Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

 

2:55 pm

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I agree that one can oppose Israeli Government policy and should not be labelled as antisemitic for doing it. It is important, given our strength despite being a small country, that our voice on this matter has been seen as objective and honourable, although not by everybody. Generally speaking, our interest is genuine and we have been one of the strong supporters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, particularly during the difficult years when former US President Trump took away American funding from UNRWA. Ireland has been a very strong supporter of education, especially in the West Bank and Gaza, through the UNRWA organisation.

We fund civil society organisations and have continued to fund civil society and human rights organisations that Israel has labelled as terrorist or whatever. We do not accept that labelling and we are pushing our European colleagues to continue to support these organisations. I will not use the term "apartheid" because I am not sure it will add anything right now.

Comments

Raymond Deane
Posted on 12 Feb 2022 3:47 pm (Report this comment)

This is, frankly, a despicable response. The Taoiseach is dismissing not just Amnesty International, but the Israeli human rights organisations Yesh Din and B'Tselem and the NY-based international human rights organisation Human Rights Watch, all of whom have stated that Apartheid is the appropriate term for Israel's systematic persecution of the Palestinian people. In seeking to divert attention from our political responsibility - the Palestinians are a protected people whom we are singularly failing to protect - to our purported support for a charity (UNRWA), the Taoiseach is flying in the face of Irish public opinion as well as international law and international humanitarian law.

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