might be surprising. What makes it really unusual is that the Irish diplomat doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Israeli leadership regarding the Palestinian situation—but he got the full picture from them while he was there. In his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader made sure that Ireland knew Israel’s stance.
A summary of Netanyahu’s comments released by his office said that he noted to Coveney that Ireland “does not condemn Palestinians for incitement and for glorifying those who commit terrorist attacks,” while also asking him “why Ireland helps NGOs that call for the destruction of Israel.” And Netanyahu may have been generous, because some of the Irish aid allegedly goes to groups with ties to terrorists. At the least, the Irish diplomat himself openly promoted a journal that publishes aggressive anti-Israel rhetoric.
NGO Monitor, an organization that reports on non-government organizations (NGOs), noted on their website that from 2013-2015, more than 200,000 euros of Irish aid went to Addameer—which NGO Monitor pointed out was an official affiliate of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization. Furthermore, multiple members and even leaders of NGOs supported by Ireland have been accused of having ties to the PFLP.
Other NGOs have issued vicious anti-Israel rhetoric. Said NGO Monitor on their website, “Organizations receiving Irish funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Ireland’s policies to promote peace and a two-state framework in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some of these groups also promote antisemitic rhetoric.”
Meanwhile, Coveney promoted on the Irish Foreign Ministry website his help in launching a special edition of the Palestine-Israel Journal, for which the Irish Foreign Ministry proudly noted their “practical and financial support.”
However, the current edition of the Palestine-Israel Journal—and the one right after the edition sponsored by Ireland—included multiple articles about Israel’s “apartheid” policies. That’s a harsh accusation that attempts to correlate Israel’s dealing with a violent neighbor living on the Israeli historical heartland to South Africa’s official systemic racism.
In view of all that, it was not surprising that to cap off his comments with Coveney, Netanyahu noted that “many European countries are overlooking the core problem of the conflict—the Palestinian refusal to recognize the state of the Jews.”
Despite the controversial nature of the conversation, Coveney characterized the visit as a “Good straight talking meeting” on his Twitter page.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 12, 2017)