Speaking on the publication of the ‘Antisemitism in Ireland’ report by investigative journalist David Collier, Executive Director of the Ireland Israel Alliance, Jackie Goodall, has called the report’s findings, confirmation of horrific levels of antisemitism within certain sectors of Irish politics, Irish society and social media, and the long overdue need for it to be properly addressed.
Jackie Goodall: “Although it brings me no satisfaction at all to introduce David Collier’s deeply disturbing report ‘Antisemitism in Ireland’, I welcome it, because it exposes a dark underbelly of horrific levels of antisemitism that disguises itself as anti-Zionism, and which is evidenced within our political and academic spaces, on our streets and elsewhere.
This is not about criticism of Israel at all, nor Israeli policy. It is not antisemitic to criticize Israel. It is perfectly legitimate to criticize Israeli government policy. Just as we Irish criticize our government daily, Israelis spend an inordinate amount of time criticizing their own government policy.
What is antisemitic is to attempt to deny the right of the Jewish people to live collectively, securely and at peace in their ancient homeland with the same rights as all persons who live in a democratic nation expect. It is also antisemitic to use extreme criticism of Israel as a Trojan horse to reproduce and perpetuate antisemitic tropes that long precede the rebirth of ancient Israel, resulting in the hatred of a sovereign nation state and its people.
I can only hope its readership extends beyond those of us who are already deeply concerned by attempts to mainstream the oldest form of bigotry and racism within Irish society, and that it is digested and acted upon by our more moderate politicians, media outlets and the general Irish public.
I also hope that the report will be treated with the gravity it merits, and that its findings and recommendations find a receptive ear in the Irish parliament. Sadly, there are many who will dismiss it without reading more than a few pages and decry this report on racism in Irish society as a ‘witch hunt.’ Hopefully there will be some in the Oireachtas and in the media who will give this report the respect it deserves.
The findings shocked even those of us who knew there was a problem from the outset. From a certain TD ‘liking’ a “Hitler had a point” post on Facebook, to posts on social media promoting the murder of Jewish people and denying the Holocaust, it appears the rot is well and truly set within certain sectors of Irish society.
What can be said with absolute certainty is that those who are dismissing claims of antisemitism within Ireland, especially in anti-Israel activism, are either blind and deaf to those who hate Jewish people, or are not interested in combatting it.
Only this Monday, at least forty-three countries signed a statement pledging to combat antisemitism at the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Regrettably, Ireland was NOT included in that list of countries, highlighting the need for the issue of antisemitism in Ireland to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”