Israeli FM: Ireland is the most hostile country in Europe

Reinforcing what I wrote in my post from June about the appalling antisemitism and anti-Israel feeling in Ireland, Ynet reports that the Israeli Foreign Ministry accused the Irish government of inciting against Israel.

An outrageous anti-Israel display was held over the weekend on Dublin’s main pedestrian street, presenting IDF soldiers as Nazi troops.

As part of the display, sponsored by the Dublin City Council, a group of pro-Palestinian activists set up a model of the separation fence and an IDF roadblock.

The activists dressed up as soldiers and beat, humiliated and pointed their weapons at other activists dressed as Palestinians, in front of thousands of Irish citizens and tourists.

The display joins accusations voiced against Israel at the Irish parliament last week, on the backdrop of claims that Israel “kidnapped”, abused and undressed Irish nationals who took part in a Gaza-bound flotilla stopped by the Israeli army recently.

Israel has strongly denied the accusations.

Foreign Ministry sources said Ireland had undoubtedly become the most hostile country to Israel in the European Union, “pushing all of Europe’s countries to a radical and uncompromising approach.”

According to the sources, when Israeli Ambassador Boaz Modai arrived in Dublin, one of Ireland’s leading newspapers greeted him with an article titled, “Welcome to hell.” [See my explanation below -Ed.]

The officials voiced their concern that the pressures would lead to the cancelation of the Israeli film festival.

But that’s not all. A Facebook group launched about two months ago called for heavy rocks to be thrown at the Israeli Embassy building in Dublin. Anti-Israel elements recently vandalized a Dublin auditorium slated to host a concert by Israeli singer Izhar Ashdot.

The Facebook accounts of Israeli Embassy officials have been attacked by Irish hackers and, in addition, anti-Israeli elements are attempting to disrupt an Israeli film festival organized by the embassy in Dublin next week.

While searching for another source for this story (which I failed to find), I came across an excellent website by a Mark Humphrys, a political commentator, who confirms the views of the Israeli Foreign Ministry in his page about Irish politicians and the political left.

Returning to the Ynet article, it’s not clear if Ynet are not aware of the contents of the article they mentioned above entitled Welcome to Hell, Mr. Israel Ambassador, and thought it was an anti-Israel article, or whether they did know, and just worded their paragraph awkwardly.

So in order to clarify the matter, and in order to reassure you that not every single Irishman hates Israel, here is the wonderful article by the brave journalist Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent who has written several pro-Israel articles over the years (and is mentioned in my article on Irish antisemitism linked at the beginning of this post).

A few excerpts:

Trying to argue Israel’s case to the Irish is no longer the futile burden of Zion Evonry. God help his successor in just about the worst assignment an Israeli diplomat can ever get

The Israeli Ambassador Zion Evonry is returning home: his time in Hell is done. Now it is the turn of some other poor bastard in the Israeli diplomatic service to come over and meet the conjoined forces of hatred, ignorance, blindness, hysteria and prejudice that the name ‘Israel’ invariably inspires. Short of Hamas opening up a few death-camps for Jews now, rather than after they’ve finally defeated Israel, I’m not sure what would destroy the irrational Israelophobia that is so powerful in Ireland.

Many things resulted from that terrible time. One of those was the formal creation of a homeland in Palestine for Jews. The forces that erupted across Europe in the following decades produced an entirely new world order, in which Israel took its place, as thousands of Palestinians either fled, or were forced to flee, their homes.

But comparable things happened across the world around the same time, in the Punjab and Bengal, East Prussia and Sudetenland, the Baltic and Tartary. And so we must deal with the world that history has bequeathed us. We cannot endlessly undo events or ‘return’ people to the land their ancestors once inhabited — either in Kashmir or in Kansas.

But this is where the world religio-cultures divide. For most Muslims do not accept that such historical processes are irreversible. They believe that once land is Dar al-Islam — the abode of the faithful — it can never be relinquished. If taken by non-believers, it then becomes Dar al-Harb: the abode of war, and shall remain so until it is restored to Islam. And so Israel has for the past 62 years been Dar al-Harb.

Indeed, neither the ‘secular’ PLO nor the Islamicist Hamas sees a long-term resolution in the Middle East that will genuinely include the state of Israel. Even for many ‘moderate’ Palestinians, the twin-state solution is the merely the stepping-stone to the status quo ante the Balfour Declaration. Palestine will thus be restored to the Dar al-Islam and the Caliphate.

Now, if you oppose the right of Israel to exist, that’s clear enough: you want the Jews of Israel either dispersed or killed, so there’s not much to discuss, other than train timetables, methodology (gas or gun?) and corpse-disposal. It’s been done before; maybe this time, you’ll get it right.

But if you support the right of Israel to exist, but condemn Israeli methods for coping with Palestinian terrorism, then how do you propose to deal with the volleys of thousands of Hamas rockets into Israeli towns from Gaza? You want a proportionate response? Very well, tell us what is proportionate. If you are against suicide bombers, but are opposed to the wall that has successfully prevented suicide bombers from entering Israel from the West Bank, then what is your realistic and efficient alternative to the wall?

Emoting over the plight of the Palestinian refugees — a fond pastime in this country — begs the question: why are they still refugees? Why haven’t they been absorbed by their Arab neighbours as the Muslims of the Indian Punjab have been in Pakistan; as the Hindus of Lahore have in Amritsar; as the Germans of Danzig have been in Hamburg?

One-hundred-and-fifty Irish ‘artists’ have announced they are boycotting Israel. What, 150? That’s about 140 more than I thought we had. Poor Israel! Being boycotted by Irish daubers it’s never even heard of. Yet strangely enough, these ‘artists’ don’t condemn the totalitarian Islamo-Nazism of Hamas, or the emerging Fourth Reich of Iran. No, instead, they obsess over the misdeeds of a democratic state the size of Munster in a democracy-free, Arab landmass as big as the US.

Ah well. Trying to argue Israel’s case to the Irish people is no longer the bitter, futile burden of Zion Evonry. So, safe home, my friend, and God help your successor, in just about the worst assignment an Israeli diplomat can ever get. The only local consolation I can draw from this endless tragedy is that without it, the modernist composer Raymond Deane, who is also the leader of the Ireland-Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, might otherwise be writing even more of his ‘music’. So thank you for that, Israel: and shalom, Zion.

I like his clarity of thought, but best of all, I love his sense of humour!

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23 Responses to Israeli FM: Ireland is the most hostile country in Europe

  1. markhumphrys says:

    Thanks for the link.
    I do want to correct Ynetnews though. Ireland is indeed full of anti-Israel sentiment, but Dublin City Council did not sponsor this protest.
    This was a protest by the “Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign” and no one else. Photos and video of it are here:
    While offensive, it was not very big. And I did not see Nazi uniforms either – though comparisons to the Nazis are routine at these events.

    As to whether Ireland is the most anti-Israel place in Europe, I don’t know. Anti-Israel sentiment is found among Irish politicians of all parties. See in particular Ireland’s hysterical reaction to the Gaza flotilla clash last year:
    And we just elected the most anti-Israel head of state in the western world:
    So it’s not great!

    • anneinpt says:

      Mr. Humphrys, thank you for your reply and apologies for your comment having gotten caught in my spam filter. I just deleted your first reply – it looks like you posted twice because your first comment didn’t appear.

      Thank you for the correction about the Ynet article. They are often sloppy in their reporting and I had searched for other sources about the story precisely for that reason, which is how I came to find your website. I read your articles that you linked above before I wrote my post. They are extremely interesting although rather depressing!

      As to whether Ireland is the most antisemitic, I think it’s hard to measure. See Andrea’s link below to the ADL survey from 2009. It’s very interesting. I was surprised to see that the UK comes out best of all the countries surveyed – although Ireland wasn’t included.

      I look forward to seeing you comment here again!

  2. Andrea says:

    I guess some Irish identify strongly with Palestinians and I also remember IRA activist training with some marxist oriented Palestinians militants in the past. Catholic heritage should be also considered but not exagerated since other countries with Catholic traditions have rather good relationship with Israel. Finally it should also be considered that easy rhetoric and misrepresentation always pay, expecially when a government have to divert people’s attention from failure of its policy….but not all people like being fooled again.

  3. Andrea says:

    Do not know about its accuracy but maybe helpful to have an idea about spreading of antisemitism among european countries

    Click to access Public%20ADL%20Anti-Semitism%20Presentation%20February%202009%20_3_.pdf

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Andrea, sorry I forgot to answer you last night. I just wanted to say I found your link extremely interesting. As I said to Mark Humphrys above, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the UK has the lowest rate of antisemitic feelings amongst all the countries surveyed. I was sure it was going to be different.

      It’s still a pretty depressing picture though…

  4. Andrea says:

    No problem, I do not expect to be answered on Shabbat though I usually send my comments on Friday night when my week end starts 🙂
    Maybe you thought UK had a worse score because you usually follows this country but it is also possible that the fact UK never experienced fascism or declared antisemitic policy makes today this nation less vigilant toward resurgens of this sad phenomenon. Antisemitism is consequently showed off with less reluctancy
    Italy and France ( the countries where I used to live ) have a different history and antisemitism is constantly monitored by dedicated organizations. Articles on newspapers, tv comments, movies, speech at universities and also graffitis and jokes from entertainement showing an anti Semitic attitude are observed and registered. Results are generally available on the web .
    By doing this you can be lead toward the depressing way of paranoia and discouragement but if we adopt a less passionate perspective we could reach some interesting considerations and more focused views.
    I do not want to bore anyone by naming many of these but we could for example make a distinction between people who is solely antisemtic ( with a specific hate toward Jews ) and general racist people hating all minorities ( gypsies, gays, immigrants and so on ). Someone can object that this makes no substantial difference for Jews but it is not true. Bad opinions on Jews is so generally spread- even at subconscious level – among Europe that Jews are now used to face this shamefull situation. Serious problem arises when judeophobia becomes an important political issue on which a party can build its own ideology achieving consnsus from people like it happened in Germany or in France in the past.
    By this way I do not want to minimize anything – au contraire we must be extremely vigilant like in italy and France – but we have to stay focused on difference between real antisemitic ideology and general racism : two different and equally dangerous contexts requiring different remedial actions. On this score the above offers a lot of thinghs to think about:……..

  5. Rob says:

    Hi Anne,

    An interesting post. It is right to question Ireland’s attitude toward Israel and Jewish people more generally but I would caution against what some are saying about Ireland being the most anti-Israel nation in Europe or even an anti-Semitic state as I can’t think of any serious anti-Semitic incidents in recent times. I think Sweden or Norway would probably lead in the latter respect to a considerable extent. As for the former issue of ill-intent toward Israel, I believe an undercurrent of post-Holicaust anti-Semitism survived here. It survived in a form intermingled with Catholicism and Irish Republicanism. This led to a broad acceptance of the pro-Palestinianism amongst the political elites (especially Fianna Fail, an offshoot of the original IRA/Sein Fein), and more radical politicos so there is really no effective dissenting voice in Ireland. I think the Israeli FO is wrong however about the present Irish government. They have been lambasted on all sides for not being aggressive enough with Israel about the erm… “kidnapping” of those trouble makers on the flotilla.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Rob, thank you for your comment and welcome to my blog. I just took a look at your blog too and it looks very interesting. I’m bookmarking it for future reference.

      To answer your comment, you (and Mark Humphrys) know a lot more about Ireland and its attitude towards Israel than I do and I accept your conclusions. I just reported the Ynet article, which, as Mark Humphrys said in his comment above, wasn’t strictly accurate. I do know that close relatives of mine travelled twice to Ireland recently on holiday and didn’t encounter any antisemitic or anti-Israel reactions, which confirms your remarks. And regarding Scandinavia, my cousin worked security in the Israeli Embassy in Helsinki, Finland and encountered antisemitism there regularly.

      Thank you for your explanation about the basis for Irish anti-Israel feeling being based way back in Irish Republicanism and Catholicism. I well remember how the IRA (in whichever version) assisted the PLO back in the 1970s.

      I just wanted to ask one thing: When you say the Israeli FO is wrong about the Irish gov’t, what specifically were you referring to? As far as I can make out, the Israeli FO were pretty harsh about the Irish government. Not that I disagree with you.

      The next question is, do you think there is anything that Israel or the Jewish community can do to improve matters or is it simply a built-in problem in Ireland that we must learn to live with?

  6. Rob says:

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for the welcome. I’m new to your blog. I just read a few posts and I must read up on it a good bit more as your perspective is an interesting one. I hope you enjoy reading a few posts on Eirael.

    Your’s and the views of many other Israeli’s toward Ireland are perfectly legitimate as there is a great deal of pro-Palestinianism here but at the same time its easy to see the issue a little too starkly. My own view is that there are many people in Ireland who don’t care that much either way. It is not so much a callous attitude as simply a response to the reality that the conflict is in some senses a long way away. As a result most people are not invested much in the issue so the activities of a minority of fanatics carry the agenda. These people are highly active and well financed/organised. It would be wrong to give the impression they are small in number either. Sein Fein/IRA is especially vocal, and many in the political establishment lend weight to the posturing of these lunatics. As a result most people in Ireland simply see very overt sympathy for the Palestinians at the expense of Israel as a natural moral stance. You might like this section of a portrait of pro-Palestinianism in Ireland from last year to get a sense of their actions:

    In the Ynet article an Israeli Foreign Office official is quoted as saying: “The Irish government is feeding its people with anti-Israel hatred,” an Israeli official argued. “What we are seeing here is clear anti-Semitism.” I think the Israeli Foreign Office official is wrong about the present Irish government. He should be directing his criticism of the parliament as a whole. The government were continually attacked on all sides of the political establishment for not being aggressive enough with Israel after the flotilla. The present government is mainly made up of Fine Gael which is perhaps the least antagonistic party toward Israel, and Labour, which is a mixture of people who are hostile and others far less so.

    Having said that, The FO may be annoyed at the Irish government for other reasons. The political default in Ireland is pro-Palestinianism, and perhaps partly due to this the Irish state did voice support for a Palestinian state at the UN and voted yes at UNESCO. You may get a sense of what I mean by skimming some parts of

    Quite honestly I think there isn’t much that can be done in Ireland. I’m pessimistic because some have tried a good deal to motivate the small pro-Israeli crowd here as they don’t even have a website (!) but it totally failed! There is only a tiny Jewish community left in Ireland of about 1,000. BTW I had a few ideas about what to do internationally but perhaps Israel could start by investing in an international news network. Al Jazeera and even Press TV are widely available on digital satellite all over the world!

    • anneinpt says:

      Rob, thanks for your detailed and considered reply.

      My own view is that there are many people in Ireland who don’t care that much either way.

      I’m sure you’re right, and I’m sure that applies to probably 99% of the world. Let’s be honest: how much do I really care about the conflict in Sri Lanka or the Philippines or any other far-away place? It’s not that I don’t care. I do want the “goodies” to win. But, as you said, I’m not invested enough in those conflicts and don’t have a personal interest, so I don’t’ read up enough about them and usually judge by the generally-accepted point of view in the media. In Israel’s case that works against us because the media is mostly leftist and either too neutral or actively anti.

      Thanks for the clarification about the Israeli FO. You should write to the Government Press Office or at least the embassy, or maybe a letter to an English-language Israeli paper like the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz or Israel Hayom explaining your point of view.

      Your idea of an Israeli al-Jazeera is excellent and is one that has been bandied about for a long time now. Of course you’re absolutely right, and there is a dire and urgent need for a 24-hour worldwide TV news service in good English to broadcast Israel’s point of view. I’m sure there would be be a wide market for it. It’s well-known that our Arab neighbours watch Israeli TV, especially the news, because they know that from us they hear the truth. It’s time the rest of the world heard it too. I’m not sure what happened with the idea though. There were rumours not so long ago that an Israeli or Jewish philanthropist was going to finance such a station, but then the whole subject dropped off the radar. I hope it wasn’t because he encountered that notorious Israeli bureaucracy!

    • anneinpt says:

      Rob, I’ve just read your links, which are excellent although rather depressing. I didn’t realize you are such a widely published author. I am honoured and humbled that you have chosen to visit my website. And delighted of course. I hope you find enough here to interest you that you continue to visit.

  7. Rob says:

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks, you’re very welcome. I suppose to put things in perspective requires that points be qualified.

    I believe there would be a huge market for an Israeli news channel! It would be dismissed by many as a source, just as Fox News is continually rounded on by liberals in the US, but it would nonetheless be a vital source of information which many would watch for having a unique perspective internationally.

    As you suggest, In Ireland, the main difference with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, compared to Sri Lanka etc., is that there isn’t a strong contingent that goes out of its way to push the issue in one direction. That of course is where the problem manifests in many parts of the world. So many haters, who in many instances are covert anti-Semites, push lies/propaganda that others simply don’t doubt.

    It goes in at every level, on the street, the Internet, the mainstream media, academia. It is unceasing, highly organised, and remarkably well financed. I remember saying to one chap last year how Irish pro-Palestinians have an office in a salubrious part of Dublin, organise big events, and send ships that they actually purchase to Gaza on what can be a bi-yearly basis – BTW there is a rumour that part of their money comes from Iran. By contrast, the main Irish pro-Israel group doesn’t even have a website!

    Clearly some pro-Israel groups do excellent work but what worries me is that it seems impossible to stem the pro-Pal tide, and Israel is sliding into ever increasing delegitimisation. I believe it won’t stop until there is an intensive co-ordinated international effort by pro-Israeli’s around the world to speak up for the State. It may require many pro-Israeli groups the world over uniting. Perhaps it would be a broad coalition of religious and secular organisations, individually having strong pro-Israeli policies, forming an umbrella group devoted exclusively to this issue, which would have strength to punch through into the mainstream media. Its an idea I spoke to Daniel Greenfield about a while ago but I assume there isn’t an appetite for such an entity, which is a shame as it could make a real difference.

    I’ll mention what you suggest about the Israeli FO to one of the guys at the Israeli Embassy in Dublin.

    Thanks for saying so re. the articles published but TBH its not really a big deal as I haven’t had much published except online on a few websites of varying renown. lol I’m very pleased you enjoyed reading the articles, and will add your blog to the Eirael website list as soon as I work out how to do it again!

  8. Gene says:

    This stance on the part of the Irish is perplexing. I’m mainly of UK-Irish heritage myself. I’ve heard that many Jews from the tribe of Ben-Yamin found refuge in Ireland hundreds of years ago.
    My only comment is, ‘hand the whole situation and a 10km strip of land adjacent to the Gaza strip over to the Irish to look after and they’ll experience the challenges first-hand’. I am convinced that many people in this world don’t understand the immense challenges and double-standards Israel is faced with.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you for your comment Gene and welcome to my blog.

      I like the inventiveness of your suggestion but I have a funny feeling the locals won’t approve. 🙂

      Certainly you are correct that so very many people don’t understand the problems facing Israel. Those who are anti-Israel have been very successful in framing Israel as a white, colonialist imperialist interloper, and in that way it is easy to recruit supporters for the cause. As you say, double standards reign supreme.

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  13. If there’s one thing about the Irish, they can write. Very enjoyable read. Again, glad I stumbled across this blog.

  14. Joe says:

    Wow… bias much? Irish people are in no way anti-semitic, and all this baseless talk of post holocaust anti semitism surviving in a Catholic state is absolute nonsense. I have never seen, read nor heard anything or any action against Jews. Not that there are many Jews in Ireland anyway, but I don’t think there’s ever been any anti Jewish violence, or anti Jewish movements, policy etc in the history of the Irish state…

    No Irish people aren’t anti semitic, but they are anti zionist, which zionists like to equate with anti semitism in order to demonise us. Irish people simply believe that the white Europeans who settled in the Holy Land in the late 40’s, and evicted the natives were morally wrong. And yes we sympathize with the armed struggle to take back their home, for obvious reasons to anyone who knows the slightest thing about Irish history, the eviction of Irish, persecution of Catholics, and struggle for Independence.

    We also believe that the state division orchestrated by the UN in 1948 was unfair, in that it gave the immigrant Jewish minority 53% of the land, and control of Palestines water resources. Of course we also object to Israels continued land grabs, the apartheid that exist within the country that persecutes arabs rights, while guaranteeing Israeli Jewish rights. If I am being truthful, a lot of us probably do think that first and second generation settlers probably should return to eastern Europe whence they came, though it is frankly insulting, and dangerous to suggest that Irish people think Israeli’s should be shot or gassed, though again the pro zionist agenda loves to paint its critics as nazis, holocaust deniers or anti semitic. It makes much it much easier to ignore people if you paint them as a bigot…

    Personally I think the state of Israel should never have been established, and especially not in the manner that it was. But I accept that it does exist and cannot be undone since the now third or 4th generation of settlers no longer have homes to return to in eastern Europe and Russia. I don’t blame Palestinians for wanting all the land taken from them back, which would effectively wipe out the state of Israel, but I do not agree that it is realistic, or even fair to 4th generation settlers. Israel needs to return alot of land to Palestine though. It also needs to recognise it as a state, repair the infrastructure it destroyed (coal burning power plants, roads, hospitals, schools, agricultural land. Palestine currently consists of small disconnected pockets of arab land ingulfed on all sides by Israel

    Palestine as a state does not effectively exist anymore, and cannot exist until Israel returns the land it illegally took. Israel also needs to stop building civilian housing on these confiscated land, not only does it make it impossible to return them, but they also effectively act as a human shield neighbouring Palestinian territories. The conspiracy theorist in me suspects that this is the intent, they know Hamas will attack these settlements which just gives Israel carte blanche to move in and confiscate more land, rinse and repeat. It’s a good way to wipe out the Palestinian state without UN condemnation, all it requires is illegal occupation and the UN won’t oppose that with America’s veto.

    • anneinpt says:

      I agree that in general the Irish people are not antisemitic, but the level of anti-Zionism, or anti-Israel activity, indicates a certain obsession with the one Jewish state in the world. We don’t see similar displays of anger, demonstrations, graffiti etc. against much worse countries in the world. So when all the criticism is directed towards one country only, and that one country is the only Jewish country in the world, then yes, I call it anti-Semitism.

      The rest of your comment is a simple copy-paste of the usual anti-Israel diatribes found on any anti-Israel website. It is full of distortions and lies besides a complete ignorance of world history and Jewish history.

      The map you provided is all wrong too. The first picture showing the original Mandate for Palestine distorts or omits the inconvenient fact that the Mandate was held by Britain for JEWISH settlement of Israel (or Palestine as it was known then). The following map shows land LOSS by Israel at partition. The last 2 maps show what the Arabs lost by declaring war on Israel. I would hope that would teach them a lesson not to be forgotten if they ever feel like invading again.

      In any event, there is no law that prevents a country from holding land that it captured in a defensive war, especially the land that was used to launch attacks against it in the first place.

      You think the “settlers” should return to Europe whence they came in the 40s. Uhuh. So will you tell my son in law’s parents that they should ‘return’ to… erm…. Poland? Since they came from Morocco? Your ignorance is laughable. You forget that more than half Israel’s citizens come from Arab countries. There has been a constant unbroken Jewish presence in Israel since Second Temple times (that’s Jesus’ time for you).

      I’m not even going to start to address the final part of your comment which is incomprehensible conspiracy theory mixed with regurgitated garbage. Get an education before you spout off to the world.

  15. Joe says:

    sympathize with armed struggle =/= sympathize with terrorism or Hamas.

    Unfortunately terrorism is the only armed struggle that Palestine is capable of, since it’s one of the worlds poorest countries, occupied by the 4th largest military superpower in the world (after USA, China and Russia). This is in no way condoning Hamas terrorist attacks on civilians, though I should also point out that more Israeli’s have died in car accidents over the past 10 years than in terrorist attacks, and that several orders of magnitude more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israel, which used illegal weapons (white phosphorus) on Palestinian civilians. Some Irish people think that because the end is the same, that Israel’s actions are essentially state terror attacks.

    • anneinpt says:

      Riiight. Terrorism is all that the Palestinians are capable of. Well, you’re right there. They haven’t produced anything of note besides the suicide bomber and the hijacked plane. Those are their contributions to mankind.

      As for claiming that “Palestine” (it doesn’t actually exist, you do know that don’t you?) is one of the poorest countries in the world, I think you need to look at these pictures.

      Israel has also never used any illegal weapons. White phosphorus is perfectly permitted in wartime as a method of lighting an area, which is what Israel did. And what every other army does.

      Whether some Irish people think Israel’s acts are terrorism or not is irrelevant to Israel. Israel will do what is necessary to ensure the survival of its citizens. But if the Irish think this, you have just proven my thesis.

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