Ramallah incident is not in the least surprising

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Ireland is one of the most unfriendly nations in Europe with regard to Israel, both at an official level but even more so at a political and local level.

The most anti Israeli party of all is Sinn Fein.

Israel is right to express its “deep disappointment” to the Republic’s ambassador to the country over the republican party’s mayor of Dublin attending an “anti Israel” event but there is no reason that it should be “shocked” at the episode, as has been reported.

Sinn Fein, like many politicians in the Republic, and indeed plenty in the UK, including Jeremy Corbyn, is steeped in the belief that the Palestinians are the good guys in the Middle East and the Israelis are the villains.

Of course it is the case that the event in Ramallah, in which Micheal Mac Donncha participated, was “explicitly” against Israel.

Mr Mac Donncha is a supporter of the increasingly vocal movement to boycott the Jewish state.

The viewpoint that Israel does not even have the right to exist is one that seems to be gaining ground.

Of course it is the case that the organisers of the Ramallah event were not concerned that it occurred as Israel commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day, an occasion of great solemnity in the country, for obvious reasons, and as our photographs movingly depict on the opposite page.

It will be interesting to see whether Ireland gives the “public and formal” response that Israel has demanded.

If so, it will help to flush out the Republic’s official line on Israel.

That small but extraordinary country, that faces a daily existential threat, can at least count on powerful support from the United States, which remains the most influential and wealthy nation on earth.

But across Europe there is, sadly, a much more ambivalent attitude to Israel, particularly in radical political organisations including Sinn Fein.