Jewish Social Democrats candidate claims she was dropped after raising concerns about antisemitism

A Jewish woman with Israeli citizenship has accused the Social Democrats of deselecting her as a local election candidate because she raised concerns about antisemitism in Ireland.

Orli Degani, who was born in Germany, was selected by the Social Democrats in July last year to contest the Dún Laoghaire local electoral area (LEA) in the forthcoming elections. She was deselected by the party. The party confirmed she is no longer a candidate for the local elections.

Ms Degani described her deselection as an “affront to the values of equality and inclusivity I have come to know since immigrating to these shores”.

Ms Degani and her husband Hidai set up a business, OH Degani Consultants Ltd, in Ireland in 2018 having lived in several countries including Israel where she studied at the University of Haifa.

Ms Degani said she decided to take up politics after the Covid-19 pandemic and chose the Social Democrats because of its stance on issues she cared about, including disability services and homelessness.

“I am a German Jew with Israeli citizenship, and when I decided to run for local government I did so because I wanted to give back to the community that accepted me and my family with open arms, and I chose to do so within a party that I thought shared the same values of inclusion, acceptance and support.”

She claimed that she was deselected after she raised concerns with the party about the extent to which protests about Israel’s activities in Gaza were making Jews in Ireland feel “unwelcome and unsafe”.

“I was, and still am, concerned about people feeling like they need to hide their identity when they are walking around town, children feeling unsafe and bullied in local schools and universities, and about people online and offline using rhetoric that might eventually lead to violence,” she said.

“And I sought to constructively engage internally and raise these concernsI could not have expected what came next.

“It saddens me greatly that taking a stand about local people’s right to be included and welcomed in our community has spiralled to me being deselected by the Social Democrats.”


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community