Boycotting Israeli Settlement Goods Back Up for Debate at Irish Parliament

Bill forbidding sale or import of products manufactured in settlements sparked diplomatic crisis between Israel and Ireland in the past

The entrance to Irish parliament buildings in Dublin, Ireland.
Bloomberg

Irish Senator Frances Black announced on Wednesday that a bill she is promoting to boycott products manufactured in Israeli settlements will be discussed at the Irish parliament on July 11, 2018.

Senator Black posted a video to Twitter in which she called on Irish citizens to increase the pressure they apply on lawmakers to support this bill.

"We're close to a historic move for justice in Palestine, but I need your help!" she wrote.

The discussion at the Irish senate regarding the bill was postponed in January after Ireland's Ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, was summoned for a talk at the Foreign Ministry to clarify the legislative initiative at the demand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kelly stressed at the time that independent representatives in the Irish Senate were behind the initiative and that the Irish government actually opposed it.

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The Irish envoy further stressed in a conversation with Rodica Radian-Gordon, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for Western Europe, that the bill was not a Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement-linked initiative.

Netanyahu condemned the bill at the time, saying that its single purpose was to "support the BDS movement and hurt the State of Israel."

The Prime Minister's Office stated that the bill "backed those who wish to boycott Israel and completely opposes the guiding principles of free trade and justice."

Haaretz reported in January that a group of Israeli activists, among whom were former Knesset members, lawyers, former ambassadors, artists and academics, penned a letter asking Irish lawmakers to support the bill.

The letter, which was published in the daily newspaper Irish Times, read as follows: “We, concerned citizens of Israel ... urge Ireland to support any legislation that will help enforce differentiation between Israel per se and the settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

“The Israeli occupation of the territories beyond the 1967 borders, ongoing for more than 50 years with no end in sight, is not only unjust but also stands in violation of numerous UN resolutions.”

The letter ends, “As people who care deeply for Israel’s future and long for our country to live in peace with its neighbors, we urge you to support the aforementioned Bill.”

Former lawmaker Uri Avnery topped the list of signatories, which included former ambassadors Elie Barnavi, Ilan Baruch and Alon Liel; former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair; former MKs Roman Bronfman, Avraham Burg, Naomi Chazan, Tzali Reshef and Yael Dayan; and artists Dani Karavan, Alex Levac, David Tartakover and Miki Kratsman.