Removing the "Occupied Territories Law" which promoted heavy penalties for consuming products from the East and East, from the new government platform in Ireland, involved an ongoing struggle • "Cuban Foreign Minister has been under tremendous pressure," says Jackie Goodall, chairman of the organization Alliance of Ireland-Israel • "Must keep a pulse"
Dublin Irish Parliament
After two years of determined struggle, Jackie Goodall can breathe a sigh of relief. The founder of the Ireland-Israel Alliance succeeded in registering a significant diplomatic achievement on behalf of all Israeli friends in Ireland in dealing with the anti-Semitic BDS movement: The new rotational unity government, set up in Dublin this week, has decided not to include in the bill the boycott of Israeli products and services. From Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.
According to the bill, Palestinian supporters of the Irish parliament raised anyone buying Israeli products and services from these areas could be subjected to heavy criminal punishment: a fine of up to 250,000 euros (about NIS 1 million) and up to five years in prison.
Passing the bill could have seriously damaged Ireland-Israel relations, but also Ireland-US economic relations - due to US anti-boycott legislation passed in 28 US states.
Although two of the three parties that are expected to be members of the new Irish government supported the bill, outgoing Foreign Minister Simon Cuban, a member of the Pina Gale Center party who strongly opposed the passing of the "boycott law" (or alias in Ireland's "occupied territories" law), also opposed it In the new government platform, the move failed to emphasize that the proposal is illegal because it is contrary to EU trade laws.
"Cuban was under immense pressure to include the bill in the government platform and he was under this pressure," Goodell emphasizes in a conversation with "Israel Today." "We are very grateful to him and hope he will continue to serve as foreign minister in the next government, too. He is the most politically friendly politician in Israel. Today he is very interested in what is happening in Israel and in the territories. He is proud to have visited there several times. "
"Must have a finger on the pulse"
The bill, which was tabled in the Irish Parliament in January 2018, was drafted by a group of pro-Palestinian organizations and promoted, among others, by the Palestinian organization "Al-Haqq". The "Ireland-Israel Alliance" has since worked to expose the Irish public and Irish politicians to the illegal aspects of the bill and its many negative consequences, including the tens of thousands of Palestinians whose jobs will be harmed. However, it is clear to Godal that the elements behind the "occupied territories" bill will not give up and submit it again. "It's a big blow to BDS," says Goodall, "but we can enjoy a short grace period. We have to keep alert and be with our finger on the pulse. Frances Black, the singer who became a Senate member and initiated the boycott law, has already announced that she will raise the law for a renewed debate in parliament. "
"Don't give up on Ireland"
The new Unity Government Work Plan states that the Irish government intends to honor the commitment to recognize the State of Palestine as part of a comprehensive agreement or before it is achieved, if Ireland considers that such a move will promote the achievement of a two-state solution. Ireland is expected to recognize a Palestinian state as a response to the application of Israeli sovereignty to territories in Judea and Samaria. The new government plan emphasizes that Ireland will act within the EU to formulate opposition to any annexation of Israel in the West Bank. The Irish government, the government platform said, would see any such violation of international law and consider appropriate response.
In the past, Israel has considered closing down its embassy in Dublin, given Ireland's traditional hostility towards it. Godal asks Israel not to despair. "Don't give up on Ireland," she says, "we have the name of the most hostile country to Israel in Europe, but the reality is different. The fact that the "boycott law" was not passed is proof of the potential of relations between the two countries. The fight must continue. People should be educated here against the anti-Israeli propaganda they are exposed to. When we work on it and we have reason to hope. "
Goodall adds: "There is a very strong support network for Israel in Ireland. Not everyone wants to show their support publicly or shout on the streets, but they do important work in silence and behind the scenes. This is support from all strata of Irish society, which of course works with the local Jewish community. We celebrate today Victory, but keep working. "