Irish Israel boycott proposal 'cynical and hypocritical'

Jewish leaders have criticised the Irish foreign minister for a "cynical" call to boycott some Israeli goods.

Eamon Gilmore said that he might push the European Union to block goods produced in the West Bank, in order to pressure the Israeli government into making policy changes.

He said that settlements made "the achievement of a two-state solution in the Middle East impossible" and said that if there was no change on the matter "we may have to look at some additional measures".

But Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, described the call for a boycott as "cynical and hypocritical.

"His remarks show that some European leaders would like to see Israel being coerced into making unilateral concessions," he said. "Minister Gilmore is taking aim at the only liberal democracy in the Middle East while keeping quiet about those who really wreak havoc in the region: the Assads, Ahmadinejads and their allies H i zbollah and Hamas."

Mr Gilmore's comments coincided with decisions taken in Denmark and South Africa requiring products made in West Bank communities to be specifically labelled as such.

"Instead of encouraging economic co-operation, certain governments seem eager to jump on the bandwagon of the global anti-Israel movement in an effort to pander to their electorates," said Mr Lauder. But he said that West Bank producers employed numerous Palestinian workers, so "by doing so, they are making things worse, not better".

Last updated: 2:40pm, May 22 2012