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Stop the Nonsense Ireland!

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22 Mar 2019 (All day)
Stop the Nonsense Ireland!

One popular way to attack Israel these days is through BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction), whether in business, culture or via legislation.

A proposed law currently making its way through the Irish parliament would criminalize the trading of goods from Israeli settlements. As a native German and citizen of the European Union, I find this bill totally misguided, extremely unfair, counter-productive to peace, and – above all – morally outrageous. It is a clear example of why BDS will never bring peace and only harms the people it claims to help.

According to this bill, anyone found guilty of importing or selling any goods or services originating from “occupied territory” would face a fine of up to €250,000 or five years in jail. Yet the bill is deliberately worded to only apply to “Israeli settlements” in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Golan Heights. Those pushing this Irish bill have proudly proclaimed it will lead Europe and the world out of the current impasse in negotiations and towards Middle East peace. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The international community has always approached the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a dispute which must be resolved by the parties involved. From Resolution 242 forward, every UN Security Council decision has been geared to offering the parties a suggested pathway to peace and encouraging them to sort out their differences in direct talks. This approach helped produce the Oslo Accords, witnessed by the EU, which left the fate of the settlements to a final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, the Republic of Ireland is now trying to force the issue unilaterally. Yet how is putting someone in an Irish dungeon for buying a gold-medal winning bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Tura going to bring us closer to peace? A housewife making a salad with olive oil from Shiloh or a dessert with dates from the Jordan Valley could unknowingly bankrupt her family. Will some Jew-hating neighbour see such contraband in her kitchen and report the family to the Irish authorities? How can you ever fairly enforce such an absurd criminal law?

The bill is also counterproductive to peace, in that it rewards Palestinian intransigence. When all the blame is being placed on Israel, what incentives do the Palestinians have to make concessions? Are the Jews who have returned to the heart of their ancient homeland any more a threat to world peace than those Palestinian neighbours who have been violently attacking them for decades?

In practice, this criminal law would harm Palestinians the most. As the SodaStream episode made clear, many businesses and factories in the Israeli settlements employ Palestinian workers and pay them salaries four times higher on average than what ordinary Palestinians earn. These breadwinners often support large families, so tens of thousands of Palestinians could be impacted if, due to BDS pressure, Israeli businesses fire these workers and move elsewhere.

But the truly odious aspect of the Irish bill is its blatant anti-Semitism, as it viciously singles out Jewish ‘occupiers’, while ignoring all other occupying forces in the world. What about olive oil from the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, fish from Russian-occupied Crimea, or dates from Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara? All these products are free to enter the Euro zone, while it is the Jews who must be taught a lesson again. How can this truly be a righteous act, as the Irish sponsors claim, when it is so clearly discriminatory?

I cannot help but think these Irish do-gooders are taking us straight back to the racist laws of the 1930s in Germany. Kauft nicht bei Juden! “Don’t buy Jewish!” was the rule then and is precisely what this law tells Irish citizens today. It is legislated anti-Semitism dressed up in nicely polished legalese and mere lip service to promoting peace and “European values”

If we have truly learned the lessons of the Holocaust, Europe will reject this attempt to single out Jews for punishment.

So please stop the nonsense, Ireland!
 

 

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