Israel’s dubious Irish visitor

Gerry Adams and his colleagues have a history of supporting those who wish harm to the Jewish state

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 16, 2009

Shortly before Pesach, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams announced that he planned to visit Israel over the festive season and that he intended to “meet with all sides and urge all sides to end all armed actions and to engage in meaningful dialogue.”

Mr Adams first visited the region in 2006. As part of his rebranding of himself as an international consultant on conflict resolution he journeyed to Israel, and thence to “Palestine”, there to meet and make friends with Fatah and Hamas party members. That no positive contribution to the Middle East peace process was made by this excursion was hardly surprising. But, as well as launching him on his new career, it served a number of other purposes that Mr Adams and his Sinn Fein colleagues had in mind.

It reconnected Sinn Fein with its revolutionary Marxist roots, reminding the party faithful of its proud history of military collaboration with those intent on the destruction of the Jewish state. After all, Sinn Fein’s military wing, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, was funded by the Libyan government, shared training facilities with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and proffered advice to a number of Marxist-inspired terrorists movements, notably the fanatical Basque “separatist” organisation known as ETA and the FARC terrorists in Colombia.

As a quid pro quo for helping FARC improve its bomb-making capabilities, Sinn Fein/IRA received not less than $2 million in fees, money FARC had earned through kidnapping and drug-trafficking.

Those of us who do not live in Northern Ireland are in danger of ignoring this history and of underestimating Sinn Fein’s continuing support for Israel’s enemies. During the recent Gaza conflict, Sinn Fein was unapologetic in calling for a comprehensive boycott of Israeli goods and services.

Indeed, a number of Sinn Fein-controlled local councils in the province have actually implemented such a boycott. In January, two Sinn Fein members of the European Parliament, Bairbre de Brun and Mary Lou McDonald, called for the suspension of the EU’s trade agreement with Israel.

A Sinn Fein member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly, Caral Ni Chuilin, declared that, “all the civilian deaths in Gaza… are indefensible and unjustifiable,” omitting to remind her audience that she had herself served a four-year prison term (1989-93) on bomb-related charges.

Last month, the official spokesperson of Sinn Fein on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh (a member of the Dublin parliament) claimed that “Israel’s incursion into Gaza was an act of genocide.” In February, at Stormont, Gerry Adams graciously consented to host the publication of a report compiled by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, which had in 2008 used its members’ subscriptions to send a high-ranking delegation on a sight-seeing tour of Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.

The report was replete with criticism of the Jewish state; the real purpose of the Stormont gathering was to provide the springboard for the launching of a comprehensive boycott of Israeli produce. As one astute ICTU member commented, such a move amounted to a collective punishment (the very crime of which Sinn Fein had been accusing Israel), while another wryly observed that if the ICTU’s boycott was to have any chance of success, it would need to be extended to the USA, but he doubted that this would prove at all popular with Irish-Americans whose money continues to keep Sinn Fein afloat.

All this is in stark and sad contrast to the comradeship between Zionists and the founders of the Irish nationalist movement. Eamon de Valera, a leader of the Easter 1916 “rebellion” against British rule, Sinn Fein’s president from 1917 to 1926 and later President of the Irish republic, was actually hidden from his British pursuers in Dublin by Yitzhok Herzog, later the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, who had himself supported Irish independence.

But that was a long time ago, and belongs to a past that today’s Sinn Fein would rather forget. Today, it suits Sinn Fein and its leadership to court other friends and to have its present president shake hands with and express support for Israel’s enemies.

Gerry Adams should not be allowed to enter Israel. If he wants to visit Gaza and its terrorist leadership, let him travel via Egypt.

Last updated: 9:25am, April 16 2009