Irish Jews dismayed by parliamentary attacks on their community

Ireland has failed to deal with an upsurge in antisemitism fuelled by online abuse, the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland has told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The UNHRC also heard that Jews have been “dismayed by the use of anti-Semitic tropes by some members of the Irish parliament” in and outside the Dáil and Seanad chambers.

Maurice Cohen, chairman of the representative council, made the claims after he was asked by the UNHRC to comment on Ireland’s human rights record.

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

Ireland has failed to appoint a co-ordinator to combat antisemitism, as agreed by European Union states, he said, and the council also had concerns about limitations to the Government’s proposed hate crime legislation

The proposed law does not adequately address antisemitic hate speech and incitement to hatred, he said, and it should also use the definition of antisemitism approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

At the same time, Mr Cohen complained about the way in which some Dáil and Seanad members responded to a UK Amnesty report which claimed Israel was an apartheid state.

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

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

“Between the Jordan and the sea lies the state of Israel and here we have parliamentarians calling for Israel to be wiped out” he said.


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