Irish Jews ‘appalled’ by parliamentary attacks on their community

Ireland has failed to tackle a surge in anti-Semitism in the state fueled by online abuse, the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland has told a United Nations body.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has also heard that Jews have been “appalled by the use of anti-Semitic tropes by some members of the Irish parliament” inside and outside the chambers of the Dail and Seanad.

Maurice Cohen, President of the Representative Council, made the statements after being asked by the HRC to comment on Ireland’s human rights record.

In a two-minute video presentation given to the Geneva-based body, Cohen said the community was also particularly concerned about reports of anti-Semitism within Ireland’s third-tier institutions.

Ireland has not appointed a co-ordinator to tackle anti-Semitism, as agreed by European Union states, he said, and the council was also concerned about the limits of the legislation proposed by the government on hate crimes.

The bill does not adequately address anti-Semitic hate speech and incitement to hatred, he said, and it should also use the definition of anti-Semitism endorsed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Mr Cohen also said that a member of the Jewish community, Alan Shatter, had been “wrongfully forced” to resign as justice and defense minister “following various false allegations”, and should receive a “full public apology” from the Dail.

Limited scope

Speaking to the Irish Times later, Mr Cohen complained about the way some Dáil and Seanad members responded to a UK Amnesty report that claimed Israel was an apartheid state.

He said that using Amnesty’s definition of apartheid, most states would be considered apartheid. He said the rhetoric used in the Dáil and the Seanad was unfair, poorly documented and “absolutely vile”.

Meanwhile, Mr Cohen complained about posters that were held up outside Leinster House during protests there, proclaiming that “Palestine will be free from the Jordan River to the sea”.

“Between the Jordan and the sea is the State of Israel and here we have parliamentarians who demand that Israel be wiped out,” he said. “Israel is a democratic state surrounded by autocracies.

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