Irish minister told that Israel boycott will not secure peace

By Jennifer Lipman, May 18, 2012

Supporters of Israel are calling on the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs to "build bridges" rather than seek a boycott of Israeli goods.

Earlier this week Eamon Gilmore hinted that he planned to push the European Union to block goods produced in the settlements, in order to pressure the Israeli government into making changes in policy.

Mr Gilmore said settlements in the West Bank were "making the achievement of a two-state solution in the Middle East impossible.

"If there isn't a change in Israeli policy in relation to settlements in particular, I think we may have to look at some additional measures," he said.

Cork-based human righst activist Barry Williams said that singling out Israel would "not secure a lasting peace".

Mr Williams has now set up a petition seeking to oppose a boycott.

"If Gilmore wishes to seek a boycott of Israeli settlement goods, we seek [an] EU wide boycott of Moroccan goods made in occupied Western Sahara and Indonesian goods made in West Papua New Guinea," the petition reads. "We urge the minister not to seek a boycott of Israeli goods, instead he should look to build bridges between various communities in the Middle East."

The Boycotts, Sanctions and Divestment campaign has gained steam in Ireland in recent months. In December, anti-Israel protesters repeatedly disrupted the Israeli Film Days festival and police officers were brought in.

Earlier this month Alan shatter, Ireland's Justice Minster, said anti-Israel activists had waged a "cyber-bullying" campaign to force an Irish folk music group to cancel its performances in Israel.

Last updated: 9:54pm, May 19 2012