Irish envoy bows out with spud attack memory

Outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony told a farewell reception that an abiding memory of his tenure was a photo of two Irish policemen guarding a bag of potatoes.

"The potatoes were, of course, Israeli," he recalled. "The occasion was the attempt by demonstrators to empty the shelves of a city centre store of Israeli food products, in continuation of their misguided boycott campaign.

"Happily, this campaign is having very little effect on the healthy trade relationship between Ireland and Israel, which amounts to more than 400 million euros."

He also told the 250-plus Jews and Christians who packed Dublin's Terenure Synagogue hall that he had fallen in love with Ireland's beauty and culture and had found many similarities with his homeland. They were "two small democracies with a special bond to the land, each with a large diaspora, each engaged in efforts to revive an old language."

Mr Evrony added: "It has not always been an easy task to ensure fair and balanced coverage in the media and to communicate the idea that the conflict in the Middle East is not a black and white story."

A message on behalf of Northern Irish First Minister Peter Robinson was conveyed by the Unionist Mayor of Craigavon, Stephen Moutray. He went on to say that his party understood "what the Israeli people are going through as they face the deadly threat of Hamas terrorism and the dark shadow of international contempt".

The event, organised by the Irish Christian Friends of Israel, raised 3,000 euros for the Jerusalem Centre for the Blind.

    Last updated: 11:05am, August 5 2010